The Premier League has instituted a new rule that requires all managers who do not hold a UK passport to select an adjective denoting which “One” they are.
The decision comes as a direct response to the popularity of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s “The Special One” moniker and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s “The Normal One” tag, both of which were pulled from quotes in their respective introductory press conferences.
“The importance of these nicknames can’t be overstated,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore as he announced the new rule. “They have proven valuable to both the sporting press and the novelty T-shirt business — two industries that are equally vital to both the Premier League and the British economy as a whole.”
Mourinho dubbed himself “a special one” when he first joined Chelsea from Porto after winning the Champions League for the first time in 2004, and it instantly became popular shorthand for his now legendary self-confidence. Based on that success, journalists were eager to turn it into a trend and prompted Mourinho to claim he was now “the happy one” when he returned to Chelsea in 2013.
Klopp delighted reporters assembled for his introductory press conference at Anfield by declaring himself “The Normal One” — a name Avram Grant previously adopted when he succeeded Mourinho at Chelsea in 2007. But since Chelsea did not secure the merchandising rights for that title on his behalf, Klopp and Liverpool are now able to claim it as their own, allowing them to produce official merchandise utilizing the term the very same day he said it.
Scudamore added: “With every foreign manager in the league making it known which ‘One’ they are, we can maximize the oversimplification of complex individuals to the level of pantomime characters, benefitting everyone who wants to see them as such or just wants to appear clever when a given manager’s actions inevitably contradict their chosen adjective. And since smugness is such an important part of the Premier League brand, we felt this was a logical choice.”
Asked what would happen if a foreign manager refused to reduce himself to such a formulaic identifier, Scudamore made a slow and deliberate throat slashing motion and silently walked out.