Sunday, September 22, 2013

José Mourinho, a man of many faces, all of them true

I haven't written a football blog (soccer in NA) since José Mourinho became Chelsea's manager, so thought it was time. 

Yes, I realize that most readers are not footie fans, let alone Chelsea fans, but Mourinho (aka José, Mou, and JM) is a flamboyant manager who illustrates much about what successful leaders should and should not do.

First a brief background for non-footie fan readers or, if you prefer, scroll down to 'My Mou Send-Up'.

Mourinho 1.0 
Mou was a successful manager at Portugal's Porto, having won the highest honour in European club football, the UEFA Champions League in 2003. 

He first came to Chelsea in 2004-2007 where he self-identified himself as the 'Special One' and guided the club to two Premier League championships after a drought of 50 years. To say fans were ecstatic would be an understatement. José became an instant God to the faithful at the club's home stadium, Stamford Bridge in West London.

After a rift with Chelsea's owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, Mou left and spent 2008–10 at Italy's Internazionale where he again won the UEFA Champions League. 

Mou spent 2010–13 managing Spain's Real Madrid, currently the richest football club in the world. Although successful, he did not win the coveted Champions League and had a falling out with Madrista fans and several key players such as the club's top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo (considered one of the best footballers, if not the best, in the world) and keeper Iker Casillas, longtime goalie for both Real and Spain's national team, and a national hero to boot.

In his last days at Real, José openly touted the English Premier League as the best league and coyly suggested that he longed to return to Chelsea where he was universally loved. 

Mourinho 2.0 
Mou returned to Chelsea in 2013 to take charge after the club fired three managers in quick succession
  • André Villas-Boas, who was sacked (i) after the club suffered defeats that dropped them out of the first four in the Premier League (needed to compete in the financially lucrative Champions League) and (ii) following a suspected a revolt of Chelsea's so-called old-guard players.
  • Robbie di Matteo (Fired despite having guided Chelsea to its first ever Champions League trophy in 2012, RDM was the 8th manager in 9 years to be sacked by Abramovich)
  • 'Interim manager' Rafa Benitez (who had managed arch-rival Liverpool), and was hated by many longtime Chelsea fans, indeed personally abused as the 'fat Spanish waiter', usually with vulgar added obscenities.
Given the circus that the club had become, José was welcomed back as Chelsea's saviour, a genius manager who was infallible. This time he self-identified as the 'Happy One'

Several pictures (sometimes called memes on Twitter) illustrate Mou's managerial character and my take on his style. The two twitter accounts are 
All tweets are send-ups and I hope they give a chuckle or two. You can decide how close to the mark they are. 

Mou sees himself as a father figure (‘daddy’) to players, who by extension are his 'kids'. Many tweets below reflect this father-child theme. 

For example, Michael Essien openly calls Mourinho 'daddy'

One of Chelsea's best players ever is Didier Drogba, who was coached by Mou 1.0 in the glory days.
It's clear that longtime #CFC captain, leader, legend John Terry has a special relationship with Mou as does Chelsea's all-time goal scorer Frank Lampard. This pic from MailOnline shows the closeness of Mou and the old guard.

Mourinho lusted after the Chelsea job after his stint at Real Madrid went south.

Clearly, Mourinho has read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and taken it to heart.

In a similar vein Mou is a lot like the godfather in Mario Puzo's The Godfather, made famous by three Godfather movies, the first two of which won Oscars as best picture, and the third of which was a bomb.
Despite sometimes taking blame for defeats, supposedly to protect his players, José does not epitomize a humble leader.

A big part of Mou's allure to fans and media alike is his flamboyance.

Like many great leaders, Mou has a dark and ruthless side. 

Besides flamboyance, Mou is loved by the media for his great interviews and quotability. Naturally, it's a love-hate relationship on the part of both sides. 
Chelsea fans who adore Mou claim that he always says what he thinks, thus is honest and can be trusted. But in the interest of winning and deceiving opponents, Mou is a master manipulator.

Being certain he is right, Mou is often a caricature of an oldtime professor who thinks he's the fountain of all knowledge and truth spews from his lips. 

Hope you enjoyed the tweets. More to come over time. To comment, please reply on the original Twitter sources.