Blog by: Tanya
On September 20 2007, every Chelsea fan knew where he was and what he was doing. For that was the day the sacking of Jose Mourinho was revealed to the world. It was carried out on mutual consent, where the boss and the owner could not unearth another way to find middle ground.
I remember where I was. Aged 15 and out with my friends, I received a phone call from an acquaintance, telling me that doom that fallen upon Chelsea and I should think about changing loyalties. Running home as fast as I could, thinking about hating myself if I ever switched teams, I indeed grasped the news but failed to comprehend it. Tears started rolling down my eyes, and soon I heard my mother saying “He’ll be back, don’t worry darling.”
I refused to believe her and any news thereafter.
The insecurity which this event had brought into Chelsea fans’ hearts was immense. Jose was not only a coach; he was one of us, who seemed to love Chelsea deeply. The self proclaimed “Special One” portrayed himself as a one-man army fighting with us against the world, with an unfading yet distant hope that Chelsea would win in the end. And so it obdurately did.
Countless times, the confidence shown by his team was enormous. Season after season since 2004, the transformation of this 108 year old club was startling. More than the trophies, what he invariably brought into the team and thus its supporters was a winning attitude. He brought the belief in the team that they could be the best in Europe.
A coveted Premier League trophy after 55 years in 2005, another one the next season, a host of FA and League cups brought unparalleled monetary and global success for the club and naturally endeared Jose to the Chelsea faithful, for he celebrated as much as they did if not more. The only trophy eluding Chelsea now was the Champions League, having come agonizingly close to reaching the final on several occasions. With that, the boss and the club prematurely parted ways saying no more than what we already knew.
The trophies continued to come, albeit all the juggling of managers at the helm of the club. The technically marvelous coach continued to stamp his dominance over Europe one club at a time. With winning the Serie-A and the coveted Champions League again with Inter, he moved to the mystifying land of Spain, hoping to craft some piece of history of his own.
To all it seemed a perfect match, the richest football club in the world was now going to be managed by the most celebrated manager. Poetically it seemed perfect. But perfection is a state of mind. One which allows you to perform as you fancy, which is exactly what Mourinho was not allowed to do. The players in Madrid were not just players; they were some of the richest footballers in the world, sporting icons across Spain and the symbol of beautiful football in its human form.
In his second season in charge at Madrid, the domination of Barcelona was temporarily halted by the record braking championship won by Madrid. That made him only the 4th manager to have won league titles in three different countries. Then came the third season, and with it came uncertainty around the Madrid camp as cracks began to emerge within the club.
Mourinho’s decision to drop Casillas, the club captain, was not taken well by the club supporters and its hierarchy who gradually alienated him. His demeanor, once so celebrated at Chelsea, came under intense scrutiny and the rivalry with Barcelona was brought into the spotlight continuously, and blown out of proportion in the media which was already taking a firm stand against him. The Chelsea supporters were voicing their appreciation for their ex-boss, and were calling him home.
Being loved by the English media and people alike, Mourinho and Chelsea finally came together. Seven years of separation had not diminished the mutual respect both parties had for each other. It was rather a sentiment of having known than not, that one day this partnership would resume. It seemed to fit somehow. With not a shred of doubt that the reunion would be as successful as before, Chelsea look set to get back on winning terms with a well-knit team. After all, there was some unfinished business the first time around.