Date:Thursday September 20 2007
Of course we often criticised Mourinho's acts on these pages but I can't deny I was always looking forward to his comments.
The big news of yesterday night wasn't that Arsenal trounced Sevilla with ease and not that Ronaldo returned to Sporting by scoring the winner against his old club. JosÚ Mourinho stole the headlines by getting himself sacked.
His increasingly frosty relationship with Mr. Abramovich is well-documented (look up a Sun or a Guardian or the BBC archive...) so I won't want to dwell on that. My purpose is to acknowledge the contribution Mourinho made to English football.
He brought organisation, discipline and winning mentality to Chelsea and he transformed the team into a ruthless winning machine. I won't miss that, I can't deny it.
What I will miss is his trademark arrogance that often left me torn between annoyance, exasperation and amusement. He was a colourful individual who served the material for plenty of banter and served material for the sportswriters, too. I think they will admit that.
Of course I did not like him. His individuality sometimes took him too far and his trademark arrogance turned into sheer and unnecessary rudeness, like when he was talking about Ronaldo's education. However, his moans about referees, injuries, fixtures, voyeurs were highly enjoyable.
Sacking him FOUR days before Chelsea visit Old Trafford looks like a particularly spectacular way of self-destruction, though of course it's possible that the team will rally to show they have the guts to perform in such a situation. But he is replaceable, of course, in a professional way, not JosÚ Mourinho is the only good manager in the world.
What we can't replace, however, is that he was one of the faces of the English league. It's not up to me to decide whether it showed the Premiership in a favourable light. But he was a character who brought flavour to this league, he was quite unique in many ways - and that's increasingly a rarity in modern football.
If I were him, I'd rest for a few months (his finances will not suffer greatly, I'm sure) and then would get back into action with renewed vigour.
Date:Thursday September 20 2007
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