Twenty years is a long time.
Arsene Wenger has done a well-publicised 20 years to date, with more in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Eddie Howe – the nearest – has just celebrated four years in charge. It’s half that again if you’re looking for a manager of a club which finished in the European places. Just under half of the Premier League’s current crop haven’t even been in their job for a year.
So yes, twenty years is a long time, in any walk of life, but never more so than in football.
Indeed, it’s almost unprecedented in the post-war era. I say almost, because there is a notable exception: Sir Alex Ferguson. The longevity of Wenger and Ferguson throw the latter’s latest successor into stark contrast.
Yes, that’s right ladies and gents. I’m writing about our dear friend Jose. Again.
Obsessed (but is that Jose or me?)
The man just cannot keep his mouth shut. This week, his latest sob story is that he doesn’t get the respect he deserves, boo hoo. And of course, he couldn’t just speak about himself either. He had to illustrate his point by using the hard-earned and well-deserved respect that Arsene commands as his evidence. It’s almost like he’s obsessed, as a lover spurned.
Here’s the full quote:
Don’t make me laugh. Pretending to be all polite with your formal “mister this” and “mister that”. We all know you despise him like Tottenham fans despise lasagne.
Sorry, distracted. Back to the quote:
“Mr Wenger has that respect from all of you. I don’t think I have it. My last league title was 18 months ago, not 18 years ago.”
Well, first things first, 2004 was not 18 years ago. Not to be pedantic or anything. And secondly, don’t you think there’s a reason you don’t have that respect, Jose? Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, you are the problem here?
It really is little wonder that Arsene, with all his dignity, class and footballing purity, does not get on with trashy, petty, anti-footballing Jose. Mourinho essentially is the very antithesis of Arsene.
Who is Jose Mourinho?
This is a man who was ‘sacked’ twice by a club largely regarded as his perfect fit.
A man who thinks it’s acceptable to eye gouge an opponent.
This is a man whose ‘media attention and controversy’ section on his Wikipedia page is almost as long as the match-by-match coverage of his managerial spells.
A man whose longest spell at a club is a little over three years.
This is a man who talks of nothing but bias accusations yet tries to influence referees before games with his snarky comments.
A man who tapped up Ashley Cole.
This is a man who sank so low as to label a respectable rival a “voyeur”.
A man who was caught instructing his players to collect deliberate yellow cards.
This is a man who demands respect, yet often shakes hands before the game is even over.
A man who thinks it acceptable to be sexist, and to fire someone for doing their job.
This is a man who accuses his successors of trying to humiliate him.
A man who sprints along the touchline to celebrate with his players, and likely only stops short of knee sliding because he’s wearing his precious suit.
And this is a man who believes it is acceptable to call a fellow manager “a specialist in failure”.
When Jose came out with that disrespectful, and downright wrong comment, what was Arsene’s response? “I am embarrassed for him honestly. I am more disappointed for Chelsea than for me.” Simple, dignified, and to the point.
Jose is out of control. He is rude. And he is an embarrassment.
The gold standard
Meanwhile, Arsene has 20 years under his belt and handles Jose’s strops like you would a small child. He simply holds him at arm’s length, with dignity, patience and humour, and waits for the storm to pass.
My favourite moment of the whole summer was when reports emerged of Arsene’s “no, that’s not possible” snub. I can almost imagine the slightly absent-minded air, the tone of dismissal, and that wry grin sneaking across his face. Delightful.
The real evil
When I shared the topic of last week’s column, my fellow columnist Paul remarked:
“I’m starting to think you’re obsessed with Mourinho, Helen. Do you have voyeuristic tendencies?”
It was hard to argue. Maybe it’s an international break thing – let’s face it, Arsenal content can be hard to come by – so I just revert to the target of least resistance?
Earlier this season, I wrote about how Chelsea no longer boil my blood in quite the same manner. I suppose that’s in much the same way that I’ve struggled to feel as aggravated by United since Fergie departed.
This summer, however, my two old hates – Manchester United and Jose Mourinho – have been brought together into the ultimate Beelzebub. I’ve never wanted to beat them more.
All in all, it’s going to make it all the more satisfying when we play them off the park on the first weekend in May, to secure our first league title in unlucky-for-some thirteen years.
Back to maths class with you, Jose.