By 90Min
October 22, 2018

Football fans, no matter who they support, are a remarkably fickle bunch. This was exemplified in vivid fashion on Saturday afternoon, as returning former Chelsea favourite José Mourinho - now of Manchester United - became involved in a touchline brawl before being subjected to a barrage of abuse from the Stamford Bridge faithful.

True to his nature, he responded to the two fingered salutes with a three-pronged hand gesture of his own - reminding them of his title winning glories during two spells as Blues boss. Since leaving the club for the second time in 2015, Mourinho's trips back to the Bridge have been far from acrimonious, and Saturday's match severed his Chelsea ties beyond repair.

Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Now cast your mind back to 2004, when a fresh-faced Mourinho arrived in west London riding a wave of charm and charisma. Coining his own immortal nickname - 'The Special One' - he injected a shot of pure adrenalin into the Premier League, as his side stormed to back-to-back titles; the first of which being the club's first in fifty years.


Mourinho became the most beloved Blues manager in their recent history, and revelled in the glory of having the club's supporters passionately roar his name game after game. He seemed untouchable, a resplendent Portuguese prince, but things soon turned sour in his third season at the club and before you could say 'backroom bust-up' he was gone.

Chelsea's Manager Jose Mourinho (C) hold

Six years later, after successful spells with Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho returned to Chelsea to mass delirium. However, despite winning them another league title, his second season saw him alienate key players, and his transformation into the self-proclaimed 'Happy One' (nope, not as catchy) was short-lived as the club spiralled down the league table.


Clearly a wounded man, Mourinho's increasingly combative nature saw him vilified. His second unceremonious departure from Chelsea saw a notable downturn in his relationship with the press. Once a happy-go-lucky character delightfully comparing his players to 'young eggs' and 'little horses', he became hostile as his new Manchester United side also began to struggle.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-MOURINHO

Upon his first return to Stamford Bridge with United, the first nail in the coffin of his relationship with Chelsea fans was well and truly slammed home by Antonio Conte - whose exuberant celebrations as the Blues powered to a 4-0 win enraged Mourinho. Blues fans laughed along with their smooth new Italian Papa; Mourinho's outburst diagnosed as a case of sour grapes.

On Saturday, playing their first Premier League match at Stamford Bridge since 'the incident', Mourinho claimed he'd not be drawn into a similarly provocative reaction if his side were to score a winning goal. True to his word, as Anthony Martial's second goal flew in, the 55-year-old barely twitched - remaining rooted in his seat as the travelling fans erupted.

Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

In dramatic fashion, Ross Barkley's last gasp equaliser saw Stamford Bridge rock to its very foundations as Chelsea snatched 2-2 draw. Caught up in the hysteria, Blues coach Marco Ianni then goaded Mourinho with his celebration - prompting a touchline brawl of epic proportions. The former Porto man had taken the bait, as pre-match tensions boiled over in a flash of red.


Chelsea fans looked on in amusement, as their once beloved manager slipped further into the role of pantomime villain. A reimagining of the infamous 'José Mourinho!' chant was deftly altered to include a two-word insult of matching syllables, and as he left the field lashing back at his critics, the former hero of SW6 saw his legacy as a fan's favourite finally extinguished.

As a lifelong Blues fan, the treatment of Mourinho by some sections of the support does leave a rather bitter taste in the mouth. Under his guidance, we enjoyed our most successful spell in decades, finally winning league titles and breaking Arsenal and United's relentless stranglehold on the competition.

With Chelsea now a mighty global brand, it's easy to forget that we've not always had it so good: Before Abramovich's takeover in 2003, we nearly went out of business. Personally, my father won't ever let me forget that he dutifully turned out to watch us in the 1980s, as the club meandered in the old Division 2 with a bleak greyhound track surrounding the field of play.

The initial awkwardness akin to a former lover returning to pick up their belongings has swiftly turned hostile over the last couple of seasons - with Chelsea fans now in effect hurling his clothes out the bathroom window; claiming they always found his relentless snoring to be an intolerable habit and that his younger brother was far more handsome anyway.

Admittedly, Mourinho's dour persona is becoming tiresome. The sarcasm-drenched sundaes he doles out in press conferences are a notable contrast to the refreshing, pallet-cleansing sorbets of amicability proffered by the likes of Bournemouth's cheeky cherub Eddie Howe and national treasure Gareth Southgate, who are a breath of fresh air to Mourinho's stale gust of wind.

But while Mourinho has evolved into a remarkably less likeable character, this doesn't take away from the fact that he led a bold revolution at Chelsea in the '00s - something which has to be respected. Treating a club legend with such distain, even if he does now manage a title rival, simply isn't on.


The once beautiful relationship has now been damaged beyond repair, and you better believe the Portuguese man o'war will be plotting to exact his stinging revenge at Old Trafford in April... 

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
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