Football Managers On TV: Jose Mourinho

Like all the best actors, who Jose Mourinho really is when not onstage remains elusive. He has the X factor, but knows when and when not to turn on the charm...

Last Updated: 04/09/14 at 11:19 Post Comment

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John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at the Premier League's gaffers and how they come across on the telly. Last week, it was 'Ginger Mourinho' Sean Dyche, this week, it's the real deal: Jose Mourinho.

Philosophy
You are all in the court of King Jose. Many other excellent managers have inspired respect, many have instilled fear, but Mourinho is that rarest of creatures: a man with genuine star power in the exact same way as, say, George Clooney. That's different from success, from fame, from power, from popularity, and remains one of the most elusive and hardest to define of human qualities. Mourinho has it, and he knows he has it, and he is very happy to let others know that he has it. He believes - no, he knows - that he is the best, the most important, the least fallible. Everything else flows from that.


Interview style
Whatever The Special One deems suitable for the moment and mood. Can be charming, or amusing, or withering. Sometimes plays the confused foreigner, the naughty schoolboy, the statesman. Can be expressive and effusive, or monosyllabic and obnoxious. Sometimes magnanimous, sometimes snide and bitter, it really all depends on how he is feeling. There are those who choose to see it as part of a mind games masterplan: if so, it is not especially successful, in that neither friend, nor foe, nor neutral can ever really tell how much he means, or whether he is just choosing to act in a certain manner for the hell of it. Like all the best actors, who they really are when not onstage remains elusive. Does he like rock music, 70s disco or avant garde jazz? What are his favourite movies? What books does he read? Who does he think would win in a fight between a vicious otter and Geoff Boycott? We don't know the answers to any of these questions and we must presume that Jose likes it that way.


Suit, tracksuit or other
Has thickened out since his early Chelsea days and consequently now properly fills a trouser. Favours the woolly pully under jacket look in winter and wears a summer suit with the casual elegance that will always elude his British counterparts. Oscillates between impeccable tailoring, smouldering scruffy looks in very expensive leisurewear, and even trackie bottoms tucked into in socks depending on his mood. Somehow, ever the schemer, it seems as if his choice of clothes is all part of whatever role he is playing at that moment.


Can he talk the English?
Oh yes. And damn sexy too. Is not above feigning ignorance of a question or idiom if he feels it is to his advantage to do so.


Cliché counter
Inventor, or at least populariser, of the modish "parking the bus" and, of course, "The Special One", for which newspaper sub-editors around the country owe the man a large whisky, so often has it been used and manipulated on the back pages.


Proper football man?
Interesting one. What with being smouldering and handsome and foreign, it is tempting to imagine Jose as a continental sophisticate, a man with a hinterland. That said, we have never really seen him express any sort of view about anything other than football, and indeed his entire being is defined by it every bit as much as a Top Top or a Reidy. On the other hand, is not English, was no good as a player, and famously came up through the ranks by being Wor Sir Uncle Bobby's translator, which is the job of a swot and a nerd and in no way PFM. Also, probably wouldn't vote UKIP. But the PFM loves him because he's a winner and because he bought expensive red wine for Sir Alex, like any PFM should. None of this girly white wine for Jose. So he has an honorary PFM membership card but chooses to use it rarely.


Sacking ahoy?
Well, with Chelsea, you clearly never know. Seems fairly unlikely that Roman would trigger him during this season, with the side the one to beat in the league, but a European Cup exit could well do it. One senses, somehow, that Mourinho wouldn't be that arsed, he has at times felt muted compared to his glorious first stint in England, like a lead guitarist who was tired of cranking out the same riffs on yet another endless European tour. TV and newspaper bods would be absolutely devastated if he did leave, of course: we can think of no other figure in football who can reduce a pack of cynical middle-aged hacks to giggling schoolgirls like Jose. We will not, in all probability, see his like again and for once, the common tag, the cliché "The Special One", is an entirely appropriate moniker. If Mourinho isn't Special, no-one is.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

Check out John's new series of crime novels about life, death, sex and UEFA Cup football.

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