Friday, July 15, 2005

Watching Jose Mourinho at a press conference earlier this week, I was put in mind of John Bender, the delinquent from The Breakfast Club. If you’ve seen the film (and you should have done), I’m particularly thinking of the scene where the principal gives Bender a detention every time he answers back. When, having been issued with eight consecutive detentions, he’s asked, ‘Do you want another?’ his response is a defiant, surly ‘Yes.’ And you know why? Because he doesn't let The Man intimidate him. Hell no.

This is how Mourinho is starting to look. This week he suggested Arsenal get preferential treatment from the FA and implied that this is the result of conflicts of interest within the organisation. The FA promptly announced that it was considering fining him. Again. Mourinho may seem to have unnecessarily blundered into yet another conflict with the game’s governing body, but he undeniably does it with class. Other managers would accidentally let that sort of comment slip when a one-to-one interview over a couple of drinks got a bit too relaxed. Mourinho organises a press conference for such purposes.

The FA already hates Mourinho. He not only seems to accept this, he appears to find it funny. And it is funny. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the FA deeply annoying ever since I was a young lad watching Graham Kelly making such a hash of the FA Cup draw. (Remember how he used to stare impassively into the camera for several seconds after saying ‘The ties will be played the weekend of…’?) I was alarmed, but sadly not surprised, to read Tom Bower’s Guardian article regarding the organisation’s litany of problems.

On the other hand, I see Mourinho as a great man whom we should all look up to, so I know whose side I’m on when Jose throws down. However, behind the FA’s bluster and threats, you wonder if they aren’t a just little bit grateful that Mourinho has come along at this moment in time, thereby providing them with a nice easy target on which to exercise their authority.

Next week: Jose asks whether Barry Manilow is aware that David Dein has been raiding his wardrobe.