5 Reasons Why Jose Mourinho Should be the Next England Manager
Given the choice between extravagantly successful and inoffensively mediocre, the English Football Association will go for the anodyne every time.
The best English manager of the last half a century, Brian Clough, was deemed too volatile for the job, and the best tactician, Terry Venables, was appointed “coach” and then pushed out because he was thought too shady, a fate similar to that of Harry Rednapp, who was all but promised the position and then snubbed at the last moment despite being cleared by a jury of any dodgy dealings.
The last one to make a decent fist of it was the late Sir Bobby Robson and he was made so uncomfortable before taking England to the semi-final in Italia ’90 that he left for European club soccer immediately afterwards.
You get the picture – the suits that select the England manager are neither bold nor particularly creative, a description that amply fits Roy Hodgson, the most recent boss of perhaps the most disaapointing national side in the history of the sport.
So where do I get off, I hear you ask, in suggesting that a maverick like Jose Mourinho should be next to manage England?
You could argue that he’s too flamboyant, too outspoken…too popular - and up to this weekend I would probably have agreed with you. But a specific incident has changed my mind and I hope it will one day tempt the F.A. to look more favorably on the perfectly turned out Portuguese.
It hasn’t been a particularly good few days for Chelsea Football Club or for Mr. Mourinho. But in the course of being thoroughly beaten 2-4 at home to Bradford City of League One in the fourth round of the F.A. Cup, the beaten manager revealed a virtue his side had patently failed to show in the match – class.
Immediately after the game had finished, Mourinho marched down the tunnel to the opposing team’s dressing room and took the time to shake the hands of every member of the Bradford team and staff and congratulate them for one of the biggest ever upsets in the competition.
"The scenes, the look on everyone's faces was amazing, something which will live long in the memory,” Bradford goalkeeper Ben Williams told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek program. “The fans were amazing and after that Mourinho came into the dressing room and shook everyone's hand and congratulated us -- that was a surreal moment as well.
"In he walked and the celebrations stopped. This figure waltzed into the dressing room. He was very classy, very humble, very respectful -- it was the icing on the cake."
Chelsea had been put together at a cost of $300 million. Bradford’s playwrs cost a combined $11,000. This was not the Premier League leaders’ greatest hour and many managers would have sloped off to the bus afterwards in a flurry of excuses and complaints about the officiating.
Not Mourinho. He didn’t offer a word to his own team; they knew only too well what he thought of them. Instead he took the bigger man’s approach.
This wasn’t a photo opportunity to put a different kind of shine on Brand Mourinho. By all accounts it was a genuine gesture from a man who has learned to understand the allure and romance of the game’s oldest cup competition.
Coaching to great success in four countries, Mourinho has all too often commanded the headlines for his arrogance or eccentricities, but this was a mark of a new maturity and a public acknowledgement of the decency he’d always shown in private.
He has made no secret of his love of England and English football and, despite his occasional touchline antics, he has made some firm and loyal friends among his fellow premier league managers.
With Sir Alex Ferguson gone, he has an incomparable managerial pedigree and, love him or hate him, many English fans have taken him to their hearts in spite of themselves in a way they never will with Roy Hodgson.
We should let Hodgson have a go at the European Championships. He deserves that at least.
But when he fails, as inevitably he will, the stick-in-the-muds at the F.A. should suck it up and beg Mourinho to take over the English national side.
Here are 5 reasons why it should happen:
1. Mourinho is used to managing top players at top teams, Hodgson is not
There was nothing in Hodgson’s CV to suggest he could manage England successfully and precious little evidence since his appointment. Mourinho has silverware to spare and has demonstrated his ability to handle superstars like Ronaldo.
2. English fans love the Algarve (and prefer Mourinho)
They’ve already had a Swede and an Italian, England fans don’t have any problems with Portugal – they love the Algarve.
3. He doesn’t need the money
He’d have to take a pay cut but that’s okay; he makes more money a year from clothes sponsors than many make in their entire lives and what more can he do with Chelsea anyway? He will need a new challenge pretty soon?
4. It’ll be fun watching him trying to shake other national managers hands just after halftime
He likes to get his handshakes in early – win or lose – to the annoyance of the likes of Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert. It’s about time an England manager tries to get into the heads of other countries as opposed to surrendering meekly.
5. He can win the World Cup with England
Call me crazy, but I really think he can.