Saturday, 1 August 2015

Would you want someone like Jose Mourinho as your friend

I am somewhat late to the Jose Mourinho versus Family Benitez row but will attempt to explore what I consider a different angle to the issue.

Before I go on, I must confess that I am no Jose Mourinho fan. Late in November 2014, I wrote this article about him. But that's not what today's write-up is about.

This is how I think the Jose versus the Benitezs story has developed

1) Mrs Benitez said words to the effect that her husband (Rafa) was always cleaning up Jose's mess at the club's where Rafa has succeeded Jose

2) Jose responds putting her down, asking her to cook for her husband and manage his diet (calling Rafa fat and deliberately or maybe not, playing to a Spanish Waiter stereotype)

3) Rafa Benittez allows the matter die down by deciding not to respond to Jose's abuse and requesting that the focus be on football.

A few of my my mates have defended Jose Mourinho. They are deep admirers of his success and his withering put downs of opponents or those he perceives as 'piss' takers. Good for him and good for them. Is this right though? I am firmly of the opinion that the answer is no.

This article here documents some of Jose's spat with other Coaches. Makes you wonder why Jose is the only common factor. Some might say because he is a winner. I imagine the societal expectation is for winners to display some grace and humility. Is Jose above commonly accepted societal norms? Or  does his winning habit preclude him from displaying common societal courtesies?

One of my angles (perspectives) is as follows - WILL YOU TOLERATE A JOSE MOURINHO AS A FRIEND? Say you have a friend who is constantly quick to respond to jibes / banter not with equal force but with an overbearing retort. A retort that displays no sensitivity or considers no subject off limit. Will that person remain your friend for long? I suspect not.

What if the person was a colleague and proceeds to poke another colleague in the eye, I suspect they won't remain your colleague for long too as they will be fired. Same thing applies if they were fond of sexist or racist jokes.  So why is it different for Jose Mourinho? Why it is okay for Jose to discuss the weight of another professional or thinks it is appropriate to tell his fellow professional's wife to stay in the kitchen?

While I understand somebody standing up for their personal integrity, we should all remember that society and life as we know it thrives on personal boundaries, it is what we teach our kids from youth, it is what has helped our civilisation develop.

Just for the record, I think Mrs Benitez was right in saying her husband has always cleared up Jose's mess and continues to do so at Real Madrid. The only evidence you need to justify Mrs Benitez's comments is Jose's response. Her comments hit a nerve and that's why Jose responded the way he did. A more polished man with a bit of manners and chivalry will debunk Mrs Benitez's claims by pointing out the fact that he wasn't Rafa's immediate predecessor or refuse to be drawn in or point to his achievements at these clubs but not Jose, he was pained because he knew he left Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in a mess and yes his immediate successors didn't clear up the mess leaving Rafa the task of dealing with his mess. And no, the fact that Rafa failed at Inter Milan is not mutually exclusive with the fact that he was cleaning up Jose's mess at Inter.

Finally, I will like to hold Sir Alex Ferguson up as an example to Jose Mourinho. I'm not the Scots' biggest fan but nobody will argue with the fact that he was a winner, he was a truly special one (he won football trophies over and over again in a timespan of over a quarter of a century), he was passionate, he was intimidating, he was good with his putdowns but Sir Alex never descended to the mire that Jose resides in. Jose will do well to realise that society expects some humility from someone who is seemingly at the very top of his game.

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