Clever timing. Wait to sack Jose until either Chelsea is knocked out of the European Cup to his former club Porto or we lose to ex-manager Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City side. Then 'easy' home games against Sunderland and Watford follow which should provide a buffer to let the booboys’ feelings cool off. Technical Director Emenalo (whose CV includes Enugu Rangers and Lleida – no, me neither) then exonerates players from any blame for bad displays in the knowledge that it is unheard of to sack those who underperform on the pitch. If Chelsea lose their next game then you can blame it on Mourinho’s legacy.
Walking from West Brompton before the game to suck in the atmosphere was a choice well-made. Chants of “Jose Mourinho” were already emanating from the direction of the ground at 2pm. Before kick-off as the players warmed up there was no hint of what was to come. It was only as players’ names were read out that fans let rip. You could not disagree with which players they voiced their displeasure with the most. Ivanovic – a normally solid stalwart who has had his worst season to date; Oscar – a lightweight midfielder who rarely makes any impact and is deservedly a squad player; Fabregas – whose clumsiness on the field is almost comical this year; and finally Costa – who returned from holiday overweight and whose attitude has stunk. Hazard was lucky to have been injured.
Some of the grievances have been based on hearsay and in the modern litigious environment it is unlikely that we will ever find out what really happened – whether it relates to which players leaked information to the press or bedroom antics between staff. Players know that telling the truth will not serve them well.
One of those who was targeted from the terraces – Oscar – had the game of his life. This annoyed. Was it because Hazard was missing that he chose his time to shine? His cockiness on the field was in marked contrast to his last home performance where he slipped every time he changed direction. Costa did not have any fights for once either. Fabregas only made one error. Ivanovic actually crossed the ball to create a goal. Is the message from the terraces working? Sunderland were woeful in contrast and parked the bus in the first half. In the second half, however they exposed our leaky defence and should have easily scored at least another goal.
The split between the most vociferous, well-known, individual fans who speak to the media seems clear. Those who back the board and players against those who believe footballing matters should be left to the direction of coaches such as Jose. The former group argues that we should move on and that no manager is bigger than the club. They seem to forget that no Chelsea player or member of the administrative hierarchy is either.
Manchester United v Chelsea is coming up. LVG is on the brink of losing his job. One dreads to think what happens if Jose joins the Old Trafford club before that game and Chelsea loses. Guardiola seems the most obvious choice for next full-time manager. Someone who is media-friendly and described as a genius despite only working at football clubs that already have a world-class first XI who even Scolari could win trophies with.
There was no other alternative than for Jose to leave. Not because it was the best option. But because it was the easiest. The majority of fans are more vexed with the players than Mourinho. His CV says it all. Especially when compared to those who direct the footballing side of our club.