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Oh Dear
Oh Dear

Hair Raising

By: Jack Johnson
Date: 14/05/2005

NOW I know it sounds stupid, some may even say idiotic, but I really think there's a link between hair and managerial success. Think about it for a minute and it actually might start to make sense.

Home > Features > 2005 Features > Hair Raising

Concentrate on all the midfield magicians and wing wizards from the '70s and '80s - the glory years of football, when players could get away with minging mullets, picturesque perms and skin-tight shorts. Players like Kevin Keegan, Glen Hoddle and Rudi Voller spring to my mind straight away.

All three were quality players, with less than quality hair cuts, and somehow they eventually went on to manage their country, though admittedly, not that well. Another long-haired lad that's made the transition from playing to managing is Colin "Goldie Locks" Hendry. Mark my words; he'll be Scotland boss one day.

So carrying on down this line, for this hypothesis to work then surely Barry Venison and Valderrama should, in theory, be the greatest of all managers, gaining more in the way of success than hair products on an average trip to the supermarket.

Not convinced? Let's take a look at the other side of the spectrum. Let me stress right now baldness isn't something we should be poking fun at, it's a serious matter. Some of the most famous men in the world are bald: the Mitchell brothers, Nicky Law, Victor Meldrew, Stacey Coldicott - the list is enormous.

But it seems to be harder for bald managers to thrive in management; I don't know why? Maybe it's because they're more susceptible to sun stroke than managers with hair; I don't know. Look at the facts: has a bald manager ever won the Premiership? Having said that, has an English manager ever won it? A sobering thought.

Sorry, I've digressed. Ray Wilkins. Now that's a guy who in theory should have become a top English manager. He was combative, passionate and altogether intelligent. Surely the ideal credentials for a top gaffer? He's even got that aggressive smolder, the type that Ian Dowie's got. Nasty.

Another bald international that really couldn't cut it as a manager is Gianluca Vialli. There's no doubt about his footballing talents, he's an Italian goal-scoring legend - that's a fact. But put him in a dugout and it all goes wrong. It really isn't surprising that Wilkins and Vialli teamed-up and led Chelsea and Watford, erm nowhere.

However there is a catch, as I'm sure you've picked up on. There's a cluster of successful managers that are somewhere between the two, you know what I mean. Bill Shankley had some hair, Alan Buckley had some wispy side-bits. John Sillet, well, there was something there and Jim Smith, erm, enough said - they've all achieved quite a bit in their time. Now I'm not for one minute saying their triumphs in coaching have been due to a minimal mound of curls at the back of their head, that's not my angle. I'm not a hairist. But it just seems possible that semi-balding gaffers enjoy a bit more success than completely bald ones. Though, success doesn't come without a price, Head & Shoulders isn't cheap.

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