It took a bit of time but the few Spurs supporters I am able to call friends have finally succumbed to what must have been an unbearable temptation and started crowing about last week’s result. I know, I know, we’ve moved on. But it got me thinking again about this universal antipathy to all things Chelsea. You know how it goes, Chelsea lose and the nation back their conquerors. In this case Spurs, who would now launch their assault on the so-called ‘big four’. Thus far, this launch pad for the next phase in Martin Jol’s plan for a resurgent Spurs involved losing at newly promoted Reading. Funny, but that’s not my point.
What I find most frustrating is the inference that Jose Mourinho invented and now monopolises gracelessness in defeat, media manipulation and arrogance. It appears that most observers failed to see Frank Rijkaard berate the referee in the Nou Camp two weeks ago? They also failed to hear comments from the serial moaner that is Samuel (what’s with the apostrophe) Eto’o. In case you didn’t know, the lovable Sam yelled ‘puta’ – among other things – during the commentary on Spanish TV when Drogba scored his last minute equaliser. Puta is whore in Spanish. Where’s the class in that?
And how much further does Arsene Wenger need to go to merit the opprobrium extended to Mourinho and Chelsea? Punch an opposition manager in the face? A measure of the extent to which we’re disliked is that Spurs fans are choosing to unite with the team next door, in spite of generations of near hatred, and actually defend the red bit of north London in any debate involving Chelsea. I am not saying I care about that – it’s mainly envy after all. It’s illuminating though that it’s happened so quickly.
It is evident to all but the most one-eyed fans that Mourinho is immeasurably more popular among his peers than his counterpart at Ashtray Grove. It is clear – as much after as before the defeat last week – who Jol prefers. I must say though, that Rafael Benitez is the cliché that proves the rule.
Look, all top teams adopt a siege mentality, mainly because it works. Liverpool did it in the 80s, Man United did it in the 90s, Arsenal have and still do it. And like it or not, roubles or not, lasting or not, Champions League or not, we are a top team. Even Alan Shearer thinks so and he can’t stand us, in fact he hates all southerners. I doubt that’s actually true but you see what I’m getting at.
Mourinho has a big mouth and a bigger ego. I may not actually like or agree with everything he or the club do or say. That’s because though I’m fiercely loyal I am not one-eyed. Mourinho’s peers see all the ref baiting, double speak and bluster for what it is. The media naturally choose the most controversial angle.
It’s down to the fans to interpret and it appears few seem capable of making up their own minds. Anyone out there?
Class in defeat? Show some class in victory.
Contribution by Ian Chandler
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