Skip to main content

My name is Jose Mourinho, and I'm not Special (at the moment)

.....The words that Jose Mourinho needs to utter to himself, the reality he has to face in order to change himself and the fortunes of his team. Such a recalibration of self-image won't be easy for a man who frequently embroiders his press conferences with 'I' and 'My' and references to his past achievements. He is a winner, not a loser and as such won't take easily to his new role, one that has to feature a cold-eyed acceptance that his magic, such as it is, has been diluted. 

Mourinho is an egomaniac - not unlike many successful people - but he has an edge of narcissism that makes it difficult for him to see the success of his teams through any prism but his own greatness. When his club wins, "I" win. So when things are not as they should be, Jose takes it personally, as an affront to him, an insult, he is embarrassed. He'll take it out on players, make grand gestures by dropping his best, and he'll search for outside influences - excuses - for his difficulties. He spent much of last season blaming the fans, too. I have never really bought into this idea that Jose is playing mind games with his antics, protecting his players and taking pressure off them. I just think he means all of it: the persecution complex, the battles with the media. 

I don't know what Jose says to the players on a daily basis and whether he is encouraging, critical, dismissive, helpful. As a Chelsea fan, it has been difficult to watch the catastrophic decline of a team who won the Premiership relatively easily just a few months ago, but it has been more bewildering to watch the public disintegration of Mourinho as he throws punches in his defence against real or imagined foes. The old theory that his methods diminish rapidly after two or three seasons is an easy one to fall back on but is nevertheless hard to dismiss entirely. My own impression is that his team have seen him crumble a little and that glimpse of weakness, tinged as it undoubtedly will be with vituperative recrimination internally, is not attracting sympathy from his players, or a sense that they want to help him. Chelsea fans have been quick to point out in recent matches that the team appear to be playing for Mourinho, but are not getting the breaks; I think they are playing for themselves, pulling together as best they can for their own sakes, yet endeavour alone is about as useful as a chocolate teapot right now.

Which suggests that if Mourinho is to revive his aura, he will either need a new set of players upon whom he can work his magic, or a new club. Unless, that is, he admits to himself that whatever it was that worked for him as he breezed triumphantly into various cities, hoovering up medals and then departing, will need tweaking if he is to build longer lasting dynasties. Part of that process is to admit he has got some things wrong, that despite some justifiable grievances with the FA and referees, nobody else is going to do it for him; there is no power above who will deliver justice. Jose Mourinho is down among the also-rans and past glories don't change that reality, which means humility, creativity, bravery to change things and, above all, acquiescence to the uncomfortable concept that his players are actually people he needs, rather than the other way around. 

Chelsea fans, who are among the quickest to want a manager dismissed and who can usually find any number of reasons why an unpopular manager is failing are supporting Mourinho, convinced, as the man himself is, that the problems don't begin with him, but are in fact the failures of the players. When Avram Grant took Chelsea to the Champions League final, it was all down to the efforts of the players, when AVB struggled, it was because he was incompetent; football fans can have it as many ways as it suits them. Mourinho's history at Chelsea buys him grace, but it may be fruitless because whilst it remains true that the club has little option right now, and must hope Jose can effect a reversal of fortunes, I just don't think he looks capable of it. We all hope that I am wrong, and, unlike Jose hitherto, I will be happy to admit it.


  1. Very good article. Personality I'm convinced that Jose's arrogance is the problem and the reason why he tends to have only short term success at clubs. It's funny how all the insults heaped at his fellow managers over the years are all coming back to haunt him. Who's the specialist in failure now? Sorry but he has to go, there's no other way. I know fans in England adore him, but Chelsea is a global brand now, and the image of the club has been in the gutter all season.

    It's one thing to have poor results but the PR is toxic right now, and most of this is due to manager's antics all season. When you're the 2nd highest paid manager in the world and you take an incredibly talented squad close to relegation, then it's time to resign.

  2. Brilliant read Mike. Mourinho has to go in my view. He hasn't delivered on any of the promises he made since he was appointed in June 2013 and I haven't seen any real progression from us as a side despite winning the league at a canter last season (which IMO was more down to the poor quality of the league itself than us).

    Keeping Mourinho is an option but you'd have to essentially overhaul the entire squad and spend circa £300m then repeat the process again in 2/3 years when the next crop of players have grown bored of his short-term methods and off-the-field antics.

    The damage as a whole Mourinho has done to the club is irreparable and I think we should just cut our losses and start over. The whole club is a circus at the minute and we've now become the biggest laughing stock not just in England, but in world football and arguably all of sport.

  3. Alot of the spending would come from player sales

  4. Spiffing article Perillers, now I'm off to the jolly old opera, what ho, what ho.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Panic! Culture and the working class

A new report on the working class relationship with culture has been doing the rounds recently.
Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries (which you can find here ( comes at the issue from the point of view of the working class and their opportunities to find careers in the cultural sector. I usually concern myself most with the audience aspects of this debate but this report does touch on matters that relate to that, too. The general issue was also recently making waves with respect to entrants into Oxbridge and with Owen Jones's huge Twitter spat about the class of those in the media. 
The Panic! report takes data from various sources and draws conclusions from it. Some of the conclusions are based on what appear to me to be oddly skewed impressions and some of the report sounds like an argument looking for a validation, rather t…

Emma Dent Coad - putting the record straight

Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad has again used OHP as a tool in her battles against RBKC. This piece once again quotes figures that are manifestly untrue.

The first time she quoted these figures was in her 'After Grenfell' paper on poverty. A great deal of misinformation has been circulated regarding OHP's costs over the years and the amount of money the council spent. Inflating, misreporting and dramatising the cost of supporting public arts only adds to the sense of outrage, increasing the climate of fear around local authority support for culture. When these arguments appear, little reference is made to expenditure on other services the council provides. We are an easy target.

Emma Dent-Coad's "After Grenfell" paper tied OHP to the disaster and quoted a FOI report from RBKC that purportedly revealed the council had spent "£30 million over 15 years" on the…

The Oxbridge divide

In the past couple of weeks the issue of privilege and the Oxbridge divide has been prominent on social media. The argument has essentially been that Oxbridge caters most to the privileged and monied, and further, excludes black students in particular. David Lammy extracted some data from Oxford which he believes shows Oxford is not doing well enough with respect to offering access to bright black and underprivileged students. I am not sure if he is suggesting Oxford is institutionally racist but the inference that Oxford actively excludes black and disadvantaged students is easy to draw from his comments on the matter. The statistics are quite complex and to me don't actually suggest Oxford is doing too badly, but this thread of tweets addresses the specifics very well;

To be frank, I am not entirely sure where to start with this discussion because those progressing the arguments against elite universities appear to misunderst…