World class football managers learn languages
At KLOO we are always banging on on about how languages can benefit many parts of your life. Your career, holidays, mental agility and even your health can all improve by learning languages. Listening to a match on BBC Radio ‘Five Live’ the other day, the commentators were talking about the impact of languages on the performance of football teams – or more specifically on the ability of the manager to successfully manage the football team.
The commentators began by musing about how the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Tim Sherwood, was being held back by his inability to talk to many of his foreign players. Spurs have had an influx of foreign players last Summer, many of whom don’t have a good command of English. The manager is a monolingual – so what happens?…Not much evidently. Spurs have been woeful under his stewardship….sliding down the league table.
[UPDATE: Tim Sherwood has since been fired and replaced by Mauricio Roberto Pochettino, a multi-lingual manager – and they are flying!]
What about the world’s best football managers?
Many would say the two best managers in the world are Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Now Antonio Conte has joined them. Between them they have more silverware than a silver mine. And they are both multi-lingual.
Pep Guardiola speaks: Catalan, Spanish, English, German and Italian.
Jose Mourinho speaks: Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Italian
Antonio Conte: Italian and English.
When Mourinho moved to Italy to manage Inter Milan, he studied Italian 5 hours a day for a month so that he could communicate to the press and his players.
Guardiola has just taken up the job at Bayern Munich…he was not known for talking German – but in his first press conference – he was fluent.
Conte was offered the chance to speak Italian when he joined Chelsea and he refused. Can you imagine an English manager doing the same if roles were reversed?
The world’s best managers believe that talking to players in their own language is a key part of being successful. Interestingly a previous manager of Bayern, Louis van Gaal, shut himself away in a monastery for a month of intense language lessons before he joined them.
English managers like Tim Sherwood could do with taking note.
The manager of my team, Liverpool FC, is Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool have just got back into the Champions League. Is he multilingual. Yes – German and English.
Football Club Board Directors take note: if you want a top manager – perhaps you look at how many languages they speak. Maybe Sherwood should never have got a look in with Spurs.
If you yourself want to learn French, Spanish or Italian – then why not play KLOO. Our games are multi-award winning and make learning a language fast. easy and fun. They also make it a game!