For me, writes Vernon Grant, he has never been away. I have been witnessing his every moment during his time in Spain. He has rarely been out of the headlines.
His send off from Real Madrid was an odd one. Not everyone booed him. Far from it. Many also cheered and applauded him and some wore “The Special One” scarves.
But, in truth, Spanish football is largely pleased to see the back of him.None more so than Real Madrid club officials.
Current and past presidents and directors believe Mourinho had a corrosive effect on the club. They loathed the way he spoke to and about referees and match officials. While Real Madrid bosses badly want to win La Liga and the Champions League, how the club is perceived is of greater importance to them.
For Real Madrid image is everything. And they did not like the club’s image under the reign of Jose Mourinho. They blamed him.
From the moment he poked the then Barcelona coach (and future manager) Tito Vilanova in the eye, his days were numbered. That was the beginning of the end for Mourinho as far as those who meet around the boardroom table at the Bernabeau were concerned
It could have been so different. When he arrived in Madrid I told friends who support the club that, if given the backing, Jose could lead them to win the Champions League. Even though I consider managing Real Madrid to be a nigh on impossible job, I thought he had the credentials to be a winner in Spain as he has been in other countries.
My lingering doubt centered around his demeanour. Knowing the Spanish pysche I feared his confident manner would not go down well in Spain. With the public, Real Madrid fans, with big name players and with those more senior in years figures who truly run Real Madrid.
The characteristics that were admired by many in England would not be looked upon so kindly in Spain. I half expected that would be the case.
It is a strange thing but, in truth, the Spanish are very conservative people. With a small ‘c’ that is. Outsiders think that Spaniards are either partying all night, sleeping by day and living la vida loca the rest of the time.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
While Spanish people can be blunt, they are not naturally rude or crude.
The Spanish didn’t like the brashness of Jose Mourinho. They laughed at him, not with him. They thought him “a silly little man.”
The confident manner admired by many in the UK was actually looked upon as arrogance and ignorance in Spain. It wasn’t just football followers. The wider Spanish public called him anything ranging from rude through to obnoxious.
In Spain Jose Mourinho didn’t go out of his way to win friends and influence Spanish people. He didn’t do himself any favours.
His Barcelona conspiracy theories made him appear paranoid. His abuse of referees was at times embarrassing.When things went wrong he turned his ire on sections of the press. In England he had largely enjoyed a love fest with the sports press. They hung on his every word, laughed at his every joke, and rarely questioned his methods.
But there are many differences between Spain and England. In the character of the people. What each nationality tolerates. That extends to the sports journalists.
Once you turn on the Spanish press, you are done for. Begin packing your bags.
And once as manager you infuriate the figures who dictate policy at Real Madrid, your days are numbered.
Mourinho also upset some big name players, including goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. Those two in particular loathed their Portuguese born manager. And his relationship with fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo teetered on the brink of breakdown.
Jose turned his bosses, some players and the most influential members of the Spanish press against him. They called him childish and petulant. And the more they did so, the more he appeared to live up to the labels.
Now the man who has won League titles in four different countries, in addition to the Champions League with Porto, is back at Stamford Bridge. For me, his natural home.
I hope it works out for one and all. I have already placed a bet on Chelsea to win the Premier League 2013/14 at odds of 3-1. Not that I am 100% convinced it will work out well. It should, but I have concerns.
I do worry about what I call ‘second cup of tea’ syndrome. The follow up brew rarely tastes as good as the first. Though Jose is shrewd. He knows that, under new management themselves, the two Manchester clubs will each be in a transitional phase next season. I can see Chelsea winning the title in his first season back in West London.
Some people seem to have forgotten that many Chelsea fans complained about the style of football when Jose had Chelsea winning things. They became so used to winning that they got greedy. They wanted Jose to ensure every game was entertaining.
Phone in shows were awash with Blues fans saying his style of football was “boring.” I heard Chelsea season ticket holders say that they were not going to every home game because, especially in the latter years of his first tenure, the football under Mourinho “was predictable and not exciting enough.”
That’s football fans for you. We can all be guilty of not appreciating what we have until its gone.
Perhaps the dreadful appointment of Felipe Scolari opened a few eyes to what they had lost.
The class act that is Carlo Ancelotti worked well with Chelsea legend Ray Wilkins, before they were both stabbed in the back by club owner Roman Abramovich.
Former player Roberto Di Matteo rightly won lots of credit for working under difficult circumstances and led the team to Champions League glory.
Mourinho and Abramovich have, after their initial difficult parting, stayed in touch and some say they are better friends now than they have ever been.
Abramovich didn’t realise what he had the first time around. Perhaps he does now.
Maybe Mourinho reminded him of his most often quoted self appraisal: “I am not one of the bottle…. I think I am the special one.”
One thing is for sure. The next Premier League campaign will not be as dull as the last.[symple_heading type=”h3″ title=”William Hill are offering new customers a £25 free bet when they sign up” margin_top=”2px;” margin_bottom=”5px” text_align=”left”] Interested? Sign up here. I want a Free £25 bet.
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