2021’s Dugout Dandies

2021’s Dugout Dandies

Juan Mata aside, it’s no secret that professional footballers are among the worst dressed people that walk this earth. But what about their gaffers?

Football managers are older, wiser and presumably a little more sophisticated. And unlike their subordinates, they actually have the freedom to wear what they want when they’re most on public display.Unfortunately that’s a privilege few of them deserve, and here’s why. 

Ladies and gents, take your seats and refrain from using flash photography for the Dugout Dandies of 2021.


Stefano Pioli



Football manager or otherwise, the rollneck will always be a bold sartorial move. Is there a more casually narcissistic item of clothing? It elevates even the scruffiest dresser to sudden suaveness. Just ask Stefano Pioli, who colour coordinates this particular garment to the club he’s managing. For his sake, let’s just hope he doesn’t end up at Palermo any time soon.


Ralph Hassenhuttl



Ralph Hassenhuttl is an intense guy. His football is intense. His mannerisms are intense. You might say the same of his fashion sense too, exemplified by this extreme smart/casual mash-up. Rather like one of his Southampton sides that get annihilated 9-0, it’s an outfit that means well but is an unmitigated disaster. Sorry Ralph.


Diego Simeone



I want to say all the managers on this list dress like their football, but none do quite as much as Diego Simeone. A permanent all-black ensemble that’s as stealthy as it is sinister, no palette better personifies the dark arts of Atletico Madrid in his design.


Rafa Benitez



Rafa Benitez is perhaps the least ‘cool’ manager in the Premier League. I’d like to say that makes him unintentionally cool, but nobody wants his tactics any more than they want his baggy two-piece suits and wide-knot ties. The waistcoat doesn’t necessarily have to be a source of ridicule, but the line between debonair and hotel concierge is a fine one that poor Rafa is forever on the wrong side of.


Sinisa Mihajlovic



Nike hi-tops, a blazer and a tartan beret. You could say Sinisa Mihaijlovic specialised in curveballs during his days as a player, and he clearly has no intention to shoot straight when dressing for the dugout. And fair play to him. Anyone who scores 28 free kicks in their career has earned the right to dress like an unhinged maverick.


Julian Naggelsman



Julian Naggelsman’s impossibly bad dress sense has become notorious in its own right, to the point it was difficult to know which mistake of his to showcase here. There’s something undeniably tragic about this sockless, high school prom effort, and not just because it’s sockless. The pattern and fit of the suit all point to someone excruciatingly self-aware but equally tasteless.


Luis Enrique



Luis Enrique’s love affair with Stone Island outerwear is pure Modern Manager. Together with the fitted polo shirt, chinos and white trainers, it’s also the dress code of the volatile tactical innovator. Subordinates beware: you may get your head kicked in if you take more than the one touch or pass sideways. Don’t say you didn’t see it coming.


Pep Guardiola



Pep has been perfecting the tortured artist look for years now and his clothing choices are symptomatic of a strained mind. Maybe his employers were concerned it was becoming a distraction, because City appears to have created a line of psychedelically-tinged merchandise just for him. The melting club crest on his trademark crew neck sweater is either a nod to Salvador Dali or a collaboration with a brand selling legal highs. Either way, can someone tell Pep he can chill out now?



Roberto Mancini



Roberto Mancini scrubs up irritatingly well for someone who’s pushing sixty. And doesn’t he just know it. Look at him in the Euros this year, recalling a high-ranking WWII officer and Miami Vice detective in one nonchalantly thrown together combo. Vain? Absolutely. Can we blame him? Probably not.


Words by Dom Kocur





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