Ranking all 23-24 Premier League managers based on how ‘High Performance’ they are

The art of being High Performance isn’t a skill for the faint-hearted. Jake Humphrey’s hit podcast is more than just that – it’s a way of life and you’ve either got it, or you’re a big loser.

Once of BT Sport infamy, Humphrey uses his time nowadays to tell us all about his sigma bro grindset through the incredibly unique medium of a podcast, because the world definitely needed another one of those.

There, he and guests spew self-obsessed nonsense from ivory towers, masking it as insufferable, inspirational fodder.

To have a bit of fun, we’ve taken all 20 Premier League managers for 2023-24 (at the time of writing) and ranked them based on just how ‘High Performance’ they really are, and how much they’d align with Humphrey’s philosophies of pre-sunrise wakeups, self-importance, ‘world class basics’ and appearing painfully divorced.

20. Ange Postecoglou

‘What’s that? High Performance? Naaah mate. I just think we need to live a little and love a lot more. What’s wrong with a lie-in? We’re all human at the end of the day, not robots mate.’

Not a real quote, but you wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was. No chance Big Ange falls for any of that LinkedIn nightmare fuel. Sees through every last bit of self-indulgence it’s founded upon.

Vitality Stadium, Boscombe, Dorset, UK. 26th Aug, 2023. Premier League Football, AFC Bournemouth versus Tottenham Hotspur; Ange Postecoglou Manager of Tottenham Hotspur inspects the pitch before kick off.

READ: 19 of Ange Postecoglou’s best quotes: ‘I haven’t come from outer space’

19. Roy Hodgson

He’s simply too old for all that rubbish. Do you think you can pull the wool that is Humphrey’s guff over the eyes of such a wise man? Come off it.

Big Roy knows the score – and it’s not High Performance.

18. Sean Dyche

Humphrey is the kind of man to rock up to Dychey’s local – skinny jeans firmly cuffed – and chew his ear off about life coaching, insisting that Dyche could learn a thing or two about his ‘World Class Basics’.

Dyche is the kind of man to lead him on for 40 minutes, milk a free pint or two out of him and then call him a kn*bhead. Barred.

17. David Moyes

Probably would slyly be interested in some of the principles that Humphrey preaches to the masses about on LinkedIn, but the issue is the delivery.

Moyes is a man who would hate LinkedIn and everything that comes with it. Would also be convinced Humphrey is trying to sell him a TV licence and hastily shut down any conversation.

More a Diary of a CEO kind of guy – which isn’t any less insufferable, in fairness.

16. Erik ten Hag

Waaaaay too Dutch to be involved with anything High Performance.

Give this man DVDs of Johan Cryuff, a training pitch and a bag of footballs, and a bicycle to get around on and he’ll cook something up. Might not be perfect, but he’ll try.

Why be awake at 5am unless you absolutely have to be? Efficiency.

15. Marco Silva

The type of man to commit to getting up at 5am as a New Year’s resolution, but hates every second of it after a week and takes it out on everybody around him.

Can see him enjoying the meal replacement drinks, though. Certainly Monday to Friday. Gets his Fulham players on them – squad harmony drops as a result.

14. Steve Cooper

Cooper seems like a man who values his family too much to ever consider the art of High Performance – and for that he is a weak loser not programmed for success.

However, there’s got to be something going on for him to be getting a tune out of Nottingham Forest like he does. Secret World Class Basics’er – but either too ashamed to admit it or simply unaware of Humphrey.

Inspired by Humphrey-esque rules until he realises they’ve come out of his mouth, then subsequently decides to spend more time with his wife and kids.

13. Unai Emery

There’s just something not quite right about Emery.

He bounced back incredibly well after a tough stint at Arsenal and returned to England with Aston Villa to rewrite his story.

Sounds brilliant, right? Just you wait until he pops up on LinkedIn after he’s sacked, with a post about resilience and not giving up. Real kick in the gut. We thought you were different, Unai.

12. Jurgen Klopp

He doesn’t strike us as insanely out of touch, but we do get the impression that Klopp is someone who deploys a method of his own which isn’t too dissimilar to Humphrey’s World Class Basics.

Absolutely does not know how to work LinkedIn, though. Draws the line at that. Keeps it to 5am wakeups and barking out orders at his players while calling them losers.

11. Roberto De Zerbi

High Performance does not place limitations on a team of overachieving plucky underdogs on the South Coast from becoming European or Premier League champions.

Dread to think how often De Zerbi dares to dream like that while he spikes his hair in the mirror and manifests success, after putting on his finest pair of invisible ankle socks.

A good manager, but he’s being held back by the Humphrey infection.

10. Paul Heckingbottom

Many will say Sheffield United are on course to be relegated back to the Championship in excruciating fashion because the squad is simply nowhere near good enough.

But have they listened to their manager enough? Are they waking up at 5am like Hecky suggests? Have they ditched the chicken and rice for a bottle of Huel so they can get an extra half an hour in on the training ground?

They haven’t? I bet all the lads insist on seeing their wives and kids, too, don’t they? Sickening. Throwing Heckingbottom under the bus.

That’s a man who lives and breathes High Performance – which is the real reason why they’re bottom of the Premier League.

9. Thomas Frank

We’re broaching optimum High Performance territory now. From here on in, there isn’t a manager listed who isn’t adopting the World Class Basics in some manner.

Introduce Frank to Humphrey’s podcast and Brentford become a fearsome prospect. His office at the training ground is littered with minimalist furniture, completed to-do lists and Huel meal replacements.

8. Andoni Iraola

An outside shout, Iraola has come over from Spain to England to take on the challenge that is Bournemouth, but feels like someone who could very easily be indoctrinated.

His stint there has all the hallmarks of High Performance. Arriving with a reputation, overcoming a rough start and finding success in deploying the basics.

AKA, Humphrey’s wet dream. He’s probably dying for Bournemouth to succeed for that reason.

7. Gary O’Neil

Unfortunately, the Bournemouth sacking over the summer has had an adverse effect on O’Neil.

Before Wolves came calling, he had too much free time over the summer, which likely involved discovering LinkedIn and the dreaded early wake-up.

We now firmly believe that his office at the training ground is littered with motivational quotes he’s found when browsing his LinkedIn feed in the morning, and the players hate it. A slippery slope.

6. Rob Edwards

Come on. Look at that quiff.

One simply has to get up before sunrise to sculpt that so perfectly ahead of every day, after picking out his finest half-zip sweater.

5. Pep Guardiola

Without realising, Guardiola is the embodiment of God complex Humphrey and his High Performance.

The difference is that Humphrey believes what he preaches is probably the stuff Pep preaches. In reality, Pep is a freak of nature and a football genius – Humphrey pays for LinkedIn Gold.

The Manchester City manager definitely loves a 5am wakeup, though, and undoubtedly has strange little anecdotes he fills his players’ minds with to get them firing.

4. Mauricio Pochettino

Ever since the story about Pochettino keeping a crate of fresh lemons in his office surfaced, we’ve not been able to look at him the same since.

He’s been infected by High Performance. We’re dreading the day he informs Humphrey of this tactic over a roundtable with an expensive microphone in front of him.

The world will never be the same again. Fresh bottles of Huel all over to capture the bad vibes and loser mentality in the room.

3. Vincent Kompany

There’s a concerning aura about Kompany. That suit and baseball cap combination is unnerving.

He spent way too much time around Pep not to pick up on strange behaviours, but is also a younger manager and has undoubtedly been indoctrinated by grindset philosophies, self-worth and all things World Class Basics.

2. Mikel Arteta

Fair play to Arteta, who has convinced everybody he’s a revolutionary by simply taking what he learnt on work experience with Guardiola and blending it with everything Humphrey preaches about with High Performance.

Quotes plastered on the walls, silly drawings, speeches about passion, heart and desire. We dread to think of the things we don’t get to see.

Mikel Arteta during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium, London, September 2023.

READ: 7 times that Mikel Arteta was football’s answer to David Brent

1. Eddie Howe

The Godfather of High Performance. Someone should check if he, Jason Tindall and Humphrey weren’t separated at birth.

It says it all that Howe’s captain at Newcastle is a two-time High Performance Podcast appearance-maker in Kieran Trippier. The tone is well and truly set.

Doesn’t just start his day with an episode of his good pal’s podcast – he sets aside time during the week to sit the squad down in the analysis suite to watch it as a unit.

LinkedIn Gold provided to every member of the team, 5am list writing with Tindall, you name it. Howe’s second appearance on the podcast is painfully inevitable.


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