Power dressing: The world’s most stylish international football managers

Terry Venables, England

Part east London gangster/ part timeshare rep, Terry Venables’s style was every bit as wide-boy as his personality. From appearing on the pitch at Barcelona in perhaps the world’s shortest shorts to patrolling the line as England manager in a tan-enhancing white polo, Venables brought a bit of sun(bed) to whatever touchline he was patrolling. Away from the stadium things were stepped up another level. Black shirts with grey suits, slip-on shoes and hair blow-dried to Shredded Wheat level, “El Tel” was old-school London flash personified. While other managers spent their spare time with their families, Venables ran Kensington drinking club Scribes West, wrote a TV series (Hazell) and got involved in so many “colourful” business deals, he was banned from being a company director for seven years. Geezer.

Ally McLeod, Scotland

“We’re on the march with Ally’s Army/We’re going tae the Argentine/And we’ll really shake them up, when we win the World Cup/’Cos Scotland are the greatest football team”. So sang the Scottish squad, as they paraded victoriously around Hampden Park in an open-top bus before the Argentina World Cup of 1978, led by talismanic manager Ally MacLeod. A man who wore his emotion on the cuffs of his polyester shirt, MacLeod was the absolute zenith of ’70s Glaswegian bookie chic. No tie too wide, no flares quite man-made enough, the Scottish boss looked like a regular from Rab C Nesbitt – especially when his team were humiliated by Iran and Peru, returning home in disgrace and without an open-top bus in sight.

César Luis Menotti, Argentina

His country may have been governed by a of murderous fascist generals, but the man who took Argentina to World Cup victory in 1978, would have looked more at home on in the VIP room of a cocaine-fuelled New York nightclub than square-bashing at some army school in Buenos Aires. Cultivating a left-wing image at odds with the rulers of Argentina, the cultured Menotti was never without a cigarette at his mouth, accessorising his cancer sticks with unkempt, long hair, flashy porno suits (often in white) and a permanent scowl – usually reserved for other managers or his ultimate masters in the military government.

Helmut Schön, West Germany

If ever a football manager was linked with one brand then it was World Cup-winning boss Schön and Adidas, a partnership made in retro sportswear heaven. Never without his trademark flat cap, Schön was seemingly given unlimited access to the Adidas catalogue of the 1970s, sporting a colourful array of leisure suits, all of them distinguished by the trefoil and three stripes. Occasionally coupling his trackies with roll-neck jumpers and patterened shirts, Helmut was a casual long before the first Scouser turned up at the Adidas shop in Munich with a suspiciously big bag.

Enzo Bearzot, Italy

Rarely pictured without his trademark pipe, the wiry Bearzot not only took Italy to sportswear known to man. Looking like he’d just come back from an exclusive Milanese tennis club, his España ’82 Ellesse tracksuit was absolutely on-trend for the pastel-coloured early ’80s. Even today, Bearzot still looks the part, turning up for public events in a buttoned-up polo shirt, sports jacket and slacks – a bit like Don Logan in Sexy Beast, but without the swearing and insatiable blood-lust.

Joachim Löw, Germany

A German manager should either look like he runs a bank or owns a sausage factory. Löw, with his dark, floppy, indie-boy hair, girly features and penchant for wearing suits minus a tie, resembles a flamboyant architect who occasionally directs pop videos. His team reflects his openness, getting to the final of the European Championships in 2008 with a distinctly un-German brand of attacking football. The fact that he spent much of the tournament in looking like a Jil Sander model in white shirt and black trousers just made him more appealing.

Fabio Capello, England

Managers of the England side have a record as sorry in the fashion stakes as the team does in tournaments. Graham Taylor made shellsuit-wearing an Olympic sport, while Steve MacLaren will always be remembered for his crunchy hair and someone-gave-this-to-me-at-a-golf-tournament umbrella. The present boss is a different proposition altogether. Despite the fact that he’s in his 60s, Signore Capello is the absolute model of classic, understated Italian style. Particularly fond of the light blue shirt/dark blue tie combination, when he barks his orders from the touchline in his perfectly fitted blazer and slacks, the millionaire brats on the pitch soon come to heel. And those glasses… bellissimo!

Diego Maradona, Argentina

He was, without doubt, the greatest football player the world has ever seen, a street-child from the slums of Buenos Aires with a talent unsurpassed in the history of the game. And, true to his roots, Maradona has swerved formal wear in favour of a rainbow-coloured assortment of man-of-the-people leisurewear. Looking like one of Tony Soprano’s “button men”, Maradoo occupies the Argentine bench in tracksuits, garish vest tops, body warmers and chunky, shopping mall trainers. If he wasn’t in charge of one of the world’s greatest football teams he’d be selling you cigarettes in the forecourt of a Buenos Aires train station.

Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland

If you saw Hitzfeld on the street you’d either think he was on his way to fit a platinum cap to a banker’s molar or lead a buyout of Mercedes Benz, such is his adherence to the philosophy of Germanic power-dressing. For the former Bayern Munich boss, big-shouldered overcoats, formal shoes and boxy suits are the order of the day – a stuffy look absolutely in tune with mentality of that most functional of nations, Switzerland. No wonder he never smiles.

Jose Mourinho, Internazionale

While Mourinho may not be an international boss, he’s included here simply because he has single-handedly changed the way football managers’ clothes are judged. In the old days there were two schools of managerial fashion: either the “I reckon I could come on at half-time” look or the “regional manager of a photocopier firm”. But Mourinho has made the touchline a catwalk. From the beautiful Armani overcoats and loop-knotted scarves to his penchant for exquisite cut suits and shirts, the former Chelsea boss has set the standard in the Mondial of menswear. No wonder he makes his living in the capital of fashion, Milan.

Originally written for FHM


  1. Roberto Mancini's usually quite spiffily turned-out too, no?
    And Arsene Wenger's sartorially dubious but extremely distinctive Michelin Man look surely deserves a mention?

  2. Cesare Prandelli is making a decent claim this year


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