Sarah Sands: Persuasion: a tale of bashful Jos, his bonnet and 6m a year

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The Independent Online

We have rediscovered our taste for costume dramaromances, and our favourite is the flirtation between Jos Mourinho and the Football Association. Let us call it Persuasion, or perhaps The History of England.

The story so far: Mourinho has been hiding behind his bonnet in Portugal, where he fled after his heart was broken by the rogue Roman Abramovich. His fortune was singular: "What pin money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!" chanted Chelsea fans, but Abramovich turned out to be both cruel and capricious.

Mourinho bore his disappointment with his usual modesty, seated on his terrace sipping coffee and educating his son, whom he named Jos junior. To sit on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

Hiding in the verdure were many journalists from The Sun with solicitations. Mourinho was expecting them: John Terry had already whispered to him: "There is one comfort, my dear Jos. Chelsea is not the only team in the world worth having: and with your pretty face you will never want for admirers." Or, as a football blogger last week put it: "Mourinho got a bunch of over-rated players at Chelsea to win league titles. He's the best man to get a bunch of overpaid, over-rated players in the England team to win games."

The trouble with costume dramas is that they follow a tortuous pattern of twisted ankles, interfering busybodies, lost chances, letters, misunderstandings, balls and long horse-rides before we reach the proposal.

Brian Barwick is no better at cutting to the chase than Mourinho. He wants to eliminate every man, woman and child in the country first. Having chosen a dud last time in SteveMcClaren, Barwick talks of a grand consultation process. He has already spoken to players and managers and possibly the Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon we shall have people's juries or a national referendum.

Meanwhile, Mourinho sighs and waits. "I know nothing," says the Not Yet Chosen One through his eyelashes, to Sky News. "Which job?" Must we wait for a sub-plot about industrialised England or foreign wars? GET ON WITH IT! Go and propose to Mourinho.

Unfortunately, costume dramas require an examination of the human heart. Stubbornness and pride must be driven out. We can expect further frustration and confusion as Barwick employs intermediaries.

Mourinho will have no such thing. If Barwick wants him, he must stride up up that path himself bearing 6m a year, even if naughty Jose has lead him there only to inflame Real Madrid. "In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." This might be a step up stylistically from Barwick's tribute to his previous beloved, Steve McClaren: "I spoke to Steve this morning we get on very well with him. I've had many grown-up conversations [scary euphemism]... I can only wish him well."

There are other characters in this drama who may be ambivalent about its outcome. What did Sven Goran Eriksson mean exactly by his good wishes? "Mourinho has been very successful, but to be the England manager you must win every game, not do anything in your private life and hopefully not earn too much money."

Other voices say we have no need for a pampered Portuguese poltroon. Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. It is time for Brian Barwick to overcome his pride at making the first move and prejudice about foreigners and their double-crossing ways and bring the Chosen One home.

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