View From The Side(Lines): If Managers Were Musicians


I’m going a bit off piste here today. Over the last few days transfer rumours and signings have been ruling my world, so I thought it would be funny to imagine what musician’s football managers would be. Some are based on their methods, others on their persona and others still on how I perceive them.

*Spoiler* None of them are Nicki Minaj.

Ian Holloway = Squarepusher

OK, this isn’t obvious at first, but bear with me. Like a lot of jazz (and let’s face it that’s kind of what Tom Jenkinson’s music is) there is a method to the madness. The method might not be apparent straight away, but there is one there. The same can be said with Holloway’s managerial style and most defiantly his interviews. “It’s all very well having a great pianist playing but it’s no good if you haven’t got anyone to get the piano on the stage in the first place, otherwise the pianist would be standing there with no bloody piano to play”. Nuff said really.

Harry Redknapp = Chas & Dave

Bit of a no brainer really. He’s an East End lad and they play a mixture of boogie-woogie, pub rock, and knees-up-Mother-Brown cockney that I'm going to call Rockney. Redknapp’s style could easily be classed as Rockney. It’s a bit old fashioned, a bit rough around the edges, and a bit likely to start a sentence with 'Now, I'm not a racialist-', but it can be really enjoyable to see those old favourites performed live: “Long Ball” and “442”.

Jose Mourinho = Phil Spector

Morinho Spector

When Jose Mourinho sets up a football team, he sets up a Wall-of-Football (similar to Spector’s Wall-of-Sound). No matter who he plays he steps up his strongest team. Be that a league match (after the title is in hand), a Carling Cup match on a rainy Wednesday night or a Champions League game. Behold the Wall-of-Football! This has to be commended, but, like Spector, he's an immensely arrogant tosser who thinks no one can better what does. As yet he hasn't imitated Spector by shooting someone in the head, but that's only down to Europe's tighter gun control. Give him a season running LA Galaxy and watch the bodies hit the floor. Probably.

Roberto Martinez = Fran Healey

This one might be a bit unfair, but I really think that Martinez is the football embodiment of Travis. Whilst massively unfashionable now at a time Travis were, well, alright. Sadly Travis haven’t changed their musical style over the years and nor has Martinez. There is nothing particularly wrong with this, it’s just a bit boring. Yes he won the FA with Wigan (no small feat) but Travis also headlined Glastonbury (again no small feat given their talent and lack of competition).

Brendan Rodgers = Black Sabbath.

Before I get into this, I want to say that I actually like and rate Brendan Rodgers. He has done what many have failed to do in recent years; make Liverpool play well and attack the summit of the Premier League. Black Sabbath are the perfect band to represent Rodgers’ style of managment and play. His teams can be fast, they have vibrant attacking options, they can be fun to watch, and back when Suarez was onboard they had the player in the Prem most likely to actually bite the head off a bat. Or a man. However I feel that the legacy of the band attracts more fans than the current releases. This can be said for Liverpool. They have one of the richest pasts in English football, but recently they haven’t won a great deal. I’m sure time will change this though. Sadly…

Black Sabbath Rodgers

Steve Bruce = Tom Scholz

Steve Bruce is similar to Roberto Martinez. (This pains me to say but) Bruce was one of the best centre backs England ever produced. Since making the switch to management he has never changed his style of play. This is probably down to the way he played for Manchester United. He went in hard and worked hard for every ball. This is something Bruce instils in his teams. Tom Scholz’s story is similar. Scholz’s built a studio in his basement and made demo, after demo, after demo until he got signed (and formed Boston). It’s this bloody mindedness and perseverance that equate the two together. Boston eventually got signed and Steve Bruce almost won the FA Cup last year. They're basically the same man. 

Mauruicio Pochettino = Mick Jagger

This one might be a bit short-sighted, but I feel that Pochettino only cares about his reputation and the amount of money he can get, rather than the team he is in charge of. The same can be said for Mick Jagger. It’s been written that Jagger only cares about how much money he has and how famous he is*, compared to whether he is making good product. I feel the same can be said for Pochettino. Leaving Southampton after an amazing season to jump to Spurs shows that he never really cared for the club, and when a better offer comes along he will leave Spurs too. This is fine, and maybe he thought he had taken Southampton as far as he could, but I would have love to have seen what he did this season with that group of young English players.

*And, to be fair, exactly who's lady parts he's going to put his leathery appendages in that night, but that kinda doesn't work for this comparison. So forget I said it.

Manuel Pellegrini = Kanye West

This one has little to do with style of play, but down to cold hard cash. Manchester City are one of the wealthiest teams in the world. In theory they can buy anyone, for any amount of money. Excess is woven into their current stadium and trophy cabinet. Excess can also be used to describe Kanye West. Everything he does is beyond the realm of financial mortals. Everything he says is excessive. I like Pellegrini’s manner, but when the results don’t go his way he’ll be gone. With an excessive payout in hand.

Louis Van Gaal = Captain Beefheart

When Miroslav Klose played under Louis Van Gaal he has said "It was a tough time, particularly working with Van Gaal, I didn't feel free. It was very difficult for me to fulfil his expectations. He was asking me to make runs I just couldn't see. I gave it all I could, but sometimes it just wasn't enough." This is a similar response from musicians who played under the good Captain’s (mis) guidance. Captain Beefheart was notorious for making musicians play seemingly impossible riffs, chord progressions for days on end until he had the sound he wanted. Both Van Gaal and Beefheart have the product to back up their odd working practices. Van Gaal has won trophies everywhere he has been and Beefheart’s discography contains some of the most ground breaking and inventive music ever committed to tape.

Arsene Wenger = Sun Ra

SunRa Arsene

Before we go on I should say I am a massive fan of both Arsene Wenger and Sun Ra. Sun Ra is one of the most innovative, forward thinking, musicians and band leaders of all time. Ra kept a big band going to 40-50 years. He did this though a shoestring budget (at first), communal living, lectures on subjects that interested him and a love of music. The same can be said of Wenger (I can't validate the communal living or lectures, but if he could he probably would). When the Premier league was (let’s not beat about the bush) going mental by paying silly money for players, Wenger bought the players that he thought would be beneficial for the team without paying over the odds for them. Wenger has also brought in many regulations for his Arsenal team. The most striking is an anti-drinking policy during the season for his players. Ra was tee-total and imposed a drinking and drugs ban on his musicians. Some called playing with him the “Ra Jail”, meaning that once you were in his band, you lived and breathed his music 100% sober. When you see some of the best free flowing attacking playing football. That’s Ra. When you see the team make 30+ touches before scoring. That’s Ra. When you see Wenger sitting on the bench then walk over to a player and speak calming about what needs to happen. That’s Ra. Now if only Wenger would start wearing Egyptian headgear and quoting about Isis and pyramids.