There are a number of big questions in English football that hundreds of late night phone-ins and thousands of column inches attempt to answer: who can lead England to their first trophy since the World Cup in 1966?
Who will take over the mammoth task at Manchester United once Alex Ferguson leaves?
Who can finally make the most of the potential that Arsenal has perpetually failed to take advantage of?
Who will lead Liverpool to their first league title since 1990?
Who can make the most of the millions available at Manchester City and lead them to European domination?
The answer which many fans and pundits assign to those questions is Jose Mourinho.
It is rare that a managerial position comes up in the Premier League and Mourinho’s name isn’t mentioned. Whether there is any actual interest from Mourinho or the club involved, it doesn’t stop newspapers all over the country manufacturing a scenario in which he comes back to England for the first time since leaving Chelsea in 2007. But why?
There are two things which are most hated by rival fans in this country; a club which is dominant in the league and a club which spends tens of millions to buy players and hundreds of thousands to pay them every week.
Mourinho was in charge of a team which was guilty of both. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich spend more than £70 million pounds on players such as Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho who would lead the club to win the Premier League twice, the League Cup twice and the FA Cup during Mourinho’s 185 games in charge.
The football that Chelsea played during his reign wasn’t particularly beautiful either and Jose was famed for his win at all cost tactics which would include shutting up shop once a lead was established and grinding out a result.
In the two seasons which Chelsea won the Premier League they scored only 72 goals in both and conceded just 15 and 22 respectively.
Compare this to the 83 and 80 goals scored by Manchester United in their title winning seasons in 2007 and 2008 and the 103 goals that Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea scored in 2010 when they won the league.
In his positions since leaving Chelsea he has implemented a similar playing style and conduct with Internazionale where he once again brought much success with an unprecedented treble, but didn’t win over many Italian fans with the style with which he brought it to the San Siro.
His playing style is not the only reason why he has been portrayed negatively in the media abroad. Jose called the press’ support of Carlo Ancelotti and Luciano Spalletti, who were at AC Milan and Roma respectively at the time, “intellectual prostitution” because he didn’t believe either would end their seasons with any silverware.
He ran into trouble with the Italian FA when he was sent off by a referee for clapping sarcastically at a free kick given to Juventus and was banned for three games after making a handcuff gesture to television cameras in a game against Sampdoria where two Inter players were sent off dubiously in the first half.
His reign at Real Madrid has been a chequered experience where success on the pitch has been obscured by the antics of Mourinho off it. He was vilified and banned again for two games when he instructed Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos to claim strategic yellow cards against Ajax in the Champions League so that they would receive their bans for an inconsequential group game rather than at the knock out stage.
During a Super Cup match this year Mourinho took part in a mass brawl between the Real Madrid and Barcelona bench and was reprimanded for poking Tito Vilanova in the eye, images of which were shown all over the world and caused much embarrassment for the club.
However, any pragmatic fan will cast a blind eye over these incidences and want Jose Mourinho to pull up at their club because of the consistent success he brings everywhere he goes.
His win percentage between 2000 and 2012 while managing Benfica, Uniao de Leiria, Porto, Chelsea, Internazionale and Real Madrid is 68.93%, resulting in seven league titles, nine cup competitions, one UEFA Cup and two Champions Leagues.
His management style and the belief he instils in players has been widely reported and his ability to rejuvenate clubs was invaluable to Chelsea who won their first league title with Mourinho since 1955.
If Jose does make his return to the Premier League in the future he will be welcomed home, not just by the fans of the club he chooses, but by all the football loving community.
Mourinho is a man who is so passionate with his love for the game that it becomes infectious and you can’t help but believe him when he speaks with such authority about the game.
Sure he may not play the most beautiful football, and if you don’t hold the golden ticket to his services then you may spend a number of seasons watching his team take all the available silverware, but it’s refreshing to see a manager who may love the game as much as those in the stands.
image: © dphuonq