The Littlest Mourinho

Coming to a Premier League ground near you

Coming to a Premier League ground near you

He is managerial Marmite but Ball Control is an avowed apostle to the Cult of José. As a sporting pantomime villain, Luis Suarez is a mere understudy.

Even as his Real Madrid crashed out of the competition that provides his and their raisons d’être, all thoughts turned to Mourinho’s future, and where he would attempt to win an unprecedented third Champions League at a third club. The great demagogue, as ever, relished the limelight and gave a deliciously thinly veiled response to the inevitable questions re his next port of call; all but confirming that he’ll be back at Chelsea next season.

That he is expected to leave Real after only three seasons – to the apparent relief of many associated with the club – continues a pattern of nomadic adventure across Europe. Having previously moved from Porto (after just over two seasons; left a hero) to Chelsea (three and a bit; drummed out by the megalomaniac owner after losing an internal power struggle) and then Internazionale (two seasons; alienated the entire Italian press corps) we can look back on a trail of increasingly intense assignments, progressively culminating in implosion and rancorous recrimination.

With that history behind him, it took no benefit of hindsight to know that when he arrived at the Bernabeu José’s need for to be at the core of club affairs was always going to clash with the culture of Real Madrid. At Los Blancos Presidents are elected by the socios to act as modern day Caesars; providing chaotic melodrama for the masses, often by assembling and empowering an expensively acquired, short-term-focussed playing staff.

A manager of two halves

To this blog, grandstanding is the very currency of sport; in this, Jose delivers in droves. He also delivers success, which is why his stock remains high in the instant gratification era of modern football. To capitalise on the second element of his management you must therefore make peace with the more distasteful parts of his nature (such as this).

There are very few clubs around that would not countenance making that pact, though many in the upper echelon might think more than twice. Barcelona is one obvious example. The soon-to-be Pepped Bayern Munich is another. Manchester United, too, in the increasingly melancholic form of Sir Bobby Charlton, protest their morals to be too pure for what Mourinho would bring to the club.

Amongst Europe’s elite that largely leaves the cabal of nouveau riche, petrodollar-funded clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain as seemingly natural bedfellows for the chequebook manager par excellence. The crucial difference between these two clubs and their precursor of Chelsea is that they are owned by Middle Eastern barons whose stated aim is to promote their region. In short, they want to buy trophies as well as the halos worn by the likes of Barça. Neither of them, then, would be keen on having their ‘project’ hijacked and ‘brand’ tarnished by a man who enters every club acting as if he is bigger than the whole operation.

It may be that Roman Abramovich is willing to relax the reins he has gripped so tight in the past few seasons (with moderate success) if it means more silverware – it’s hard to see Jose coming back without any guarantees of this sort. What we’re constantly told by the media is that the notoriously taciturn owner demands trophies to be delivered with style and panache.

Doesn’t sound very Mourinho, does it? But delusion reigns at Stamford Bridge. Why else would they believe they could foist a hated enemy like Rafa Benitez on the club’s supporters?

It may be then that José returns from his Chelsea exile and successfully exploits the deep pockets of Roman to bring more championships (and perhaps even European glory) to the Bridge. Once the relationships become strained, as they surely must in such an ego-rich environment, the hobo will be off again.

Who’s to say his destination after that wouldn’t be United? José’s eulogising of the 71-year-old Sir Alex Ferguson this season has been as nauseous as it has been transparent in its purposes. He clearly covets the top job in England and, with a debt of £359.7m to service, the ravenous Glaziers would surely be only too happy to put the principles of a club legend like Charlton to one side and throw their lot in with a man who always brings success, as well as acrimony.

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4 thoughts on “The Littlest Mourinho

  1. Mourinho has always treded that line between success and failure better than any other manager in recent history. Afterall, a blatantly offside goal for Porto vs Man Utd bought him to the attention of World football fans.

    There are a few points i’d like to make though:

    1. Mourinho doesn’t play attractive football. This should read that none of his sides have had the personnel to play tiki-taka (read the brand of football he beat over a full season last year, scoring record amounts of goals and points along the way) of Barca and the counter attacking of Man Utd. Chelsea in his first couple of years were a joy to watch with his 4-3-3
    2. His teams are usually remarkably consistent. He is Fergie-like at eeking out those wins when the side isn’t playing well. The sign of a great manager?
    3. He is a mercenary. Again, I am not sure about this. His managerial moves often have more to do with circumstances (read Chairman) than that of him. Porto and Inter effectively transferred him and Chelsea and Real Madrid have their egos to manage.
    4. The changes he makes during a game shows his worth. Playing without a right-back if they are 2 down isn’t a roll of the dice (Harry Redknapp) but something which has been rehearsed in training and discussed pre-game in a brief but clear tactical plan which he has clearly researched extensively.

    It will be great to get Jose back in the Premier League. If only to show how you can get the most out of the talent they have at Chelsea.

  2. Some are now suggesting he could bypass Chelsea and make the direct leap to United next season. That would really throw the cat amongst the pigeons. He truly is an heir to Fergie in his ‘mind games’.
    Ask yourself though, would you like Mourinho to manage your football club (Spurs)? I’m quite happy with AVB, thanks.

  3. Mourinho is pure box office and (as of the end of the season) the best manager in the world. He does thrive under the siege mentally which footballer players seem to really respond to. The issue with this approach is that it takes 100% buy in or there will be turmoil. Fergie had a really simple approach to anyone who challenged this approach…He sold them. He was the last of a dying breed. Once Arsene goes, then the end of the untouchable manager era will be over. A few injuries, a bad run of form and a bit of bad luck will befoul even the most astute of bosses eventually.

    Just learned that the word Arsenal is derived from the Arabic word. I wonder if this is why UBL was a fan and they hate Spurs?

    • Your Arabic is coming on leaps and bounds; now you even know the word for scum.

      Mourinho is so nomadic as his siege mentality is so intense it drains the club of energy after 3 years. The difference with Fergie is he is able to deflect criticism away from the club much better, often on to referees and the FA. Mourinho tries to shoulder too much and then deflects onto players.

      Would have taken the draw against Chelsea and a fair result, I guess. Bale didn’t do much but Ade filled the void handsomely. Chelsea looked knackered in the last 15 mins but we didn’t quite have enough quality to make the final breakthrough.

      I can see us missing out on GD.

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