Jose Mourinho (left) and Louis van Gaal. Picture: Action Images

Fans mull The Special One's new role with rivals



Jose Mourinho (left) and Louis van Gaal. Picture: Action Images

By Tim Harrison

Leaving aside the disrespectful way cup-winning manager Louis van Gaal has been treated by Manchester United, with his sacking common knowledge days before he was officially told, news that Jose Mourinho is returning to Premier League management is bittersweet for Chelsea fans.

Until this season's spectacular fallout at Stamford Bridge – as unexpected as it was painful – Jose enjoyed a relationship of mutual love with Blues supporters.

Now there's a sense of disappointment among those fans that The Special One is going to be leading a big rival; Chelsea wanted Jose to remain true blue when it came to English management.

But there's a deeper sense of wicked anticipation. Jose is a short-stayer, and is not in the mould that United like to brag about, of managers who create dynasties.

No way will Jose still be at the helm at Old Trafford in two or three years; he'll have pocketed another pay-off and be heading home to manage his national team.

Chelsea have to get over Mourinho, and throw their wholehearted support behind Antonio Conte. The fact that Conte hasn't managed in England before means he has no preconceptions and no British baggage.

He will be guided in the dressing room by John Terry, signed up for a year after deferring his pension-loading foray to China until May 2017. It's a shrewd move. Conte and his backroom boys know football, but not English football.

JT has played against most teams in the league, thanks to cup ties down the years, and has a reservoir of practical knowledge to share with the Italian speakers.

The other person to gain a new role in the forthcoming season is Gary Staker, one-time translator for Gianfranco Zola and others, who will be called on to interpret such phrases as 'sick as a parrot', 'over the moon' and 'the boy done well'.

The 2016/17 season should be one to savour.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

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