GAA bosses urged to suit up on the sidelines

Tottenham's dapper boss André Villas-Boas  suited and booted and, in contrast, Kerry coach Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

José Mourinho. Pep Guardiola. André Villas-Boas. All managers on-trend with their smart shirt, jacket, and tie look. So why haven’t GAA managers followed suit and gone all Savile Row on us?

As the provincial football championships crank up a notch this weekend, soccer manager Roddy Collins reckons his football and hurling counterparts are missing a trick by sticking to the traditional GAA tracksuit and bib. “Seriously, GAA managers, get yourselves down to Louis Copeland. Fast,” he said, laughing.

“On match day, I get up and dress the best I can, to make a statement to the players, to show them I’ve prepared the best I can for this game. I’ll wear the best suit, the cleanest shirt, to show them I’m there for business.

“You’ll stand out. You won’t make them better but at least when they look over at the dug-out they’ll see 15 lads in tracksuits and bibs and one man in a suit, and they know: There’s the boss.”

New Kerry coach Eamonn Fitzmaurice is young enough to still be cutting a sideline dash in a suit, but he reckons it will take a couple of trend- setting managers to make the suit de rigueur again.

“Would I wear a suit on the line? Maybe. Would I break the mould? No, but I wouldn’t feel that uncomfortable in a suit.”

John Maughan broke the mould with his shorts on the sideline in the ’90s. People still refer to it as a high water mark in GAA managerial style.

“Brian Mullins was doing it as well at the time, but he didn’t have legs as good as mine, so he didn’t get the same focus as I did,” deadpans Maughan. “I togged off with the team in the dressing room and on a hot day on the sideline of a big match, it was the most obvious thing in the world to do. The fact that I got slagged about it at the time made me think, feck it, I’ll continue to wear the shorts if it’s going to rise people.”

Collins still thinks being suited and booted is one Premier League tradition the GAA would do well to ape: “You’ve got to dress well. I had to get rid of six players one day in Bohs and I wore a pinstripe suit, snow-white shirt, and bright red tie. Why? I’d seen the president of America in that combination and felt he stood out straightaway.”

See the full story in today’s Championship preview supplement, free with your copy of the Irish Examiner


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