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.
It’s the year 2000, the Y2k bug was proven to be a false alarm and a man so unremarkable to look at that you couldn’t pick him out in a line-up was elected President of the biggest football club on the planet (at the 2nd attempt). That man is Florentino Perez, the club is Real Madrid and what followed is truly remarkable and the results are now unforgettable sporting history. In 2014, Real Madrid were crowned European Champions for the 10th time, won the Spanish Cup (Copa Del Rey), and went on to win both the European Super Cup and World Club Championship. Only city rivals Atletico de Madrid stood between them and a clean sweep of every trophy available.Off the pitch for the 2nd year running Forbes has valued them as the most valuable sporting franchise in the world. Revenues are at an all time high and what we’re seeing is the perfect fruits of the labour of Florentino Perez and his team.
Vindication of an ideology that few clubs can authentically replicate, however much they would like to. Florentino Perez twice ran his campaigns on the platform of improving the finances of Real Madrid and since he took over, Real Madrid have gone from strength to strength. The basic ideology was dubbed Zidanes y Pavones after Zinedine Zidane (then the most expensive footballer in history) and Francisco Pavon (at the time the great white hope brought through from the academy). The “Pavon” part of the philosophy hasn’t really worked out as planned, none of the current 1st choice 11 are academy graduates. Ironically Real were knocked out of the Champions League this season by a goal scored by an academy graduate who didn’t make the grade! However, what is undisputed is the quality of the team, who are a collection of some of the worlds elite footballers mixed with some genuine superstars. Contrast this with fierce rivals Barcelona who have 3 and at their peak had 7 academy graduates in their first 11.
Los Galacticos is a very fitting name
Here is our pick of the best 11 players that have been brought through the gates of the Bernabeu by Florentino Perez.
Some of the greatest players in history, with plenty more missing! Irresponsible spending, massive debts, astronomical wages which mean this is another classic example of living beyond your means…Typical right? WRONG! Below is an illustration of the wage:turnover ratio for Real Madrid…Perez has managed to reduce this ratio by nearly 40%, and is well inside the maximum level recommended by the ECA.
Real Madrid Wages 2000 – 2014 (Source: Real Madrid Annual Accounts 2014)
A sobering picture for any fan or executive not connected to Real Madrid. They’re currently the No.1 club in the world, are able to pay the best players the absolute best wages…and their business is built on solid foundations which means they can keep doing it!
SO HOW DID HE DO IT?
Real Madrid are 5x the size they were when Perez took over. Encouragingly he has not fueled that growth on the back of the “little man” i.e. the fans. When he took over in 2000; 40% of total income came from Members and Stadium, today it’s 25%. What has underpinned his presidency is the market appeal of his players, and his ability to financially capitalise on that. Unsuprisingly, income from marketing has become the most important revenue stream, making up 32% of total income (ahead of broadcasting). Most impressively is the 13% of revenue that comes from international friendly matches. Madrid have always been a world famous team, in Perez they found a man who knew how to spectacularly reap the benefits of that fame.
Footballing success and financial success go hand in hand, fans across the world part with their hard earned money because of emotion, memories and a shared sense of being part of something bigger than themselves. When all is said and done it’s the men in the dugout and on the pitch that make the difference between agony and ecstasy and greatness and obscurity.
Players come and go but the ideology, philosophy and the man remain the same. An institution developed in his own image with spectacular results.