Thursday, September 28, 2006
There is no doubt that the above is true, but I'm wondering if Jose Mourinho is kind of like a smarter, less-athletic Terrell Owens. The kind of guy who's extremely gifted and successful, but cannot thrive without attention. It's interesting that quotes from Mourinho's interview hit the English media the day after a love-fest for Arsene Wenger after his ten years guiding Arsenal.
As we all suspect, I'm sure this is all media-generated. Fleet Street times this stuff to feed the fire of football drama, just as I'm sure that most of the time, any little thing, a subtle barb, a raised eyebrow, is usually regarded with malevolent intent. If the papers can't ridicule it, they'll put unsolicited meaning into anything that occurs.
But Jose's gotta know how it works by now. He's used the English as a second language argument (or at least his fans have) for way too long now. It's hard to believe that someone who worked for Sir Bobby Robson when the Englishman went on his Iberian managing tour, and as his translator, wouldn't understand the impact of soundbites in the media and wouldn't be able to express himself in one of his many languages.
This isn't an Arsenal fan criticizing the competition, I save that for Sir Alex Ferguson (curmudgeons are much more fun to poke fun at). I do think Jose is "the Special One". He is special for the same reason why his top-of-the-line club is, because they win. He's instilled the drive to win into an expectation of winning at all times. Losing is not something to become accustomed to, and you'll find that in any good manager in any side. He's also good-looking, stylish, and whip smart, and England being England, his success is privy to the barbarism of fans and media.
Which makes me believe that it's all a machination. It's more about jersey sales, TV rights, and radio syndication in emerging markets. Why is the Jose & Roman show so successful? It's not about their two Premier League trophies, or winning the European Cup (okay, maybe it is); it's all about revenue and global domination. Don't believe me? Why do you think Arsenal has never been in Manchester United's league of earnings and marketshare, despite having so much success in the last ten years? Just look at Arsenal's website and you can see how much the North London club have to learn, and they are learning, as we've seen with the shiny new Emirates.
Jose and Mourinho mastered the marketing game as soon as they had an opportunity to. With commercials, events, building fan bases in foreign countries, the Blues have accomplished much in the short time they've been the club. Clubs don't become huge organic entities like Chelsea have just by winning, but with controversy, marketing and name recognition. The name Chelsea means "superstar" in so many ways, from their third-string wingers and midfielders to their Euroflash manager and dubious reclusiveness of Roman Abramovich.
Now everyone who isn't a Chelsea fan will cry vanity, narcissism and arrogance about Mourinho's interview with Maxima. Chelsea fans will scream of how everyone else is just jealous of the Blues' success. Either way, we've got people probably caring about something they were ambivalent about a few days ago. Or maybe not. Maybe there is hope that nobody gives a crap and we'll just concentrate on the football. I hope not, because then we've got nothing else to do.
Call me vain, says Mourinho, but Chelsea are better because of me [Guardian Unlimited]
Mourinho takes the credit [Telegraph UK]