The Mourinho Exit Winners And Losers

Happy He's Gone

Roman Abramovich
The moral of the story is that, regardless of the success a manger brings, the owner is still the most important man at the football club. In a battle of wills, there can only be one eventual winner. Even armed with public support, Mourinho was fighting a losing battle against Roman's growing disenchantment.

Abramovich's dissatisfaction was understandable. Having spent unparalleled sums, he had good reason to expect more than economical football. It is this tension that was at the heart of the Mourinho-Abramovich divorce. The failure of the Mourinho regime was the refusal to explore - let alone prove - whether it was possible for attractive football to produce winning football. Having been seduced by ManYoo's epic 4-3 win over Real Madrid in 2003, Abramovich's mistake was to pick the wrong wife.

Yet Mourinho's ousting - probably best described as a jump before being pushed - will not be universally appreciated by supporters seduced by the notion that winning football is the definition of good football. Whatever the condemnation, Abramovich is unlikely to be moved. His reluctance to utter a single word in public since buying Chelsea in June 2003 is telling - by saying nothing, Abramovich has unwittingly revealed just how little regard he has for the opinion of the club's supporters.

If, as expected, Avram Grant is confirmed as Mourinho's full-time successor then Abramovich will have replaced a manager whose footballing ideals did not tally with his own with a coach who happens to be a close friend. Unmistakably, Abramovich is decisively stamping his own identity on the club. This is the price that the club once known as Chelsea FC must pay for ceding its autonomy in return for £500m-plus worth of investment.

Chelski's Big Four Rivals
The fact that every available bookie has increased the odds on Chelski winning silverware this season says everything.

But winning was no longer enough for the man who never says anything.

Peter Kenyon
Unlike the hapless Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho is not a Kenyon victim. Yet, as a victim of Roman's wish to be treated to stylish football, the Chelski chief executive has cause to cheer Jose's removal.

The embarrassment of Tuesday night's draw with Rosenberg occurring on the day that the club outlined its plans of world domination was less the draw with the Norwegian minnows than so many supporters turning up in fancy dress as empty seats.

In mitigation, Rosenberg were hardly enticing opponents, and Chelski have never boasted an especially large fanbase - a consequence, in part, of Stamford Bridge being situated in an affluent area of London rather than in the type of working-class district from which footballing behemoths have traditionally drawn their support.

However, the empty seats also underlined the incompatibility of Mourinho's minimalist style of play with Kenyon's remit of securing world domination. The advantage accrued from attractive football was further emphasised in the hours immediately before Mourinho's departure by Arsene Wenger calling for the Emirates' capacity to be extended beyond 100,000.

Avram Grant
Even if his 'permanent appointment' turns out to be seat-warming for Guus Hiddink, Grant has been handed a managerial opportunity that only Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez will not envy.

From playing second fiddle to Harry Redknapp as Portsmouth's Technical Director to being appointed manager of one of the four sides with a feasible opportunity of winning the Premiership title in little over three months is an astonishing promotion. Rarely in English football can a manager have been appointed with his new team boasting such a lofty league position and their aspirations of major success so realistic. Grant may face a win-or-be-sacked ultimatum but at least he has the opportunity of winning.

One of the particularly unedifying aspects of Mourinho's reign is the regularity in which a baying pack of Chelski players hounded referees. It was such a frequent sight that it is impossible to believe that it was not a specific tactic, encouraged by manager edict and designed to intimidate.

Mourinho's absence will not prompt the reinstallation of respect for officialdom, but it might cause temporary relief from the descent into anarchy.

Mourning His Departure

The Nation's Press Men
Win, lose, or draw, Mourinho was always good for a quote.

The Chelski Supporters
The vast majority of Chelski supporters revered Mourinho. There were exceptions, yet, on the whole, the Stamford Bridge faithful were prepared to accept his foibles in return for two Premiership titles. The confirmation that Abramovich has greater sway at Stamford Bridge sits incongruously with their blinkered insistence that Mourinho's management rather than Abramovich's money was the decisive factor in their success.

The Chelski Squad
They will be shell-shocked and, mostly, devastated. That Mourinho personally informed five players that he was leaving in the early hours of Thursday and arrived at the training ground at 7.30am to inform them all in person is indicative of their intimacy.

Sunday's trip to ManYoo should concentrate minds and players such as John Terry, whilst mourning their master's exit, will need little encouragement to prove that Chelski are still title contenders.

The flip side is that ManYoo have the opportunity to inflict a crushing, and possibly mortal, blow.

Martin Jol
The Tottenham boss will have done that rarest of things on Wednesday night: celebrate an Arsenal win. Yet just when the Dutchman must have thought that his job security had increased on account of Juande Ramos' awful audition as a Big Four vanquisher, he has another mighty foe to fear.

Tottenham would represent a retrograde step for Mourinho but it is difficult to foresee him settling for being a part-time boss (which is what an international manager is) and his family is settled in London. And only a special manager could make Tottenham a top-four outfit...

(Courtesy: www.football365.com)

No comments: