Despite the improvement of form and results, the rumor that Jose Mourinho will replace Louis Van Gaal refuses to go away. A few weeks back I wrote a piece about Pep Guardiola’s move to Manchester City in the summer and how it had become footballs best or worst kept secret depending on what sources you rely on.
The Jose Mourinho to Manchester United rumor is starting to pick up similar momentum but before we debate the legitimacy of this rumor let’s first consider whether he would be the right appointment. Over time I’ve learnt that as a football fan you need to develop the skill to build a reliable list of sources. As the sport has become more professional the attention it generates from the media has grown tremendously and I use the silly example of the summer of 2007 as reference. When Manchester United announced that they had concluded deals for Nani and Anderson I only knew about it the day they arrived at Carrington (or the AON Complex as it is known in today’s commercial world). 35 Million pounds spent on one day and I was none the wiser until it was official. It was a pleasant surprise but in todays’ world of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and smart phones you literally have to be on another planet or totally ignorant not to have any clue that the club you support is about to conclude deals for new players.
“Porto have barely appeared in the latter stages of the competition since, it’s no irony because what Mourinho achieved was truly special and his Porto side were easy on the eye.” Andile
Our curiosity has been abused over the years to generate clicks and sell papers for potential advertisers to marvel at the traffic generated and more often than not these news sources will run with a story that quite frankly has no substance. Manchester United supporters will know this new phenomenon very well – Wesley Sneijder ring a bell? Liverpool were linked with Yeven Konoplyonka every single transfer window until he eventually joined Sevilla. There may have been interest but no official bids from either club but if you had taken the media reports as gospel it was merely a formality, these deals were done. So the take out is that you need to know where to get your news, reputable sports/news sites and not tabloids but I digress.
It’s important to setup the context of this piece because the first thing I will mention is Jose’s perceived love for Manchester United. Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson are “perceived” to have a good working or professional relationship. We’ve seen a few interviews where Sir Alex has spoken very highly and fondly of Jose and visa-versa. We’ve also seen Jose Mourinho put on a charm offensive in various visits to Old Trafford, none more so than when his Real Madrid side won at Old Trafford in 2013 only for Mourinho to publically admit the wrong side won on the day. That was interpreted as some kind of a job audition – by the media. We were initially told that Sir Alex Ferguson had chosen his own successor in David Moyes. The media made us believe that upon communicating his retirement at the club, he was told to find the man who would replace him, Ed Woodward and the Glazers had no say, it was all Ferguson. I personally found it very hard to believe that an organization of this stature would allow the outgoing manager to have final say on his successor. It’s a romantic ending to what was a marriage made in heaven and for me it just sounded too much like a fairytale but the media ran with it and we were supposed to just take it as gospel and most people did, I didn’t.