Turning Points

So often, seen only in retrospect. Take Busby’s Manchester United: a 2-0 defeat in the San Siro against Inter in 1969, in a European Cup semi-final, is followed by many, many years of entirely unlooked-for disaster, mediocrity and decline. Another 2-0 defeat, this time for Leeds United in the 1975 European Cup Final, spelt the definitive end of the greatest club side of its generation, perhaps of any generation.

Was this Chelsea’s end-game?


Or had it already been signalled earlier, in Jose Mourinho’s ambivalent reaction immediately after the 2006 title decider against Manchester United?

That, of course, followed this…

and somehow, one felt, that the ground had shifted from underneath the Chelsea boss. Left to his own devices, in all likelihood, Mourinho would have brought unprecedented success to Chelsea whatever Wenger or Ferguson came up with. He wasn’t, not at all, and there are aspects to his behaviour after 2005-6 that one didn’t see prior to that, aspects that spoke of a fundamental change to the way Mourinho saw both his current world and his likely future.

I’m reminded of Tony Blair 1997 versus Tony Blair 2007 in these two photographs:

To be continued…

3 Replies to “Turning Points”

  1. You’d think so – if the rumours of Abramovich ‘picking the team’ are correct. But on the other hand one would have thought other clubs, in History, had some connection between playing success and income, whereas as long as Abramovich stays at Chelsea one imagines the money would guarantee the odd trophy.

  2. Proactive chairmen and owners? Did Bob Lord have much say at Burnley? I suspect things went on at Portsmouth with Mandaric. And of course boards hire and fire managers with considerable abandon. But the loss of Mourinho was a stupid loss that need not have happened. I thought he was doing pretty well and Chelsea were by no means dull, certainly a lot brighter George Graham’s Arsenal.

    I think you could probably find more flattering and cheerful late photographs of Mourinho, James, though not, I think, of Blair.

  3. The picture of Mourinho at the press conference the day after he retired showed a man who had regained a lot of that vitality. He looked years younger.

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