• Sat
  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 9:13pm
Column
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 May, 2013, 4:50am

Jose Mourinho makes no secret of desire to return to Chelsea

Chelsea fans hope to reignite their love affair with Mourinho, but they should remember the lows as well as the highs

BIO

Peter Simpson is a China-UK based journalist and the SCMP’s former Beijing 2008 Olympics news editor. He has covered major international news and sporting events, most recently the London 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Peter is a Premier League season ticket holder at newly promoted Southampton FC.
 

Manic May is upon us. Cup finals, league titles, promotions and relegations - plus all the rumours of sackings and appointments - pepper the calendar squares for the next four weeks.

Across Europe, top restaurants are busily taking lunch-time bookings from soccer club directors and owners preparing to brief agents representing managers, coaches and players.

This week, Manchester City's soccer director, Txiki Begiristain, was seen in a Madrid restaurant with Jesús Martinez, a prominent Spanish agent. Martinez has a bulging client book and the Spanish media speculated the table talk centred on in-demand Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini.

Real Madrid, preparing for life beyond Jose Mourinho, are reportedly looking at Carlo Ancelotti, Jupp Heynckes and Andre Villas-Boas.

For every departure there is an arrival. Ancelotti's employers, Paris Saint-Germain, are also chewing over approaches to Mourinho, Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez.

Mourinho did not wait for his agent to be sat or make an order, however. His brazen midweek plea to Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich for a reunion was super-sized.

After being sent packing by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final, Real Madrid's ex-Chelsea coach Mourinho made it patently clear his desire to rekindle his old flame.

Within minutes of the Borussia Dortmund defeat, he was asked if he would be at the Bernabeu next season. He responded: "Maybe not."

Questioned where he might go, he replied: "I don't know, but I want to be where people love me to be."

With the dramatic affection of a Shakespearian character, he declared: "I know in England I am loved ... I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one."

Mourinho looked like he was about to beg, "Will you take me back Roman?" live to the world.

But the reporter was forced by his London based-studio to end the line of query abruptly because the ad break was approaching ... corporatism waits for no man in a romantic mood, after all.

Chelsea will wave adios to their undervalued and much unloved interim manager Benitez at the end of this month.

Mourinho is obviously confident Abramovich is open to the idea of giving their complex relationship another go - if only for the sake of the fans, who remain doey-eyed at the suave, smooth-taking, trophy-winning manager.

His behaviour suggests he has already been in talks with his former boss, the same one who effectively sacked him in 2007 after a power struggle over transfer policy and first-team control. If Chelsea are planning an exercise in revisionism they should do so with marriage counsellors employed among the backroom staff.

Mourinho is undoubtedly a brilliant manager. He is also a master manipulator of emotion and sentiment and is presenting himself as the victim - "the lost hero" - looking for a way back to his spiritual home.

His often controversial behaviour is compared to Svengali. He courts controversy as a ploy to take pressure away from his players and on to himself, and this, in turn, creates an underdog spirit in the dressing room which can, as he often proved, create winners.

Yet his public wooing of Abramovich, and the declaration that he must be adored, demonstrates how deeply his experience in Madrid - a rare season bereft of triumph - has affected his confidence and endearing arrogance. Clearly his personality is no longer having the desired effect at Real Madrid.

His previous relationship with Chelsea ended because he locked horns with Abramovich over his dislike for vulnerable attacking soccer over individual talent.

He refused to yield his position because he believed no-one should dare query the wisdom of the "Special One".

Chelsea fans crave the unprecedented success Mourinho brought them. But they would do well to remember the bad times and the relationship between the dugout and board.

For much of his three-year stay Chelsea were on the brink of civil war, with the manager's aides briefing against directors and the board admitting "Mourinho was out of control".

Mourinho is said to have enjoyed a working relationship with then chief executive Peter Kenyon. But he has little time for chairman Bruce Buck and only contempt for Abramovich's advisers. He threatened to resign at least twice, the first time before the end of his first season.

Adding to the tense atmosphere within the club there were the over-the-fence rows with the neighbours from the FA, EPL and Uefa.

Mourinho complained the club did not give him enough backing in his wars with the authorities over transfers.

The British media have applauded the possible return of Mourinho but they, too, should recall how petulant he could be, with many no-shows at press conferences and interview refusals. If a screening of the rom-com The Return of the Special One gets the nod, then Chelsea fans would do well to stock up on tissues next season.

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