Off the Mark: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho isn’t special enough to fool us this time


They say that getting older and getting wiser go hand in hand, but not a lot is made of the stubborn streak which also appears to grow as the years advance.

This streak is particularly prevalent in football managers, men who spend their lives living on the edge and, in a work sense, living and dying by their decisions.

Look at Sir Alex Ferguson, a man who seemingly gained 100 enemies for every one of his 26 years in charge of Manchester United.

By the end of his wonderful tenure he wouldn’t dare admit he was wrong. Arsene Wenger, who has only grown more and more exasperated with the passage of time, has a similar affliction too, it’s just that Arsenal’s great form this season means that we haven’t really seen it recently.

Tucked up two points and two places behind the Premier League-leading Gunners are Chelsea, but the fine form of the Blues has been overshadowed by accusations of diving in their last three games; one falsely made by them against an opponent, and two correctly made by everyone else against the Blues.

As always with Chelsea – even seemingly when he wasn’t even there – everything centres around Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese’s farcical claims that Luis Suarez dived in an attempt to win a penalty for Liverpool in their defeat at Chelsea before the turn of the year were immediately dismissed by all who saw replays of Samuel Eto’o clearly taking out the Reds forward seconds after the incident.

Similarly, Mourinho is now claiming that there are “no divers at Chelsea” despite seeing the Brazilians Oscar and Ramires booked for that very offence in the Blues’ last two games at Southampton and then Derby County in the FA Cup.

But whereas once Mourinho’s words were lapped up by an adoring media and fans who were so spellbound by his crashing and glorious arrival into English football in 2004, now we’re all a little more of a cynical and, dare we say it, stubborn bunch. It’s the passage of time, see.

The Suarez attack was nothing more than Mourinho trying to stick the boot in on a club that repeatedly annoyed him in his first tenure at Stamford Bridge, with the Portuguese perhaps trying – and failing – to plant seeds in referee’s heads about a player who has certainly cheated in the past, but who might just have turned a corner this season.

Having attempted to hang Suarez out to dry so publicly, the Portuguese was then faced with the embarrassment of two of his own players receiving bookings for clear simulation.

In Ramires’ case the incident at Derby seemed so unsavoury as it came with his ‘successful’ dive against West Brom still so fresh in the memory; a moment that kept alive Mourinho’s proud home league record and probably contributed to the sacking of Baggies boss Steve Clarke, the former assistant to Mourinho in his first coming as Chelsea boss.

So of course there are divers at Chelsea, because there are divers pretty much everywhere else too.

Type in the name of a top player on YouTube and you’ll find footage of them going to ground too easily.

Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Suarez, Lionel Messi too. And look, here’s both Gary AND Phil Neville.

It happens, its football, and before you say that you don’t have any divers at your club then rest assured there will be plenty of people out there ready to prove you wrong.

So give it a rest Jose, we’re not falling for your every word any more.

Just get back to doing what it is you do best, namely expertly managing and motivating a Chelsea team who are, quite ironically, looking as though they’ve found their feet this season.


It’s the end of the world for Arsenal, not England

Arsenal fans could be forgiven for feeling a little left out of Monday’s news that one of their best players will miss the rest of the season.

Theo Walcott’s cruciate knee ligament injury was, we were told, a crashing blow to England’s hopes at the World Cup in the summer, and whilst that is indeed the case, what about the club who actually employs him?

The Gunners barely got a mention in the news, but it is they who will suffer the most because of it.

Walcott was just beginning to get back to his best and looked to be a real threat in the Arsenal title charge, but now he’s been added to a growing injury list those familiar Gunners concerns will raise their ugly heads.

They could just be an injury or two away from meltdown.


Does anyone actually want to West Brom job?

What exactly are West Bromwich Albion waiting for?

It’s now been almost a month since the sacking of Steve Clarke, but still no new man has been appointed on a permanent basis, leaving the Baggies under the temporary rule of Keith Downing, who doesn’t want the job, at one of the most crucial periods of the season.

Sometimes caution is the best approach, but here it just looks reckless.

Get on with it!

Southampton to win both halves against West Brom is 10/3 with




Posted on 8 Jan 2014, in Off the Mark and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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