Jose Mourinho’s “Personality Cult In A Box (TM)”
By royhendo // March 27 2011
They might have won a double last year, and they might technically still be in for the two big pots, but let’s be honest - Chelsea, in spite of all that, still suffer from ‘Post Mourinho Syndrome’. In my view, what he put in place there was a textbook personality cult. And I’m not just talking about the club itself. I’m talking about our national media.
Now, I know that’ll raise a few eyebrows. It’s quite a strong statement after all. But for me, no matter where he goes, it’s the central pillar of Mourinho’s methodology. So whaddayareckon? Let’s look into it with the benefit of a few years’ hindsight.
I’m not sure what the definitive textbook might be on this one, so Wikipedia will have to do for now. Does their definition fit?
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise… A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda… it is also asserted in everyday situations where popularity is used to advocate conformity to philosophies and lifestyles, even products and attitudes, by way of peer pressure and herd mentality.
Velly intellesteeng… no?
Before we go on, if you hold strong religious beliefs or find any discussion of figures such as Hitler remotely offensive, it would be best to close the browser. This article is largely based on a passage from Albert Low’s incredible work “The Iron Cow Of Zen”. Its remainder may offend in places - particularly if you’re one of those people who likes to ‘do offended’. So as you read, please try and bear in mind that no offence is indended - the idea is to provoke thought and analysis - specifically into the recipes Jose Mourinho keeps in his little Bible - his little instruction manual. What does Jose Mourinho do to achieve the results he achieves? Is it done consciously? And what do the stories of other prominent ‘catalysing agents’ throughout history have to tell us about his methods?
We’ll take a look at some pretty distasteful characters. I won’t be making light of the consequences of their peculiar brands of catalysis - quite the contrary - I just believe their cases illustrate how people can be influenced when certain modes of communication are used, and when certain human frailties are targeted in clever ways. That’s not to say the conditions for optimum catalytic influence will always be the same - there are simply patterns at play, and they’re illustrative.
OK - that’s your early warning done. If you enjoy being easily offended, best browse elsewhere now.
Game done change. Just ask Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz. They’d maybe confirm that nowadays, it’s hard work putting the fear of Tarvu into anyone. Back in the dark ages, when they didn’t have pesky concepts like democracy or human rights or a free press to keep them all honest, it was arguably a little easier. If you knew what you were doing, people were only too happy to hail their new messiah. There’s a reason “Life Of Brian” is so funny, right? Legend and superstition and a tendency to endow leaders with God-like status meant that once upon a time, given fertile ground and the right prevailing wind, you could rock up like Woy Hodgson on mogadons and still wouse quite the wowdy wabble.
Fast forward to the present day and, possibly more than ever, it’s hard to inspire the loyalty of others without a little charisma. And even if you have your game down to a fine art, you now face ubiquitous obstacles like scientific reason - where the hell did that spring up from? Want to establish yourself as a modern day Demi-God? Nowadays you have to be a little more calculating.
Or do you? Flip that around for a minute. Say you are a little more calculating. And say your game is down to a fine art. There are tools and resources available to you that weren’t remotely conceivable to your forebears. Trundle down to your local library (if there’s still one there) and if you were so inclined, you could very quickly find yourself in a position to plug yourself directly into the minds of your chosen ‘masses’. It’s truly a scary prospect. In fact, you don’t even need to resort to that. If fate blunders you into the right situation, you can still find yourself giving it the big one like C3P0 in the Ewok village.
We’re not nearly as collectively clever as we like to think.
“Cult In A Box” - The Basic Prototype
Take Vernon Wayne Howell, for example. Ordinary guy, you might think - but he ends up inspiring one of my favourite De La Soul lyrics. Oh, and then the deaths of 76 devotees (including 21 children) to conclude an FBI siege in Waco Texas in 1993. Vernon had changed his name to David Koresh by that stage of course, and had somehow attained the ability to persuade others to do pretty much whatever he suggested (albeit in a limited fucked up context with its own peculiar fucked up rules).
Koresh had suffered a lonely and directionless childhood. Illiterate and dyslexic, he somehow managed to memorise the entire New Testament at the age of 11 (quite a trick), along with a taste for rumpy pumpy. It’s maybe fair to say he’d associated the two, because it seems from that point on he spent his time pestering Christian girls to ‘mate’. And after mixed success in that regard for several years, the boy David stumbled into Waco Texas, where fate had housed an interesting, hospitable group known as the Branch Davidians.
So hospitable in fact that when he started claiming he was a prophet, they lapped it right up - literally. They loved their prophets, you see - the group was already headed up a 76 year old ‘prophetess’, and Vernon being Vernon, he reckoned God wanted him to father her child, and that the child would be some kind of Messiah. 76 year olds, of course, being well known for producing messianic offspring. But fate would dictate that, who knew, they would never conceive, so short of that, she told David he could ‘teach his own message’ while they kept working on it. Meanwhile, her son, who was pissed off with these developments, eventually ran Koresh off the property at gunpoint, but not without 25 nutters following in his glittering slipstream.
And so it was that Vernon stumbled into control of his very own personality cult. They found a new gaff, and set about getting new nutters in through the front door. Vernon did this using the then standard personality cult toolset:
1. Proclaim you have a vision (or in his case, multiple hallucinated ‘visions’)
2. Define some clear and easily understandable behavioural rules based on that vision
3. Enforce your behavioural rules by getting your group to buy into them (ideally you need a supplicant group for this bit)
4. Re-engineer the group’s processes to make sure everything relies on you
Sadly for Vernon, it wasn’t too sustainable a vision, as central to it was the idea of glorious martyrdom. On eventually evicting the group that forced him out at gunpoint, he renamed the property “Ranch Apocalypse”. Not the brightest lad, this one. Oh - and Koresh? It means “Death”.
Vernon’s story, while sad, provides an interesting basic template. But how does it relate to Jose Mourinho? Let’s have a sanity check before I lose you completely eh?
How does Vernon’s template fit when Jose moves to a new club? I’ll leave that thought with you for now. In my mind, for all four points in the basic checklist, I’m entering a ‘check’.
“Catalysis” is generally defined as the increased rate of chemical reaction after the introduction of some ‘new’ substance into the contextual mix - the ‘catalyst’. The catalyst helps encourage the reaction - the process of change. And while it might seem daft to talk of catalysis in relation to human behaviour, there are clearly some people in life who can walk into a room and spark a reaction that changes the entire mood of the place. Is that not catalysis?
But does that spark stay with them everywhere they go? Honestly? I mean, we’ve all read about legendary figures from history who supposedly had that kind of quality. But I’d bet you any money you like that if you’d spent a week in their company, you’d realise that their magical impact only materialised in certain conditions. If Alexander The Great walked into the local coffee shop and ordered an Americano and a cinnamon danish, would he even register as a ‘blip’ on the counter attendant’s radar? Buddha sauntering round Asdas trying to buy some Andrex? Nobody would bat an eyelid. “What are you smiling at?” might be more likely.
But assemble a room full of journalists and cameramen, or erect a lectern or podium, and walk Bill Shankly in? Certain people, when introduced to a certain context, can leave those in that context electrified.
So what’s the point I’m making here? It’s simple really - context matters. It relates to points 2 and 3 in Vernon’s template above - sometimes the rules are already largely defined, and sometimes the group you face in that context have already bought into those rules to the extent that they’re just waiting a leader with the right attributes to provide the catalyst.
So, in Chelsea’s case, the drama is set in two concentric contexts:
A. an inner core containing a group of phenomenally talented footballers (assembled at almost unprecedented expense and possibly faced with almost unprecedented levels of expectation) who desperately crave a working template for success
B. a footballing ‘establishment’ (media, fans, competitors, authorities) collectively waiting for (and largely dreading) the arrival of someone who can light the blue touch paper and deliver that success.
(Oh come on - you try writing about catalysis at Chelsea without mentioning that phrase, I dare ya.)
Young bucks used to debate over who the alpha male is and a cynical establishment that feels it’s seen it all and craves something fresh and provocative. I’m guessing those who know their football can think of half a dozen men from football’s history who could have walked in and provided that catalyst. But as it was, that man was Jose Mourinho.
The sociologist and occasional jurisprude Max Weber, in his “tripartite classification of authority” made a nice job of encapsulating all this into a neat little pod-shaped ingestible. He tagged this “Charismatic Authority”. The three models he set out described the circumstances in which it’s possible to control others - to assert authority.
In his other two models, “Traditional Authority” and “Rational-Legal Authority”, the context itself bestows the authority. With Charismatic Authority, however, we witness something of a land grab.
He defined it as follows.
The authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace (charisma)... Men do not obey him by virtue of tradition or statute, but because they believe in him.”
Or to rephrase: “if you’re going to assert Charismatic Authority, you, and everyone around you, need to think you’re Archie”. You might find it helpful, in fact, to say things like these.
On his arrival - June 2004
“I intend to give my best, to improve things and to create the football team in relation to my image and my football philosophy.”
“We have top players and, sorry if I’m arrogant, we have a top manager.”
“I’m not a defender of old or new football managers. I believe in good ones and bad ones, those that achieve success and those that don’t. Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
“I don’t want special relations with one of them (his players). I hate to speak about individuals. Players don’t win you trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies.”
On his new job - July 2004
“If I wanted to have an easy job…I would have stayed at Porto - beautiful blue chair, the Uefa Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me.”
‘Nice work Jose’, nods Vernon from wherever he’s now sat. Step 1 - assert your vision and propheteering credentials. Job done! The assembled throng in our two concentric rings bristled with anticipation, did they not? But it’s not as if he’d left things to that kind of chance. By that stage, Jose had already been in touch with his players and set about reinforcing points 2 and 3. There would be clear rules and behavioural expectations, and by Jorge, they were going to be enforced. Buy in or ship out.
Weber expanded on the characteristics of Charismatic Authority by emphasising the need to reinforce belief on the part of your followers. As such, of his three models, Charismatic Authority was said to be the least stable. If those who follow experience doubt as to the leader’s ‘powers’, his authority loses its legitimacy. And it’s here that Mourinho extends Vernon’s toolbox. In fact, in doing so, whether consciously or not, he borrows from other prominent exponents of the art throughout history.
Sturdifying One’s House Of Cards
So you’ve established your Charismatic Authority - what now? If you don’t take active steps to reinforce your position, you leave yourself vulnerable to challenge, be it through upstart alpha males within your group itself, from those who resource your reign, or through a lack of collective belief in the group itself. What to do?
It’s here that things start getting interesting. Sure, we all know there’s a Public Relations industry out there that makes billions each year bottling this exact genie. But beyond those general principles, there’s scope to be crafty, and lessons to be learned. Apply them effectively, and you’ll stand some chance of establishing a dynasty of your own. Look at Kim Il-sung - things didn’t stop with his death - his son Kim-Jong-Il took the reins and somehow the North Korean people still believe in his authority, despite his having all the charisma of a surfboard.
What is it that stabilises authority for the longer term? Hang your portrait on the side of the Shed End? Change the lyrics to “Blue Is The Colour” and “One Man Went To Mow” to glorify your name? Jose needed nothing quite so crass.
The most illustrative work I’ve ever read on this is “The Iron Cow of Zen” by a Zen master called Albert Low. Now I don’t practice Zen, but the book is a real gruelling work out for your mind to the extent that if you read it often enough, I’ve no doubt your mind would ‘pop’, much as they want it to pop in the Zen discipline, with the goal of returning to the birthright that’s obscured by your busy self-centred mind and ego. “Mind like water”, as the martial artists might put it.
Each chapter in the book expands on a Zen “Koan” - a problem that can’t be solved logically and that forces the mind to make a jump beyond logic to a land of zany ‘in the zone’ type ‘satori’ that words don’t really do much justice to by all accounts… not that any of us would know. To achieve enlightenment, you have to give up all attachments apparently, so we’re all fucked until we give up the prop in our lives that is our allegiance to our chosen football club. Ironic innit?
Who’d have thought that in such an esoteric chin stroking realm, we’d be learning from two men called Vernon and Albert? We proceed by recognising a few fundamental points about us humans - the things that make us tick beyond all else. The heart of all this is Albert’s assertion that deep down within, each and every one of us craves ‘oneness’. And by extension, since the very beginning, humanity has craved this oneness in its very marrow. Albert then demonstrates the kind of problems its pursuit can lead to - big scary problems of the kind that even Scooby-Doo couldn’t solve.
From the beginning not a thing is, not even the One. Thou shalt not make a graven image… and yet we do just this, or have others do it for us, sometimes with ghastly consequences. A fraction of an inch is the difference between heaven and hell, or the Third Reich.
...most would want to dismiss Hitler as some ridiculous clown, strutting across the world stage left vacant for a moment by the true heroes of history. As tramps with ridiculous moustaches and an idealism perverted by the world of matter, he and Charlie Chaplin seemed to be twins: mirror images of the ridiculous reflecting the absurd. And so we laughed at the Great Dictator who, meanwhile, with a massive power never before equalled, crushed Europe.
He then goes on to talk about the ways we rationalise what happened as madness and idiocy and evil to deal with it all, all the while ignoring the fact that it was human nature that made the whole thing happen in the first place. Anyway, to the point on personality cults and their influence on people.
Some called Hitler mad, some said he was a Messiah, the incarnation of Oneness: “His never to be forgotten words affected me as the words of a prophet” “The Sun shone all the time he was there.” “My belief is that our leader, Adolf Hitler, was given by fate to the German nation as our saviour bringing light to darkness” “The Fuhrer’s act [which led to the murder of thousands of his closest followers] is not subject to the dispensation of justice for it was itself the highest form of justice.” “He spoke less to the people’s political convictions than to their spiritual state.” A Hamburg school mistress was one among many who “had witnessed scenes of moving faith which showed Hitler as the helper, rescuer, redeemer from our overwhelming need.” Nietzsche’s sister said he struck her as being a religious leader rather than a political leader.
Weber’s definition would certainly apply. Albert continues…
In the light of history, we know that some awful calamity occurred, a calamity stunning in its proportions. But what happened? Why did a civilized country follow him and even men of the stature of Heidegger support him?
Madman or prophet, buffoon or messiah, he must have struck some chord deep in the hearts of people. There must have been something beyond all the ranting and raving, the obscene and the spurious. If not, how are we to understand him?
What was extraordinary about Hitler was the speed with which everything was accomplished. It is this speed and the enormity of what evolved that shows the power of Oneness in human affairs. About 1920 Hitler entered politics: an unknown man who ten years earlier had been a tramp. He had no connections, no education, and no money. In twenty one years he had established supreme control over the German people and had an empire that covered Europe… and North Africa…
It is like the wind that blows where it will. It is this that gives the key to understanding prophets as well as demagogues. The speed with which Hitler accomplished everything is a property of catalysis. For example, take oxygen and hydrogen and a flash of energy and there is water. It is like the eruption of an idea. At one moment there is confusion and concern, and the next everything is clear and in order. This flash of insight, of energy, is Oneness at work.
“Hitler’s catalyzing powers were indispensible, and everything: the will, the goal, the cohesion, instantly disappeared without the physical presence of Hitler [after his death].”
From Fest: “Hitler”
And so we begin to see the parallels with our crude model above.
1. A clear, unifying vision.
2. Clear behavioural rules that support this vision.
3. The ‘buy in’ of your ‘group’ in support of those rules (and how).
4. The belief that everything relies on you.
Albert takes things further into highly thought provoking territory, but we ought to stick to the point (oddly a strange precursor to the plot of Fight Club in many ways), so we’ll jump to his conclusion.
Recently an American history teacher conducted a course involving the Nazi era. The students, following a film showing Nazi atrocities, said that the fault lay with the German people and such a thing could never happen in America. The teacher, wanting to show the dynamics involved, conducted an experiment to show the methods and motivations of the Nazis. With the agreement of his class he introduced vigorous discipline, immediate response without thought, preferably of the yes and no variety, and unthinking obedience. He removed ambiguity and disorder, replacing them with certainty and security. As did the Nazis, he introduced symbols, slogans, and salutes, so that the class could identify with each other, the “movement” and the leader. After a while, when the movement had taken hold, he claimed it was part of a greater movement that was leading Americans towards a more simple and orderly life based on ideals of humanity and goodness. It is not difficult to see that below the surface of his actions he was arousing order, unity, identity, belongingness, togetherness - in a word, he was arousing Oneness. Order, pattern, structure, meaning, purpose are all ways Oneness manifests.
The teacher wanted the “experiment” to be a short one and just sufficient to give a vicarious taste of Nazism. To his amazement the Movement, which was called the “Wave” spread out from his class among the campus. More and more students became involved, shedding their individuality to become part of a greater whole which as it grew, increased in attraction.
And also as it grew some of its members became more and more fanatical in their adherence to the Movement and those who were not interested found themselves ostracised, and minority groups began to suffer. In the end the school authorities became alarmed at the monster that was growing in their midst and decided the experiment should be called off.
In order to bring the experiment to an end in such a way as to make his point, the teacher, who was now ostensibly the local leader of the Wave, called a mass rally, which had all the characteristics of a miniature Nuremberg Rally. He said that at the meeting all members would see their national leader - and they did. After allowing tension, expectation and hope to increase to a point, the teacher suddenly flashed a photograph of this leader on to a large screen. It was a picture of Adolf Hitler.
[By the way - the reference given for the University experiment says it’s from a book ‘based on fact’ called “The Wave” by Rhue Morton. A recent German film dramatised it for TV, and it’s a scary watch.]
So - what can we glean from this? What can we add to our template? Our toolkit?
First, introduce your clear vision - and once you’ve done that, get buy-in to your behavioural rules. The way to do that, following the passage above, is to:
- Introduce vigorous discipline.
- Insist on immediate obedience.
- Remove ambiguity and disorder.
- Introduce security and certainty.
- Introduce a simple symbology and ‘code’ to communicate.
- Associate the rules with something greater - the group itself, the fans, God - whatever works.
So am I being over-dramatic? It might not be a rally in Nuremberg, but Mourinho tells the world’s media at a press conference that he thinks he’s special. He comments on the new club badge with a lion that ‘looks arrogant’, introduces the ‘colour box system’, introduces books called “Mourinho’s Drills” and “The Chelsea Bible”, gets them all talking about the ‘Chelsea Family’, has his players throw their shirts into the stand at Ewood Park…
Therein lie the mechanics of a personality cult - for good or for bad. Do it well, and with a consistently convincing demeanour (posture, attitude, projection of invulnerability), and you stand a chance of bedding things in more permanently.
If things were tricky to start with, it’s here that things really start getting difficult. As Weber says, Charismatic Leadership is the least stable brand available. It depends on the figurehead, and on the group’s belief that the figurehead is ‘special’. To even find yourself with a chance of setting this kind of belief in stone (see Shankly, Ferguson, and Wenger for interesting case studies), you’ve already done a sterling job - hats off to you - it means you’ve convinced everyone you needed to convince that you’re a little special. But if you’re going to do it long-term, you’ve got to take steps to ‘routinize’ your authority, and it’s likely you’ll encounter a few crises along the way.
Weber believed that instances of Charismatic Authority “cannot remain stable; they will become either traditionalized or rationalized, or a combination of both”. He called this “the routinization of charisma”. If you were Jose, you had a choice. Either let your two concentric contexts gradually collapse on your ‘mythos’, or take active steps to routinize your authority.
But routinizing one’s authority isn’t always easy. You see, without the keys to the factory, you can’t always control the conditions you need to control - and as such, short of the most accommodating steward at the helm, you’re gonna have to be a master of the dark arts to get your way. Liverpool fans will see parallels here - your man wins some trophies and his Charismatic Authority ebbs high, but fall an inch or two short in your plans for routinization, and bang goes your authority. Sometimes it goes the other way, and you never look back - just look at Alex Ferguson.
We know, of course, that Jose fought tooth and nail at Chelsea when it emerged that shadowy figures like Frank Arnesen and Avram Grant may be rivals. And for evidence that he learned a few lessons in that context, you only need to read the April 2011 issue of Four Four Two, and Simon Talbot’s excellent “Friend or Foe?”, which describes the power struggles taking place behind the scenes right now at The Bernebeu.
It goes without saying that Jose has established Charismatic Authority there - but to reinforce and ultimately routinize that authority, it helps if you’re winning things. But then he did that at Chelsea, in one of the most favourable ‘catalytic contexts’ the game has ever seen, and a few years later he still found himself in Milan.
He’s not far off trademarking the ultimate product - “The Personality Cult In A Box”. But he’s still in product testing, and he’s doing it in the most demanding conditions imaginable. It’ll be interesting to see if he pulls it off.
We know, of course, that the likes of Drogba still pine for the Fjords on the subject of Mourinho. The club has won a few trophies since he left, of course, but the hangover there is still palpable, and it’ll take a while yet for the reek of Eau De Jose to leave the place. We still regularly hear rumours of his return to the English game, and he just as regularly proclaims his undying love for “his Chelsea”, so how are they supposed to get over it?
This is the danger with a powerful case of Charismatic Authority. It intoxicates as powerfully as any other narcotic, but boy does it leave you with a hangover. Even though they experience success, you can bet a big chunk of that club, its staff and its support will feel it’s somehow incomplete without him, and the sense of ‘oneness’ he brought them.
For me, that’s not healthy, and if the merest whiff of it emerges at your club, you better hope those in power routinize it as effectively as possible. It’s unlikely though - history has proven that only the most enlightened of owners is capable of that kind of subjugation. It’s something I’ll no doubt return to soon - it’s an interesting subject!
Posted by FeintZebra // March 28, 2011
Took me 14 hours to read but you got it spot on.
Posted by Kopstar // March 28, 2011
What a read! Frightening too. Propaganda is a very dangerous tool in the wrong hands.
Posted by Danielle Warren // March 29, 2011
Very, very interesting article. Quite a read!
I’m not sure how Chelsea fans, or fans of football feel about likening Mourinho to Hitler, but some principles certainly match up. Football clubs in themselves are much like cults, religions in their own right, so to see the successful and demigod status applied their leaders is understandable.
There are too many points to discuss as the piece stirs quite a few things up. But one extra thing that crossed my mind and I’ve always felt about Mourinho is that he will inevitably go where the money is. Would he achieve the same cult idol status at a West Brom, Blackpool, or Crystal Palace if he showed up, with no real funds to buy all the best players in the world and then go on to achieve the same great heights? Perhaps that is his ultimate test.
His greatness lies in his ability to go, wring out the best from his players with all the methods you mentioned above, after spending inordinate amounts of money on them, then toss them aside when he feels they are no longer capable of that kind of success, or grow too old to achieve it. See Inter Milan as the best example.
Great piece, Roy!
Posted by Larry_LFC_YNWA // March 29, 2011
Food for thought and well written. I’ve witnessed some variations of this and it will take me some time to filter all the thoughts you have evoked. Basically there are a lot of people who just want someone else to do all the thinking for them, have a feeling of worth, value, belonging and the security that comes from belonging. If you get it right they will run through walls for you. Amazing.
Posted by royhendo // March 30, 2011
Hi Danielle - nice to see you here.
I guess I should start with another disclaimer - that the only thing I’d liken about Mourinho to Hitler/Koresh/whoever is the methodology - not the motives. Mourinho wants success, and in his working context he is an incredible catalysing force. That’s where the similarity is. But sadly the most salient examples of that kind of catalysis are in the personality cult context. You could liken it to the SAS or the US Airborne but those setups are genuinely collective and it’s a different kind of analysis.
I must say you seem to have a good handle on the interpersonal factors, and it’s an interesting comment. There’s evidence on both sides. He took Uniao De Leiria to the UEFA slots in Portugal before Porto snapped him up, and it was pretty impressive by all accounts - inspiring his players to think big, and using their context in the club’s favour - almost predicated on them wanting moves to bigger clubs. “If you want a move to a bigger club then…” etc.
But then there’s the short stint he had at Benfica - it was his first role, and it was clearly a funked up club at the time, but he struggled so there’s evidence on the other side, albeit not much of it! He’s phenomenal really - truly great - but when you hire him, you need this ‘routinization’ to kick in as a matter of urgency I reckon. Shanks at Liverpool and what followed is an excellent example of how routinization ought to work I guess.
Cheers for the feedback guys, it’s much appreciated.
Posted by GeniusChrist // May 05, 2011
Excellent article Roy, really enjoyed that, and it certainly gave much food for thought. Fascinating subject. It is scary to think about the parallels drawn between the methods of a football manager and an ‘evil dictator’, where is the line drawn between the two in terms of potential. Are we to question whether theoretically Mourinho possesses the potential to ‘do a Hitler’.
Posted by monz // June 21, 2011
fantastic post. i’ve always understood why Mourinho has achieved such cult-status, hes able to ‘manipulate’ everyone around him, and ive had him down as one of the modern practitioners of machiavellian principles.
in his head he’s playing chess with every person he encounters and every situation he finds himself in. always a number of steps ahead.
but deconstructing his methods and what he needs for success, with allusions to hitler etc.. one of the best write-ups i’ve read in a long time
Posted by exiledinyorkshire // June 29, 2011
Great writing Roy, i’d forgotten about your website, but the real lack of good football talk on RAWK made me rediscover this site.
The really fascinating bit about Mourinho for me is the replication of his methods at different clubs or the “in the box” that you speak of. The key to it all seems to be instant success, and then cash in and leave with kudos, the legend then does the majority of the work for you at the next port of call. He clearly uses many of the techniques you mention in one guise or another, and there really isnt that much magic left in it anymore. Add that to the mother of all projects, overhauling Barca, and i get the feeling that the wheels are about to come off.
Next season will be critical and possibly unique for Jose, if he doesnt win a title. Then what? The bubble will have burst and it will then be even more enthralling to see what he does. The Routinisation that you talk about almost hasnt had to happen at Chelsea or Inter, as his stays were short and sweet. Will he go for a longer project at Madrid? Will he be given the chance?
Like you i believe Jose to be one of the greatest, and i truely believe that if he chose to, he could really go Suicidal cult leader at somewhere like a leeds or a Newcastle. To really get the bunker mentality going, to really see how far he could take the charisma effect. And i think he would win things. That for me would be the biggest of achievements, and i feel he could do it on a limited budget.
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