Friday, September 21, 2007
When a Team Flushes a Season...
A few days ago Jose Mourinho, the manager (which means the same thing for a football team in europe as it does in MLB here) of Chelsea FC resigned after a draw with Norwegian side Rosenborg at Stamford Bridge in England. I was absolutely shocked to read that news, and it's taken a little while to sink in. Then I started to think about it a little, and realized that this decision makes absoluetly no sense at this point in time.
Last summer there was tension b/w Mourinho and the team's owner Roman Abramovich after a season where Abramovich desired an unprecedented four trophies from the team, but Mourinho and his men could only provide two. Now, Man U had a fantastic season last year and was almost without a single significant injury. Chelsea on the other hand had to deal with several injuries including Petr Cech's depressed skull, John Terry's long absence at central defense, and other small nagging conditions throughout the season. It seems that under those conditions two trophies would be a triumph; apparently that isn't the case to the big, bad, Russian owner.
I would understand somewhat if Mourinho had parted ways with Chelsea after the end of the season. He had won two EPL titles, a few other cup trophies, but had stalled and had conflicts with the owner. But he still came back to start this season, with a supposedly renewed friendship with Abramovich, which is why this news comes as a shock.
Mourinho has left Chelsea to flounder through this year as a lost one. Without his direction, the team just isn't as good. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are out with injuries, and now with this managerial loss Chelsea really can't hope to succeed in a big way this season.
I'm horrifically disappointed in Mourinho for giving up so easily at this part of the season, but also upset with the management of the club, who have put so much unnecessary pressure on Jose to keep winning trophies year after year. This is the manager that won two EPL titles in a row for a team that had only ever won 1 title in its entire club history. Plus he took Chelsea from barely competing with the biggest clubs in England and put them in the same category as the best club teams in Europe. Unless Chelsea is able to hire someone like Jurgen Klinsmann away from his vacation life in Los Angeles, or hire away a big time manager from another European giant, there was no reason to part ways with Mourinho.
Therin lies the problem, though. It is currently a month into the season. There is no possible way that a Mourinho-caliber manager is going to be lured away at this point in the campaign to look after Chelsea. I just don't see it. Right now, this mutual resignation agreement is the worst thing to happen at Stamford Bridge in a long time. The Mourinho era has come to a close, and I don't see anything better than its far too brief window in the future for the club unless a major swoop occurs.