John Berger, the art critic, once said “The more monotonous the present, the more the mind is left wonder” and he would, in the instance of Chelsea Football Club versus Rafael Benitez, be one hundred per cent accurate in his estimation.
Here’s the thing: Blues fans never wanted Benitez in the first place and now that he’s failed to win anything and in fact, to the contrary, having now seen the club dumped out of two or three cup competitions, all but mathematically out of the title race, and very nearly exit the Europa League were it not for a 90th minute goal from Eden Hazard, they certainly don’t want him any more now.
However, I believe, in retrospect, Chelsea fans may understand more comprehensively that it is their disgust with Rafael Benitez that prompts this longing, this pining, this urge in their pit of their stomachs for one Jose Mourinho.
Lest they forget this is a man who, in three years, won them 2 Premier League titles, 2 FA Cup and couple of League Cups to go with them. He came and he conquered – he was ‘the special one’ but, more than that, he was their special one. He made them feel special.
But, somewhere in the nostalgia and Benitez-bashing beguile, reality and truth have been forsaken. Does anyone remember that Mourinho made Chelsea the most loathed football club on this planet?
How the world despised them. Not just them but everything about them – from their moneybags owner to their narcissistic and Machiavellian manager to the grotesque monstrosities that were his players.
They were like the evil pantomime villains of English football. They manifested and mutated at abominable speed. Yes, they won things. But they made it look so dirty and ugly. Ugly, ugly football.
And the special one certainly had a special mouth on him. He, in one fell swoop of a sentence, could alienate one half the country and amuse the other. Roman Abramovich got rid of him for a reason. Mourinho was a monster. Doesn’t anyone remember that?
Okay, so he maintained an unbeaten home record, won six trophies in three years and, is to date, Chelsea’s most successful manager in history but, well, isn’t that more because the others were rubbish?