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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Jose, his Posse and the £600 Million Derby


Jose, his Posse and the £600 Million Derby

“.…. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,
Infernal world! And thou profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor - one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time,
The mind in its own place and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven,
What matters where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder had made greater?”

These iconic lines from John Milton’s Paradise Lost resounded in my mind as I watched the GW4 mother-of-them-Derby-of-all… There was one moment… Goal # 2 for the once noisy neighbours… from the 19 year old Iheanacho, when all eyes were hopefully poised on another teenager, in Red: Marcus Rashford… It is a very fascinating study for the future how we are going to be witnessing these two blooming legends of Manchester. More interesting for me is how Rashford is so eulogised for those not too infrequent goals that do not very justify the whole 90 minutes he gets to play while Kelechi is always always subbed in the second half for a while and always always scores and assists or scorest/assists. But that is a stuff of discussion elsewhere. Back to the Derby, back to the moment! That very moment of Goal #2, the camera panned not to the Red side of touchline to show the managerial reaction, but to a wincing Sir Fergie in the stands, who knowingly and helplessly nodded his head. Epiphanic moment!

In football, as in life, there are three types of managers: the Fergie type - God. Rules. Omnipotent. They hold the system by its proverbial balls; the Wenger type - Suave. Honest. Tireless like Boxer in Animal Farm. Convinced about his ideals, confused about priorities. They are the eternal romantics. They are the Dantons who could have changed the course of the French Revolution! And then there are the Archangels… after they fell. Made a demi-god by those on whose side they are, these are the managers everybody who is not a papparazzi and who is on the other side of the mystical lake of silverware love to hate because they are not on the right side.

As a little digression, these other-siders also at times consider the greener grass on the banks of the lake as a result of septic tank fertility. Losers! But digressions aside, these Archangels before and after Fall… they sooner than later move from being The God’s Chosen Ones, from The Special One to the Falling One! You get the picture what or who this post is about!

Back in the early Noughties of this Millennium, Paradise Beckoned. Silverwares won. Soon after, Paradise Lost. Then again Paradise Regained. And then… Paradise Replicated. It is an eternal Work in Progress, this Paradise business! And tiresome it can be… moving from the Theatre of ‘realised’ Dreams, getting from being burnt on The Bridge, to the Theatre of ‘high pressure’ Dreams. In doing so, you are entering a land of indolent race that is privileged to think of itself as a special race thanks to a glorious past.

At the beginning was Porto. 2002. Then came The Bridge. Now the Theatre. It’s show time.

One of the most charismatic trouble-magnets, ‘the choice and master spirit of (his) age,’ how will Jose Mourinho cope? At The Bridge, if Terry was the Captain Leader Legend, Mourinho was the Hero Villain Entertainer. His touchline rants and shunts with Pep and Wenger are stuff of saleable soundbytes. The special, not-so-perfect Ariel he was, his tantrums, grumbling, whining, moaning interviews, bullying and blame-games post-matches did not befit the role. More the Caliban! Most people came to think of Jose Mourinho as more of a Ruffian on the Stair who kept throwing stones at other’s windows than a Prospero of magic and miracles: every time, towards the end of his exit. Yes, one could see the pattern, the cycle, the mosaic. First the ascend. Then the glory. Soon it all went gory.

If ever there was a concoction of heady Shakespearean enfant terrible, Jose it was. Iago in his unflinching beliefs, Macbeth in unrelenting ambition, Tubal in his taunts… but never a Hamlet. What a fall there was, gentlemen! His last days at The Bridge in 2014-15 made him a prattling Lear!!

One wondered: what next! What awaits? Away from The Bridge, he wandered around like Kaspar, the lost child of Europe, with the Albatross round his neck, like a mad-eyed Mariner. He was even being hazardously accused of spoiling the Eden. And then came the rumours. Who will be his Professor Daumer? Pep was headed to the noisy neighbourhood, Klopp was at the Kop, whither Jose? Haunting the streets of London, he was sighted by The Sun and the Daily Mail sparing saucy soundbytes.

Finally, the Glazers showed up. The Spoilt Ones, desperate to regain the Championship seat and lost glory, saw in him the Saviour. And thus… Manchester United Ho! Between him and the Castle stand several Bowzers: Guardiola, Klopp, Conte, Poch, Koeman… and some keen and lesser mortals with hidden spanners! And that man, who like Count Vlad, now that he’s tasted blood, would want another shy - the Professorial Ranieri. What ho, Claudio!

At the time of getting minted, the Derby has already been lost. We wonder what the post-conference wine would taste like!!

Will Jose? Will he not? He has the arms, ammunitions and the tanks this time. Would there be fighting or just grumbling, whining, moaning, bullying touchline skirmishes, blaming umpires and linesmen… and some more grumbling, whining, moaning etc? The Special One has the Talented but ageing Wayne, the Tireless Juan, the self-proclaimed Legend Zlat, the Emerging Marcus and some more. It can’t be that difficult, with the sensible Armenian too!!! Let’s wait and watch, the game is on. Will it be all talks R.I.P or another W.I.P? Would he say…

“What matters where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder had made greater?”

Would he? After all…

The mind in its own place and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

The signs are encouraging. The start looks promising. It’s up to him and his posse. C’mon, Jose!

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