Chelsea FC and former manager Jose Mourinho parted ways officially on Thursday, although no one following the story can be too surprised. While Mourinho himself has gone to great lengths to reinforce his resolve to right the ship in North London, Chelsea has not shown any public support for The Special One in recent weeks. This usually is an bad omen for any manager, and official word of Mourinhos’ demise arrived a couple of days ahead of Saturday’s match against Sunderland.
It was just last season when Chelsea won the EPL title by eight points over their nearest rival Manchester City. The Blues suffered only three losses in 38 games during a season that had several possible contenders to the throne. With a solid core of players in place, it was thought that Chelsea would continue their domination in the EPL and success in other Cup play as well in their current campaign.
The current EPL table finds Chelsea languishing in 16th place, one point clear of the relegation zone. The team has garnered an anemic 15 points in their first 16 EPL matches with nine losses. While there is over half the EPL season remaining, only one other club has gone from winning the EPL title to suffering relegation the following season, and that was Manchester City in 1937. One would assume this piece of history did not go unnoticed by the Blues management.
Mourinho has had his share of personnel issues this season, and not all of them with his players. On opening day against Swansea, Chelsea was held to a 2-2 draw in a match that saw goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois sent off. With his frustration over the game rising, Mourinho took out his frustrations on club doctor Eva Carneiro for rushing to Eden Hazard’s aid in injury time. His tongue lashing was caught on camera while there was a stoppage of play. Of course, she entered the field in order to attend to an injured player. Doctor Carneiro was sacked shortly thereafter, and has since filed a constructive dismissal lawsuit against the club.
It also appears that Mr. Mourinho’s temperament has kept pace with his team’s play. He has spent part of the season away from the bench, due to a suspension by the English FA Rules and Regulations Committee, for his lack of respect shown towards the referees. He has also been fined $60,000 for his tirades during and after the matches, as well as suspensions from team matches. While his words cannot be included here, suffice it to say that there was nothing “special” about what he said.
While in the past always stepping up for his team’s play (either good or bad), this season has seen The Special One deflect blame towards the referees and his players. Some felt he went too far following the loss to Leicester City by publically questioning whether Eden Hazard had actually suffered an injury when the Belgian asked to be removed from the pitch in the 31st minute. While it cannot be argued that some of the players have not performed to their full potential this season, some of that blame might well be attributed to the game plans drafted by the teams’ manager.
Mourinho signed a four year contract extension with Chelsea during this past summer for an estimated $60 million, which might be why rumors abound that the past couple of days have been spent not on a game plan to execute against Sunderland, but rather a mutually agreed upon financial settlement as a prelude to a parting by “mutual consent”.
There is some irony to Mourinhos’ parting ways with Chelsea in the days following the loss at Leicester City. After all, the Leicester manager is none other than Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked in 2004 by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to make way for the first reign of The Special One.
There are no shortages of potential suitors to the throne now vacant in North London. But one thing is clear. The former master of “parking the bus” had thrown his players under the same vehicle. There was no way back for the bond he and his squad previously held, and Abramovich severed ties for a second time.