He shows up for work at Cobham training ground in defiant mood and by 14:00hrs, he was called into the office of Club chairman, Bruce Buck, who alongside Club director, Eugene Tenenbaumby told him his services were no longer required at Stamford Bridge. The meeting lasted for only 10 minutes. It’s a punishing job with short and vague memories. One moment you are the poster boy of the world, the other moment you are the bad guy who has lost his way. As the curtain falls on what will surely be the last departure of Jose Mourinho from Stamford Bridge, the narrative will remain a puzzling one. That a team that won the league and league cup at a canter few months ago will slump to such abysmal depths few months after is a tale that might never be fully understood, and truly one of football’s biggest fall.
Jose departs Chelsea as the greatest manager in the Club’s 110 years history. To capture it more succinctly, Thierry Henry described him as the man who put Chelsea on the map. But when the self-inquisition begins; he will tell himself the home truth that this was the toughest patch in his glamorous career and it was not meant to end this way. I have always maintained that if he survived the turbulent phase, it will make him a better manager, and most importantly, a better person. Sadly, he didn’t stay to see it happen. Pundits and arm-chair critics will pretend to have all the answers to Chelsea and Jose Mourinho’s deterioration when you read the back pages of newspapers but we might never fully get the entire picture. A plethora of reasons has been adduced. From Eva Carnerio’s saga earlier in the season, to Jose’s verbal vitriolics, to the players out-of-form spells. Whatever your opinion is, the problems at Chelsea was an accumulation of factors rather than a singular trouble.
As Jose Mourinho drove out of Fulham road for the final time, he has to agree that he was partly at fault for all that has happened to Chelsea this season. While he thrives on it, the conscious effort to always center the focus of attention on himself was always going to back-fire. Even the staunchest of Mourinho’s fans will agree that the impasse with Club doctor, Eva Carnerio in August was one he got wrong. The siege mentality he had created of ‘Us against the World’ was also one that was always going to implode at some point. Perhaps, the last straw that broke the camel’s back was his public criticisms of some of his players and to use the word ‘betrayal’ while referring to his players display in the aftermath of the Leicester City defeat was stretching blunt talking. When all is said and done, Jose did not make life easy for himself. He is a man with a massive ego and excessive pride. The assumption was that age, experience and the recent turmoil would have taught him some few lessons in humility but it is obvious Jose will remain Jose. So what next for Jose? He will surely not be unemployed for too long given his amazing track record but it must worry even him and the prospective employers at this point that he can’t seem to keep a job beyond 3 years.
Having said that, the entire Chelsea players have to take a hard look at themselves going forward. They have massively let the Club and Jose Mourinho down this season. From Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa to Eden Hazard, Branislav Ivanovic and the likes, they have simply not been able to put in a good shift. It will say a lot of the players ‘trust’ for Jose Mourinho should they pull together a great run of games at this time. Say all you want about confidence, but with a paycheck of over 150,000 pounds, you will expect only a nuclear reaction to have shattered the players’ confidence this badly. Obviously, you can’t sack 22 players. Thus, Jose becomes the guinea pig. This Chelsea team has performed in sixth gear all season. In the final analysis, it is the players that have to go onto the pitch and deliver the goods. So far this season, they have been complete shambles, and that is for want of a milder word.
By his historical nature of short patience, one must agree that Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich clearly gave the manager a lot of time to turn the story around. It is a no brainer that if it was another manager that was in charge through these murky waters, he would have since been showed the exit door. Jose Mourinho clearly lasted this long because he was Jose Mourinho and the prolonged love and support the fans have showed him week in, week out, was surely one that did not go un-noticed by Roman and the power brokers at the bridge. However, the tough job will be who inherits the seemingly ‘poisoned chalice’ now. A lot of names are currently being paraded in the media but only time will tell who becomes the new gaffer, in the interim and long term.