The English Premier League is back. Only five weeks after the never ending 2019/20 campaign finally finished – and just 21 days after the Champions League final – the biggest sports league on the planet returned last weekend.
In a year where so much is still unknown, what we do know for sure is there has never been this much interest in this competition.
Liverpool are defending the league title for the first time since 1990 – two years before England’s first division became known as the Premier League – and Leeds United are back in the top flight for the first time in 16 long years.
Fans aren’t back in the stands just yet and might not be permitted inside some of the most iconic stadiums in the world until the end of the year.
But there is still plenty to see inside The Emirates, Anfield, Craven Cottage, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, Goodison Park and every other Premier League venue in England.
And it’s on the touchline.
Rarely, if ever, have the managers been as big a part of the narrative as they are right now. But that’s what happens when you have some of the largest personalities in the game parading up and down the dugout.
Man of Style has identified the six most stylish managers in the English Premier League right now.
The veteran Italian coach has been at the helm of some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Juventus. Real Madrid. Chelsea. Bayern Munich. Paris Saint-Germain. And won titles at all of them. But now, he is embracing one of the biggest challenges of his career – and doing it with impeccable style.
At 61, Ancelotti is (most likely) no longer accepting invitations to Paris Fashion Week or Cannes (when they spring back to life). But with his dark navy three-piece suits and carefully cropped, luscious grey hair, he is the most sophisticated manager in the Premier League, radiating a bit of George Clooney-meets-mafia boss.
SCOTT PARKER (Fulham)
If management is an old man’s game, Scott Parker is the cool young guy who has just arrived on the scene. The former England international, who played more than 400 games in the Premier League for Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Newcastle United and Chelsea, helped his old side return to the top flight only last month in his first managerial role.
Tie clips had a moment last decade, but Parker has brought them back with a vengeance in 2020. His hair is far from attention-grabbing like David Beckham in his heyday, but it is rarely out of place. Like a fine bottle of Sangiovese, Parker is getting better with age.
He was always going to be on this list, wasn’t he? Even if you don’t follow football, you have definitely seen this classy Spaniard. While most managers either favour suits or tracksuits, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager brings a new meaning to smart casual on the touchline.
Picture a graphic designer or an architect, but then transplant him into one of the highest pressured sporting environments on the planet. His go-to look is a light charcoal sweater and black skinny chinos, and he isn’t opposed to a black designer hoodie with white sneakers, even in the unpleasant English weather.
JOSE MOURINHO (Tottenham Hotspur)
The headline-generating machine from Portugal may no longer be coaching one of the biggest teams in the world, but that hasn’t stopped him from remaining box office. You only need to watch an episode of Amazon’s brand new series All or Nothing for a condensed insight into his charisma.
The man known as ‘The Special One’ won league titles at Real Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Porto, as well as Champions League crowns at the latter two, but is experiencing a much more difficult challenge in north London. He might not be as sartorially gifted as others in this group, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the most stylish managers in the competition. Expect a controversy or three this season.
JURGEN KLOPP (Liverpool)
Nobody wears a tracksuit like Jurgen Klopp. The man who ended a 30-year league title drought earlier this year can’t do much wrong, especially when you consider what he did the season earlier. And while New Balance (now Nike) matching tracksuits might not be your cup of tea – or mine for that matter – the German has a presence almost unrivalled in global sport.
Klopp’s clear frame glasses have become almost as iconic as Mo Salah’s left foot since he moved from Borussia Dortmund to Liverpool in 2015. And then there is his grey beard and chestnut hair that is believed to have become a regular request inside barbershops all over Merseyside.
You can’t include the magician from Stuttgart and overlook the pride of Argentina. You just can’t. Since arriving in Yorkshire in 2018, Marcelo Bielsa has become a mythical creature in world football. If he wasn’t already. The man referred to as ‘El Loco’ which means the madman, has one look, literally. And it is not what you’re expecting if you don’t know him.
Bielsa wears a club tracksuit everywhere. Not just at the club or on match day, but at his local Costa – where is often spotted preparing for Leeds’ next match – but also in the supermarket buying tuna or on his 45-minute walk to and from work.
If Frank Lampard looks like that PE teacher who hasn’t quite got over the fact he never made it as a footballer (you know the one), then Bielsa is a man who is as comfortable in his own skin, or tracksuits, than anyone else.
And that’s style, isn’t it?