Mourinho quotes special: 22Sep2007

All right, let’s get this out of the way now, since although it was a long time coming, it will still be regarded as one of the biggest sports stories of the year. A football manager leaving his job can never have been as extraordinary as the departure from Chelsea this week of Jose Mourinho, after winning the English league twice in three seasons. So, in a sporting quotes special, here is a quick trawl through what has been said in the past few days

“I’m going to enjoy my life. I’m going to wait for the telephone calls. I want to work” – Jose Mourinho

“Say it ain’t so, Jose” – supporters’ banner outside Stamford Bridge the day after the announcement

The peerless David Lacey in The Guardian:
Just as Kremlinologists used to study the line-up of apparatchiks at May Day parades for clues as to who was next in line and who was due for a Gulag-sponsored holiday, so recent television cutaways to the Chelsea bench have spotted Avram Grant looking over Mourinho’s shoulder. There had to be a limit to the length of time a coach with a Champions League triumph at Porto and two Premier League titles under his belt could stomach the presence of a director of football

“It is omelettes and eggs. No eggs – no omelettes. It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem” – Mourinho on the eve of Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw with unfancied Rosenberg, which would prove to be his last game in charge

“We have 20 chances, we score one goal. I cannot score the goals. To score two goals, we need to create 40 chances” – Mourinho after the game, in which he had used £30 million signing Andrei Shevchenko, widely thought to be Abramovich’s personal signing. Less than 24 hours later, Mourinho and Chelsea had parted

“Jose’s downfall was to listen to all those people saying Chelsea do not play enough glamorous football and are not nice to watch. His decision to try and change the way they played this season was a mistake. Only people who were jealous made such comments. Yes, I don’t think Chelsea had ever been as great to watch as Manchester United, or Arsenal, but they did not play ugly football” – Neil Warnock

“I will make the decisions on the team. It is not Roman Abramovich who will pick the team and if he wanted to, I would say no” – Avram Grant

“If the thrust of your question is that ‘was Avram appointed because he is a friend of Roman Abramovich?’, the answer is no. Roman does not take important appointments on a whim or because someone is a friend. He is a very successful businessman and, in consultation with the board, this was a thoughtful decision that was made on the basis of merit” – Bruce Buck, Chelsea chairman

Martin Samuel in The Times
So, just to recap: the club who are hoping to lift the European Cup twice in six years while playing football from the heavens have no fitness coach and no goalkeeping coach, the new manager has never managed in the Premier League, the significant stages of the Champions League or beyond Israel, has no contract and is taking today off anyway because it is Yom Kippur. Don’t worry, though: it is only Manchester United away tomorrow

“Jose leaving Chelsea is a disappointment for the game. He was terrific for football and terrific for Chelsea and I enjoyed the competition with him. And I just don’t know what I’m going to do with all my wine now” – Sir Alex Ferguson

“He was a top-class manager, a guy of quality and belief. Him coming to Chelsea brought another club fighting for the top level. It makes a good league really interesting” – Arsène Wenger

“I was surprised, but you know my relationship with him. I would prefer not to say anything. At the moment, I am more worried about Birmingham and Steve Bruce” – Rafael Benitez

“I’m not particularly shocked that Jose has gone but he will be missed by our game. He could be a bit temperamental but so what?” – Sam Allardyce

“Chelsea should have had it made for years. Then all of a sudden the owner wants to start buying players he likes – don’t tell me Shevchenko wasn’t one of his signings. The trouble is the bloke can’t run – and you can’t play in the Premier League if you can’t run, even if you were the best goalscorer in the world” – Ian Holloway

“Mourinho was the greatest manager Chelsea have had, or are likely to have – brilliant, passionate, dangerous, funny and sometimes all of those things in the same five seconds” – Chelsea website blogger and Times columnist Giles Smith

“Chelsea have locked themselves into a surreal collision of big money and big ambitions – and not as much hard-nosed football knowledge as required to get through an afternoon at Hackney Marshes” – James Lawton in the Independent

More from Samuel:
“There was a team meeting and the players were in full support of the decision,” Kenyon said. Do you mean they wanted José Mourinho out and Avram Grant in, said a questioner, incredulously. “Oh, come on,” Kenyon squirmed. “That wasn’t what I said.” But it was what he said; it just wasn’t what he meant. And that is the problem with the twisting and dissembling that Chelsea have done these past few days. Nobody knows what to believe anymore; even the men who supposedly call the shots.

“I am going to be very interested now to see Avram Grant turn Chelsea into the most attractive team in the country over the next 12 months. Then I will look for the pigs flying over Stamford Bridge” – Warnock

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