The special one, the mighty Jose Mourinho is back, and with a bang. Love him or loathe him, he is box office. He always reminds me of the legendary Brian Clough: he has the god given talent to deliver a narrative and focus attention. He is the master of the soundbite, his manner excites, beguiles, bewitches, befuddles and annoys. True value is always trumped by hype, and hype in turn is fuelled by controversy.
The seasoned sports journalist and Manchester United fan, Jim White, opined before the press conference today that we’re likely to see “three years of media silliness, trophies and ostentatious spending. Then another huff, another argument with a loaded Russian, and a flouncing off to continental Europe.” But in truth, we all love a spectacular soap opera of the kind Mourinho creates wherever he goes, and the press more so than anyone. What Jose cares deeply about, where he excels like no other current manager, is in creating fanfare around his tenure.
The fact of the matter is that the media world is much richer for the return of the special one; next season the post-match moments will be much less boring. The man has a natural talent to stimulate the media. He has what the old Hollywood press agents called ‘the stuff’.
He is, without doubt, the cynical, conniving, chameleonic master of self-promotion. He knows, like the granddaddy of hype, PT Barnum, that what led to people getting excited about something was not about how spectacular the thing itself was, but how spectacular you told them it was.
Jose has worked out that with the media as his canvas it is possible to paint pictures, stir up controversy, subliminally undermine opponents and put match officials on edge. Big players want to be part of his three ring circus. His ability to make news takes the story onto the front pages, fires up social media and builds the Chelsea brand.
Everyone loves a showman. Someone of his natural ability is a rare commodity but on the evidence of the press conference he has plenty left in the tank.
The special one’s antics will guarantee points on the board before the team has kicked a ball.