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?
The numbers above have no obvious connection, just random numbers that could mean anything. Yet when you connect them to the name Thierry Daniel Henry these numbers come alive, take meaning and they begin to tell you the story of one of the greatest players ever to grace the Premier League. With the Arsenal badge on his chest and the number 14 on his back, he scored 228 Arsenal goals, 175 of them in Premier league alone. Both tally’s higher than any other player in the club’s history. His influence wasn’t just confined to domestic competition; the 42 goals in European competition, 35 of which came in the Champions league stand as testament to a striker who at his best was described by his peers and contemporaries as simply unplayable.
‘“The only way to stop Thierry Henry? With a gun!” – Gianluca Vialli
Whichever way you slice and dice it, when they write the history of Arsenal Football club, Thierry Henry will have his own chapter and deserves every word written.
Loved by few, Feared by many, Respected by everyone
“I watched him a long time ago when I was manager of Fiorentina and he was playing for the French Under-21 team, I said to my chairman he is the Muhammad Ali of the football pitch because he has such elegance, such speed. He does everything with such style, I said please buy him because he is one of the best, but it did not happen for some reason” – Claudio Ranieri
6’2”, with the pace of an olympic sprinter, strong, skillful, two footed, and unselfish.
Not a natural goalscorer in the traditional sense, Henry joined Arsenal as a young left winger who had just won the World Cup in that position. It took him 8 games to show the world what Arsene Wenger already knew…and the rest is literally history. He would go on to become the greatest goalscorer in the history of Arsenal Football Club, score more goals (137) at Highbury than any man alive or dead, and in the process set a record that will NEVER be broken.
His name will forever stand alone in history.
“Thierry Henry, he was definitely the best. He was just too quick. Oh God, what a player he was. I was so relieved when he went to Barcelona. He used to have everything. You couldn’t even kick him, he was big and strong, oh, Jesus, he was a nightmare” – Jamie Carragher
An unselfish footballer who created almost as many goals as he scored but was also the focal point of one of the greatest teams in Premier League history. A joy to play with, and a nightmare to play against. Speaking personally as a non-Arsenal fan; Win, lose or draw Henry was an absolute privilege to watch. A leader amongst men with a deep rooted and insatiable will to win. When Arsenal needed a big goal, in a big game, against big opposition Henry was the go to guy.
It is probably right to give the last word to the man who gave him his chance as a 17 year old at Monaco. The man Henry himself still calls ‘The Boss’
“What makes him special? He has a mixture of physical talent and technical ability, as well as remarkable intelligence and above all a great passion for the game.” -Arsene Wenger