Sighs of relief all round. One larger-than-life colossus of a football manager may have hung up his chewing gum, but another, of a different but no less singular character, has arrived to give the Premier League its zip back.
When Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down last month, after 27 years managing Manchester United, English football was all set to be quieter, less pugnacious – and arguably less interesting. With Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea we cannot be sure of a west London winning streak. But we can be sure of entertainment.
The Portuguese manager may not quite rival Sir Alex in such matters as berating referees, prowling the sidelines in demented rage, or drying players’ hair. But his suave suits and powerful sense of his own magnificence add a touch of the boulevardier to the sweat and the swearing. What has been lost in choler, then, has been gained in glamour. Welcome back, Jose.