Friday, December 23, 2005

Why Mourinho is a winner

Great article in the London Review of Books about football managers. Jose Mourinho has two big assets. Firstly he went to Chelsea when there was a good upside potential. Secondly he is astonishingly good-looking.

What he has in common with Clough and Shankly is that the players appear desperate to do whatever it takes to win his approval, like schoolgirls fighting for an approving glance from their favourite teacher. Barclay turns to Desmond Morris to explain what is going on here, citing the Chelsea players’ body language as evidence that some profound human forces are at work – not just ‘respect’, not just ‘camaraderie’, but something like ‘love’. This may be overstating it. Mourinho, as well as being very handsome, is always nicely turned out, something that almost all modern professionals take extremely seriously. Ryan Giggs, for example, put the extraordinary impact of Eric Cantona on Manchester United down to the fact that not only was he a gifted player who trained hard, but also that his idiosyncratic, classically French wardrobe put the rest of the team to shame. In Giggs’s words, as a dresser Cantona was simply in a ‘different class’.

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