Put simply, José Mourinho is the greatest Chelsea manager of all time. In a little over three seasons he won two league championships, two league cups, an FA Cup and an FA Community Shield. No Chelsea first team manager has won more silverware. This isn’t opinion or conjecture, it’s a fact (Mr Benetiz please note). Under the coach’s reign Chelsea smashed new records – 64 consecutive home league games without defeat, the fewest goals conceded in a campaign (15) and the highest points total ever achieved in the Premier League (95). For the first time in Chelsea’s history top flight league titles were clinched back-to-back and a league and FA cup double were achieved. The statistics may be impressive but they only tell a small part of why the Special One is so special to Chelsea fans.
It is worth remembering where the club was before Mourinho was appointed at Stamford Bridge. We had of course already had the giddy arrival of Roman Ambrovich the previous summer in 2003 and the bankrolling of a team of Chelsea galácticos. £120m was splashed out over that first close season on some of the top talent in world football, Claudio Ranieri had at his disposal a team to challenge. Challenge they did, eventually finishing in second position to Arsenal’s invincibles, but in reality we still looked some distance behind. A surge of form in the Champions League might have finished in glory had it not been for some, still utterly baffling, tactical decisions at the semi-final stage against Monaco. As a team we were nearly-men. As a club we were still inconsistent Chelsea, a team who could beat anybody on the day but lose to anybody the next. It was because Mourinho so emphatically blew apart these misconceptions of who Chelsea were and what we could achieve is why he remains such a key figure in the club’s history.
Mourinho changed the mindset of the players and the mindset of the fans – we were winners and proved to be unstoppably so. Chelsea has always been a club with a romantic heart, whether it’s the swagger of the King’s Road in the 60s and 70s or the continental je ne sais quoi of the late 90s, Chelsea has been about style. José also had the style – he had the trendy trench coat, the looks, and most importantly, the gift of the gab. The so-called mind games of Ferguson and Wenger were no match for the Mourinho press conference. From the very first moment he was introduced we knew – this guy was something special.
Whichever dugout José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix is in come next season he’ll always be a legend to Chelsea fans.