With the final whistle merely 40 minutes past, CFCnet rushed to the World’s End Estate to put its thoughts on paper. Hmm, where to start?
Congratulations must go to our ex-manager, Jose Mourinho, for being the first manager in 27 attempts to win at the Bridge in the Champions League. That’s no small task. As the Inter crowd chanted ‘Jose Mourinho’ and ‘Bye Bye Carlito’ in both homage and hatred respectively, our eyes misted up with memories of our most successful-ever manager. We’ve missed him.
Jose set his team up as we remember him setting up ours – Terminator style – with tough, big men cemented in a well-organised structure. We had no answer to it, just as Fergie and Wenger had no answer to it and we spent most of the game pinging high balls to Drogba which were safely mopped up by Motta and co.
Jose’s an enigma to CFCnet. We can think of 10 fans off the top of our heads who hated his ‘grind ‘em’ down style of football. You could multiply that figure by 2,000 because in Jose’s last game in charge there were 20,000 spare tickets for the Champions League first leg against Rosenborg. We remember sitting in the Shed Upper embarrassed at the empty seats and wondered how our greatest-ever team and manager could be so unloved, even by its own fans. What other answer could there be? Yes, the £50 tickets never helped but didn’t some of our 120,000 members fancy an evening out to see their heroes? Obviously not, even in September.
The elephant in the room with Mourinho, and we whisper it quietly, is that his teams have never been pretty on the eye. Whilst CFCnet would have him back in a flash, we can think of dozens of fans who hated his brand of football especially when he closed a game down once we were one or two nil up. By half-time you could almost go home in the safe knowledge that the score wouldn’t budge and the ball would remain like a pinball in midfield. Jose hated humiliating the opposition with heavy defeats and would slowly strangle the game to death.
This was Mourinho’s big problem and the men upstairs, obviously with one eye on Barcelona and the beautiful game, decided to end his reign in a bid to become the Barca of England. 31 months and four managers later we can see the result. The bottom line is that we’ve only got ourselves to blame – both the stay-away fans & Roman – for his removal and now we’ve made our bed, we’ve got to lie in it. Chin up.
As for Ancelotti, we feel sorry that he’s been left with the dying embers of Jose’s great era. Perhaps that harsh and we mean no disrespect to our players, yet there’s a creeping feeling that our squad is too old and whilst every year we’ve been tweaking it, surely what’s needed now is a wholesale restructuring. It’s time to bury the Mourinho era, just as Fergie had to change the Bruce/Pallister/Ince/Hughes era, and refresh our squad from top to bottom. It’s not for us to say what areas need to be changed but the lack of youth, dynamism and pace is glaring even to our eyes.
Whether Ancelotti gets time is altogether a different matter but we’d politely point out that Wenger’s been given five trophy-less years and counting, whilst Fergie was given three in the mid-noughties. Carlito, as the Inter fans not so affectionately call him, needs to create a team in his own image. Will the fans be patient? CFCnet will. After all we waited 27 years for our first trophy.