Like most great love stories, this one has ended in tragedy as well.
This morning, José Mourinho was appointed the new head coach of Tottenham Hotspur, replacing Mauricio Pochettino, who had taken Spurs to the Champions League final just five months ago. As silly as it seems to have sacked Pochettino now, the whole situation is very Chelsea-ian in a sense, so it’s almost fitting that Mourinho popped up in North London suddenly.
It’s an outcome that was unthinkable not too long ago, even in the harsh realities of the business that is modern football and the Machiavellian machinations of those whose job it is to navigate its choppy waters on a day-to-day basis to earn a living.
Speaking before the 2014-15 League Cup final between Chelsea and Tottenham, José “The Happy One” Mourinho — “one of us”, don’tcha know — revealed that eight years prior, in 2007, after his (first) sacking at Chelsea, Spurs made a play for his services, a trick they’d repeat with AVB later. But unlike with the boyscout, Chelsea apparently had a non-compete clause in place with Mourinho, which prevented him from joining any other English club for the following two years. Not that it mattered of course, because José, in his own words, would’ve never joined Spurs because he just loved us so much.
“I couldn’t go. I couldn’t train in England for two years.”
“No [I would not have considered it], because I love Chelsea supporters too much.”
-José Mourinho; February 2015
Perhaps it’s naive to expect any true meaning behind those words. He always knew what to say, what “his” people want to hear. The four years since have certainly exposed a different side of Mourinho to us, one that perhaps always existed and we were just blind to it. He tipped his hand in 2014, and it’s been downhill from then on.
“When he decided to go to a direct competitor then love stories are over. I don’t believe in stories of passion and heart, maybe I am too pragmatic in football. He did his job as a professional.”
-Mourinho on Lampard joining Manchester City, September 2014
Perhaps we shouldn’t expect true loyalty in a work environment, be that your job in a factory, behind a desk, or on a training ground. Everyone’s only looking out for number one, me and I, me and mine. Things change, people change, even the Mona Lisa’s falling apart.
We’d like to think there’s romanticism in football, but at the end of the day, it’s just a job, right?
One of us.
Once of us.
Chelsea play Spurs at New Three Point Lane on December 22nd. Merry Christmas!