Fan's eye view on the appointment of Jose Mourinho: Chelsea's returning hero gives us a special feeling
The 'Special One' has returned to Stamford Bridge
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Tuesday 04 June 2013
After a few brief flings, one or two thoughts of settling down and a destructive short-term affair, Chelsea are heading back into the arms of the supporters' first love of the Abramovich era.
Jose Mourinho's return home may not have been a shock but it was impossible not to be swept up in the wave of euphoria when the club made the news official.
The looped clips of the dapper silver fox returning to the Bridge, as ever trailing cameramen in his wake, could not fail to get the pulses racing. The one that got away is back.
That euphoria of his return was tinged with relief. Relief that the long 2012-13 season was over, that the unloved interim manager had packed his bags, and that negotiations had not broken down, sending Jose into the grateful arms of a rival club.
For the fans, there is no better man to heal the scars of the recent months and unify the support behind him.
He was already laying it on thick yesterday, telling Chelsea TV that "now I can say I'm one of you". Those words will be lapped up around SW6.
Mourinho's presence alone will start the rebuilding work on the Stamford Bridge fortress, while his personality and methods will help add grit to a supremely talented –if somewhat callow – squad.
When Chelsea crumbled against weaker opposition this season, it was impossible not to wistfully drift off to a time when a one-goal lead was all the security we needed. To a time when not a single one of the 60 Premier League games under Jose at Stamford Bridge was lost.
He created a winning team in his own image in 2004. There is every reason to think a man with almost a decade more experience in some of Europe's biggest leagues can do it again.
It will be fascinating to see how his influence helps the development of players like Eden Hazard and Oscar – who now have a season under their belts in England – and sets about taking them to the next level. Now Roman has to step back and let him get on with it.
Some fans grew tired at the histrionics, the back biting, the constant squabbles. He returns not needing to prove himself, or having to wind up everyone in the vicinity. Those fans will hope he has toned down some of those excesses. But even they will be delighted to have the man back given the events of recent months.
While there is much affection still for Carlo Ancelotti, of all the break-ups that Chelsea fans have endured during the Abramovich era, Jose is the one that we really regret. The sense we had let a good thing slip through our fingers and it would come back to hurt us.
For every manager that had come and gone, Jose was the benchmark, the one the fans yearned for when the wheels inevitably fell off each successive regime.
Never go back they say. But if ever there was someone to challenge that established order, and who could rekindle the old flames, it is the Special One. Welcome home.
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