Jose Mourinho claimed this week, after being appointed the manager of Inter Milan, that he wanted to drop the “Special One” tag. When Mourinho first came to Chelsea his confidence was soaring after winning the SuperLiga and Champions League with Porto the season prior.
Whilst his opening day victory over United could never be described as special, the words dour and defensive more fitting, Mourinho was certainly ready to leave his mark on Premiership football, which he did.
United fans remembered this man all too well and for all the wrong reasons. It was his Porto side that knocked us out of the European Cup on their way to being crowned Champions. After a Paul Scholes goal, which would have put us 2-0 up before half time, was wrongly disallowed, Porto grabbed a last minute equaliser to put us out.
Mourinho raced down the touchline at Old Trafford in celebration and the image stuck with us.
We had the last laugh over Mourinho though, with us denying him a third successive league title with our victory in 2006-2007.
However, for all the hype he created, all the praise he lavished upon himself, it seems that the not-so-special-one had some help along the way. His Porto team benefited from paying off the referee and will now miss next season’s Champions League campaign. It’s all too little too late for United though.
BBC: “Scholes should have doubled United’s advantage on the stroke of half-time, but his strike was ruled out by a linesman’s flag, with television replays showing the decision was clearly incorrect.”
The Guardian: “The outcome might have been different had a linesman, with a bad offside decision, not denied Paul Scholes a second goal to extend the lead on the verge of half-time.”
United were robbed and cruelly dumped out of the Cup. Mourinho’s Porto had an easy run from then on in, beating Lyon, Deportivo and Monaco to be crowned champions.
The fact that Porto progressed as far as they did courtesy of a dreadful officiating decision certainly raises a few eyebrows in light of this referee bribing scandal in the same season.
Regardless, United won’t get to reap the benefits of Porto’s elimination and Mourinho won’t get to suffer from the consequences, although it is he that has the winner’s medals from their corrupt season.
And to think, this summer could have been our fourth European Cup… “We’ve won it three times, we’ve won it three times, without BRIBING anyone, we’ve won it three times”.