THE MORE I watch sport – and I’ve already been doing that for a fun-filled 50-odd years – the more convinced I am that body language tells you all you need to know.
Is there a happier football manager in the country right now than Kenny Dalglish?
He’s beaming from ear to ear but I assure you he hasn’t always been like that. Kenny could be a miserable old sod, particularly in his brief stint at Newcastle, but all those years out of the game have given him a new perspective.
He missed football like hell, even when he was having a nice cold beer on a Mediterranean cruise, or larking about with the lads on the golf course. The game is in his blood and with every goal Liverpool score his face tells you how grateful he is to be back on the touchline.
So long as his pet club are winning it’s taking years off him – most unusual for a football manager.
Andy Murray on the other hand looks as though he’s won the lottery but lost the ticket. The England cricketers look desperate to come home – if they can remember where that is – and Carlo Ancelotti resembles someone sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered any minute.
Fans identify with excitable managers (e.g. Martin O’Neill and Kevin Keegan) whereas the more statuesque figures (e.g. Bryan Robson, Sean O’Driscoll, Avram Grant) tend to get flak whether they deserve it or not for a perceived lack of emotion.
TV is partly to blame because it is in such high definition these days you can see every drip of perspiration, every twitch of Harry Redknapp, ever wrinkle on Roy Hodgson’s furrowed brow.
You can see the strain on Paula Radcliffe’s face when she’s in need of a pit stop, the contempt with which Viv Richards used to swat away inferior bowlers, and the joy of David Pleat as he skipped like a spring lamb on to the pitch to celebrate a relegation-saving goal.
Their body language would have been crystal clear in black and white, nowadays in glorious technicolour you can detect every brain cell of the under-fire manager or the diving Drogba.
There is no escape for the man in the spotlight which is why we all knew Torres wanted away from Liverpool and Rooney has been a tortured soul for months.