Monday 23 October 2017

Feeling the heat or playing it cool

Dave Devereux

Watford manager Quique Sánchez Flores, comfortably the coolest manager in the Premier League
Watford manager Quique Sánchez Flores, comfortably the coolest manager in the Premier League

The incessant rain finally took a brief sabbatical last week and gave way to proper winter weather, as frost spider-webbing the sodden lawn was the first sight when the curtains were reluctantly drawn open in the morning.

While most were shivering in scarves and bobble hats, I was putting out the bins in jeans and a t-shirt, blissfully unaffected by the devilish drop of the temperature into minus figures.

I'm not trying to be some tough Bruce Lee-esque hardy boy - I simply don't feel the cold to the same degree as others I know.

It probably harps back to a very real fear of losing my jacket in my pubbing and clubbing days when I'd rather bear the goose-pimpled effect of the biting, chill wind than lose my black leather statement piece.

I remember it well - me strutting my stuff from pub to pub in a flimsy t-shirt or badly creased shirt straight from the packet while all around me were wrapped up cotton wool-like in caribou skins.

Maybe me not feeling the full force of the winter chill is something to do with my Nordic ancestry, but I definitely could be one of those portly lads with not a shirt to be seen and their fulsome bellies on show in the stands in St. James' Park, cheering on Newcastle United on a bitter January evening.

Okay, I might not quite have attained the gargantuan gut yet, but having passed the 40 mark and still struggling to shake off the excesses of the festive season I may not be too long about getting there.

My immunity to the cold is why I've always hated seeing soccer players taking to the field wearing gloves woollier than a hipsters' convention, or worse again, leggings, or the ultimate sin, snoods.

I get that most of the perpetrators have moved to the chilly English winter from warmer climes and you're not going to get some hardy bucko from the Scottish Highlands sporting tights and enveloped in furry robes like an Inuk.

Surely, even if you just break into a gentle jog you wouldn't be long about warming up and a sprightly sprint or two should muster up a nice, warm glow.

When I see a player looking like they should be tackling the piste on Ski Sunday, I have my suspicions they're not going to be busting a gut that day.

Heat, on the other hand, is something I'm not good with.

Not the beautiful holiday heat that invoke visions of bright, blue skies and palm tree-lined boulevards.

I suffer under the overbearing, stifling warmth of central heating or an open fire, leaving me with jaws redder than Alex Ferguson's nose and sweating like Big Sam Allardyce in a relegation battle on the final day of the season.

Speaking of feeling the heat and big bellies, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal showed he has definitely been kept awake at night by the club's current plight with his 'fat man' outburst to a journalist last week.

The slumber-inducing win over Liverpool may have lifted the pressure to a degree, but when you're reduced to pulling personal insults from the vocabulary bag it's a sure sign you're feeling the pinch.

Like the bitter winter weather for most, some managers are just difficult to warm to - van Gaal being a case in point.

The Dutchman may not quite be in the José Mourinho mould of insufferable arrogance and ignorance but he's definitely heading down that poisoned path.

At least Jurgen Klopp, although evidently as mad as a brush, comes across as a decent sort, as does Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri.

Manuel Pellegrini may have the appearance of dour hound dog but he comes across as an alright old skin, while Arsene Wenger, although he may have turned a blind eye to many of Arsenal's indiscretions over the years, has never resorted to the bully boy tactics of the likes of Mourinho.

If you're looking for the most svelte manager in the Premier League, look no further than Watford boss Quique Sánchez Flores.

The competition may not be fierce with the likes of Steve McLaren and Tony Pulis in the opposing dug-outs, but the Spaniard has a suave style that's miles hipper than your average top flight boss and also strikes me as being an interesting and intriguing character.

Now that's the kind of cool we can all warm to.

Wexford People