Peter “United for life” Kenyon spoke to the press the day before yesterday, claiming that Jose Mourinho was key to Chelsea’s success. Kenyon said he saw in Mourinho the winning streak he’d seen in Sir Alex, and believed Chelsea were lucky to have a man so hungry for success in charge of the team.
As the pitiful 24,973 fans booed Chelsea off the pitch at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, after a disappointing 1-1 draw with the weakest team in their group in the Champions League, little did they know this was the last time they’d watch Chelsea with Mourinho as the manager.
He was loved by many when he first came to the Premiership, “a breath of fresh air”, but as time has gone by, his words have become more stale, and his actions more petty. False accusations of opposition coaches talking to the refs after failing to get wins against Barca and United, tapping up scandals, constantly blaming referees when the team didn’t get the result he wanted, and generally becoming more of a special whinger than a special coach. The wrong players were sold on in the summer preceding last season, and the wrong players were brought in. Jose sold off his wingers and forward men, brought in poor replacements for defence, and when the injuries began to take their toll, Chelsea cracked and conceded the title.
Mourinho has become the manager people love to hate, and whilst I’ve already heard from fellow reds who think it is a shame he’s gone, I am over the moon, for several reasons. Firstly, for the sake of my sanity, which seemed to be dwindling away every time Mourinho released another ridiculous statement. Secondly, for the disruption this is likely to cause the Chelsea team. They have all rallied behind him over the past year, when speculation has mounted over his future at the club. They all desperately wanted him to stay on as manager, and it will be bitterly disappointed to see their special one leave so abruptly. “Team spirit” is something splashed around all the time from the Chelsea camp, how great theirs is, and what impact it has. When Chelsea scrape out a result, it’s because of their “team spirit”, something which Mourinho has formed, not sheer good luck. As the final nail went in to Chelsea’s coffin last season, picking up a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, meaning United were the new Champions, Mourinho told the fans to keep their chins up (something which we mocked a week later, met with the Guard of Honour Stamford Bridge, singing “Chin up Mourinho”) and the fans took hope from that. Where will that hope be now that their special one has gone?
So, what does the future hold? If less than 25,000 fans can be bothered to show up to support the club in the Champions League (Rangers vs Stuttgart: 50,000, Arsenal vs Sevilla: 60,000) and then go on to boo them, how resilient are they going to be over the coming months? How pleased are they going to be when they find out that Roman Abramovich, who leaves Chelsea in a sticky situation, owing all their success to him, whilst resenting the fact his presence forced Jose out, will be appointing his mate, Avram Grant, in charge of their club. Grant is a man who has proven very little in his career in football, with posts at Portsmouth and Israel the only noteworthy entries on the CV.
But thirdly, the reason I am so over the moon, is that Jose chose to jump ship just days before coming to Old Trafford. Chelsea are set to be without Drogba and Lampard, their goal machines, and Terry is likely to feel the weight of the World on his shoulders, with some papers reporting today that he is part of the reason why Mourinho left them. The former manager had been disappointed with John Terry’s recent performances, and enquired with the club’s medical department if they knew the root of the problem. It is reported John Terry reacted furiously upon hearing this, and word made it’s way to the board. Whilst United work on the ethos that no one player is bigger than the club, Chelsea have yet to clock on to this, and news of super John Terry having a ruck with Jose is said to be the icing on the cake for the manager, whose relationship with the club has been strained for some time. Jose Mourinho did not have what it took to turn £100s of millions worth of players in to a team that could play stylish and exciting football, like rivals United and Arsenal, and European rivals Barcelona, and finally, Abramovich had enough.
Whilst we are far from having three points in the bag on Sunday when the blues travel up to play us, this is certainly the boost we needed after some pretty average displays. Of course there is also the possibility of the Chelsea lads pulling out a result, striving to show everyone that they’re not dead and buried now their special one has left them. But tension will be high and morale will be low, which should make the perfect combination to put them on a plate for us.
Three days to go. Are the points all ours now?