What becomes evident very quickly after starting Rob Beasley’s ‘Up close and personal – Jose Mourinho’ is that it is less a book about Jose Mourinho and more one about Beasley’s relationship with him.
Beasley is both a Chelsea supporter and man who has enjoyed a close relationship with Mourinho and given that, the book is far from objective. That being said, if things were reversed and I was writing one about Wenger and dealing with his Mourinho relationship, I’m not sure I would have been as even-handed as Beasley.
I read the Wenger chapter first, of course, eagerly awaiting comments that would leave my blood boiling, but the truth is it was underwhelming on that front yet fascinating for many different reasons.There has been a lot of talk, since the Daily Mail started serialising this book, wondering if the quotes are even from Mourinho.
Beasley’s peers on Sunday Supplement recently agreed that they were true as they questioned Beasley’s inclusion of private emails, texts and off-the-record conversations between the two.
They highlighted the lack of denials from Mourinho’s camp as evidence that they must be true, and Beasley’s thanks to Mourinho at the end of the book would certainly point to a man who doesn’t believe these comments will cause any sort of strain to their relationship leading me to believe that Jose has given his blessing on the whole thing.
As an Arsenal fan and human being, I am naturally predisposed to loath Jose Mourinho but in this book you get a better understanding of what makes him tick (winning), what he values above all else (winning and his reputation) and the true level of his arrogance.
You get a true feel for how petty he is, and how self-absorbed, especially in the full chapter devoted to Mourinho not winning the manager of the month award in the season he won the league and manager of the year. Arsene Wenger often speaks about how he has no interest in these sorts of personal awards, and while Mourinho said similar in public, behind the scenes he was branding it ‘disgusting.’
There’s nothing contained within the book that is all that surprising from an Arsenal point of view (his admission that Mourinho would be open to managing Arsenal and genuinely considered managing Spurs perhaps the top ‘shocks’).
There’s also a chapter on the Ashley Cole saga that tells us nothing we didn’t already know and again, it’s more about Beasley’s relationship with Mourinho and how close he was able to get to him.
We learn about the stories Mourinho fed the journalist, the way he used Beasley and how happy the Chelsea fan was to be used, even when it meant claiming Pep Guardiola was going to City the summer he went to Bayern Munich – all on a tip from Mourinho.
For anyone interested in what makes people tick and profiles of extreme characters, anything that gets you closer to the inside of their head makes for intriguing reading and this is no different.
For others who just want to get an idea why Mourinho acts the way he does while indulging in a lot of gossip, back-biting and head shaking then there’s plenty in here for you too.