by Tony Attwood
As Mourinho is the man that the media say is coming to Arsenal as the next manager, I thought I would look at Mourinho and his record with the clubs he has managed – and indeed look at what happened after he left (generally following a mega-falling out with the club).
Because in ideal terms it seems to me that one wants as a manager a person who wins the league, and when he leaves, he leaves behind a club in better state that it was when the manager joined.
If we consider Arsene Wenger in these terms, he joined a club that in its previous seasons had finished 4th, 12th, 4th, 10th, 5th in the league. Although clearly his record slipped at the end, what he left was an expectation of champions league qualification as a minimum, whereas when he joined, top four finishes, were not the norm, and indeed twice we had sunk to depths that are unimaginable today. He also left a club awash with talented youngsters, and a stadium debt totally wiped out.
So the question is, has Mourinho, who is much more of a short term manager than Arsene Wenger, left the clubs he has managed in a good position and with a positive feeling?
Benfica was his first appointment, in 2000, and it is noteworthy that after Mourinho’s short spell with the club – a club that was used to winning the league indeed – they did not win it again until 2005, and after that not until 2010. The regular return to the top of the league did not start again until 2015 (when they began a run of four wins in five years).
Mourinho left after demanding much more power which a new incoming chairman would not give him what he wanted. A similar situation arose with Uniao de Leiria his second club, so again he walked. Then Mourinho went on to Porto where he won the league twice – pretty much the norm for the club, and he did indeed take them to new Champions League heights, and it was this run that attracted the attention of Chelsea.
But at Porto everything again ended very badly, because it seems Mourinho was negotiating his departure to Chelsea behind the backs of the owners, instead of celebrating the success he had given the club.
But Porto continued their success without Mourinho, Mourinho gained two titles with Chelsea, and in the years after he left they got 2nd, 3rd and 1st place in the league – suggesting that he again left a legacy. However we might note that finance was the key here. Chelsea were the club intent on blowing everyone else away because they had the money of a Russian oil billionaire. Arsenal are owned by a billionaire, but not one willing to put billions into the club. If Mourinho leaves a mess at Arsenal it will not be easy to set it right afterwards.
And Mourinho is not remembered as a hero by many supporters at Chelsea, because again he just walked out when he didn’t get what he wanted. And he is not remembered with affection at Inter Milan, the club he went to next, because he told the players they had won nothing, because their past teams were not that good.
True won the treble in Miland, which of course is a fantastic achievement, but when we come to look at what he left at the club after he moved on, the record is not so great. No legacy in fact… the club has slipped away, far behind Juventus.
The same again is true in Madrid, where most commentators note him as a divisive influence who split the players into groups. The team itself won the league once, but not in the style that Real Madrid expected and demanded. He had been brought in to challenge Barcelona, which he did for a short while. But then he left, and Real Madrid, despite their wealth, went into further decline.
So when we look at his big club managements and see what happened, yes he won the league twice with Inter Milan. In the following seasons after he left the club ended up 2nd, 6th, 9th, 5th and 8th.
With Real Madrid, and remember this is Real Madrid, the eternal winners of stuff, after he left they came 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd. And this is in a league where they expect to win it all the time. (He won it once, in 2017).
It was even worse in his second run at Chelsea (2013/15). One title has come their way since then (despite the billions and billions spent on the club). Chelsea have come 10th, 3rd, 5th and 3rd. The public rows were great run – for the rest of us – but not for Chelsea fans.
As for Manchester United he, for once, did not get his way, and the club not only faltered under him, in terms of league titles, that faltering has continued.
Mourinho is not a guarantee of winning the league, but he is seemingly a guarantee of a serious decline after he leaves.