Breaking news: Mourinho leaves Chelsea

00:34 – BBC Radio 5live is reporting that Jose Mourinho has left Chelsea. It is not yet clear if he resigned or was sacked.

There has been no official confirmation so far from the club.

00:50 – Unconfirmed reports suggest that Mourinho said he would quit a few days ago and Chelsea couldn’t get him to change his mind. This would certainly explain Roman Abramovich’s demeanour during Tuesday’s Champions League game at Stamford Bridge.

01:23 – First mention of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s name in the Sun newspaper. God help us.

01:33 – “Jose Mourinho’s expected exit from Chelsea is down to his summer transfer dealings, according to a club insider.” The Sun is off and running.

01:44 – The reports are confirmed. Official Chelsea Football Club statement published: “Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have agreed to part company today (Thursday) by mutual consent.” The usual “by mutual consent” bollocks.

01:56 – The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Mourinho resigned because of a major row with Roman Abramovich over the future direction of the club. Apparently Bruce Buck and Peter Kenyon were completely in the dark over Mourinho’s departure.

02:19 – The Daily Mail says Mourinho contacted five senior players yesterday afternoon to inform them of his departure and by midnight the entire first team squad were aware he was going. Avram Grant is expected to take charge of the side for Sunday’s Premier League game at Old Trafford.

02:26 – The Times writes that there is growing evidence that Mourinho did not walk out on the club but was dismissed. Jorge Mendes, Mourinho’s agent, is expected to fly to London today to negotiate a payoff.

03:46 – Sky Sports News says Mourinho was called to an emergency meeting late on Wednesday night with Peter Kenyon, Bruce Buck and Eugene Tenenbaum. Mourinho had earlier joined the first team at the DVD launch in Fulham of “Blue Revolution”. Draw your own conclusions.

09:15 – Back in the hot seat. The Sun gets in first with the “Mourinho lost the dressing room” story. Apparently his future was doomed after a dramatic bust-up with John Terry.

09:19Chelsea are set to name Avram Grant as their new manager today, according to the BBC. Abramovich’s puppet? It would likely give him free rein over team selection and affairs.

09:55 – “If the club decides to sack me because of bad results that is part of the game. If that happens I will be a millionaire and I will get another club a couple of months later.” – Mourinho circa January 2007.
Where next for Mourinho?

10:05 – The Daily Mail reckons Mourinho’s in for a £20m payout. Bookmakers are taking bets on him becoming the next England manager, though Portugal at 2/1 is strong favourite. 16/1 Mourinho replaces Martin Jol at Spurs.

10:57 – The Daily Telegraph profiles Avram Grant.

11:15Avram Grant and Steve Clarke will take charge of the first team from today: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Avram Grant and Steve Clarke will be in charge of the first team from today (Thursday). The club is delighted that in Avram we have an experienced man who can come in immediately at this difficult time to help deliver our objectives. In Steve we have a Chelsea man and he will be a crucial part of the management team going forward. Avram and Steve have our full confidence and support.”

11:55 – The Daily Telegraph takes a look at some of the names who could fill Mourinho’s shoes.

12:05 – BBC Sport has a selection of Mourinho’s finest quotes since arriving at Chelsea from Porto.

“”Entertaining? Too much!” After the roller-coaster 3-2 win over Birmingham on the opening day of the season.”

12:49 – According to Sky Sports News, a “family source” has revealed that the Portuguese FA has already been in touch with Mourinho and a provisional agreement is believed to have been reached.

13:10 – Another profile of Avram Grant, this time on the BBC Sport website.

“Yoav Borowitz, a sports writer for Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz, said: “It’s almost unbelievable that he’s the manager of Chelsea.” The picture he paints of Grant is of somebody with very similar qualities and ethos as Mourinho.”

13:20Grant and Clarke: Their backgrounds.

14:10 – The BBC is reporting that Mourinho is in line to receive up to £25m in compensation. Lawyers for both sides are still working on the severance package that will include confidentiality clauses.

14:40Roman Abramovich and Avram Grant all smiles at first Chelsea training. Sickening.

16:02The King is Dead…

17:00The decline and fall of the Roman empire.

“At 5pm tonight, Chelsea TV will break into its usual schedule (ie endless repeats of reserve matches from 2003) for a dramatic two-hour news special from Stamford Bridge, “guest starring” Jason Cundy and Scott Minto. There’s certainly plenty to talk about – Roman Abramovich’s crass stupidity, the sheer punchability of Peter Kenyon’s cheekbones, and the fact that Chelsea are heading to the dogs faster than a sprinter addicted to greyhound-racing – but don’t be surprised if the club’s in-house organ prefers to stress Just How Great Everything Is At Stamford Bridge, probably to the sound of the Soviet national anthem on loop.”

17:05Open letter to Chelsea fans on the official club website.

“Jose did not resign and he was not sacked.”

22:45Statement from Mourinho released on the official club website.

“I am very proud of my work in Chelsea Football Club and I think my decision in May 2004 to come to England was an excellent one.

“It was a beautiful and rich period of my career. I want to thank all Chelsea FC supporters for what I believe is a never ending love story.

“I wish great success to the club, a club that will be forever connected to me for some historic moments.

“I wish the players happiness in football and in their family life.”

23:00All terms agreed: “Chelsea Football Club has reached agreement on all contractual arrangements with Jose Mourinho.”

That’s it, all over. It has been an emotional 24 hours.

Now go and read Jonathan’s tribute to Chelsea’s greatest ever manager.

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