People change. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes for the worse. In Jose Mourinho’s case, I dare say that most of us think it’s been for the worse.
He came in 2004. He conquered the Premier League, the FA and League Cups and our hearts. Four trophies in three years. He was beloved when he was here and mourned when he left. We miss the old Mourinho.
The new Mourinho? Not so much. His acrimonious second departure in 2015, accusing his players of betraying him and being sued by the team doctor, not to mention leading Chelsea perilously close to the relegation zone, suggested that a different man came back to England after contentious spells in Milan and Madrid. He won another Premier League title, but he lost the players amid “palpable discord”.
The darkness he seems to exude in Manchester these days doesn’t do anything to dispel that notion.
It’s been 11 years since the “good” Jose Mourinho left. Time fades memories. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how passionately we loved this man and how he lifted Chelsea to heights the club had never before attained, all while oozing charm and cheek.
Steve Sidwell, of all people, is here to remind us what it was like back then. He was only at Chelsea for one (undistinguished) season, and only three months of that season (July to September) were under Mourinho. But he was there in the dressing room that day when Jose Mourinho told the players he was leaving.
If you want to remember what it was like back then, read his words.
“Jose came down to the dressing room to say his goodbyes and gave a speech about how proud he was and the relationships he built with the players,”
“I looked around that dressing room and there were tears coming from the players’ eyes. I’m talking Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard, you name it. There was not a dry eye in that room.
“Drogba was inconsolable. He went round and he embraced every player one by one. I was only there for four or five months at the time and I remember thinking, wow, this is powerful.”
-Steve Sidwell; source: talkSPORT
We miss that Jose Mourinho. We’d love to see him again. But he may no longer exist. Given that he’s leading one of our biggest rivals, maybe that’s okay.
Life changes people. But that doesn’t mean the good times didn’t happen. They were real and we can cherish them.