All The Way Jose by Harry Harris
Release date: 24th May, 2005
Publisher: John Blake Publishing
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Imagine if the average sports fan were asked, what would he list as the five most important attributes of a successful coach?
One suspects that he would start with confidence, adding that the ideal coach also requires a clear, analytical mind. Third is the ability to continually inspire his players, no matter how fraught or difficult a campaign may become, while number four on this imaginary list would be the presence of an outstanding right-hand man. Finally, all of these attributes should be bonded together by the perfect coach's overwhelming sense of purpose and destiny.
By the time the reader reaches page 30 of All the way Jose, it is apparent that those five attributes are blindingly evident in Jose Mourinho.
When Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge from Porto last summer, he immediately declared, "I'm a winner because I'm good at what I do." Little argument with that, especially as he had just won the Champions League, but the phrase which resulted in him being labelled as arrogant was his "I'm a special one". Taken out of context, it does sound a little over the top, but it was intended to supplement his confidence rather than add an unnecessarily boastful strand to his character.
Undoubtedly, Mourinho is analytical: before he was unveiled at Chelsea, he understood that if a player lacks speed in the Premiership, he has no chance; he subsequently shipped out a dozen players acquired by his predecessor. Similarly, he has done much to engender a spirit of camaraderie among the players that remained, something which is frequently evident in the most successful teams, although it doesn't happen naturally, it needs to be induced. As for a trusted right-hand man, the Portuguese made a point of bringing the 53-year-old Brazilian, Baltemar Brito to Stamford Bridge as his assistant, a person he has known for many years and who was already a close family friend.
Add to this Mourinho's sense of destiny, apparent from the typical flourish with which he signed off his first programme notes for his new club - "Let's have some fun," and with hindsight, it becomes clear why Chelsea won their first title since the time when a gallon of petrol cost 4/6 (22.5p).
Yet this is not a book about Jose Mourinho, but a comprehensive review of his remarkable first season in charge of a Premiership club.
In the book's acknowledgements, Harry Harris thanks his publisher, John Blake, for having faith in the author's prediction that Chelsea would be crowned champions. This ensures that Harris covered every kick and every goal of the 2004/05 campaign, from the opening game of the season against Manchester United, to Chelsea's only league defeat (1-0) against Manchester City and onto the away match against Bolton which confirmed their championship status.
But aside from these games, the book also deals with what might be called 'peripheral issues', such as the Adrian Mutu drugs affair and the furore which followed Chelsea's Champions League match against Barcelona when Mourinho was given a two match ban for making allegations regarding referee Anders Frisk.
Although the book is sub-titled 'The inside story of Chelsea's greatest year ever', it is Mourinho's character and actions which infuse everything to do with the club. It was on his insistence that a player's code of conduct was introduced at the start of the season, it was his foresight which ensured the team became more tactically astute and it is he who has ensured they are champions. The new Premiership season starts on 13 August.
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