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In late August 2018, something insane happened at Old Trafford. Spurs spanked Manchester United three-nil, but that wasn’t the thing. Shortly before the game kicked off, as the teams took to the field, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino walked out onto the pitch in a navy-on-navy tailoring look that would come to echo in the halls of football-manager-style for years, nay, decades to come. It was transcendent; a genuine style moment. And considering an actual football trophy of any kind was out of the question during his tenure, it may have been Poch’s greatest achievement at Spurs. (In fact, considering Spurs haven’t won a thing since 2008, it might be the club’s greatest achievement in the past 13 years.)
Really, there isn’t much fuel for the content fire when it comes to football manager style. Sure, we can laud Pep for his dedication to Stone Island, and Andrea Pirlo’s lovely, lovely hair. But ultimately, it’s a just a sea of fine-gauge cardigans, cup-sole trainers and big scarves. (Good tracksuits are not “style”, by the way, they are uniform.) But then came Poch, resplendent and powerful in his navy-on-navy-on-navy. Elegant, Continental, self-assured and vaguely threatening. Like a mob-boss at wedding; wound tight but keeping it together. Managers wear suits all the time, but no-one had ever done it like Poch. He looked like a hitman, like an Illuminati bodyguard.
Players often talk about games being won in the tunnel before the match even starts. All it took was for the opposition to feel Patrick Vieira or Roy Keane or whoever looming next to them, and they knew they were beat. Maybe that’s what happened back in 2018 – Phil Jones got one look of Poch and knew United were finished.
"The suit is maybe helping," Pochettino told Sky Sports later that week. "With suit or tracksuit, I look good! I am handsome! Sunday I am going to use the suit again, but maybe with a different colour shirt.”
The following week, Poch did indeed opt for white shirt, and Spurs promptly lost away to Watford. Was it something to do with what he was wearing? We can’t say for sure, but all the evidence seems to strongly support that hypothesis.
Just look at him now at PSG. Sure, they beat Lyon at the weekend, but he subbed-off Messi and now there are rumours of a spat between manager and marquee signing. Would things be better if Poch just went tonal? Ya, obviously babes.
And furthermore, tone-on-tone tailoring is a thing right now. Even away from elite level football. Just look at red carpet shots from last week’s Met Gala. Louis Vuitton's Virgil Abloh wore white-on-white tailoring to the event, and his A/W'21 collection for the brand is stuffed with co-ord shirts and ties. Was Abloh directly influenced by Poch’s fit that night in Manchester? Only he can say.
Should you be? Yes.
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