The Jose Mourinho Style Guide
Whenever one is about to interact with another human being, it is worth considering that we are all naked underneath our clothes, especially my editor, Richard Whittall. My now incarcerated friend gave me that advice some years ago, and it has come in handy more often than I like to admit. It’s advice which football managers who come into contact with Jose Mourinho would do well to consider, so honed, these days, is his ability to psych opponents out merely with his dress sense. Most games Mourinho enters into were decided in the morning beforehand, when he stood in front of the mirror, in his pants, and selected his outfit. You may wish to step outside and take a moment to examine that image.
To explain the phenomenon fully, a brief history of how Jose has chosen to dress himself on the touchline for big games: I bring you The Jose Mourinho Style Guide.
At Porto, of course, there was the coat. What did it say? What did it mean? What was his angle? I’m not a psychologist (yet) but I do know (some) people, and I know what a fashionable coat means: it means, broadly speaking: ‘Sir Alex Ferguson, you are mine’. Specifically, though, the coat was a statement about power. In his first generally acknowledged act of genius, Mourinho concealed what was beneath the coat (i.e. himself), thus making him untouchable. It’s like this: the most powerful people are the people you never see; you can’t take them down because you don’t know enough about them. If you think Mourinho didn’t realise this when he bought That Coat, then you are tactically naïve.
At Chelsea, he continued with the Armani coat and it worked. At this point change for change’s sake would have been foolish. Ferguson struggled for two years to understand what was going on beneath the coat and Mourinho collected two Premier League titles whilst he was figuring it out. It’s what led to Ferguson’s infamous ‘I want to undress Jose Mourinho’ quote. Infamous only, of course, in that I made it up, and will soon be on the end of a lawsuit because of it. Then, in July 2007, Mourinho sold the coat, auctioning it off for charity. Only a sociopath would call that generosity an act of weakness, but for the good of in-depth analysis, I am willing to be that sociopath: giving away the coat was an act of weakness. Within months he was sacked as Chelsea manager.
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