Shaw once wrote that ‘some men are born kings; and some are born statesmen. The two are seldom the same’.
In footballing parlance, a similar accusation might be levied at Jose Mourinho.
There is no questioning his tactical ability. Whether proving his talent under a wide-brimmed sombrero in the footballing cauldrons of Mediterranean Europe, or a fur-lined ushanka in the politically-charged iciness of SW6, he rarely fails to deliver. However, while his charisma and tactical awareness translate into a dozen different languages, his petulance and rudeness sadly do not.
The British media initially took exception to him, but somehow his quirkiness, his quaintness, his esoteric pidgin-English, and the sheer Whitehall-farce of his increasingly unintelligible media outbursts, won over both the tabloid press and that most mythical of all beings… the impartial football supporter.
Initially I must admit to possessing a sneaking admiration for Iberia’s pint-sized Napoleon, and my wife positively drooled whenever his swarthy arrogance and designer-stubble scruffiness graced our screens. ‘Who would you rather be?’ she would goad, “Jose Mourinho, or Alex Ferguson?’. She was quite right of course; it was the proverbial ‘jovial ‘arry’ no-brainer… but then she used to say the same thing about Roberto Mancini until he cut his hair and dispensed with that immaculately positioned scarf.
The Italians, on the other hand, who know a thing or two about charisma and style, disagreed. To all but the most fervent Internazionale supporter he was a rude, crude and offensive little man, who insulted their nation at every opportunity and was only deserving of ‘an offer he couldn’t refuse’.
But you know… I’m beginning to think they were right.
This latest broadside, aimed at just about everyone, from Arsene Wenger to Mourinho’s Bernabeu predecessor and current England scapegoat, is a perfect example of why Jose Mourinho is little more than a Portuguese Bonaparte. To bask in the reflected glory of Chelsea and Porto and Internazionale is understandable, and probably justified, but to then use that same celebrity status to castigate respected fellow professionals is shameful, distasteful, and down-right tacky.
Whatever our opinions of Fabio Capello may be, there is no question that his record, prior to South Africa, is deserving of respect. Arsene Wenger has done great things for our beloved Arsenal and possibly even greater things for football coaching and football management in general. Both men are giants of the game, and for very good reasons. They have earned the respect they enjoy, from all but the most rabid tabloid hack. To have to suffer this sort of juvenile and offensive commentary shames only the Portuguese Bonaparte himself.
But then, if I might cherry-pick the quotes of a certain Arthur Wellesley when referring to the upstart Corsican, who also bathed in the reflected glory of his troops when they had won a few… ‘On the field of battle his hat is worth forty-thousand men… but he’s not a gentleman’.
Written by mikeB