Jose Mourinho might not be known for his exciting football, but he makes up for it by being possibly the most entertaining manager in the game.
Not just a serial winner and a complete egomaniac, Mourinho is the ultimate pantomime villain. And the best part is, he’s fully aware of that.
Once using his underhand tactics as a brilliant way of deflecting from his limitations or his team’s poor performances, the Portuguese coach developed a reputation for tantrums and bizarre speeches.
As time has passed, though, he’s dipped into the book of dark arts with increasing regularity, to the point where he’s essentially made a gimmick of himself.
And it’s a gimmick so good that it wouldn’t look out of place in the WWE.
He might have lost some of that sparkle and swagger that used to surround him when winning title after title and knocking other great managers off their perch, but Mourinho is still just as box office as he ever was – from a distance.
While he’s worked wonders for the most part at Roma, the way in which he goes about his work can leave you wanting to do anything but watch your own team play football when Mourinho is in charge.
Often we’d actually recommend skipping the game altogether and simply tuning into the highlights and Mourinho’s media activities before and after.
We can’t endorse that, though, because we’d miss out on too many moments that reek of football heritage, like the ‘Special One’ continually talking and protesting himself into red cards.
In Roma’s first Serie A game of the year, a vitally important clash at home to Atalanta in the race for top four, Mourinho was inevitably sent off after 90 minutes of ranting and raving from the touchline, as his team drew 1-1.
At this point, him being sent off is about as routine as death, taxes and a shameless Michael Owen brand deal.
What made this red card so special, however, was how Roma fans serenaded him off the touchline at the Stadio Olimpico, like he was some sort of immortal being.
Jose Mourinho sees red late against Atalanta. 😳
He will serve ANOTHER touchline ban. pic.twitter.com/5AiubKPFvd
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 7, 2024
Incensed with the officials throughout the game for a series of decisions, Mourinho was shown the red card in injury time, making it the fifth time in around a season and a half with Roma that he’s been dismissed.
That is genuine football heritage. He’s had more red cards than we’ve had hot dinners – and he’s not even playing.
You simply can’t hate him at this point. Roma fans appear to have learnt that, hence why chants of ‘Mourinho’ echoed around the Olimpico as he was dismissed. He’s become immortalised.
Mourinho is far from perfect and his football can leave a lot to be desired, but the one thing you can’t fault him on is his passion. The man lives, breathes and feels every action on the pitch.
In other words, he’s an absolute nutter. But he’s our nutter and, frankly, we’d go to hell and back if he told us to. He’s just that endearing.
It won’t be a surprise to learn that neither he nor his team refused to do any post-match media – again – following his dismissal, aggrieved at a number of fouls that weren’t given in Roma’s favour as they searched for a winner.
The drawback is costly and means that he won’t be on the touchline at San Siro – again – as Roma take on Milan in another huge game next weekend, but that’s the price you pay for having the ‘Special One’ taking your side to war.
Whatever comes of the 2023-24 campaign, Roma fans can look back at Mourinho’s time with the club and at least smile at the sheer absurdity of it all.
He really is one of a kind.
By Mitch Wilks