You turn on the little black box, turn the TV to AUX, switch on the A/V receiver. Scroll to Movies, Purchases. Click on The Dark Knight. Background entertainment sorted. ("Which of you fine gentlemen would like to join our TEAM?") One of the greatest movie sequels ever made.
It's not often that a sequel succeeds in being as good as the first one. Even rarer that it's better than the first. Anachronistically, this was one of the reasons I was more apprehensive than most about Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea. You can't go home again, as "they" say. But I wasn't so much worried about him getting results.
There's no doubt in my mind that Jose Mourinho is the greatest modern football manager. The man's a born winner, a driven motivator, and an astute tactician. We could only be so lucky to have him as our manager. But especially during his time in Italy and then Spain, he developed a rather nasty persecution complex, the seeds of which we saw during his first Chelsea tenure. Regardless of whether it was all just an act or actual honest belief, I wasn't the biggest fan of his rants against UEFA and other governing bodies and authority figures, nor did I approve of many of his sideline antics. Let's just say I was not entirely enthused to have that on biweekly display at Stamford Bridge.
Yet, Mourinho claimed he was older, wiser, more mellow on his return. The Happy One. And so far, it's been basically true. But with the yellow cards coming at a steady clip for Diego Costa, José himself getting repeatedly overlooked for monthly awards, and Gary Cahill embroiled in a most silly diving row, the little bit of the old Mourinho's peeking through. Now, again, this might all just be an act and that wouldn't surprise me -- Us vs. Them, the Mourinho battlecry -- but it's just not a good look.
"The independent panels don't do their job well in any case. When you go to an independent panel to analyse and suspend players by video evidence, it is a disaster. It is a disaster."
"I remember last season, and I don't want to say the names of clubs or players, you had players and clubs punished by panels and you had clubs and players protected by panels. I saw somebody kick a player on the floor, hit him in the back - no suspension. I saw others with minor things being suspended."
"Players are punished for silly comments on Facebook, Instagram and this kind of thing, and players are not punished for other things. You speak one week about one dive that, for me, was not even a dive - you don't speak about Filipe Luis who could be in this moment in the hospital having big surgery on his knee or in his leg."
"Independent panels are the same ones that last season analysed my situation against Aston Villa and I was punished and suspended because I tried to help, so for me panels only favour the ones who always have the favours."
-José Mourinho; source: Telegraph
That's José responding to the idea that incidents such as simulation should be examined and punished appropriately by post-match review panels. An idea that I happen to wholly agree with, though I also share Jose's concern about the quality of the job that the FA or whoever they assign to these panels would do. But lack of competence shouldn't be the reason to dismiss this idea. Just because there's a possibility that the job would be done poorly, that should not be the reason to not do the job at all.
Further, the idea that panels only favor those "who always have the favours" is a severely limited, almost fan-like view of the situation. Every fan thinks their team is the most unfairly maligned by the referees, the authorities, whathaveya. One of us and all that, but Jose needs to be a bit more than that. Sure, the FA has a history of questionable judgments, to put it mildly, but to think there's a conspiracy against any one person or any one team -- especially one who brings so much success and attention to the league in general -- is just far too convenient.
But maybe I'm just naïve. Some people just want to watch the world burn, after all.