In the latest quest to fill the void left by the greatest ever Gaffer in English football history, Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s with another legendary manager – Jose Mourinho. Is this a good thing?
The question on whether the appointment of Jose Mourinho is a good or bad thing is being debated by pretty much everybody in Football. There is no doubt that the “Special One” is a proven winner and has lifted trophies in his native Portugal and then England, Italy and Spain including two Champions League wins. In record, in name and on paper he is big enough and has the right profile to manage the biggest club in the biggest league. So why the debate?
The uncertainty that hovers over the appointment of Jose Mourinho is there because of the stuff that can’t be measured in stats, titles and records – it is that the ethos of Jose Mourinho is in direct conflict with the ethos of Manchester United. As a club, Manchester United has always been the bastion and pioneer of English football. Under the glorious spells of management by Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United revolutionised football in England and the impact and reach of this great club has always been felt world wide. United have carved out a reputation of playing expansive, attacking football with a steely “never-say-die” attitude where winning a football match with style and flare is the only acceptable outcome. Off the field, the club has always kept things classy and did everything to the highest standard possible. This was eroded under the misguided management of both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. I suspect that neither understood the history and standards required by Manchester United resulting in both being shown the door. However, they were not alone in not understanding what is required of an individual in a position of power at Old Trafford…Current executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is just as clueless and not coming close to the standard set by his predecessor David Gill.
My concern is that not only does Mourinho not understand the requirement and standard set by Manchester, everything about him goes against what those very requirements standards – with the only exception being winning trophies. History has taught us that Jose Mourinho teams play defensive football, are physically combative and confrontational (in a bad way) and don’t feature rising stars from youth academies but rather big name players from other clubs. Mourinho also has a history of falling out with club hierarchy so add to the mix the incompetent of Ed Woodward and you can perfectly understand the concern over Mourinho’s imminent appointment.
I have no doubt he will bring some major trophies back to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet where they belong, but there will be no revolution or evolution at Old Trafford as delivered by previous great managers. I also think Mourinhos reign at Manchester United may end with the club in worst state that it currently is but like so much in the world of football today, his appointment is short-termist instant gratification. Just another cog in what has become the massive manager-go-round.