The history of sport is littered with tales of special men who came along and took their chosen sport to new heights. Leaders of men who at their time were revolutionaries who set new benchmarks for excellence and standards of competition. Great players are often remembered as the superheroes the next generation often strive to emulate, but what of the men on the touchline? These men who build the teams and are responsible for creating the delicate ecosystem of a sports team that is often the difference between success and failure. The men who give great players the platform to shine and the best opportunities to be who they are.
Indeed great coaches are remembered and tributes are often paid, but the kids who grow up wanting to be the next Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson or Sir Alex Ferguson are few and far between. This next generation of football obsessed teens are a different breed. Raised in a new media age of 24hr sports news networks and the internet, where the personalities off the pitch, need to match the action on it.
In this age, one man represents this shift better than most and that man is Jose Mourinho.
His track record is unquestionable, the loyalty from his players is immense and the love from his club supporters is only matched by the antipathy from rival supporters. Love him or hate him you can’t do anything but respect him. The self proclaimed “Special One” divided opinion (maybe that’s the key to his success…) To some including himself he is the second coming of Christ and a genius, to others he is the personification of everything that is wrong with football.
How did a man who is known in the Nou Camp as “the translator” rise to be the No.1 coach in world football?
Here are our top observations…
Self Confidence (Believe in yourself)
The first stage of achievement is belief. Before anybody else believes in you, you have to believe in yourself. Jose Mourinho embodies this concept. He carries himself like a winner. Communicates with conviction and just exudes confidence which is probably his strongest character trait and this can’t fail to rub off on his players.
Intelligence & Strategy (Stay in your lane)
When it comes to game intelligence, there are very few, if any, who are better than Jose Mourinho. Success has followed him everywhere he’s been and that can’t be a coincidence. This man knows how to win. Period. Based on a football ideology inspired by Arrigo Sacchi, Mourinho’s teams have always been defensively minded, hard working, devastating on the counter attack, and have never been a neutral’s choice to watch. He has his vision and he buys and keeps players who fit and commit to it. He has never tried to play pretty football unnecessarily and his teams will only be remembered for one reason. THEY WON A LOT OF TROPHIES. To Jose…that’s the whole point.
Psychology (Know your opponent)
In all sports the game is often won and lost long before it’s actually played. Every competitor searches for that edge, any advantage they can to get ahead. Jose Mourinho has honed this skill better than most so much so that even the Dark Lord of the Sith himself Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t put a dent in his armour. An absolute master at mental manipulation whether it be his own player, an opposition manager, or referees, Jose always seems to know what to say, when to say it and to whom.
Leadership (Write your own story)
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton
For any organisation to be successful there needs to be s common goal, a vision for every person to rally around. That vision starts with the man at the top and it’s his responsibility to make sure everyone is pulling in the right direction. This has been a common theme of Mourinho’s career, regardless of the country or the team. At each of his clubs he has inspired seasoned professionals with huge egos to buy into his vision and do things they otherwise would never do or indeed believe themselves capable of doing.
Samuel Eto’o was a brilliant forward who had a reputation for being a disruptive force in the dressing room, however at Inter Milan the power of Jose convinced him to work for the team and play out of position. Inter won the treble that year, along the way beating a Barcelona team considered the greatest club side in history.
On the flip side of that, players who don’t fit the vision or don’t adapt, e.g. Juan Mata and David Luiz, are moved on to other teams…quickly.
He won’t be remembered as the most beloved. His teams won’t be remembered as the greatest of their generation, but Jose Mourinho WILL be remembered as one of the greatest and most successful managers of his and any generation.
Whether it be life or business, from now on I’ll be asking myself WWJD…What Would Jose Do?
LONDON, MANCHESTER, MADRID, LA, PARIS. & MILAN
6 destinations, 6 degrees of separation, each one a chapter in one of the greatest stories you’ll hear in yours or any lifetime. You could make a credible case for half of the above list being the fashion capital of the world. Each and every one of those cities is home to iconic sports enterprises that are famous the world over; and each of these cities conjures up images of places and events that have helped shaped a generation. All of these are ingredients in a unique story about a man whose influence transcends Sports, Fashion and Popular Culture. A man who stands alone as the iconic football figure of his generation, and it all started with one kick…
I don’t think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that football as we know it changed forever after THAT kick.
That moment in South East London was the true birth of the celebrity footballer. George Best proved in the sixties that the world had a special fascination with sportsmen and footballers in particular. David Beckham came along at exactly the right time, and took that notion to a whole another level. The global expansion of the Premier League coupled with the explosion of the Internet, meant that Beckham was on TV in billions of households every single week. Sportsmen and pop stars go together like
“Nike Airs and crisp tees, S.Dots with polo fleeces, purple label shit with the logo secret.” Jay-Z (Dear Summer)
Beckham’s situation was the perfect storm. His girlfriend and future wife just happened to be 1/5 of the biggest pop act on the planet. A woman who’s stated life ambition was to be “…as famous as Persil Automatic”. This instantly gave him access to places his sporting exploits alone wouldn’t take him. Celebrity girlfriend, endorsements, political influence, a personal blueprint followed by very few footballers before him, but every major footballer after him, The David Beckham effect will forever be imprinted on popular culture.
There are very few sporting personalities that manage to transcend their primary sphere of influence. In the world of football in the Internet age David Joseph Beckham was the first and is still the biggest football star on the planet.
The true definition of a game changer and because of him football will never be the same again.