The Return of “The Special One”?
Reports in the British media this week suggest that self proclaimed “Special One” Jose Mourinho has been house hunting in London recently. Does this mean that Mourinho is considering a return to the Premiership?
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Most English soccer fans first became aware of Jose Mourinho in 2004. FC Porto were just after knocking Manchester United out of the Champions League in the first knockout stage at United’s ground Old Trafford. Manchester United’s player’s and fans seemed to be stunned as Mourinho ran along the side of the pitch celebrating wildly with his players. Mourinho went on to take Porto to the final in Germany where they beat Monoco, winning the competition. How did this team of rank outsiders win the Champions League? and who was this charasmatic manager? Soccer fans along with the English media were starting to take notice of Jose Mourinho. One man who was taking particular notice was Chelsea’s billionaire chairman Roman Abramovich. After pumping huge amounts of cash into the west London club, he had his eye on the games glittering prize, the Champions League and Mourinho seemed to be the man who could deliver it. In June of that year Chelsea unveiled their new manager, Jose Mourinho, who told journalists at his first press conference that he was the ‘Special One’. The Premiership would never be the same again.
Jose Mario dos Santos Mourinho was born in 1963 in Setubal, Portugal. His Father Felix was a professional footballer who had one international cap for Portugal. Wanting to follow in his Father’s footsteps, the young Mourinho decided on a career as a professional footballer but it soon became clear that he lacked the ability. When his Father retired and became involved in coaching, Mourinho followed suit eventually enrolling at The Technical University of Lisbon to study Sports Science. During his course he taught Physical Education at various schools and when he graduated after five years he went on to take soccer coaching courses run by the English and Scottish Football Associations. He got his first job in football in the early 90’s when he became youth team coach at Vitoria de Setubal then moving on to become Assistant Manager at Estrela da Amadora and again at Ovarense. In 1992 the legendary English coach Bobby Robson took over at Sporting Clube de Portugal. He needed a translator and Mourinho, seeing an opportunity to learn from a footballing icon, took the position. He quickly developed a close relationship with Robson and was moved onto the coaching staff. When Robson moved to FC Porto and later to FC Barcelona in Spain, he took Mourhino with him.
In 2000, Mourhino got his first head coaching job at Benfica but he left after just nine games after clashing with the club Chairman. This was to become a regular occurance at most of the clubs Mourhino would work at. He was confident, straight-talking, often controversial but he would compromise for nobody. He quickly got another managerial position at Uniao de Leiria in 2001 where he led them to finish 5th place in the league, their highest placing ever. When he took over at FC Porto in 2002, they were struggling near the bottom of the table. In his second season in charge they won the Portuguese League and the UEFA Cup. In 2004 Porto won the Champions League and Mourhino was hot property.
Mourhino’s record at Chelsea was superb, two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups and one Community Shield. However, his relationship with Club Chairman Roman Abramovich became strained during his time there. Abramovich wanted to win but he wanted to win in spectacular style like Manchester United or Barcelona. Mourhino on the other hand, believed style was not important, he felt that results were all that mattered, once telling a BBC reporter, “if you want to be entertained, go to the circus”. Although he came close on a couple of occasions, Mourhino never won the Champions League with Chelsea. Abramovich badly wanted to win this competition but after Chelsea were beaten by Rosenborg in 2007 he lost patience with the ‘Special One’ and Mouhino and the club parted company. In 2010 Mourhino once again found himself in the Champions League final, this time with Italian Club Internazionale who he had joined in 2008. They beat Bayern Munich 2-0. It had been 45 years since Internazionale had lifted the trophy. Later that year, Mourhino joined Spanish giants Real Madrid where he remains to the present day.
So, if it is the case that Jose Mourhino is planning a return to the Premiership, which club will be the next home to the ‘Special One’? As it was reported that he was looking at houses in London, it seems likely that it would be a London club and there are three strong possibilities. Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs. Chelsea’s current Manager Andre Villas Boas seems to be holding onto his job by a thread after a string of disappointing results. While it seems unlikely that Mourhino would go back to Stamford Bridge, the players and fans would welcome him with open arms and even Abramovich would probably bury the hachet at this stage. Many in the game believe that Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger will retire at the end of the season but they have been in a state of steady decline over the past few years. With little money available to buy players, Arsenal would be a risky gamble for Mourhino but he has worked miracles in similar situations before so it is a possibility. Spurs would seem to be the most likely candidate. It seems to be a forgone conclusion that Harry Redknapp will leave the club to take over as the next England Manager and under his guidance Spurs have become one of the top four teams in the Premiership. Wherever he goes, there is no doubt that the Premiership would be a more interesting place with Mourhino involved in it. Do we want to see the return of the ‘Special One’ next season? This fan says “yes please”!