Jose Mourinho – does the Premier League need Jose back? Part 1

The problem with the class clown at school is that after a while all the jokes, the childish messing around and the disruption start to become annoying for everyone else. Pretty soon all those the clown considered his friends, those who quietly egged him on for their own amusement have started to suggest enough is enough and before long the clown is left alienated and alone.

Now there are a lot of people who would agree that Jose Mourinho is a clown but for a manager who has won a plethora of trophies in four countries that perhaps would be doing the man a great disservice. But the Mourinho that bounced into our lives in 2004, when his Porto side famously knocked out Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Champions League, has began to grow irritating and it seems the Real Madrid hierarchy agree. ‘The Special One’ is starting to lose the swagger, the air of invincibility, indeed even the ‘special’ bit he has spent so long crafting and maintaining

This is all largely due to Mourinho’s outspoken personality and the siege mentality he fosters at the clubs he manages. The problem with world sport now, particularly football, is that clubs have become ‘brands’ and players and coaches have become ‘ambassadors’. The world’s biggest clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona spend a huge amount of time and money tapping into the lucrative markets of Asia and America in the hope of fostering a loyalty and an identity with fans thousands of miles away. The commercial gains are vital and as such people associated with the club have a duty to essentially behave, stay away from controversy and do the job you are being paid for.

Largely managers and players toe the line but Mourinho was the master of winding up opposition managers, players and anyone he saw as a rival or a threat to his position. His good looks, his clever use of the English language and his willingness to play up to those assembled for press conferences saw him quickly become the darling of the British media. The controversy he generated was exciting, different and most of all it sold papers. Thankfully for Chelsea fans he also delivered on the pitch as Chelsea won successive Premier League titles, a brace of League Cups and an FA Cup during his reign.

But the holy grail of club football, the Champions League, eluded him and it was reported that the signings of £30 million striker Andriy Shevchenko and free agent Michael Ballack were orchestrated by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who has made no secret of the fact he is desperate for Chelsea to become the first London side to win the European cup.

The appointments of sporting director Frank Arnesen and Abramovich advisor Piet de Visser also led to a power struggle and when in 2007 Mourinho’s public quest to become the first British side to win the ‘quadruple’ was ended by his chief nemesis Rafa Benitez and his Liverpool side in the Champions League quarter-finals, it was no surprise when he moved to Inter Milan.

His charm offensive whilst in Italy quickly wore off. After initially winning over the media by speaking solely Italian at his unveiling press conference, his cocky demeanour won him few friends in the long run. A physical altercation with a journalist followed a long-running spat between the manager and the press who questioned his respect for the game after Mourinho repeatedly sent his assistant to press conferences. Mourinho in turn accused the media of twisting his words in order to generate headlines and effect Inter’s march to Italian and European domination.

By the time he joined Real Madrid in June 2010, as only the third coach in history to have won the Champions League with two different clubs, he had become a divisive figure in Italian sport; a hero to the Nerazzurri fans but a troublemaker and loudmouth to the football authorities, rival teams and the media. Taking the most high-profile, high-pressure job in world football did not faze the Portugese maestro. In fact he seemed blissfully unaware of what a challenge managing Real Madrid would be.Happy times for Jose!

Managers as cool-headed and successful as Fabio Capello and Vincente Del Bosque have both been on the cold end of the firing line when their style of play or trophy haul did not meet with the approval or expectations of the club’s upper echelons of power. It should have served as a warning.

Real Madrid’s rivalry with Barcelona is one that transcends sport – El Clasico is a political and cultural event loaded with an old narrative of fascism, subjugation and freedom. Barcelona’s phenomenal recent success has seen the Catalan side spoken of in terms that Real Madrid feel should be theirs. Playing second fiddle to their greatest rivals has been a painful process.

Mourinho’s objectives at Madrid were two-fold. Knock Barcelona off their perch at any cost and deliver European glory. He was greeted as a hero. Mourinho, despite working for Barcelona as an interpreter for Bobby Robson many years previously had spectacularly fallen out with Barcelona while at Chelsea and the hostilities had continued when Inter were victorious in knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League.

Expensive recruits in the shape of Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, defender Ricardo Carvalho and winger Ángel di María followed Mourinho to the Bernebau and the stage was set for a cracking season as two of the biggest clubs in football fought it out.

Read part two later and find out why Spain may want ‘the Special One’ to get out of La Liga.

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We want to hear what you have to say, but we don't want comments that are homophobic, racist, sexist, don't relate to the article, or are overly offensive. They're not nice.

  1. your letter or lecture has undermined your terms and conditions for responses , infact become actually homphobic, sexist and biased- can you people please leave the special one alone,– HE IS INFACT A GOD GIFT TO FOOTBALL. I PRAYS HE RETIRES SOON AND I DOUBT YOU WOULD HAVE ANYTHING MORE TO WRITE.

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