The Mourinho Issue

There has been a lot of speculation (mainly in the press, although it hasn’t been exclusively limited to them) about the future of Carlo Ancelotti, and whether he is likely to see out the remaining year of his contract at Chelsea.

I’ll put my hands up here and say I’m ambivalent. One on the one hand, I like Carletto very much as a person.

On the other hand, however, I do worry about his seeming inability to take action to change the game; substitutions that have occurred too late or not at all, the lack of galvanisation of the players from the touchline.

I don’t want to see our favourite Fat Spanish Waiter take over the reins. I’m sure there are plenty of other managers who could get the best out of Fernando. Guus – that would be fantastic, yet I think we’re all basing our love for him on his splendidly successful interregnum after the howling wilderness that was the brief Scolari era.

There are no guarantees that Guus having a second go would produce a Premiership winning season or indeed the longed-for CL triumph.

Zola – better to leave us with our memories of a club legend. We don’t want them tarnished by a managerial failure.

Van Basten – unknown quantity, may bring attractive football, but no real track record.

There is however, one manager that I would not be happy to see return; Jose. Now I know that there are many people out there who would love to see him back, but there are good reasons against it.

Firstly, what our friends in Japan refer to as “face”. If Jose was to return to CFC, this would potentially give Roman a future disadvantage in business as he would then be seen to be someone who changes his mind. If you are a hardcore businessman, this is the worst possible thing you can do as it lays you open to accusations of weakness. Not something our beloved oligarch would wish to encourage.

Secondly, the style of football. The best memories we have of JM was in that first, honeymoon season of 2004-2005. When Robben and Duff were at their best; when JFH and Eidur were the most potent strike force in Britain, if not in Europe; when JT and Frank were in their early prime. After that, it was downhill, ending with the dreadful 1-1 draw against Rosenborg which marked the end of Jose’s tenure.

And thirdly, and perhaps the most important. Because when he left Chelsea, our club was in the gutter. We were up before the FA every month for failing to control our players (hence the joke that the FA were using us to help pay for Wembley because of the fines imposed), and we had a points deduction hanging over us for tapping up Ashley Cole.

No-one outside Stamford Bridge had a good word to say for us. Succeeding managers have managed to pull that round to the point where there is not the level of hate against us that there was between 2005-2007, and certainly not the level of bile directed against us by the media. I have said half-seriously that if JM returns I will give up my season ticket, but as UEFA will be throwing the book at him after last night, any club wanting to employ a manager who is serving a one-year European touchline ban.

Jose is like a tempestuous love affair. Totally involving whilst you’re in it, but once it’s over and you’re facing the cold light of day and raking over the ashes of what was, you start to wonder what you saw in him.

Rather as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice viewed the departure of Wickham for the militia camp in Brighton, my feeling is also “I would not wish you back”.

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