The Career of a Football Coach
It is probably no exaggeration to say the biggest football news since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 is when Liverpool head coach Jürgen Klopp announced last Friday that he would step down at the end of the current season. During his eight and half years at the helm, he has reset the standard and revived the fortune of Liverpool as evidenced by winning 8 trophies including the Champion League and also the 2019/20 English Premier League, the club’s first domestic league title in 30 years. Game tactics of course, but Klopp deserves even greater credit in making new and existing players better. Results on the pitch aside, his demeanour, his touchline animated acts and his post-match interviews are all parts of what make him larger than life.
As many Liverpool supporters are devastated by the unexpected news of Klopp’s imminent departure, yours truly believe the coach merry-go-round is becoming a norm rather than an exception under this so called modern era of football, in particular for the English Premier League which has been the most “international” in terms of ownership/player background and commercially the most successful. Gone were the days with the clubs owned by loyal fans (who happened to be wealthy) and most of the players being local boys joining during their teens and coming up through the club academy. The head coach (called the “manager” then) would be given time to achieve results. The whole atmosphere within the club was more family rooted. Now football is big business. In 2022, Todd Boehly acquired Chelsea for US$5.4B. Jim Ratcliffe is in the process of spending more than US$1.35B for 25% of Manchester United. In 2010, Fenway Sports Group paid US$360M equivalent to acquire Liverpool and surely has achieved more than a 10-fold appreciation based on current valuation. Looking at the matter through the prism of business, perhaps one can understand why the owners cannot be patient when results are not forthcoming. And it is always easier to fire the coach rather than making sea-change on the squad. Making things worse, the media, fans and ex-players all join in relentlessly to make coach sacking an “entertainment”. Very few, if any, can live under such pressure for an extended period without being totally burnt out. And that is why even successful coaches will need a break at some point. OK…now coaches are paid big dollars too. And that is not unlike, say, big company CEOs whose horizons are no more than a few years. If they are unsuccessful, they will be fired in no time. If they are successful, they still need to take a break and then look for the next opportunities. Perhaps no one needs to be too sentimental about the whole thing. Klopp at least has the wisdom to quit while still at the top and on that note, he seems to share the same philosophy as Henri Jayer, the legendary Burgundy winemaker (please see our newsletter dated Oct 16, 2023).
Now turning to the subject of wine, the following are some of our recent additions. See if some of them would interest you, especially now that your cellar might need replenishment after the December festive season:
2013 M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph les Granits Blanc (WA96 at HK$580/bottle) – Our favourite Rhone producer making many great wines, with this white a more affordable representative and just as good. The wine possesses an exotic, perfumed style as it gives tons of white peach, citrus, brioche and orange marmalade, with more and more floral, exotic notes as it evolves in the glass. Full-bodied, ripe, textured and layered, with beautiful freshness, this is a blockbuster not to be missed.
2010 Grand-Puy-Lacoste (RP95 at HK$700/bottle) – An excellent wine from a great vintage by this popular Bordeaux estate, its classic crème de cassis and floral notes are well displayed. The medium to full-bodied palate has supple tannins and a layered, impressively textured mouthfeel. All in all a brilliant effort.
2017 Michel Gaunoux Pommard 1er Cru les Rugiens (WA95 at HK$950) – This full-bodied Burgundy red unfurls in the glass with an intense bouquet of cassis, black cherries, peony, soil and dark chocolate, all framed by a discreet touch of oak. The palate is concentrated, textural, muscular but the tannins are velvety structured, leading to a long, resonant finish.
2021 Domaine Anita Moulin-a-Vent Reine de Nuit (JS98 at HK$260/bottle) – A medium bodied red from Beaujolais (France) out of 40/50-year old vines and aged for a year in Burgundian oak. There are notes of red and black cherry fruit plus a stack of very fine tannins and a slew of spicey notes. Recommended for those who like Gamay and those who wish to learn more about this grape varietal.
2016 Argiano Solengo (WA95 at HK$480/bottle) – A Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot/Sangiovese blend in 50/25/20/5 proportion from Tuscany, this is a full-bodied red with plump and fruit-forward aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, plum, spice and sweet tobacco. The wine is balanced with exceptional depth and momentum.
2019 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico Reserva Le Baroncole (WA96 at HK$300/bottle) – A beautiful and good valued wine from Tuscany made with almost all Sangiovese, one that gives a great aroma of bright fruit, dried flowers and spice and textural palate with a long complex finish. It definitely worths one’s serious attention.
2016 CVNE Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva (JS98 at HK$400/bottle) – From Spain and made of 85% Tempranillo and the rest Graciano/Mazuelo grape varietals, the nose offers fruit, spice and a touch of iodine. The palate is powerful but balanced and with freshness.
2019 Vilafonte Series M (WA95+ at HK$480/bottle) – A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and other grape varietals from South Africa, this red offers incredible concentration and focus on the nose, which is marked with oak, ripe plum and dark cherry aromas, followed by dusty rose and lavender notes. The palate reveals a somewhat tannic structure with brilliant, energetic acidity that will reward a little patience in airing and the potential to age as a real champion. It is a stunner!!!
2018 Mount Mary Quintet (JS99 at HK$620/bottle) – An iconic Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Down Under that resembles more a Bordeaux than your typical Aussie reds. There are plenty of savoury fruits on display, red currant, cherry, pomegranate, with layers of tobacco, five spice, and hints of sumac and mushroom. And the price has never been so appealing, a result of our smart sourcing and the weak Australian currency.
2021 Donum Estate The Observer Reserve Pinot Noir (JS95 at HK$950/bottle) – Finally, something from the latest Donum vintage and a delicate, elegant expression of the Pinot fruit from the Anderson Valley. A few swirls of the wine in the glass reveals aromas of raspberry, briar, slate and notes of sandalwood and sage. The palate is juicy and vibrant, with flavour of strawberry, cherry, cedar, and fine-grained tannin carrying through to the finish.
Thank you for reading and we want to wish you all the every best for the Year of the Dragon!!!. Please feel free to go to our website www.vinopolis.com.hk to browse the full wine list. Purchases can be made through the website or by sending us an e-mail or simply WhatsApp 9195-7383.