Ranking every Prem manager by how much you’d fancy a pint with them

Quick Reads

I don’t think this needs an introductory section.

The Premier League table is a pretty good indication of which managers are good at their jobs and which are not.

As to which would be good value for a pint, however, we can only guess…

20. Mark Hughes

The editor of this website would probably replace this paragraph with a screenshot of Stoke’s possession stats for the 2014-15 season, but he’s out injured so here’s the truth: Hughes is a granny-haired weirdo who would almost certainly refuse to shake your hand in a social context, let alone buy you a drink.

Even if he did, you’d have Robbie Savage in the corner reminding you that Hughes is doing a great, great, great job with his Heineken, that he’s instilled a positive, attacking mentality at this particular pub, and that there’s nobody who knows beer like the former Manchester United and Chelsea forward.

Not worth your time.

19. Javi Gracia

Wouldn’t recognise him.

18. Slavisa Jokanovic

Slavisa Jokanovic probably has great chat, but probably won’t be a Premier League manager by the time this runs.

You would definitely be underwhelmed if, after being told you were having a pint with an unnamed Premier League manager, the Premier League manager turned out to be Slavisa Jokanovic.

17. Manuel Pellegrini

For all you know, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini could tell the most riveting stories.

However, the fact remains that, as the Chilean regaled his wild tales, you would hear nothing but Alan Pardew’s voice in your head, calling the Chilean a “fucking old c*nt”.

He does look old as well.

16. Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe, on the other hand, is an unfortunate victim of ‘Challenge 25’. You’re drinking alone, but that’s still better than drinking with Mark Hughes.

15. Roy Hodgson

Maybe? Seems like a pie and IPA guy, but then… Harry Kane on corners? Might be into something embarrassing like… snakebite and black? Is it worth it? Drinking with a 71-year-old who orders snakebite? In Croydon?

14. Unai Emery

Emery was criticised on social media last season by the wives of Angel Di Maria and Thiago Silva, which I think answers any and all relevant questions here.

“Tactics? What tactics?” asked Belle Silva.

Exactly.

13. Chris Hughton

You’d have a drink with Chris Hughton.

You might not enjoy it loads, you might check your phone a bit more than is considered proper etiquette, you might not want to hear about Norwich all that much, but you’d have a drink with Chris Hughton. Why not?

12. Marco Silva

I’ve got nothing against drinking with foreign managers, but these ex-footballers are spending four or five years drinking, and what for? None of them are getting a chance. What’s he know about pints? What’s he know?

Probably a fair bit, actually, but would fuck off to meet someone else before you’d finished yours.

11. Nuno Espírito Santo

Ruben Neves recently told The Guardian that Nuno is “really intense and ambitious”, and that the players would never invite him to dinner.

So maybe not.

10. Jürgen Klopp

The obvious answer is yes. Smiles. Hugs. Steins. Allez, Allez, Allez.

But it’s all a bit predictable. Oh, you’re hanging out with Jürgen Klopp tonight? Someone caught it on their phone? Sounds about right. Any other news? No? Okay.

9. José Mourinho

José Mourinho walks back from the bar, bottle of Super Bock in each hand, and takes the seat across from you.

Olá, José, you say. Hello, my friend, he replies. You chew the fat, reminisce about Claude Makélélé, sink a few.

José is surprisingly easy-going. He leans back in his chair, jokes about his ‘grumpy’ public persona and occasionally touches your arm when he’s making a point.

You feel comfortable with José, and he suggests a quick round on the Itbox. He’s paying, he says, so you agree and suggest The Colour of Money. (It’s easier to win, you say, because half the game is just clicking on colours.)

The game starts well: you know your music trivia and he knows his geography. You make a surprisingly good team. You clink your Super Bocks with each right answer.

There’s £5 up for grabs now, and you’re in luck: it’s a question — believe it or not — about wines in Porto! You’ve got just the man. With a grin, you turn to José for the answer.

Weirdly, however, he’s looking expectantly at you.

You’ve got this one, he says, a faint coldness to his voice.

What?

His face has changed. That easy-going smile has become a smirk. What is going on? You force a laugh, thinking — hoping, in fact — that he’s making a joke you don’t understand.

You’ve got this one, he says again, no longer making eye contact.

With a shaking index finger, you point to option B on the touch screen. ‘Quinta Do Noval Nacional,’ it reads. You look to José for some kind of acknowledgement, but his eyes are now fixed on the wall.

B is… the wrong answer.

There is a long silence. Your insides feel strange. Squeezing out a final, desperate laugh, you make a comment about how sweet wine is shit anyway, to which he makes no reply.

The next question is up on the screen, but the Manchester United manager has stepped away from the Itbox.

He’s on his phone, thumbing through what appears to be a list of contacts. He puts the handset to his ear.

An eternity seems to pass.

“Ed,” he says, back turned, and heads for the door.

As he leaves the pub without saying goodbye, you hear him mutter something down the phone about a more experienced quiz partner.

8. Claude Puel

While playing for Monaco in the late 80s, Claude Puel was dropped by Arsene Wenger and responded by flooring the boss with a slide tackle.

“As a player, I was aggressive on the ball,” he later explained. “It was unlucky because he was just behind the ball. I took the ball and Arsene was just there and it was difficult for him.”

Tax-free banter!

7. Rafael Benítez

Definitely more of a Tuesday night arrangement than a weekend, but yeah, you could sink a Newkie Brown with Rafael Benítez.

God knows he needs it.

6. Mauricio Pochettino

The bar he suggests is under renovation and he’s forgotten his wallet. Nice chap.

5. Pep Guardiola

Part of me wants to believe Yaya Touré’s character assassination of Pep, but then Yaya Touré also said that stuff about birthday cakes/called it “pathetic” that Aubameyang won African Player of the Year/generally seems a bit nuts.

In all likelihood, Pep is great.

4. David Wagner

Just read about five interviews with Wagner to try and speed this along, but he doesn’t seem to have any anecdotes. Only mentioned in the context of Klopp and seemingly happy to stick it out for the inevitable relegation with Huddersfield.

That’s all fine, because sometimes you just want someone who’ll listen, you know?

3. Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri is that person who stands by the red button on the outdoor heater.

2. Sean Dyche

The question isn’t so much ‘Would you fancy a drink with Sean Dyche?’ as much as ‘Could you handle a drink with Sean Dyche?’

After three doubles of whiskey and vacuum bag waste, you’re in the gutter, vomiting grey sludge, muttering nonsense about central midfielders playing on the wing, desperately phoning England goalkeepers.

Dyche nods with approval.

1. Neil Warnock

Some background: a memo from Planet Football headquarters suggested that Neil Warnock, manager of Cardiff City FC, should feature at the other end of this list, the implication being — I think — that a man capable of selling Luciano Becchio is a man incapable of small talk over crisps.

Not so.

More background: the Planet Football offices are in Leeds, so presumably the idea of hanging out with Neil Warnock, in Yorkshire, is just the worst kind of busman’s holiday. Understandable.

For southerners, however, Warnock has exotic charm.

In our eyes, he’s the real deal. He’s a human flat cap. He’s a walk in the Pennines with a dog. He’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Brassed Off rolled into one prickly, fascinating, Joey Barton-coddling wanker.

Put on some Little Man Tate and inject Neil Warnock into our home county veins.

If Neil Warnock were made of bricks, he would be a pub in Sheffield called The Hare & Hounds. He is the most ‘pub’ of all Premier League managers.

Further background: the South doesn’t have pubs, only Slugs and Lettuce.

Not only does Neil Warnock have a mysterious allure as a person, his mischievous eyes also represent the promise of dimly lit, smoky, dark-wooded drinking holes with ancient landladies and 60p pints.

He is how southerners — prior to ending up in York and finding it sadly familiar — imagine the other half of the country.

Neil Warnock would hate gastropubs.

Just look at Neil Warnock’s face and tell yourself he isn’t, basically, a pub. If you grabbed him by his wrinkled brow and gently inclined his head towards you, a frothy jet of Sam Smith’s would surely come gushing from his mouth.

“It were poor refer—WHOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHHH—eeing all match, quite frankly.”

Neil Warnock isn’t just the best Premier League manager to drink with, he’s the only Premier League you could drink from.

In summary, you would have a drink with Neil Warnock.

By Benedict O’Neill


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