Whether it actually happened or not, the reports that Arsene Wenger refused to let Jose Mourinho sit beside him at a recent manager’s forum have already passed into legend on the internet which it means, for the majority of people who read it, it’s true.
It probably isn’t, but let’s pretend for a minute that it is, why is it an issue?
Why would Arsene Wenger want a man who has made a career out of being snide, disrespectful and downright nasty about him sitting anywhere near him?
Where Arsene and Sir Alex Ferguson enjoyed a tense, sometimes angry relationship, it was always underpinned by a mutual respect, but no such respect exists here.
While many manager ‘feuds’ are overplayed for and by the media, this one is not. These two loathe each other.
Wenger, understandably, has a hard time accepting that he cannot beat Mourinho, although some of that no doubt comes from the way Mourinho wins. Mourinho, for his part, cannot understand why his ‘win at all costs’ approach, which gets results, does not afford him the same respect that is given to Wenger.
In Mourinho’s eyes, he has earned the right to be treated with respect by virtue of the trophies that he has won and that’s a decent argument. But when you look, not only at how he won those trophies, but how he’s interacted people around him while winning, it’s not hard to see why he is treated with contempt by an ever-growing audience.
Wenger, on the other hand, has always tried to win the ‘right way.’ That does not mean he is a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a difference between losing yourself in the heat of the battle and having ‘nasty’ as a core personality trait.
Mourinho is nasty.
I wouldn’t want him sitting anywhere near me, either.