Mourinho’s gift of joy to all Gooners: by Jonathan Blaustein

By Jonathan Blaustein

You know what made me happy, since the last time I wrote a column for 7amkickoff?

The fact that the two idiots in the above photo left Wembley sad, the day the Gunners defeated Manchester City in the FA Cup Semifinal.

You know what I hate most about this god-awful season of Arsenal football?

That it sucked the joy from my experience. For the first time in my six years of obsession, it hasn’t been any fun. Sure, I’ve continued to cheer, and feel the pain, but I was absolutely less-thrilled during the Man City FA Cup win than I would have been last year.

Or the year before.

Watching Arsenal this season has felt more of an obligation. Like going to visit a relative in the hospital, even though you know they’ll be out in a few days.

You do it because you’re supposed to, not because you want to.

This makes me angry, because if you’d told me 5 months ago that Arsenal would beat Manchester United in May, that Wenger would finally break the sad curse of Mourinho’s superiority, but that I’d be sedate about the whole thing?

I would have said, “Fuck off, future me. That’s impossible.”

Yet here we are.

Don’t get me wrong. It was definitely good to watch the win, in particular because it was well-deserved. Arsenal were clearly the better club on the day, as well as being the only team playing for the win.

It was better than watching maggots squirm around on floor of my wife’s car, which also happened on Sunday. Yes, I enjoyed the match far more than the maggots. But seriously, it should have felt as good as watching Barack Obama beat John McCain in 2008.

Instead, I got more joy out of Jose Mourinho’s post-match chat on NBC Sports. We’ve come to the point where watching that dickhead fib and lie was more thrilling than the game itself.

Sad times.

I’m not alone in my discomfort, as former Gunner Lee Dixon said it was the most amazing part of his day as well. And he got to watch the game in person!

I sat there, on my couch, ready for Jose to speak. I hit the pause button, and told my wife to come over.

Then I said, “Listen up, honey. Jose Mourinho, the world’s worst loser, is about to drop a list of excuses more in depth than the Affordable Care Act. Listen! I’d bet a million dollars he blames his squad, his lack of substitutes, and implies he would have won if he’d used his best guys.”

“Let’s see,” I continued, “if he says all the things we think he’ll say.”

And so he did.

These are actual Jose Mourinho quotes:

—“Players that don’t play one minute of football in the last 7 weeks…after 7 weeks of being out.”

This refers to Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, who’ve been first choice center backs at Man U for years, but apparently have been injured for a while. Since they played, after a long layoff, of course Mourinho implies they were out of shape.

—“Difficult for me to manage, because in the end, the players that I want to replace are in principle the players that start the game on Thursday…difficult to manage it.”

Here again, Jose is saying that he intentionally played lesser players, and couldn’t afford to bring in Pogba from the bench, lest he get too tired for the upcoming game against Celta Vigo. That’s also why he put on the kid that looked like Ivan Drago, late in the match, to prove the point that he was hamstrung.

—“Arsenal were not better than us, in my opinion. They win. Congratulations.”

Sneakily, this may be the best quote of all. The man who’s built an entire career on the reputation of WINNING has dismissed the result as not a big deal. Now winning doesn’t matter?

—“We have such a small squad in this moment.”

Mourinho runs the biggest club in England, and one of the three richest teams in the world. He spent so much money last summer, he could have funded an entire replacement police force for the city of Ferguson, Missouri. But his squad isn’t big enough to beat Arsenal?

—“Finally, I leave this stadium with Arsenal fans happy. Is the first time I see them smile. I see them enjoy.”

This one probably doesn’t need a translation. But just in case, it means “Fuck You Arsenal fans. You beat me once. Get over yourselves. I don’t want to hear anything until you’ve beaten me 13 times. Which will never happen.”

There was one rambling bit about the fact that the starters he did play from the Celta Vigo match, Herrera, Mata and Mkhitaryan, were therefore far too tired to be considered first choice level a few days later.

But then we got to the coup de grace. The quote that I was dying to hear, rather than assume he thought it.

—“You can tell me you didn’t play with your best interior players, or the players that are your first choice at the moment, but you cannot say we didn’t try to win the game.”

And… there it is. Jose Mourinho is so insecure, so incapable of handling true pressure, that he set up his team for the perfect excuse, if they lost. He always knew this was a possibility, so he gave himself the ultimate out.

We didn’t play our best players. This win doesn’t count. It’s the same reason he turned up at the 2015 Community Shield wearing a ratty T-shirt. That one didn’t count either, and as evidence, he didn’t dress like a proper manager.

Not to mention the fact that anyone with EYES watched United play for a draw on Sunday. Which is what Mourinho ALWAYS does in big matches. The one thing they did not do, was play for the win.

Remember kids, just because you say an alternative fact out loud, doesn’t make it true. That’s advice from me to you, by the way.

Free of charge.

32 Comments on Mourinho’s gift of joy to all Gooners: by Jonathan Blaustein

  1. Yes, all of this.

    You’re absolutely spot on that his entire approach to this game was planned in such a way as to protect himself from criticism if his team lost, and he at last had to face the reality of losing to AW. How pathetic is that?? Of course, if they were going for the title, or even had the upper hand in the top 4 race with no Europa League prize to fall back on, he couldn’t have afforded to rest anyone, or to play quite so conservatively (of course they still probably would have sat deep, but if they needed the three points they would have had to attack more aggressively in the second half). But the team he put out was full of top class players who have been important for him this year. Just starting a teenager at right back, and bringing on the Ivan Drago fellow at the end, doesn’t hide that fact.

    Mourinho is a sad, pathetic individual.

  2. If United goes through against Celta Vigo, I hope Ajax wipe the pitch (floor) with them

    • Do you dare? I’ll tell you anyway. There is a mouse decomposing in the car’s air vents, spewing maggots onto the floor. Rodents always get into the cars, out here in the mountains.

  3. Did Beavis and Butthead like Oasis so much they became City fans?

    Sorry to hear you aren’t enjoying football as much anymore. Hope you find that joy again.

    Mourinho was treated as if he was so cool and amazing by the fawning British press for so long. The Italian and Spanish press caught onto it much faster, but now even the Brits have stopped pretending he’s awesome because he just comes across as a pathetic caricature of himself every single time.

      • He certainly knows how to keep some agents happy. Maybe those agents are sources for those journos? I don’t know. I don’t read much of them, but the general trend seems to me to have moved away from calling him the Special One, to mild embarrassment when talking about his latest outburst or antic.

    • They still fawn over him. They want him to be theatrical and say controversial things because it just feeds the media frenzy.

  4. I wonder how the members of Mourinho’s “second string” felt being described as such? De Gea, Mata, the man with unpronounceable Armenian name, Rooney and Herrera.

    Off topic slightly, I’m still digesting Dr Gooner’s perplexing and deeply curious arguments from the last thread. Especially the part where he compared supporting your football club to shopping at Walmart.

    At the risk of torturing the Cola metaphor to death, that drink is clearly the thing that ailing us. But Doc is saying to us, drink up! There’s little point in criticising the manufacturer for serving up a bad product.

    • The way I saw it, all he was saying was, don’t pretend that you are being forced to drink cola or that you are owed something for any pain you feel as a result.

      As to whether the cola is a bad product or not, I thought he didn’t discuss it.

    • I compared Arsenal football club to Walmart, because they are both multi-billion dollar corporations. Which makes all of us consumers. I know that’s not a nice thought, but that’s how Kroenke, or Abromovich, or AIG, or Etihad airlines, or NESV views you. Through that lens, you, the consumer, are complaining about the way the coporation you consume is being run. That’s pointless, wouldn’t you agree, unless you manage to do it on such a scale that it begins to affect the bottom line?

      If you consume a beverage and complain about how it tastes but don’t stop drinking it, I have no sympathy for you. Find a better beverage. Obviously, Arsenal is more complicated than a beverage and really, none of you are that disgusted with it or you wouldn’t be here. But forgive me if I occasionally point out that you’re being overly dramatic and act like you’re forced into it. Please. It’s your time, you’re an adult, and you’re in control of it. You spend as much time or as little on Arsenal as you please and it’s nobody’s fault but your own if you don’t enjoy that time.

      I’m now officially through with this topic. Hate me forever if that makes you feel better, I don’t really care. I’m just the messenger.

      • I understand the comparison with other business investments like Walmart, but I think there is a bit of a difference. There is a large element of loyalty, maybe even a bit of addiction. I don’t think consumers at Walmart are as loyal or addicted to their products.

        Incidentally, it would be negligent of any business owner (Kronke) to NOT plan for future succession of such an important executive as Wenger. By not setting up the business for a smooth transition he risks undermining the value of his investment.

        • Ian, thanks for a mature, considered reply. I look at the comparison not from the point of view of the fans but from the point of view of the owners. To the owners of a corporation, we are all simply consumers, regardless of our affinity for the product. I agree with you about the need for a smooth transition, 100%

          Bunburyist, your lack of attempt at a good faith dialogue is vexing. If you don’t stop with the playground name calling, I’ll treat you like the age you’re acting and give you the silent treatment. Disagree all you like, I don’t care, but your antics are uncalled for. I didn’t come after you, nor did I even respond in kind to you. So, you know, chill, bro. I’m still up for drinks but you’re paying.

          Claude, the last line was hyperbole, but maybe that wasn’t clear.

      • If you consume a beverage and complain about how it tastes but don’t stop drinking it, I have no sympathy for you.

        ===

        Such a weird and in my opinion false analogy to being a fan of a sports club. You admit it’s flawed, but then go right ahead and use it when calling everyone “overly dramatic” if they express frustration about how their club is being run. Speaking of overly dramatic, your response to how fans talk about their club. How many pixels did you vomit yesterday? Bajillions. Drama! Let’s have drinks! Hate!

    • Oh stop being such a drama queen. No one hates you. Speaking for myself, I found your argument to be specious in the extreme.

      All kinds of POVs exist in goonerdom. No one’s putting anyone in a ducking stool.

  5. The fact that Mourinho has become more predictable — before, during and especially after the match — than Wenger is pathetic.

    Everything you said would happen, did happen. Everything you said is true.

    With one asterisk: Obama beating Mitt Romney in 2012 was much better than him beating McCain in 2008. Businessmen should never be President.

  6. I can certainly relate to not finding as much happiness in the victories over Utd and City. Victories, in themselves, don’t provide as much joy when the bigger picture seems bleak. At least, that’s how it works for me. I like to think of myself as a skeptical optimist. Skeptical of how things will work but optimistic that eventually they will. Let’s hope we can salvage the season somehow. It’s going to be a long summer.

  7. He even runs like Thierry. But we have no chance of getting him. How the market has changed.

    • This is true. The frustrating thing is why it’s true. It’s not true because we can’t afford him. Whether it would be wise to put our entire summer budget (or the vast majority of it) into one very talented young striker basket, or not, is a question up for debate, but it’s clear we have 85+ million to spend in one summer if we really want him (this not even taking into account raising significant funds from player sales).

      No, the reason we have next to no chance of getting him–and this is the case even if we get back into the CL, win the FA Cup, Wenger makes his future clear, and we offer Mbappe very competitive wages–is that we’re simply not prestigious enough. We never were in the very upper echelon of prestige, but previously, I think it didn’t matter nearly as much.

      I know this is not an original thought, but I blame the agents. With the parasitic likes of Mendes and Raiola whispering in their ears, the top young talent that everyone wants are never going to even CONSIDER Arsenal or anyone other than about 5-8 teams in Europe: Barca, Real, Bayern, Man United at the very top, then City and Chelsea, then maybe PSG and (increasingly) Juve.

      I find the unimaginative, small-minded nature of this state of affairs depressing. It’s about money to some degree, but the fact that we can pay very high transfer fees and wages yet still have no chance shows it’s not just about money. It’s about trophies to some degree, but the fact that Man United could buy Pogba last summer, and are linked to the best of the best again this summer despite their poor season, shows it’s not just about trophies. No, it’s about which teams are seen as “cool”, basically. It’s like high school. It’s not entirely Arsene’s fault, but that we are, relative to other teams with roughly similar finances, so clearly uncool right now, is annoying, to say the least, and doesn’t give me much hope for the immediate future of the club.

      • That or there’s money changing hands under the table or behind the scenes, i.e., corruption, which we, or rather Arsene, refuses to engage in.

        And amusingly enough as I go looking for supporting evidence what leaps out at me from the Guardian? Fifa looking into the Pogba transfer because Mino Raiola, Pogba’s putative agent, was paid 27M euro by Juve and 22M euro by United.

        https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/09/fifa-paul-pogba-ethics-chiefs-eckert-borbely

        I’m so ashamed as an Arsenal fan that our manager doesn’t have the balls to get down in the mud like Fat Sam. Really, the game has passed him by.

        • It’s not either/or. I agree that the game is (likely) profoundly corrupt, transfers in particular, and that the likes of Raiola are a cancer to football. I’m proud that Arsene and Arsenal (apparently) don’t really engage in that sort of thing. But I think everything I said in my comment is also true.

  8. Deflecting attention away from his players after a bad result was always a Fergie speciality, except Fergie would go after the referees 9 times out of 10. Nowadays you get a ban or a fine for that, so Mourinho targets his opposition instead. He did it at Real and he did it at Inter. I don’t think it’s really his way of sparing his players; I think that’s just who he is.

    His dad was a first division goalkeeper in Portugal, but little Jose never made the grade as an athlete. I think ever since then little Jose has had a chip on his shoulder and tried to prove his worth to people. Then after he proved it, he found that he couldn’t stop being the person that got him that far in life. Here we are, two champions’ leagues, countless domestic titles and cups later and he still has an inferiority complex.

    • Absolutely. Though to be clear: he sometimes deflects attention away from his players; other times he’s happy to throw them under the bus if it means deflecting criticism away from HIM (Fergie almost never did this). There’s only one person who really matters in Jose’s world. Again, I think it’s sad, ultimately.

  9. I heard that the 11 players Man.U started with cost 226.2 million pounds. And most of these aren’t first team players, Jose? It was nice to finally beat him. But Man. U will have the last laugh if they win the Europa. Arsenal could be the only team out of the big 6 to not qualify for the Champions League.

  10. I don’t fancy Man United’s chances of Europa without Ibrahimovic. If Ibra plays he is more than capable of dragging them over the line. But without his presence and personality/charisma? I don’t see it.

  11. Maybe I read too much into it, but all one needs to know about Jose and his wife, Mathilde, is that the names they picked for their son and daughter were, you guessed it, Jose and Mathilde.

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