Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughIt’s taken me 15 years to be an overnight success - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough It’s taken me 15 years to be an overnight success - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

It’s taken me 15 years to be an overnight success

Jose Mourinho

He labelled himself ‘The Special One’ when he first arrived in the UK, and the majority of the public agreed with him. He has been compared to Brian Clough due to his outspoken manner, confidence, aura and winning mentality – Ross Fisher looks at one of the most influential Football Managers the world has ever seen and whether or not that coat ever did come from Matalan…

No-one could have been fully prepared for the phenomenon that is Jose Mourinho. He has been described by team mates as “infectiously confident”, a “Jewel in the crown” and by the late Sir Bobby Robson as “far too good looking to be standing next to”. He is the man that your wife would leave you for and probably the man that you would leave your wife for. Love him or hate him, you can’t help but respect him.

The image of Mourinho is one of success, arrogance, confidence and will stop at nothing to win, but what is he really like behind the rugged looks and one liners? He currently sits in charge of one of Footballs biggest power-houses, Real Madrid and has a CV which spans 10 years, winning 6 League titles, 2 Champions League titles, a UEFA Cup and 4 League cups and at the time that this article was written, has gone an incredible 9 years without seeing any of his teams beaten at home in the league – his last loss at home being February 23rd 2002 in charge of Porto, a 3-2 defeat against Beira Mar.

Born in Setubal, a small fishing town South of Lisbon – it seems that studying the game has been in him from a very early age. Close friend and Biographer Luis Lourenco has said that a young 5-year-old Jose would attend his father’s Goalkeeping training sessions at Vitoria F.C. acting as ball boy. “He loved being part of it, but growing up, he was no goalkeeper – like every kid, he wanted to score goals. I think he knew that he was good enough to play but would never reach the high standard that his father played at, so when his father became a coach so did he, but on a part time basis.” Jose took charge of the youth side at Vitoria, a basic set up which he managed in the evenings. By day he was a school teacher, but those around him could tell that his destiny would involve study, but it wouldn’t include being covered in tweed and leather elbow patches.

Mourinho went and studied Sports Science at University in Lisbon, before attending courses hosted by the Scottish and English FA – taking a very academic approach to learning about the game. The early 90s proved to be the start of the whirlwind for Jose, after quitting his job at the school, he became the youth coach at Vitoria on a full-time basis before being offered an assistant manager position at C.F. Estrela da Amadora, a second divison outfit – but before he was able to get his teeth into anything, the opportunity came up to be a translator for a top European Manager at Sporting Lisbon. “It was seen as many as a step down as the job wasn’t really to do with anything on the football field – my job as far as I was concerned was to act as a go between for players and staff” So when Sir Bobby Robson stepped onto Portuguese soil, Mourinho was there to greet him.

 “He had an aura about him, reassuringly confident. I think he was a bit nervous about meeting me, I certainly detected that but I couldn’t handle it really in terms of liasing with players and the president without losing any of the feeling. Nothing was lost in translation – he was super. At the beginning, little did I know how important he would be to my staff for the next 5 years.” Sir Bobby Robson said.

When he took the job as interpreter, Mourinho took on a lot more than what he expected “I was translator, goalkeeper coach and scout. I gave him everything and Bobby recognised that. He helped my career in so many ways – It is important to say what a beautiful being he was, he brought me from a low level at Sporting and got me to a very high level at Barcelona so when I left Barcelona, I was ready to start on my own. One of the things he taught me was that when you win, you shouldn’t assume you are the team and when you lose, you shouldn’t think that you are rubbish.”

After assisting Robson to getting to the top of the league with Sporting, Robson was sacked. The Mourinho whirlwind really kicked in when Porto quickly hired Robson, along with Jose as assistant manager. In 1993, together they won the Portuguese Cup before going on to win successive League titles in 1994-95 and 1995-96 before Robson was head-hunted by Barcelona in 1996. At Barcelona, Robson won The Spanish Cup, The Spanish Super Cup and The European Cup Winners Cup which earned him a “promotion” to General Manager with Luis Van Gaal taking over as Head Coach.

“Luis was brilliant. I was allowed to have total control in training with players like Figo, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. I received a phonecall in 2000 from Benfica asking me to be assistant manager. He told me that I should go back at say it’s a managers role or nothing. I joined Benfica in the summer but left a year later. I found work straight away at a small club in Portugal called U.D. Leiria”

Mourinho started to make people sit up and pay attention as he guided them to European Qualification and the clubs highest ever top tier finish of 5th place. “I went to Brazil to find players who would play for little money and we did fantastic. In the end, I had Benfica and Porto fighting for my name.”

 He was then hand -picked to take over a struggling Porto in 2002 and promised he would win the title in 2 years. “In Portugal it is very simple. You have a good side then you win the league, there was no risk in what I said”. By the time he left Portugal, he had won every trophy possible at the highest level in the league including the Champions League.

And so on to England and Chelsea where he became possibly the first manager to appear in the feature pages, along with David Beckham – to become one of the biggest stars in the world. Good-looking, powerful and oozing success paved the way for his dominance in England. It probably came as a surprise to him when he won Chelsea’s first League title in 50 years setting a string of records along the way. “I took the job at Chelsea because I was interested in the project that was given to me. English fans know that things don’t happen overnight and I wanted to be part of this picture which Mr. Abramhovic painted. But I didn’t think it would happen so quickly.”

His second season in charge was equally as impressive, winning a second league title, however, after failing to reach further than the semi-finals in the Champions League and with players being brought in to the club over his head, he began to clash with the powers that be, paving way for a surprise exit, leaving one of the world’s toughest leagues shocked, gob-smacked, and sad to lose such a character – winning 2 titles, 2 league cups, the Community Shield and the FA Cup. All in just under 3 years.

Inevitably, a string of the world’s biggest clubs came begging at his door, including a rumoured shortlist for the England job after Steve McClaren, but it was Inter Milan who he went to as Roberto Mancini went to Manchester City.

Mourinho’s outspoken approach didn’t sit well with the Italian press and received a very different reception to that in England. In 2008-09, he clinched the Italian Super Cup and Serie A Title but even though he won the Scudetto by 10-points in, it was seen as a disappointment by fans, saying that there was not much change from when Mancini was at the helm. The following 2009-10 season saw him become hounded by the press but adored by the fans. Mourinho’s confrontational attitude was seen as ‘disrespectful’ by the media after constant feuds with Milan’s Ancelotti, Roma’s Spalletti and Juventus’ Ranieri spanned out over a period of months, but answered his critics by clinching a second career treble by winning the Serie A (for the second time), the Coppa Italia and the Champions League. The day after winning the Champions League, Mourinho claimed that he was “sad, as almost for sure it’s my last game with Inter”. He then added that “if you don’t coach Real Madrid then you will always have a gap in your career” and after days of discussions between Real Madrid and Inter, a record breaking compensation package was successfully agreed on 27 May 2010, and Mourinho was consequently released by Inter.

“The Special One” has come a long way from being nicknamed ‘The good-looking kid standing next to Grandad’ at Sporting Lisbon and has become one of the most successful managers in a remarkably short space of time. In 8 seasons of club management, including an eight month sabbatical in 2007–08, Mourinho has led his club to win its domestic league six times, the UEFA Cup once and the UEFA Champions League twice and since 2002, he has not gone a full season or a calendar year without winning at least one trophy.

Jose Mourinho The Great and product of study, making football management look like something out of Championship/Football Manager.

The European Invasion continues.

Twitter – @Ross_Fisher

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