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Mourinho: The McEnroe Of Football

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This time, COS reader Peter ponders Mourinho’s legacy.

Could we be preparing to say goodbye to one of the most charismatic coaches that has graced the Premier league? As Roman Abramovich sharpens his blade has Jose already made up his mind where he’s heading? Rumours are rife that he’s off to Madrid and he could be taking Frank Lampard with him. But what of the man who has astounded us with his revelation that he is special and that calling a referee a son of a whore is a particularly normal thing to say in Portuguese?

Personally my own feelings for the man have fluctuated over the past 3 years but ultimately I think I will miss him. From his running down the touchline at Old Trafford to his arrogance I don’t think there are many that have not felt something for him, be it either love or hate. But that is ultimately why he will be so dearly missed, because he stirs up so many emotions. Had he been Howard Wilkinson-esque no-one would even be speculating if he was going or coming let alone writing articles about him! The only other personality I can compare Mourinho to is American dj Howard Stern (no not Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend) who still scores high on listener ratings even though many people dislike him, so much so that it’s his haters that listen to him more.

He also reminds me a lot of John McEnroe who revealed after he retired that his on-court shows of anger were purposefully exaggerated to try and throw off his opponent and seeing as Mr. McEnroe was seeded number 1 in the world it worked decidedly well. It isn’t inconceivable that Mourinho has taken a leaf out of the McEnroe text-book, how many times before a big match has he provoked or angered an opposing manager with his comments? He distracts his opponents long enough for them to lose their concentration and strikes while the iron is hot.

The current season is far from over and Chelsea are not too far off the top to hope that a minor slip-up from Manchester United could see them lift the premiership title for a third consecutive year. In my opinion this is a testament to Mourinho’s coaching prowess in my opinion as he has suffered injuries to major players who are not so easily replaceable even if you have bags of money and a large squad. He has also had to deal with overtures from his chairman to field big money players Ballack and Shevchenko even though it’s evident they’ve not acclimatized to the premiership. On numerous occasions this season Chelsea have had to come back in the final minutes of games to either snatch a draw or a win from the jaws of defeat because their system, which has obviously been influenced by Abramovich, for the majority of the game has not worked. I can’t see how the situation he will find at Real Madrid will be at all different from the current one in west London, both have over-bearing owners who have very little patience and a hunger for trophies but I think Mourinho has shown us that money talks for him.

To think that people will be glad to see the back of him is beguiling to me, as the Wenger – Ferguson feuds of 3 seasons ago were getting tiresome and there is no other manager out there with any character. If you look down the list of the current premiership managers, there aren’t many who have the audacity to say anything that would ruffle any feathers. That’s why the likes of Bill Shankly and Brian Clough are still being quoted today, they spoke their minds and didn’t care whose egos they bruised. I think our only hope if Mourinho does leave, and I see it as inevitable, is that Sunderland are promoted and Roy Keane brings some of his fiery temperament to his press conferences!