Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Mourinho could manage Manchester United’s expectations

Nigel Adkins was relieved of his managerial duties last week following a noteworthy tenure.

Southampton had just completed back-to-back promotions and at the first time of asking, have given themselves a real chance of staying up as they reached the midway point of the Premier League.

Give this option to any Southampton supporter two seasons ago and they would have snapped your hand off.

He didn’t need years to lay foundations and build from the ground up.

He didn’t have substantial backing.

He didn’t even have much time.

Yet Nigel could not have achieved much more.

Not so long ago, Tottenham Hotspur were struggling in the relegation zone when they moved for Harry Redknapp.

In four seasons at the club, Harry finished 4th, 5th, 4th and even managed to take the club to the quarter finals of the Champions League.

No lengthy regime.

No extensive rebuilding project.

No complaint from Spurs fans.

As for David Moyes, he is highly regarded for his achievements at Everton.

Ten seasons of stability is all he has really achieved though.

Despite being in the Premier League for his entire reign, selling numerous players for vast sums, David has never won a major honour for them.

This during a period where clubs like Blackburn, Portsmouth, Birmingham and even Middlesborough have won silverware of some sort.

All of whom have had various candidates at their helm.

Then there’s Jose Mourinho.

It’s been nine seasons since Roman Abramovich took over at Chelsea.

In that time, Roman has hired or fired nine different managers.

His first appointment was Jose.

While his treatment of a selection of these managers, namely the special one, has sparked vociferous debate in the stands - his methods have proved massively successful.

Chelsea hadn’t won the league in fifty years.

The only time they’d won it.

Three times they’ve won it under Roman now.

Last season they went one better.

Adding their first ever Champions League to the trophy cabinet.

In fact, they’ve qualified for the tournament every season Roman has overseen proceedings.

Coupled with four FA cups, two league cups and on numerous occasions reached the final four of Europe’s elite competition.

Jose was responsible for five of those major honours.

Not a bad period at all.

And no comparison with their former rivals Arsenal - the epitome of stability in the modern era.

Arsene Wenger has governed every single aspect of Arsenal football club for sixteen straight seasons now.

He has full control in decisions made yet hasn’t managed a major honour in his previous eight campaigns.

No contest when it comes to finance.

And no contest when it comes to success.

The idea that a manager must embody longevity is a distinctly British one - throughout the major European leagues anyway.

Since Sir Alex took over at Old Trafford, Bayern Munich have had twenty managers.

Ajax Amsterdam eighteen.

FC Porto the same.

All clubs dominating their domestic leagues as well as conquering Europe throughout this period.

A similar picture in Italy too.

Juventus fourteen.

AC Milan sixteen.

Internazionale as much as twenty seven.

All hugely successful in Serie ‘A’.

All winners of the Champions League during Fergie time.

Then comes the biggest club of all.

Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho’s home right now.

The Spanish giants have had twenty five managers since Sir Alex took up his reigns.

Won eleven La Liga titles.

Three Champions Leagues.

Plus numerous World Club Cups, European Super Cups and Copa Del Reys.

Never one to have a problem with moving on a manager at seasons end - no matter how successful.

Fabio Capello won the league yet didn’t do it stylishly enough.

Jupp Heynckes won the Champions League in his only season in charge.

Vicente Del Bosque won two and it still wasn’t enough for him to retain his job.

Yet despite all this, Real Madrid remain the most successful club in the world.

Even more remarkable is that by the end of this season, Jose should be their third longest serving manager in their one hundred and ten year history.

He has had two and a half campaigns so far.

Brought in to end Josep Guardiola’s Barcelona dominance - labelled the greatest club side of all time.

It took Jose just one season before he started to overturn the Catalan giants.

No better manager in the world to undertake such a massive challenge.

And it will be a similar challenge that faces the next Manchester United manager - taking over from a man who has been in charge for almost thirty years.

How to find the next Alex Ferguson is the question people keep asking.

Not a job that Jose seems made for.

But what they should really be asking - is who will manage Manchester United next?

And expect Jose to be able to manage that...


  1. List of how many managers each club has had since November 1986:

    27 Internazionale
    25 Real Madrid
    20 Bayern Munich
    18 Ajax Amsterdam
    18 FC Porto
    18 Chelsea
    16 AC Milan
    14 Juventus
    14 FC Barcelona
    09 Liverpool
    06 Arsenal
    01 Manchester United

  2. perfect match Wankers ;)

  3. Damn, you advertising types always luring me in with false promises. This article's not about Jose being able to managing United's expectations. It's about the uniquely English desire for longevity in club management, which is a very interesting topic.

    Some good point but I'm not fully sure I know what you're view is.

    Is it OK that Southampton to have sacked Adkins? He's got them this far but another manager could do better… that's what they do in Europe. Same goes for Spurs who aren't really doing any better without 'arry. Should they still be there?

  4. I would have said that sacking Adkins was a disgrace. However, the point I was trying to iterate here was that Adkins was successful in a limited time yet was deemed surplus to requirements by people in power in the English game. Short term fixes, as his turned out to be can prove successful. Saints fans should have been happy with his tenure regardless of whether or not they wanted him to stay longer.

  5. Agree about Moyes. He's had it very easy in the last few years. Should he be gone?

    Not sure Abromovich's Chelsea have a place in an article with Everton and Southampton. The financial injection he brought was a game changer. He's got virtually bottomless pockets. Impossible for Everton and Southampton to compete with.

    In the same period Wenger has been selling players and buying extremely conservatively in an effort to pay for the new stadium and balance the books. A very different approach. Should he be gone?

  6. Moyes - Yes, yes he should. I debated recently whether it is better to support a yo-yo club and experience the highs and lows of promotion / relegation as opposed to the stability of a mid table side. I would rather support a Crystal Palace or Birmingham style team over a Fulham or previously Bolton team. I would rather have supported Tottenham over Everton in the last 10 years despite Everton probably averaging off better than Spurs.

    Abramovich - The financial side, Chelsea, were brought in to explore how even if you have money, which MUFC do, it won't stop them from swapping managers every year or two and still proving successful. Moyes may have had more success if he had Chelsea's finances but I doubt it when you consider the treatment of Jose, RDM, Ancelotti, AVB etc. under Roman.

    And unfortunately, I believe Arsene Wenger is still the best man for the job. Only because I can't think of a better manager to make players and then have to sell them. It feels like he has been operating on a MINUS 20m budget every season for 5 years now and I can't see many managers being able to make a 20 million profit each season and still remain competitive.

  7. Is Fergie not the number one argument for longevity in management?

    Are Man U not the most successful club in Europe since 1986 (including leagues, domestic cups and international cups)? I don't know if they are but they're definitely up there.

  8. Real Madrid are the most successful club of all time. They have had 25 managers since SAF. RM have won 3 CL compared to 2 and 11 La Liga's compared to 12. Arguments can be brought in here about more money etc. so it's a tough one. Especially when you are comparing 2 teams from different leagues over such a long period. English clubs were barred from Europe, let alone the foreigner rule coming in etc. during this period.

  9. As for Jose managing United. I agree that he could take over but would he want to?

    When he arrived at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real his new club weren't the current champions. (With the exception of Inter who are listed as winner but Juve actually won the league).

  10. The original title of this was "Mourinho is perfect for Man United but is Man United perfect for Jose".

    I believe he wants to have a long term at an English club but I don't know if it will suit him.