It is time for Manchester United fans to face reality.
There is a tangible divide amongst United supporters on the subject of a certain Jose Mourinho; one side crave his arrogance, composure and winning mentality, whilst the other lament his reticence on blooding youth and playing attractive football, the supposed ‘United way’.
I must admit I was, for a large spell of time, an ardent voice against Mourinho. However, it has become apparent that he really is the only viable option, in a virtually barren market poached by the savvy of Manchester City and Bayern Munich – Pep Guardiola, and Carlo Ancelotti.
Those who oppose the apparently inevitable arrival of Mourinho are, on the whole, stuck in the nostalgia of Sir Alex Ferguson glory. The Scot was an unbelievable individual, but a one-off and the legacy he built at United will never be replicated again, anywhere. Managerial cycles are now a norm, with Arsene Wenger the stubborn exception, and the likelihood of one manager staying at a club for more than five years is non-existent.
Consequently, the argument that cites Mourinho’s inability to stay at a club for more than three years is built upon weak standing. Then, the argument follows that he leaves the club in disorder – it is only true of Chelsea, a club that attracts disarray like a magnet.
He left Porto on the back of a Champions League title and despite some fans tasting the sour flavour of bitterness during his negotiations with Chelsea, he left the club with a strong squad, absent of internal fraction. Granted, his first spell at Chelsea ended in acrimonious circumstances, but his next move resulted in two years at Inter Milan, ultimately winning the treble in his last season. Whilst he delivered trophies at his time in Real Madrid, he was considered a failure for not removing Barcelona from their perch; the succeeding manager Carlo Ancelotti won the Copa Del Ray and the Champions League in his first season – is a club that is left is total mayhem, as Mourinho is attributed with invariably doing, capable of such a feat? It is also clear that Chelsea’s unprecedented capitulation was not all down to Mourinho: his players should shoulder most of the blame, appearing to lack the fight, determination and, more astonishingly, pride necessary to mount a serious defence of their title.
Clearly then, the myth is exposed: Mourinho does not leave a club in chaos, and will not do so upon his hypothetical departure from Old Trafford. Okay, he tends to leave amidst a storm whipped from pettiness and confrontation, but isn’t the same true for most managerial departures?
Mourinho obvious desperation to hold the managerial position at United also suggests he is willing to adapt his footballing philosophy. It may simply be conjecture, but Mourinho may be open to sacrificing his more defensively-minded approach to the fluid style that was expected under Ferguson, whilst integrating youth into match-day squads, rather than abusing the loan-system.
There is an embarrassingly distinct lack of fight in the current United set-up, a far-cry from the grit and passion Ferguson demanded of his players. Parroting Brendan Rodger’s favourite sound bite, there is no character at United – no identity. Mourinho would almost certainly bring such wants back, which coupled with his indefatigable competitiveness would restore success and that smell of superiority that inflames opposition fan bases.
Serial winner Jose Mourinho is the only current option that will re-install what it means to be Manchester United and United fans need to leave the intoxicating world of reminiscence and sentimentality attached to the ideal of one manager tying an inseparable bond with one club