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July 2021

Where winning isn’t enough; where winning isn’t necessary.

Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

Those expecting Mourinho to return with grandeur were disappointed. Identically, papers expecting sales to spike or columns to write themselves were nervous when confronted with such maturity. No mention of past victories or specialness, instead the air of a man who is recovering from the madness in Madrid.

Or so it seemed.

The sceptic in me would say Mourinho was pre-empting critics itching to quiz his antics in Madrid with an arrogant press conference as a platform– a calculated amnesty before usual methods are later resumed. Perhaps I’m being unfair though. My cynicism (considerable as it is) would also say Mourinho is returning to Chelsea as it is the only club that ever sacked him.

Until 2004, Mourinho had cantered around Portugal stepping successfully between clubs. His time in Benfica was swift and memorable. 9 successful games, a 3-0 win over Lisbon and Mourinho tested the President by demanding a new contract. Freshly elected and hoping to assert himself, he refused and off Mourinho went to Uniao de Leiria where he achieved 5th place. Porto presumably impressed that a team with average attendance figures of 2500 were now within the 5 best teams in Portugal, contracted Mourinho and we all know what happened next. The Champions League made him Special, Chelsea made him The One and the gutter press lapped it up. But things changed, Abramovich torn by ambitions of a team both successful and entertaining, decided a new manager was needed. Mourinho escaped to Internazionale where such dilemmas would be of little concern and won everything. Madrid came next and we know the rest.

Whichever way one looks at it, it’s about winning. Winning or not winning is the reason he is leaving Madrid. Winning everything in Italy was the reason he could dictate terms to any chairman from London to Moscow. Not winning the Champions League was partly the reason he was sacked in the first place, though it wasn’t the only reason. It was how he was winning – winning wasn’t enough.

Winning we are told is everything. History remembers the victor and no one cares who came second. There are winners and losers we are assured and whatever you do, don’t finish on the wrong side of that line. Problems in these assertions are where that line happens to be. Mourinho’s career has blurred the line somewhat, winning made him successful, but it also became his undoing.

Abramovich didn’t accept Mourinhos’s methods – he hadn’t bought Chelsea to win for the sake of it. Business already fulfilled that niche for him. If winning by any means was his sole motivation, he would be investing his money productively, finding better ways of accumulating more wealth. Chelsea is an expensive hobby and the least one expects of an expensive hobby is for it to be fun. One doesn’t invest their time and money in fishing simply so they can catch fish. Fishing fleets exist for that purpose.

Evidently something significant happened to convince an all-powerful Russian Oligarch to rethink his ways and reemploy a man who freely spent his money, built a blissfully boring team and left with £20 million in compensation. Has a man possessing the wealth and power of a small Soviet Republic simply changed his mind and motivations? – Surely not. Mourinho must have changed and it can’t simply be the transition of a Manager to a Fan, or a “Special One” to a “Happy One” – there must be more to it than that, a reassessment of philosophy, an alteration that has made his way more appealing to Abramovich.

Whatever criticism is labelled at Abramovich, from allegations of industrial racketeering and thuggery to bribery and blackmail, he is a genuine football fan. One doesn’t invest in a club, rejuvenate it with outlandish funding and build a new training complex without having a real affinity towards that club. Similarly one doesn’t finance large football projects in there homeland, be it sponsorship deals with CSKA, convincing Guus Hiddink to manage the Russian National Team or bankrolling an extensive academy system across Russia, without a genuine love for the game or a fondness for results beyond the tangible.

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Lies, damn lies and statistics are often used to illustrate the persuasive power of numbers. Numbers can be used by the simple or disingenuous to reduce complex questions to a level they feel comfortable with. An ingenious comparison in sales could tell you that Lil Wayne is a better rapper than Big L, that E.L James is a better writer than Orwell. Football is the same and the vast amount of commentators assuring you that it doesn’t matter how you win, or that history only remembers the victor are merely manifestations of this perspective. The reality, as it usually tends to be, is far more complex. Human history remembers a glorious loss as it does a glorious win; what it forgets is a bland performance. Glory is about as central to human interest as morality is to human choice.

People don’t  identify with Tibet against China or Monks against the Generals of Myanmar because they see it as the most statistically sound way. They do it because it seems decent and just. The old-order’s ‘clever’ long-term plan becomes a tricky thought to bear in mind, when the obvious response to overwhelming odds is emotional repellence.

A self-immolation by a desperate green grocer is far more evocative than the numerical merits of an effective economic policy. And in the same way Zidane head-butting Materazzi is far more memorable than if he had merely ignored him and won the World Cup like countless others. Would Herodotus have written so highly of the ‘300’ Spartans at Thermopylae if they did their usual thing and won decisively?  Would Cruyff be more lasting if he succeeded in 1970? Or is he more lasting because he didn’t when he should have?

Was it the comprehensive victory at Omdurman that enchanted British imagination or was it the desperate loss of Khartoum? Did Tennyson immortalise Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar or the hopeless Charge of the Light Brigade? Hopefully you get the picture. Abramovic seems too… does Mourinho though?

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83 comments to Where winning isn’t enough; where winning isn’t necessary.

  • Will


    Just 5 days to go before the new season and all we got to show for it after 7 weeks of ‘working hard behind the scene’ is an injury prone freebie from the French 2nd division. At any other top club in Europe the manager would have been sent packing for being irresponsible and undermining the ambition of the club. At arsenal we have a BOD who cowers in the presence of the con man, who for reason/s best known to the members of the board included a profit sharing scheme in this dictator’s contract. “Less is more” is the new mantra’ The less he spend the more money will go into his pocket. One of the worse ever decision ever made in the history of Arsenal. If ever the term ‘conflict of interest’ accurately describes a situation this is it. What is happening at Arsenal is a disgrace.
  • Shard

    Ill Will


    Source for the basis of your entire theory please? Wenger gets a share of the profits? Yeah right. Even the shareholders don’t, and the profits are there in the accounts for all to see as Arsenal is a listed company. You should be ashamed of yourself for making up lies about the club.

  • Mjc

    I don’t know which I agree with more – the oginal article, which is very well written, or Will’s brilliant critique if the article.
    Thanks to you both!

  • ian

    Dominic – excellent thought provoking article, thank you.

    Will – did you read any of it?

  • Foolishgooner

    @Will. You accuse with absence of facts. Anyway, it is damn shame (our transfer record) and ambition. Oh to be a gooner.

  • Shard

    Hi Dominic,

    I find your writings difficult to comprehend sometimes. I get the gist of it all, but not the tangents you go off on. That isn’t criticism by the way. Just an observation. As for Mourinho, I get the cynicism, and I am a cynic when it comes to him too. I disagree on Abramovich and his reasons. Since Mourinho left, which managers have got Chelsea to play an attacking style? Ancelotti was the most successful in that regard, and Hiddink as well. AVB tried (and apparently was given assurances that his project would be respected)and was sacked. RDM let the players play the way they wanted, and they fluked a CL. Memorable only for the disaster for football that it was.

    Abramovich’s motivations are also anyone’s guess. You bring up the money he’s spent to indicate it is a hobby for him, but there are certainly other reasons than that at play. Political pressures, needing a new base, and there still exist plenty ways in which he can make money through Chelsea even as he appears to be financing them. It’s been only 10 years since he came on the scene. We’ll see how it turns out. But as of now, his reasons cannot be stated with certainty.

    As for winning being all important. I agree with you that tha isn’t the most important. Teams win titles every year and are forgotten. It is something more that is required to stay immortal.

  • The font

    Will do you really believe what you have written 95% of fans love wenger and think he is not good but great, world football powers want him at there clubs ex players great ones like Henry say he is the best manager they have ever worked under . Most true fans will admit they love. The club not the trophys if everything about the club upsets you to a point of despair you should give up and do something else you proberly believe the media when they say we are signing X. But wenger was too slow you proberly think we should. Have given in to madrids extortion tactics over. Higuine you proberly said Ramsey was. Rubbish and who is koscielny when he was signed you proberly say that merts was a last minute panic buy and forget to mention we had one of the best defence stats
    In Europe last season thinking about it you proberly don’t even support arsenal

  • Gf60

    Dominic. “Until 2008, Mourinho had cantered around Portugal…” Until when?? 1998 maybe. Thanks for the article though.

    Will…what are you doing on this site? Thank Shard for pointing out the error of your ways.

  • Epicurean

    Great article. I think that Mourinho has accepted Abramovich’s stance on playing style. This is solely conjecture but….
    When Mourinho first appeared he was heralded for his notebook, I remember reading an article that talked about Ferguson and Mourinho discussing tactics and Ferguson complementing his counterpart effusively. Mourinho is an expert tactician however his ‘machismo’ eclipsed even this. However, in Spain he lost the battle in the press, they didn’t enjoy his aggressive attitude and underhand/undignified behaviour (e.g. eye poke). Kinda undermined the proud capital. In England however we enjoy it like we enjoy taking the piss. We see the bravado and say, fair play he is quite funny. So coming back to the UK I imagine was probably the only viable option, perhaps Italy, not France or Germany, again he probably wouldn’t win over the fans.
    I agree he has done a marvellous job since he came back, totally deflecting all link with his departure from Spain despite the digs of the likes of Rafa. He says he is the ‘Happy one’, I doubt that, not to say he is depressed or anything. I expect he will take to his new task with the same attention to detail he always has, but I expect him to come out with a different more attractive/ exciting style, perhaps a bit like Bayern from last season. Will he be as successful, that remains to be seen, he is exceptional. The worry for me as a Chelsea fan would be his relations with the older playing staff and probably demands from above to field particular players.
    So there you have it, what a flight of fancy, but it is fun to speculate. No doubt I have not come within a mile of the truth, if one can say such things. C’est la vie 😀

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Arsene Wenger will do his signings at the death (of some fans, hahaha) because he does not want others to dissect his squad’s new options. That and probably weighing available players until it is almost too late…
    As to Roman A, he bought half of the Russian Federation with pennies to the dollar, because he was allowed to do so by some drunk buffoon. And Jose M won the CL with Porto because Monaco’s players wasted a ton of chances and collapsed after an hour of play; I remember, it was a very un-Deschamps-esque turn of events.

  • Thanks for the comments guys and sorry for the date, meant 04 – negligence on my part.

    Shard, I understand where you are coming from. Though, when I sent this article to Tony… I was half expecting you to come out defending the Burmese Government – refreshing that you didn’t! It would be a stretch to outline how Abramovich can recoup his investment in Chelsea – or his investment in the Russian national team for that matter. Who knows? These investments may increase his influence in the Kremlin… doubt either of us will ever know.

    And if he needed a “new base…” surely he’d buy a nice London townhouse and invest in a decent accountant. Either way, It just my opinion that he is a genuine football fan.

    Apologies for the tangents; Out of curiosity are you a native English speaker?

  • Shard


    If I felt your point was (intentionally or otherwise) following the criticism of any government that doesn’t toe the dominant ‘Western’ line of thinking and practice, then I probably would have defended them. That was a little below the belt from you, but hey ho.

    No need to apologise for the tangents. I was just mentioning it because it’s interesting. Well, to me. As for being a native English speaker, it depends. I think of it as my first language, but it isn’t my mother tongue.

  • bc

    @ shard

    of course wenger gets a share of the profits. Its called salary and bonuses. Just like the rest of the employees, he is paid a salary as a result of his contract. In addition he receives bonuses and pay increments based upon the success and profits of the business. Just for the record a drawn match is classed as success, a win even more, the position in the league table, each round reached in a cup tournament is rewarded too.

    sure as a shareholder myself I receive no dividends, however due to the success of the club financially my holding of shares which I purchased from the sale of a 5th hand knackered escort, would buy me a substantially better car nowadays, possibly even a house somewhere.

  • Shard


    I’m sorry but salary is not a share of the profits, and neither are bonuses unless they are expressly connected to the profits made rather than being performance related. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case, and not even the severely critical AST dares suggest it.

    As for the shares buying you a better car, that is what is called wealth. But it is notional. If you hold the share, you do not get a better car. Only if you sell the share and someone is willing to buy it do you get the money. It has nothing to do with profits because Arsenal get no money regardless of whatever amount the shares are trading at. Only you (the shareholder) profit from it. Not Arsenal, and definitely not Wenger.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Since he was mentioned above , I present to you Horatio Nelson -football fan of sortes ! And things he said ,from-

    1) Gentlemen, when the enemy is committed to a mistake we must not interrupt him too soon.
    ( Very good advice about the opposition , and the trolls who frequent here !)

    2)Firstly you must always implicitly obey orders, without attempting to form any opinion of your own regarding their propriety. Secondly, you must consider every man your enemy who speaks ill of your king; and thirdly you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.
    ( Calling to arms for the AAA ? Who’s their king-dear god
    not Jabba ?)

    3)Time is everything; five minutes make the difference between victory and defeat.
    ( Probably advice to the loyals not to leave their seats early and to keep on cheering the team till the very end !)

    4)Our country will, I believe, sooner forgive an officer for attacking an enemy than for letting it alone.
    ( I’d like to know his views on biting !)

    5)I cannot command winds and weather.
    ( You can always adjust the sails ,Horatio !)

    6)Never break the neutrality of a port or place, but never consider as neutral any place from whence an attack is allowed to be made.
    ( Kick them in the balls is it ? Works for me !)

    7)Now I can do no more. We must trust to the Great Disposer of all events and the justice of our cause. I thank God for this opportunity of doing my duty.
    ( Here we go Gunners !)

    8)Desperate affairs require desperate measures.
    ( No ! No ! Not transfer deadline day panic buys again!)

    9)I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humor.
    ( Neither could I !)

    10)I cannot, if I am in the field of glory, be kept out of sight: wherever there is anything to be done, there Providence is sure to direct my steps.
    ( You are talking about Lord Wenger , aren’t you ?)

    11)I have only one eye, I have a right to be blind sometimes… I really do not see the signal!
    ( The AAA ? The FA ? UEFA ? FIFA ? My guess would be the PGMOL !)

    12)No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.
    ( I’d like to think that most of you who follow my musings would know that I’d not allow this chance to pass, as it brings to the fore the question ,”Horatio ,what possessed you to queerly ask Hardy to kiss you with such gay abandon ?”)

    To the younglings and others who did not understand the last comment , go to –

  • Shard

    Oh and Dominic

    For how Abramovich can potentially be making money despite his investment, read up on third party ownership, money laundering in football, and remember that all his investment in Chelsea is in the form of loans and equity. There are plenty of legal ways to make money off of Chelsea for him to not be doing it. If you add illegal ways, there’s probably even more money to be made. But of course, no evidence exists for this, an it is possible he might just be doing it for a lark or love of the game. I did say it isn’t possible to know of his motivations, especially because it’s only been 10 years. But there is no ‘stretch’ involved in suggesting that there are ways he can make money through his backing of Chelsea which aren’t immediately apparent.

  • blacksheep63

    i think the tangents are in the comments, not the article/post/essay (delete as appropriate). Very interesting stuff. I think Jose has unfinished business with Chelsea and a genuine affection for the club. He seems a delicate sort who wants to be loved, and he’s a few years older too. I vividly remember the day Abramovich took over at Stamford Bridge (I was researching in the City archives) – a real sea change in English football. Many thought he would be gone in a few years but here is, about to start his second spell with JM at the helm. I think (I’m sad to say) that they will do very well this year and perhaps even play the sort of football the Russian wants them to.

  • Andrei

    “People don’t identify with Tibet against China or Monks against the Generals of Myanmar because they see it as the most statistically sound way. They do it because it seems decent and just.”

    People support these causes because they are conditioned (brainwashed?) to see them as just. For the most part they have no clue what is actually happening there. I don’t think this analogy is particularly relevant here.

  • Shard, first things first, I didn’t want to offend you. I’m Sorry for that.

    That western line (which you of all people should appreciate) is what allows us to talk high and mightily about largely insignificant things. It also allows us to broadcast whatever opinion we care to… providing we don’t do it subversively or offensively (and I understand there are gaping nuances to those term).

    Sheltered prosperity allows me, you and plenty of others to talk about Suarez biting someone, or Mourinho being irritating or generally devoting large amounts of our time to a football club that (as we both know) in the grand scheme of things… doesn’t matter.

    Yes one should be vigilant and ready to criticise… and trust me I am, but a lot of the time I get the impression you wait to see the what side will get noticed, or what argument you’ll derive the most joy from, before you opine what your own views might be.

    RE. 3rd Party laws /Money Laundering/ Football club ownership… sounds like there is an interesting article there. You should write it.

    P.S. Thanks again for reading, guys.

  • Adam

    For me, Abramovich was hiding in public from Putin.

  • Shard


    As I said, I don’t follow your tangents very well (yet), but are you saying that ‘Western’ practices equal freedom of thought more than other philosophies and practices? If so, we’re going to have to argue about that because it simply isn’t true.

    Umm. Yes. Football doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. What’s the point you are making there?

    “Yes one should be vigilant and ready to criticise… and trust me I am, but a lot of the time I get the impression you wait to see the what side will get noticed, or what argument you’ll derive the most joy from, before you opine what your own views might be.”

    I’m no contrarian for the sake of it. You are defining one fellow named Dark prince there (some folk might remember him :)). Nor do I wait to see how my opinions will be received. Do I ‘wait’ for there to be the possibility of an interesting discussion? Sure. Why wouldn’t I? Am I obliged to respond to everything, no matter how dull and boring I find it? I wasn’t even criticising you here. I wonder why you’re so sensitive about being challenged.

    And the article(s) on money laundering and such has already been written. It’s in the Untold archives.

  • Adam

    Research “quality sports investment fund”. linked to Peter Kenyon and Jorge Mendez, who have heavily profited from a relationship with Abramovich.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ D-S-C – Very nice article .Sorry to have gone way off tangent and to sea !

    @ Adam – “Out of sight ,out of mind “( also out of pocket/ no contracts etc ).

    A curious case study from the records of the Medical Division
    of UA ,for your perusal . Don’t let the bedbugs bite !

  • bob

    There you go, a gem buried in your tasty word salad:
    “Out of sight, out of pocket.”
    The truth for win-at-all-costs televised football.

  • nicky

    I will always associate Mourinho with the ghastly self-administered title of “special one.”
    The guy is so puffed up with self-pride that wherever he is employed he will regard himself as untouchable.
    His second term at Chelsea will depend not only the success or otherwise of the team but on his delicate relationship with Abramovitch.
    Both will have learnt from the past but neither will be inclined to change.
    I forecast a rather rocky season lies ahead for Chelsea.

  • AL

    I think maureen can now only be employed by clubs that don’t think twice about splashing £50m on a player, so his options were very limited. Unfortunately for him, his divisive nature means the options are even tighter. I personally detest the guy, he tries to manipulate the media at every opportunity, and he sunk even lower in my estimation of him when he said ‘one of my favourite referees in the whole world, Howard Webb…’
    Was really looking forward to what was looking an unpredictable and very interesting season with ferguson gone, but don’t think it’ll be so any more because of this guy.

  • Andrei

    “I think maureen can now only be employed by clubs that don’t think twice about splashing £50m on a player, so his options were very limited.”

    Really? How much Porto or Inter spent when Mourihno was there?

  • Gonnerjoe

    Inter spent so much it ruined them for the last 3 seasons they are not even making the CL.

  • Gonnerjoe

    By the way inter are a sugar daddy them.

  • Adam

    Andrei, we have been down this road before, Jorge Mendez was instrumental in helping Porto acquire the players he did so well with, Mendez also gave a big helping hand with his time at Chelsea, albeit a very profitable hand.

    Every club Mourinho has managed has had Gestifute players placed there just before Mourinho’s arrival or during his tenure.

    Whilst Mourinho was at Inter he spent 25million on Queresma, who now plays in the middle east?????

  • Adam

    I do think Mourinho is a great coach, but he needs to settle down and prove he can achieve in a similar way to Arsene, Robson (at Ipswich), Fergie and others who build long term.

    He followed Robson around Europe job hopping, I only wish he had been with him at Ipswich to learn the long game strategy.

  • AL

    I think the only club he won with that had a limited budget was Porto. He didn’t spend that much at Inter as he inherited a side assembled with expensive players, just as di Mateo did with Chelsea.

  • AL

    @Adam 7:11pm
    I hadn’t seen your post, you sum up his success in this post.

  • nicky

    Re your 7.14, remember Cloughy at Forest, possibly the greatest, bearing in mind his limited resources.

  • Dennis Brady

    Wonder if we could soon end up with one of those sugar daddy owners, just what is stan up to? Apart from breaking the rules that is. Is this an indicator as to why we are not spending, money in the bank is deemed an asset, some of wengers purchases these days might not be. Clearing the decks, making no signings, reducing the wage bill, and the owner starting to buy shares after two years…..hmmmm…..

  • Doofus

    Anybody seen the poll on 50% of the voters think we will come lower than 4th.

    Seems like the fan base is a little more realistic in general…

  • nicky

    @ D. Brady,
    It’s the way the Yanks do business, Dennis. The mighty dollar (or in this case, sterling converted) rules, OK?
    I wonder if the two shares were merely bought to deny Usmanov.
    I must confess to a continuing feeling of unease about Stan ever since his arrival. Being a naïve soul, I worry somewhat over the massive purchase of shares in our great Club, by someone without any real interest in “our game”. While in the background there lurks the Russian, waiting for what?

  • Brickfields, thank you and any tangent involving Nelson is fine by me!

  • Adam

    @Nicky, Dario gradi.

  • Adam

    And if we are going to mention footballing legends the biggest for is;

    Rinus Michels.

  • Adam

    And lets not forget Victor Buckingham.

    Who I hear people cry?????????

  • Dennis Brady

    You may be right about denying Usmanov Nicky, but surprised at the apparent secrecy of this, unless it is an oversight I guess. Agree with your unease with Satan, ok cheap shot maybe, but he is a four out of ten owner, has not really done anything wrong…yet, but neither is he doing anything right. I would say he is a typical US owner in fact, maybe a positive is that he has not leveraged the club, as far as I know at least, nor does he take dividends, but on the negative side, he does not exude ambition and passion, and he seems mesmerised by Wenger, to the teams cost clearly. I cannot get beyond thinking he is just fattening up the club for a sale and huge profit, and that is one of the big problems I have with our socialist friend Wenger, he may have his own agenda, namely developing youth and looking for the next cesc or Anelka at prices he paid for those two,but ultimately, he is going along with penny pinching and cash hoarding that has in the past and surely will again make owners very very rich, yet he won’t even buy a much needed defender, striker or defensive midfielder. I believe some,of the current board really want to do the right thing, and they have held audiences with most of the bloggers, and maybe even Untold telling them so, but they are up against serious forces.

  • Andrei

    @Adam and AL Yes we have been down this road before yet we still cling to old tired Mourinho cannot win without spending big cliches. Besides the cliche used in this particular discussion is factually not true – not at any point in his managerial career Mourihno “splashed £50m on a player”.

  • C4

    @ Adam
    I’m no expert on Abramovich, but your 4:31 comment sounds plausible:

  • Adam

    Hey Andrei, hope all is well with yourself, it’s been a while.

    As stated I hope Mourinho settles down and achieves in a manner that’s not considered financially doped or getting a major helping hand via third party ownerships and investment funds, but that seems all a part of today’s game.

    He is back in a competition that rules that model out, but you cannot deny Chelsea now have a group of players whom without Abramovich’s riches the club couldn’t have acquired.

    I still think he is a brilliant manager though, so please don’t think otherwise.

    Anyway, something has changed with regards to Jorge Mendez as he is keeping his biggest investments away from the premiership. Seems most clubs are unwilling to meet the buy-out fee’s that the French are willing to meet.

    The point I was alluding too, was, Mourinho is a client of Jorge Mendez, and Mourinho has purchased in excess of £200 million worth of talent from his own agent. Plus it has been known that Mr Mendez has held the economic rights of players, who Mourinho has purchased, so this is money leaving football and going straight into the investment fund set-up with Mr Mendez’s advisory & organisational skills.

    You could say that Mr Mourinho was set up to succeed.

  • Adam

    Wireless keyboard strikes again.

  • Adam

    C4, been saying a similar thing for a long time now. Although he’s made peace with the Kremlin to the extent of holding a government position a few years ago. He had Sibneft taken off him for a handsome sum and that started his high profile life, until then he flew under the radar. Then all of a sudden the British government let him in. Now he seems all cozy with everyone. By the way Sibneft is now known as GazpromNeft, doesn’t take a genius to work it out does it?

    Not forgetting Gazprom (state owned) sponsor Chelsea in some fashion. You look at Zenits board of directors (zenit is owned by Gazprom) they all hold Government positions. Similar to some other Russian clubs.

  • AL

    I said he’s only employable by clubs that buy £50m players without batting an eyelid, not to be confused with saying mourinho has bought £50m players. But I’m not totally dismissing him as a good manager, just that most of the clubs he’s won things with had very good teams to start with, that he inherited. So that makes it a little difficult to gauge his success. If he won things with a side such as Everton, or if he’d gone to A. Madrid in Spain, then I’m sure there would be no questioning his managerial skills. But so far he’s only done it with sides that should be winning the league in their respective countries.

  • Uk

    There’s a reason why the big clubs would come in for the young coach, “he did well with the small club”, as the bible puts it “he that is faithful in little will be faithful with much”. Mou did well well with the smaller clubs in portugal, earned himself a move to the mighty porto. Did wonders there, earned a move to cash rich chelsea… I can’t stand mou, but I can’t deny, he’s earned the right to coach only the big clubs.

  • Dennis Brady

    Very interesting points on Mendez Adam As for Jose this year, I wonder how well he will do, or his ego will let him do with several ball players bought in seemingly in the hope of attracting his dear friend Pep Guardiola to Chelsea? He will also have to answer to the various layers of staff at Chelsea, maybe people he will not especially want to answer to. It may work, or fail spectacularly, whatever abilities Jose may possess. It could be a very open league this year, I will resist the obvious dig at our summer so far, just this once.

  • Adam

    Mourinho was actually sacked after only three months in his first job at the mighty Benfica (very small club that????). He has been around the bigger clubs more than the smaller clubs. He was an assistant at Porto & Barcelona before returning to manage Porto. He has never managed a club who are either; Not owned by a sugar daddy or cannot indulge in Third party ownerships, backed by investment funds.

    Im not saying he’s not a good manager, he is, but I personally think he’s a bottle job who’s scared of failure. so he keeps to the financially strong.

  • Andrei

    @AL The same could be said about Wenger – he only won with very good sides like Monaco and Arsenal. But he struggled mightily with Nancy. So would you question Arsene managerial skills based on that? Would he have to win it with Everton as well? Based on your logic Benitez is the best manager out there as he won with lowly Valencia (breaking RM and Barcelona monopoly) and not so good Liverpool sides.

  • Doofus

    Adam, he would be perfect for us, we will have 110m to spend next window. Get someone in who will spend it!!

  • Andrei,

    From all the comments that I have read, I don’t think anyone is doubting Mourhino’s managerial acumen; even those who don’t like him paid him his dues. Bringing AW into the conversation is a kind of a low blow. It sounds like you are belittling the Arsenal manager to get back at those you disagree with. Or maybe that’s your objective.

    One way or another, it’s good to have him back in the mix. Personally, I think he is a larger than life character who is mythologised by the British media. He knows he’s got them under his thumb so he plays them like a fiddle. His arrival only adds to the unpredictability of this season. We’ll see how things pan out. May the best team win.

  • Doofus,

    I wonder how that £110 million would come about then. After “splashing the cash” what happens in subsequent summers when the goose that laid the golden eggs has been slain?

    Oh, I know: then you’d whore Arsenal to the nearest Sugar Daddy you can find.

    I’m always grateful that you have nothing to do with decision making in Arsenal Football Club.

  • Andrei

    @Bootoomee If I came across as belittling Wenger it wasn’t my intent at all. Just for the record though I don’t share Untold unqualified support of Wenger I do consider him one of the greatest managers in football history. My only point is that the logic Mourihno critics use could be easily applied to any manager including Wenger. Let me quote AL’s comment I replied to:

    “If he won things with a side such as Everton, or if he’d gone to A. Madrid in Spain, then I’m sure there would be no questioning his managerial skills.”

    So here is explicit questioning of Mourinho’s managerial skills and a clear defined conditions to stop such questioning. Tell me why saying something like this is not belittling Mourinho?

  • AL

    I don’t want to drag AW into this, they’re different managers that trying to compare them is a bit ridiculous. Anyway, once you anoint yourself with a title such as the special one you’re bound to be scrutinized, and AW never called himself special. Yes, he may have achieved below average success in his first managerial job at Nancy in a period of 3years, but even Ferguson went the first 7years of his reign struggling at OT with no trophy, and came close to getting the sack. And even then that wasn’t his first job, unlike Wenger at Nancy. Does that make mourinho better than Ferguson?

    Do you agree that there’s financial doping or not? If there’s, would you agree that mourinho has managed sides that can be classed as financial dopers for the greater part of his career while Wenger hasn’t? There’s a difference in inheriting a side that’s hovering just above mid-table & turning them into champions, and inheriting an expensively assembled side that should be winning things anyway and winning things with them. Mourinho falls into the latter bracket. Some managers are hired to turn around the fortunes of clubs that may be struggling, I don’t think this has been the case in any of mourinho’s appointments. If Brendan Rodgers wins something with this Liverpool side I’d say he deserves more credit than mourinho as he inherited an ailing club. By the same token, a manager like di Mateo will never see his stock shoot through the roof for winning what he won at Chelsea for this exact reason. One could even argue his time at Chelsea was surpassed, if you consider why Roman hired him in the first place, by average managers such as Grant or RDM, with more or less the same players.

    Sometimes its not what you win, but how you win it. A good example of this is Kobe Bryant who is a brilliant player but was getting questioned because all his NBA titles he won he’d won with Shaquille Oneal. Until he won a title ‘on his own’ his credentials were always going to be questioned, and that’s what happened. The same applies to mourinho, not just to me but to a lot of people; Alan Sugar once said get him to Leyton Orient so we can see how special he is. I don’t think the same would be said of a manager like AW or Ferguson, and its clear why.

  • joe

    after the city game Wenger finally admitted that the squad is far too thin on numbers. tonight we find ourselves 3 days away from the seasons first game without the addition of any quality at all to our squad – a squad which scraped 4th place last season. we have trimmed the rubbish no doubt and it has left us with a strong(ish) first 11, which is an injury or two away from disaster. Why are we in this position? what kind of approach is this to a transfer window? each and every summer we find ourselves frustrated beyond belief at the way this club conducts its business and yet this has arguably been THE most annoying of all thus far, despite Ivan crowing about how much money we have to spend and how we can compete with Bayern and Barca etc. I will hold my hands up and admit that I was suckered in yet again this summer. I remember texting a mate weeks ago saying that if we could get Cesar, Williams, Fellaini and Higuain then we would stand every chance of winning a couple of trophies this year……….we are a million miles away from that kind of business and frankly im preparing myself now for no additions at all. I cannot for the life of me understand what is going on and why, if they do intend to sign anyone, we have left it practically, until after the season starts?!

  • Rupert Cook

    @AL, you ought to get your facts right about Ferguson, he didn’t wait 7 years for his first trophy at Manu. Also he managed to break the Celtic/Ranger power axis whilst managing Aberdeen and even took Aberdeen to European glory. I’d love to see if Wenger could do that, or Mourinho for that matter.

    And people may make fun of Benitez but he did a similar thing in Spain as Fergie did in Scotland and won the CL with a Liverpool side much inferior to the Chelsea CL winning team which so many on here love to belittle probably motivated by jealousy.

    There’s no doubt Wenger’s a good manager but if he wants to be remembered as a great one he needs to win the CL, after all he’s had numerous attempts and made one final.

  • Dennis Brady

    Joe, it is now becoming clear that Wenger has resented Gazidis claims of our spending power and the pressure it is putting him under, and he is reacting the way wenger always reacts, with complete intransigence when pressure applied. He is not putting the club or his team first, for that reason, he should be made to go, but I suspect our owner still backs him, this is why our manager gets away with it. By sept, all the myths about wenger will be busted, it will be clear to all that it is he who holds the club back and has done so for some time, and even the good folk of untold will have no option but to review their stance on this man. He will not be able to cite FFP, financial restrictions or impending Euro doom. Once the likes of most of you turn, and as fans and human beings, you will, we all know it is the end, no matter what kronke or wenger think, there will be complete and open rebellion at games, and this time, and rightly so it will not be at the players. IF wenger refuses to strengthen our squad of 19 in this of all summers, his position will be untenable by Xmas. As Gazidis says, wenger answers to the fans, and will we make him answer!

  • Doofus

    Boo – Understand the team you claim to support. We have nearly as much cash in the franchise we have become that the rest of premise COMBINED. Combined. 150m in our accounts to 181m in the rest combined.

    We don’t need a sugar daddy. You need to be less like a lemming and think for yourself, not outsource it to a washed up manager.

  • Rupert,

    “There’s no doubt Wenger’s a good manager but if he wants to be remembered as a great one…”

    I am in absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Wenger will be remembered as a great manager – I find this statement utterly ridiculous.

  • Doofus,

    Your critical thinking skill is not good enough for you to be calling people lemmings.

    Yes, for a team without a trophy in 8 years and with those ‘clueless’ people at the helm, I wonder how they get deals that you so eagerly ascribe our financial standing to. You mean these companies just hand over their cash to some club in decline with a clueless manager and a team of deadwoods?

    Think dude, think!

    Yes, you hate Wenger and I know there may be times when you think you get hungry only because he is still the manager of AFC but what you cannot do is have it both ways. Arsene Wenger is the goose that lays the golden eggs. His relative steady success and frugal management has helped Arsenal’s place as a club in world football to continue to rise, even without trophies.

    And when you throw out numbers like £150m and £180m, did it ever occur to you that the club spends on other important things apart from “splashing the cash on 3 to 4 world class players”? These money are for multi-year contracts that are spent over years on running the club. But hey, we just got some money, let spend it right now!

    Still very glad that your magical acumen is limited to bamboozling lemmings like me on the Internet. I am grateful for little things like that.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Dogface, why? In an era when only two clubs were realistic league champions between 98 and 04 Wenger secured three titles and several FA Cups. He has won nothing in Europe. On a domestic scale he is a very good manager, on a global scale not so convincing. Of course it’s a matter of opinion, which we’re all entitled to, and whatever arguments we employ I expect neither of us will change our position.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Just to give my take on the ongoing managerial debate .
    Unlike Mark Anthony who was ‘adviced ‘ to bury Caesar and not to praise him , this preist decided to do both !

    In a tiny village in India, a devout christian breathed his last and the local priest being out of station, a priest from an adjoining village was called upon to deliver the funeral oration.
    “Ladies and Gentlemen”, began the venerable pastor with the dead body in a coffin before him, “Here lies dead before me a rare human being of this village with outstanding qualities.
    He was a gentleman, a scholar, sweet of tongue, gentle of temper and very catholic in outlook. He was generous to a fault and ever smiling”.
    The widow of the deceased stood up at the end of the Hall and screamed, “O God! They are burying the wrong man”.

  • @Rupert

    In my opinion you are talking utter one-eyed nonsense – we are talking ‘history’ here yes, as in ‘years to come’ and ‘dusty old books’?

    Whatever your short-term issues with the manager, you can’t deny the huge positive impact he has had on the club in his tenure – Wenger’s name will go alongside Chapman as far as the history of this club and its managers are concerned whether you like it or not.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Just came to my mind . Don’t know why !

    The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present…

    Conference Room:
    A place where everybody talks, nobody listens & everybody disagrees later on.

    The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody beleives he got the biggest piece

    An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through “the minds of either”.

    A sign to make others believe,you know more than you actually do.

    Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Dogface – Wenger will forever have pride of place in my heart as the best Arsenal manager ever !

  • Rupert Cook

    @DogFace, I don’t really care whether he’s regarded as great or not. I’m hardly going to stand up and decry those who claim he’s great, I’m not that bothered. Yes he’s had a positive impact, at least up until now, it’s questionable whether that has somewhat diminished recently. I’m talking about his success in Europe where he has not had such a great impact, that’s all. And I’m talking about his on field exploits not what he’s done elsewhere within the club where he may be the greatest thing since Chapman. So yes he’s great in that respect and not so great at winning trophies in Europe, whether you like it or not.

  • @Rupert

    Thankyou – that’s better; with the proper context established we can all understand what you are trying to communicate and move away from statements that merely serve to polarise the debate.

  • Mandy Dodd

    dont remember Chapman being that great!

  • AL

    Dont try to make it appear as if I belittled Rafa in any way, if anyone did it would be Andrei. I respect Rafa for breaking the stranglehold those two clubs had in Spain, and he almost won the league here too were it not for some dubious refereeing. So you are actually supporting the point I was making that such managers should be respected, as opposed to worshipping managers with open chequebooks.
    About ferguson’s first 7 years at Utd, well, maybe its only yourself who doesn’t know that they almost ended in disaster. Granted they won the FA cup in 1990, but thats about it.

    I don’t know why you like twisting things again, as you go on to highlight his achievements at Aberdeen & St Mirren. You’re again inadvertently(if this was not your intention) supporting my argument that all great managers haven’t had it all their way. Wenger had his bad spell with Nancy, and Ferguson worked wonders at most clubs he worked at but he wouldn’t have survived the first 6yrs if Abramovich had owned Utd. For all we know had wenger stayed on at Nancy beyond the 3 years he was there, who knows what we would be saying today. But those blips do not make them bad managers. I respect managers who build teams, not those that acquire or inherit teams. Mourinho has never built a team, and NEVER will.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Al, sorry my post wasn’t all aimed at you, I didn’t make that clear, only the bit about Manu not winning trophies for 7 years. You may have forgotten that Fergie also won the Cup Winners Cup before that seven year elapse.

    I agree Mourinho has never built a team but you can’t categorically say he never will. Maybe he’ll want to one day to try and prove he can. Whether he’ll be able to is another matter.

    @Mandy, I suspect you’re too young. I also suspect that was a flippant comment.

  • AL

    Cool then. I can tell you now Rupert that mourinho wont build a team, it just looks beyond him. In fact the guy cannot last more than 3 years at any club, and to build a team you need that stability among other attributes which he sorely lacks. We can place a bet if you like, but not the kind that involves our better halves, a la Balotelli lol.

  • Stuart

    I remember an interview with Mourinho where he claimed he wants to return to the premier league one day to manage a team more traditionally in the bottom half of the league in order to prove his skills. I am still waiting for this and hope he keeps true to his word.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Al, no bet because I agree with you. I think Mourinho would have to be senile or deranged before he decided to build a team.

  • Mandy Dodd

    old enough to remember one Rupert, not the other!

  • Andrei

    @AL It is interesting how you single out Mourinho for a ‘special’ treatment. I merely tried to apply your logic to other managers to see if it stands – a perfectly normal practice in my experience. As for the argument that Mourihno called himself special and therefore it warrants special treatment you should check your facts. It was the British media that labeled him ‘The Special One’ by taking some of his words out of context. The same media that often calls Wenger stubborn and arrogant.

    You should probably check some of your other claims about Mourihno as well. He spent bulk of his career with Benfica, União de Leiria, Porto and Inter – not exactly poster children of what you call financial doping. More importantly Mourihno’s most remarkable achievements are with Porto and Inter. Porto were exactly as you described “a side that’s hovering just above mid-table” and he turned them into champions and some of the players into recognized stars in the process. And if you claim that Inter were “an expensively assembled side that should be winning things anyway” why Benitez failed to repeat the same feat with the same players after he took over?

  • Shard


    Because Mourinho manages his career better than he manages his teams. There’s no building for the future with him. He’ll come in, concentrate on the short term even if it means giving up the medium/long term, and he’ll move on once the club reaches its limit for the next few years. I only know about Mourinho from his Porto days. Porto is a club which relies quite heavily on players owned by third parties, and Mourinho’s relationship with Jorge Mendez is fairly easy to establish. Yes he has won trophies, but he hasn’t built and rebuilt a side. That takes a different type of management. Does that make him less of a manager? It depends on your viewpoint. While he may not be just a chequebook manager, I think you are underestimating the effect money has had on his career. It played a huge part in Chelsea where he came in and built on a very good side built by Ranieri, and he went into an Inter team that was already champions under Mancini, while the rest of their rivals were weakened. I’m not sure how much money they spent financing his project there. He achieved a title at Real Madrid with huge amounts of money and talent at his disposal. The Barca hegemony still stood.

    He’s won the CL twice. Wenger hasn’t won it yet. Does that make Mourinho a better manager? Once again, that is subjective. What Mourinho did at Porto is in my opinion, not even close to what Wenger achieved at Monaco. Wenger was the victim of match fixing as well, while, if you believe the allegations, Mourinho was the beneficiary of it. But even discounting that, Monaco’ position in the hierarchy of football was lesser than Porto’s. As was their ability to affect change. Monaco couldn’t rely on TTPOs like Porto. They had to rely on Wenger’s eye for talent considered has beens and for youngsters. Wenger also could have moved to Bayern Munich in 94, won some titles there, and then moved on. But he’s a different type of manager, and a different type of man. Better or worse. I know where my vote goes in that regard.

  • Shard

    In other words, I think it is easier to comprehend Wenger doing what Mourinho has done, ie. won titles where assured of being the heaviest spender and concentrating only on the short term. Madrid, Bayern, PSG. It’s fairly easy to imagine Wenger winning titles with clubs like that (and that is why they still have an interest in hiring him)….than it is to imagine Mourinho doing what Wenger has done. ie Win titles with teams that have never been the top spenders, stay and build and rebuild a team several times, and keep it at the top end of the table while maintaining a net profit in transfer fees because the club needs the money to grow. Oh, and maintaining a largely entertaining brand of football while doing so.

  • @Shard
    Wengers a fraud. A lucky manager who is now looking what he REALLY is….an average manager, now the lucks run out. Anyone who can make excuses for him needs his head checked.

  • Unhappy, I appreciate a lack of happiness may have accounted for your lackluster comment! But shard has left two cracking comments there – regardless of whether you agree with them – a little more effort wouldn’t go a miss. Cheers.