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Jose Mourinho (2004-2007)


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Jose Mourinho (2004-2007)

Written by Loz in August 2008

jose%20champagne.gif The appointment of Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager in June 2004 doesn't just mark a milestone in the club's history it also marks a time where Britain, as we know it, changed forever. Divorce rates went sky high as wives expectations of their hubbies reached unprecedented heights, almost in direct proportion the number of males reconsidering their sexuality resulted in the sales of Abba albums soaring. The strength of the pound against the US dollar rocketed and even street dogs began taking greater care over their personal hygiene. It is safe to say that Mourinho did more for Britain than any politician ever has. We were a happier nation, we dressed better, smelled better and the average number of times we made love to our partners in a calendar year doubled to two.

But what did his signing do for Chelsea?

Well before we examine that it should be pointed out that we weren't actually his team of choice for a while. Whilst he was managing Porto to success well beyond their expectations there were a number of rumours about major clubs being interested in his services and Jose was very public (surprise surprise) in stating a preference for Liverpool over Chelsea.

"Liverpool are a team that interests everyone and Chelsea does not interest me so much because it is a new project with lots of money invested in it. I think it is a project which, if the club fail to win everything, then Abramovich could retire and take the money out of the club. It's an uncertain project. It is interesting for a coach to have the money to hire quality players but you never know if a project like this will bring success'

jose%20signs.gif However money doesn't just hire quality players it also has an uncanny ability to change someone's opinion when a contract is waived under their nose which means they will never again need to worry about cutting coupons out of the ASDA magazine. That contract amounted to £4.2m a year. Money talked and Jose walked!

In the press conference arranged to announce his arrival the Chelsea fans, and world media, were treated to a little taster of what would entertain us for the next three and a bit seasons.

There was, of course, the now famous "Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one' but there were other comments which have been reported slightly less. For example when asked about Chelsea's credentials he offered up 'We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, we have a top manager' and when it was mentioned that Claudio Ranieri had commented that he may find the jump from Portuguese football to English football one a tough challenge he retorted 'I heard that and I suggest if one of you is Mr Ranieri's friend or has his number you should call him and explain to him that for a team to win the European Cup it has to beat many teams from many countries. I did not win the cup playing against 20 Portuguese teams. I played and beat a team from his own country, Italy, from your country and the one he was working in, England. '

One interesting comment he did make at that press conference was a response to a question about which Chelsea players he had been impressed with. His response was "I'm a great defender of team spirit and team work and the first thing I have to promise to my new players is that I will look at them all with the same eyes. I don't want special relations with one of them. I hate to speak about individuals. Players don't win you trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies. I cannot say I love this player, but generally I love the players who love to win. Not only the ones that love to win in 90 minutes but love to win every day, in every training session and in all of their lives."

jose%20drogba.gif Which all sounds great but it is arguable whether it proved entirely true over his tenure. Does a man who has no favourites name 'untouchables' in his squad? Was the constant selection of Gallas at full back due to a genuine belief that the Terry / Carvalho pairing in the centre was stronger or was it more a case of being determined to play his signing? Did Drogba, especially in his first 18 months, really merit the number of first team starts he got at the expense of others? However as Jose has said himself, a successful manager is a winning manager and what Jose did was win and win regularly so, as such, the proof, as Mod would like to be, is in the pudding.

Jose's arrival, combined with Abramovich's wealth, gave the media a free lunch ticket in terms of writing transfer rumours on their back page and Jose didn't let them down when it came to splashing the cash. He was soon reunited with two of his Porto defence when he spent a combined £33m on Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira and he added a further Portuguese player to our ranks by forking out a further £10m on Tiago from Benfica. Marseille then benefited to the tune of £24m for the services of Didier Drogba (who had been seen terrorising Newcastle in a UEFA Cup match but other than that was something of an unknown quantity to most Chelsea fans. Jose claimed to have been tracking him for years and is reported to have tried to sign him at Porto as well)

Like my wife in an antique shop the spending wasn't over although this one was to be far lower key. £5.4m was spent on Mateja Kezman, a player who had scored freely in the Dutch league for PSV Eindhoven but until we stepped in had been strongly linked with a move to Charlton and nobody else - alarm bells did ring a little! In addition to these new players the squad had already been strengthened by the signings of Petr Cech and Arjen Robben prior to Jose's arrival (there is still debate over whether they were Ranieri signings, Jose signings or AN Other signings!). They say it takes time to mould so many new signings together.

jose%20points.gif They say a lot of things, not all of them correct. This was one of those times! An acceptable, without being exciting start to the season, was kick started into life when Robben broke into the first team after injury (something we would get accustomed to in the way you get accustomed to having to put one foot in front of the other to walk). Robben was electric and the club responded to his form by scoring for fun. It wouldn't be an exaggeration if I said that some people thought we were witnessing a player who would go on to establish himself as one of the true greats of the game - it wouldn't be an exaggeration because it was me that said it!

Before Santa had come along with his sack of goodies and slightly fanatical elves we were sitting pretty at the top of the table (and by the end of January our lead was extended to 10 and 11 points over Arsenal and Man Utd respectively) and had cruised through the qualification stages of the Champions League.

jose%20shoshing%20scoucers.jpg The first trophy of the Jose era was the League Cup which we won beating Liverpool 3-2 after extra time at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Just in case the razzmatazz of a cup final wasn't enough to make the day memorable Jose decided to spice things up a bit be taunting the Liverpool fans with the global symbol fo 'sshhhh' when we equalised - safe to say the match officials saw as much of the funny side of that as Rafa Benitez has seen of his own pecker in the past 10 years and Jose was promptly sent from the touchline.

That success was comfortably eclipsed by Chelsea winning their title for the first time in 50 years.

We didn't just win it, we, metaphorically speaking, pissed all over it and in doing so broke more records than the whole of America when John Lennon scoffed at the popularity of the late JC. I will probably miss a few from the list but the ones I know we broke are:

Highest points total: 95

Fewest goals conceded: 15

Most consecutive clean sheets: 10

Most clean sheets overall: 25

Most Premiership victories: 29

jose%20barca.gif The 2004/05 season witnessed one of the most reported moments of controversy in Jose's Chelsea career. Chelsea were on Champions League duty away at the Nou Camp and Steve Clarke reported to Jose that he had seen match referee, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Self Adulation, Anders Frisk conversing with Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard during the half time interval in the referee's official room - an area where managers were not supposed to be. Jose later revealed that he had actually ordered Clarke to keep an eye on Frisk after the half time whistle went and after Jose had returned to the dressing room to prepare for his half time talk.

'During the first half of the game Rijkaard was very aggressive toward the fourth referee. Before the end of the half I talked to my assistants. You wait here and you go only when the ref goes. Just wait, wait to see.'

In the second half Didier Drogba was sent off for an offence which wasn't even a foul let alone a card incident and the sh*t hit the fan so ferociously that the fan was retired from duty on health and safety grounds. Jose did not hold back in his accusations and told Portuguese newspaper Dez Record: "When I saw Rijkaard entering the referee's dressing room I couldn't believe it. When Didier Drogba was sent off (after half-time) I wasn't surprised."

Frisk and Rijkaard denied any wrong doing and Volker Roth (the head of UEFA's referees) said: "We can't accept that one of our best referees has been forced to quit because of this. People like Mourinho are the enemy of football.' after Frisk retired having received anonymous death threats via e-mail. It is worth noting that Chelsea contacted UEFA, asked for copies of the e-mail to be provided and promised to try and track down the senders and take action against any they managed to trace. UEFA never provided them yet made no effort to trace the perpetrators themselves - could it be they never existed?

jt%20frisk.gif Chelsea did later retract the allegation that Frisk had talked to Rijkaard in the restricted area and accepted that they had mistaken however they did not retract the accusation that the contact between them had been inappropriate. What was less reported and is still barely mentioned is that Rijkaard actually admitted that a conversation had taken and that a later UEFA statement confirmed this.

Of course none of that was deemed important in the eyes of the governing body charged with upholding its own rules! Jose was disgusted by UEFA's response who imposed a two match ban on him but also by the fact Chelsea decided on some positive PR and decided against appealing the ban. Jose refused to attend an official UEFA press conference but he did send along his assistant, and close friend, Baltemar Brito who conveyed Mourinho's anger. "He's not happy," he said. "He feels hard done by over the ban situation - Brito then confirmed that Mourinho was upset at Chelsea's stance over the touchline ban "When Jose comes to a club or starts a new job, he gives 100 per cent and expects 100 per cent back. Jose felt he did not get 100 per cent back."

Jose soon made peace with his internal ill feeling when his agent negotiated a new five year deal worth £5.2m per year.

In a season so packed with success there was only really one major disappointment for Jose and that was being knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool at the semi-final stage. To the end of his days as a Chelsea manager Jose never accepted that the goal which knocked us out should have been given on the grounds that the ball never crossed the line. Scousers counter claimed that if the goal had not been given then a penalty would have been awarded and Cech sent off (something the match ref later said) although it should be noted that the incident Cech 'would have been sent off' was almost identical to the one in the infamous tie at the Nou Camp where it was the striker (Drogba) who was penalised and the keeper deemed to be the victim. Anyway the bottom line is the day that you take a scouser's word for anything is the day you may as well hand over your house keys and offer them your car to drive your possessions away in.

jose%20jacket.gif So onto 2005/06 and the added pressure of defending the title, something pundits always claim is harder than actually winning it. Pundits like Andy Gray, who it should be pointed out, did fail to ever win back to back titles. Well to put you out of your suspense and ruin a cliffhanging tale we did manage to defend it! It wouldn't have been much of a cliff hanger anyway as to be honest we rarely looked like we would fail to! Jose's list of trophies won for Chelsea was increased at the very start of the season by a 2-1 Community Shield win over Arsenal and, to be entirely honest, the Premiership was never really out of our back pocket. We led the table for the vast majority of the season and clinched the trophy by destroying Manchester United 3-0.

Jose celebrated this win in slightly unorthodox fashion. First off he launched his jacket into the adoring Chelsea crowd and then stunned everyone watching by tossing his medal in as well! A slightly embarrassed FA decided he really should have a medal and so awarded him a second one, a second one that Jose promptly launched into the crowd as well.

Looking back on that second season it would be easy to say that Jose changed nothing and we simply powered our way to the title by changing very little from the season before. That would be far too simplistic and basically wrong! There was a noticeable difference in the teams that won in 2004/05 and 2005/06. In 2004/05 Jose played a slightly more attack minded style with Eidur Gudjohnsen providing an effective link between Lampard and Makalele in the midfield and the likes of Drogba, Joe Cole, Damien Duff and Arjen Robben in more advanced positions. The success in 2005/06 was built more around a bellicose midfield with Gudjohnsen playing far less regularly and Michael Essien being a driving force that just never ran out of energy.

jose%20relaxing.gif In June 2005 Mourinho, along with Chelsea and Ashley Cole received record fines for their part in Chelsea's 'tapping up' of the Arsenal left back. Jose's fine was £200k later reduced to £75k on appeal) and the club were fined £300k plus a suspended three point sentence whilst Cole was fined £100k. The fines were handed out due to a meeting attended by Mourinho, Cole, Kenyon, and agents Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett to discuss a possible transfer without Arsenal being approached for permission to speak to Cole. Three years previously M'Boro brought charges against Liverpool for illegally approaching defender Christian Ziege. The fines dished out for that? £20,000 for Liverpool and £10,000 for Ziege

Our relationship with Arsenal soured further in October 2005 when Jose fell out with rival manager Arsene Wenger when he accused the Professor Yaffle look-a-like of being a voyeur. Jose said 'There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea." This had all kicked off after we had been knocked out of the Carling Cup by Charlton on penalties and drawn 1-1 away at Everton in the league. Wenger was quoted as saying that 'a little bit of the belief has gone' when asked about us in a pre-match media briefing. Wenger was clearly a man of great hope as following that weekend's fixtures we were 14 points ahead of his side as they languished in 7th place! Jose said "It bothers me because the guy is speaking all the time. We never speak about them. You can do it when you are top and you have a big morale. When you are on game number 11 and you still can't win away from home, and when you are without Thierry Henry and he can't win a game, he should be worried about them.'

Pre-season for the 2006/07 season was disturbed by the fall out between the club and William Gallas. Over the two championship seasons Mourinho had at his disposal three centre halves from which to select a partnership as well as orthodox and excellent full backs. Those centre halves were William Gallas, John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho. Terry, as club captain, and in outstanding form was the first name on the team sheet so the decision was who to play alongside him.

gallas%20spurs.gif I am yet to hear a convincing argument in favour of selecting Carvalho over Gallas (or many Chelsea fans who agreed he should have been) yet that is what Jose chose to do time and time again whilst shunting Gallas out to left back and pushing Wayne Bridge onto the bench. This decision recognised the fact that Gallas was too good too simply leave out of the team however it never sat easily with Gallas that he was being played out of position as he felt it was hindering his chance of establishing himself as one of France's first choice centre half pairings.

It should be pointed out that at this time Carvalho, whilst still very good, was not the centre half he developed into once Gallas had left. He would often be caught too far up the field as he ran out of position to chase the ball and was prone to missing the occasional header. Gallas, on the other hand, rarely put a foot wrong and seemed to complement Terry perfectly.

Gallas' contract was to due to run out in May 2007 and although he was offered a new one he felt his contribution to the team was not sufficiently valued (this is the polite way of saying he wanted more dough!) as there were a number of players on more lucrative contracts than the one he was offered. In May 2006 he slapped in a transfer request but the club rejected it.

jose%20ballack.gif This seemed to give Gallas the hump and after playing for France at the 2006 World Cup he didn't show up at our pre-season tour in America (he later cited tiredness as the reason - to be fair it is pretty tiring sitting in first class whilst the plane does all the work). Jose, not being one to be mucked about, demonstrated how much he cared about Gallas' strop by publicly handing Gallas' squad number (13) over to new signing Michael Ballack (Ballack had always worn the number 13 in the past but had already accepted he wouldn't be able to at Chelsea). In true French style Gallas huffed (then popped out for bread, wine and cheese). By the time the season got underway Gallas had moved to Arsenal in a deal that saw Ashley Cole come the other way.

It is impossible to deny that Arsenal got the better end of the deal as we lost a phenomenally talented centre half (and £5m) although it is also impossible to deny that we rid ourselves of a bad apple (as he has proved since joining Arsenal). The media jumped on the bandwagon and claimed that Jose was angered by the decision to let Gallas leave however the club denied this and issued a formal statement saying that Gallas had threatened to score own goals if we was not allowed to leave Chelsea - Gallas denied this and claimed we lacked class, later in his career at Arsenal he was to strop in the centre circle whilst Birmingham were taking a penalty, this whilst being club captain - real classy stuff Billy Boy!

The 2006/07 season saw us start as firm favourites for the title. Our squad had been further strengthened by a record £30m signing in Andrei Shevchenko and the free transfer of German national captain Michael Ballack. These two transfers, and especially the Shevchenko one, were strongly rumoured to be Roman Abramovich rather than Jose Mourinho signings. The media picked up on this and were soon talking about a break down in the working relationship between the Chelsea owner and manager and although the club, and Jose, denied there were any such problems there was a general sense of 'no smoke without fire' about the Bridge.

Meanwhile back on the pitch Jose was still delivering silverware, although notably this season neither of the big two came our way.

jose%202007%20fa%20cup%20final.gif A domestic cup double is still not something to be sniffed at, far from it, but we were living in a new era for Chelsea where expectations had reached stupid levels. A Drogba double helped us to a 2-1 win over Arsenal in a bad tempered League Cup final (I say bad tempered but what I really mean is 'in a game where Arsenal once again demonstrated their inability to lose without throwing their toys out of the pram') and although we surrendered the title to Manchester United we managed to put some joy back into the end of the season by beating them 1-0 in the first ever FA Cup final to be played at the new Wembley (meaning we were the last team to win the FA Cup at the old Wembley and first to win it at the new one).

During this season Jose courted further bad press when, after we played Everton in December 2006, he called Andy Johnson 'untrustworthy' over an incident involving Chelsea keeper Henrique Hilario where Jose clearly felt Johnson had gone to ground far too easily. Everton took the hump big time and threatened legal action against Jose unless he apologised and retracted the accusation (which he duly did - he didn't have much choice to be honest as he was clearly wrong!). This incident did bring about mental images of a pot questioning the lack of garish colouring in the kettle's attire. Jose could, at that point, lay claim to two of the worst serial offenders of going to ground too easily in Robben and Drogba and his time at Porto was well documented as being in charge of a team which went down faster than a two bob whore working toward a Christmas bonus.

Once again Champions League success evaded Jose and once again it was Liverpool who would put a dent in the spokes - well that would have been the case but the spokes were attached to the wheels which were already hidden in a lock up in Toxteth). Again the bin dippers beat us at the semi final stage but this time it was on penalties with Robben and Geremi missing their spot kicks. We went to Anfield with a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg and we just failed to turn up. I'm sure Jose would deny it (as would many supporters) but I always got the impression that he was a little scared to take the game to Liverpool in Champions League ties. Strangely we generally got the better of them in domestic games but when it came to the European knock out games we seemed to go out there with a very 'carefully does it' approach.

joe%20roman%20kenyon.gif In the January transfer window Jose made it clear that he needed a centre half to help deal with injuries. He identified Bolton's Tal Ben Haim as his player of choice but Abramovich refused to sanction the purchase as Bolton wanted £2m for a player with only six months left on his contract (Ben Haim was to join on a free at the end of the season but only lasted one season before being sold on to Manchester City in July 2008). This annoyed Mourinho, especially when he considered how much money had been spent on Shevchenko six months earlier. Jose had also been annoyed by the appointment of Frank Arnesen as the club's head of youth development and Avram Grant as Director of Football.

The Grant appointment in particular was seen by Jose as being a threat to his role and he made it clear that he expected absolutely no interference with first team duties by either Grant or Arnesen.

Near the end of the 2006/07 season Jose made a little news outside of the football word when he was arrested by the rozzers over an incident involving his pet dog Gullit (yes named after the Ruud boy)! The police believed that the dog had been taken out of the UK and brought back again without receiving the appropriate injections and therefore they planned to seize it under the terms of the Animal Health Act of 1981 and the Rabies Order of 1974. They showed up at the Mourinho household whilst he was attending the Chelsea player of the year awards. His wife called him and Jose left the ceremony and headed for home at which point he gave PC Plod a piece of his mind and took the dog back from them. He was subsequently arrested and cautioned for obstructing the police - meanwhile thousands of teenagers walked the streets armed to the teeth and forgetting what a policeman looked like it was so long since they had seen one that wasn't on the television having personal problems.

One thing I haven't mentioned so far is that in all this time as Chelsea manager Jose was never on the receiving end of a home defeat in the league. The very first game of the 2007/08 saw this run extended by a further game and in doing so set a new English record of 64 consecutive home league matches without a defeat (as I write this profile we are a further year ahead of that fixture and are still to lose at home in the league).

jose%20rosenborg.gif Our start to the 2007/08 season did not set the world on fire. We lost away at Villa and dropped points at home against Blackburn Rovers before we only managed a home draw against Rosenborg in the Champions League (a game we were expected to coast although as it turned out their performances in the Champions League that season surprised a lot of people). Just shy of 25,000 turned out to watch that Champions League game at the Bridge prompting some people to claim that Chelsea fans were growing bored of Jose's style of football. More likely to be true was that they were tired of paying Chelsea's exorbitant ticket prices.

Chelsea's goal that night was scored by Shevchenko who had never shown the kind of form in a Chelsea shirt as he had for AC Milan and had also never shaken off the fact that he was not a Jose signing. Jose rarely, if ever, praised Shevchenko and all but ignored him when he rescued the point against Rosenborg. Those results, combined with the ongoing speculation about a clash of egos between Roman and Jose, and reports that Roman was not happy with the style of our football brought matters to a head and on September 20th the football world was shocked when Jose, easily the most successful manager in the club's history, was sacked.

The press speculated wildly about the extent to which Jose's relationship with, not just the board, but also key players had broken down with club captain John Terry in particular mentioned in many quarters as being someone who had burnt his bridges with Mourinho. This was denied by the club however, in retrospect, it is worth noting that a season later with Jose on charge at Inter Milan and strongly linked with moves for Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba he has never once been linked with a move for the player who was his captain and commanded Jose's Chelsea side in a manner you would always wish from your captain. Having said that, on the day he left the Bridge, Jose sent text messages to John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba wishing each of them "good luck in the rest of your career" and saying that he was leaving the club that morning. Mourinho made a brief visit to the Cobham training ground to say farewell to the squad and it was reported that Didier Drogba was in tears (big girls blouse eh Liam).

At the end of such a successful era it is only right to reflect on what Jose brought to Chelsea that led them to a level of success they had never experienced before.

jose%206.gif Yes he had a lot of money at his disposal however plenty of managers have spent heavily and not delivered results and he achieved this success in competition with teams that had also spent heavily over a number of years. In terms of mental he brought an attitude to winning that had not been present at the Bridge for a long time. He didn't consider second place as a noble effort, he saw it as being an also ran and this attitude was soon passed onto the players. For the first time in a long time we, as fans, could see Chelsea go behind, but still believe we were going to turn things round and win. After the 2004/05 season John Terry said 'In previous seasons I've gone to Arsenal and always felt we could have gone out there and won but deep down in the back of my mind I felt they were the better side. Last year, going into those games, we were better than Arsenal and I felt that.'

On a more fundamental, week to week, strategy basis he brought in a degree of preparation and focus that the Premiership, let alone Chelsea, had never witnessed before. His notes on the next opposition were reported to be massively detailed and no stone was left unturned when it came to preparing each individual player for their role in a game. Players knew all about the strengths and weaknesses of the player most likely to be their closest rival in a game and when defending set pieces each and every player was well versed in exactly what was expected of them and also what the opposition were likely to do. Again this was expressed by Terry who said 'Tactically his coaching is spot-on. Physically his training is perfect. All of the work that he and his staff do around the place, going into games, at team meetings; we were more prepared about other teams. If I'm marking someone I know where he is going to run. I know he might have beaten me in the air, but I know where he's going to run to. I've got half a yard on him as a result.'

On the flip side the football we were producing by Jose's third season in charge was sill very effective but often tedious to watch. It was never anything like as poor as the media portrayed it to be however it also wasn't the stuff that made you go home, pull your boots on and try and work out why you could never do more than 10 keepie ups. We had moved away from utilising orthodox wingers and were opting more for strength and power over craft and guile. Although we still played with wingers they were more often than not players who tended to pick the ball up in wide areas then come inside and slow the game down whilst the likes of Essien, Lampard and Ballack came up to support them. It was widely reported that Abramovich was less than enchanted with what he was watching and it is possibly this, as well as the reported power struggle between him and Jose that ultimately led to Jose's dismissal (OK officially it was one of those 'mutual consent' things but we all know it was a dismissal).

jose%20v.gif It is hard to imagine that we will ever again have a manager who provides success and charisma in equal measures however I am one who thinks by the time Jose left the club the squad was starting to deteriorate and there was a lack of balance in the team. I think we had seen the best of the Jose era and I had doubts we would dominate the Premiership again under his leadership. Many (in fact probably a majority) of Chelsea fans will disagree with me and I can totally understand why they do. Despite these feelings I will always be indebted to him for delivering one thing that I never thought I would experience in my lifetime - seeing my wife suddenly interested in football - oh and the feeling of seeing Chelsea win the title!

That day we clinched the 2004/05 title against Bolton is a day I will remember forevermore (or until the booze wrecks my brain - now what was I saying? Something about mowing the lawn wasn't it?).

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