So Glad We Don’t Have a ‘Genius’ Like Mourinho at Leeds United  –   by Rob Atkinson


The not-so Special One

When you’ve seen your club at the very top of the game, as thousands of Leeds United fans (of a certain age) have – then you’re bound to aspire to regain those dizzy heights again. That’s only natural; but what would be the true cost to our club, in terms of its essential character and tradition? The answer to that might be fairly unpalatable. 

Everywhere you look in the Premier League, that rarefied sphere we yearn to inhabit, there are magicians, geniuses, world-class performers. That’s why it’s hyped as The Greatest Show On Earth. But the hype is just about the only thing that lives up to its billing as the biggest and the best. If hype alone could power a rocket, then the Premier League would be the first franchise on Mars. 

We have to ask ourselves at Leeds, where we have our own pride and our own fiercely partisan sense of identity – how many of these geniuses and magicians would we actually wish to see in a white shirt? Would we really want a Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance? Which Leeds fan would genuinely be happy to hear that that particular Ego Had Landed at Elland Road? Not me, that I do know.

If the price of Elite membership is to have to support players like Ronaldo, Yaya Toure (the crybaby birthday boy), Wayne Rooney and so on and so forth, then I’m by no means sure I’d wish to pay it. Give me a team of grafters with their feet on the ground, any day of the week. And who, pray, would we have to coach and manage such “stars”? If I may answer my own question with a negative once more, I’m dead certain that one person I wouldn’t want is the so-called Special One, Jose Mourinho himself.

Mourinho’s not had the best of weeks, losing a two goal lead at home to Swansea City and then getting hammered at Manchester City. In between times, he’s seen fit to treat club doctor Eva Carneiro most shabbily, as I’ve bemoaned here. So it’s been a bad few days for Jose, and he’s deserved every agonising second of it.

Here is a man, after all, who first came into the English game like a breath of fresh air, capturing the imaginations of fans throughout the game, endearing himself to those who, like me, enjoyed seeing Alex Ferguson taken down a peg or several. But, after a while, his arrogance began to grate more than a little. His self-awarded tag of ‘The Special One‘ lost its early appeal and took on a more ironically mocking aspect – not that Jose’s colossal ego was even slightly dented by that. Now, Mourinho appears to have become a distorted caricature of himself, a man more preoccupied with living up to his own self-image than by any need or desire to win admirers or friends along the way. His verdict on the second part of this week’s Tale of Two Cities? The 0-3 reverse in Manchester was “a fake result”. Honestly, I ask you. Here’s a man who has squandered his early impact on English football.

At one time, Mourinho might have been my ultimate dream as Boss at Elland Road. Now he’s one of those nightmares I know I could never countenance for the Leeds United I know and love. He’s put himself into a category of Untouchables, people I wouldn’t want my Whites to go anywhere near with the longest of barge poles. He’s right in the middle of that company of undesirables, along with the Rooneys and the Ronaldos, the Fergusons and the Sterlings. They’re the Too Big For Their Boots Brigade and they have no place at the kind of club I’d wish to support. 

It’s not that there haven’t been such undesirables in earlier eras – more that they seem so much thicker on the ground now than in days of yore. It’s the Premier League glitz and glamour, I suppose. This hollow arrogance, together with the sycophantic need on the media pack’s part to worship it, just sets my teeth on edge. Back in the day, I wouldn’t have wanted a George Best at Leeds, nor yet a Tommy Docherty. We mooted Maradona and we tried Cantona for size, but the former was just a Bill Fotherby pipe-dream and the latter didn’t really fit our club. We don’t really like massive egos at Elland Road – but show us a grounded grafter, and we’ll crawl over broken glass to follow him.

We’ve had our geniuses at Leeds, of course we have. But they’ve been a particular type of genius: John Charles, il Gigante Buono, Billy Bremner, side before self, Eddie the Last Waltz Gray, the incomparable Johnny Giles. And of course, the one and only, undisputed and undeniable Special One, Sir Don Revie. Modest geniuses, unassuming magicians. Special Ones in the Leeds United idiom. Give me a team and a manager like that to support, and I’d truly relish seeing my club back at the top again.

But, if modern day success means following the likes of Jose Mourinho or Cristiano Ronaldo – then I’d simply rather not bother, thanks all the same. 

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17 responses to “So Glad We Don’t Have a ‘Genius’ Like Mourinho at Leeds United  –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Well, I never…! This kind of talk is likely to bugger us with Cellino (our magician/genius owner) and then, I ask you, where will we be!

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  2. Nivea men non creasy says it all football was a working class sport played by men now its a middle/upper class sport played by the rich who care more about there hair and dry skin and couldnt care less about the fans or the game as you have said before sky and there billions have changed the game for ever think they call it progress but for me they have killed it its a sign of the times when 10% of the worlds population control 90% of the wealth you no the world is mad and football is no different

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  3. Blue Monday

    Who do you consider is a current premier league grafter but also gifted Rob? worthy of wearing the white shirt?

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  4. Roy Naylor

    I totally agree with these comments. Personally would prefer to stay in the championship, which is devoid if the prima donnas . The wages in the premiership are obscene, and breed this type of overrated player.
    Lets stay where we are and watch honest grafting players

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  5. Articulating my thoughts pretty accurately BUT if/when we get back to Premier League the I would want to compete with the best and not just make up the numbers. May have to tolerate the odd ‘ego’ but, hopefully, bring them down to earth. Can’t expect home-grown players to do it all.

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  6. dave sales

    The Prem has become a bit like x factor with ‘managers’ like Mr Simon Cowell producing nothing more than egos who are soon forgotten. The championship is still a bit like ‘open all hours’ with managers like Mr Arkwright and his grafter Granville at his side. I know who id rather be watching!

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  7. milano whites

    Top post our lad and loved the reposte re Barkley…all leeds aren,t we…and if not then just bog off, as I heard a young lad say against Burnley…more than just a game innit…MOT/YRA

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  8. Michael Southward

    Morning Rob, I understand your sentiments but rather hope that as a club we should still have aspirations to reach the “top”. However, one thing for sure is that in the PL there is almost three separate leagues; Top six, middle and bottom six and you don’t get too many surprises. At least in the championship anyone can beat anyone!!

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  9. It’s not often I don’t see eye to eye rob but I’d have the special one and the winker in a breath and while we’re at it throw in a Russian billionaire and a upgraded ground and Messi pls

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  10. sniffersshorts v superwoman

    don’t think tractor mouth likes us predicted Burnley win now Bristol win another big mouth opinionated ex manager who thinks he knows all well I fink its fuck all go find yours sheep to follow baaaa baaaa

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  11. kevin Heward

    Agree Rob good post. One comment said we can not do it all with home grown talent. disagree. Back to just before our fall we had some great players may be a couple of additions and we were ok. Then spend spend but in my opinion little improvement but almost cost us Leeds United.

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  12. Kevin H is right that we had some very good home grown players before “our fall” BUT the difference was the players we brought in. Robinson, Matteo, Mills, Ferdinand in defence for starters.
    Each of our ‘great’ teams was made special by imports; even going back to Collins & Giles.

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  13. kevin Heward

    I agree Chris, I know Ferdinand cost a lot but My point is we do not need or I don’t want lots of big money premadonna’s. The Don bought wisely players that added to the team. as did those you mentioned. Later though many coming to the o’leary team seemed to be spending for spending sake that got us into trouble or contributed to it. We can be great again if we follow the Don’s way.

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