Mourinho’s three years was a long stay

The question to be asked about Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Chelsea isn’t ‘why did it end so soon?’ but ‘how did it last so long?’ It’s a fair bet that the coaches that come after the Portuguese boss won’t last that long.  The reason is that Chelsea are a club who operate in the same style as the other elite clubs of Europe, while in Britain a different culture of running a football club still – just – prevails.  In most of Europe the manager – or more accurately the coach – is not the most important figure in the club and in some cases he has very little power at all. His role is that of a hired specialist, contracted to work with the first team squad supplied to him.  Continuity at a club is based around owners, club Presidents (in the case of Spanish sides) or a cadre of long established administrators. Coaches come and go on a regular basis and this is an accepted fact of life.  British football has a wholly different tradition in which the manager (and the use of that title is significant) is often the most dominant figure in the club, with a say in matters considered the preserve of others in European soccer.  Transfer policy is often in the hands of a Director of Football, a position rarely found in the British game though being experimented with at several clubs.   Invariably in the UK they have remained subservient to the managers, although at Chelsea the situation may have been reversed.  Continental sides cannot match the longevity of managers like Sir Alex    Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, or indeed Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho, who had both been three years in the job up to this week.  Compare the top four clubs in Italy or Spain and the coaches will have nowhere near the same length of tenure of their counterparts in England. British culture emphasises solidity and continuity whereas most of the top European sides always operate in a state of creative tension, where the coach is almost literally only as good as his last game.  In this context, three years for Mourinho under a restless billionaire owner represents a considerable achievement on his part but to do it he had to win successive titles. In only one full season did he fail to deliver the title, yet he still had to go; what’s more he probably expected it.  British managers may look warily at the chopping and changing among coaching personnel that takes place in Europe but it often delivers just as much success as stability. The key is whether the coach is left in charge of affairs for his time there.  Italian clubs afford their coaches great licence in team affairs but in the expectation that the man will deliver trophies. In Spain there is greater interference from the top and even a desire to appoint weaker coaches at times. The worry for Blues fans is that Roman Abramovich might be attracted by that model.  Mourinho’s three years might be considered slightly better than par for the course in a European context. It is highly likely that he will be appointed to another top club within a short period of time and will expect to be there no more than three years again.   The sadness at leaving Stamford Bridge may be genuine but when he joined Chelsea, he probably only expected three seasons at the most. This weekend’s games previewed Dave Dibble Premier Division Longford Town v Drogheda United It took them a while to get going but Longford Town eventually eased into the semi-finals of the FAI Cup – running out 3-1 winners against First Division Limerick 37 at Flancare Park.   In Drogheda United’s last game they went down to Ian Bermingham’s first League of Ireland goal which gave UCD a 1-0 win.  Prediction: Who would bet against Longford at home? Derry City v Cork City FAI Cup holders Derry City were dumped out of the competition by a much-depleted UCD side at the Brandywell.   Conor Sammon hit the only goal of the game on the hour to give the Students victory.    Derry City will not be playing in European football next season, summing up what has been a very disappointing season.    A win in this game for Cork would help them into a place in Europe next season. Prediction: Draw.  Galway United v St. Patrick’s Athletic A must-win game for Tony Cousins’ Galway United. Prediction: Away win.   UCD v Waterford United If Waterford United go down in this game it would be one nail in the coffin for them with regard to Premier football. Prediction: Home win.    Bohemians v Sligo Rovers Prediction: Home win.  Bray Wanderers v Shamrock Rovers Prediction: A win for Rovers.   First Division Wexford Youths v Athlone Town Wexford Youths and Cobh Ramblers played out a 2-2 draw at Saint Colman’s Park which extended Wexford’s unbeaten run in the league to twenty-seven games.   A Willie Tyrell own goal and a second half goal from Paul McTiernan gave Athlone Town a 2-0 win in their last outing.    The win leaves Athlone well in the race for sixth place in the second tier.  Prediction: The Town to pick up the points. Finn Harps v Cobh Ramblers This is the biggest game of the weekend with Cobh top of the league and Harps in second place.   In Cobh’s last game they dropped points to Wexford Youths.   This result means that Cobh now lead Finn Harps by just two points at the top of the First Division.    Finn Harps secured another dramatic late winner on a visit to face Shelbourne and claimed their fourth win against the Dublin club this season.  Prediction: Hard game to call, but with Harps at home they may just have the edge. Home win.  Saturday 29 th September Motherwell v Rangers. Setanta 1, k/o 12.30 pm.  Manchester City v Newcastle United. Sky Sports 1, k/o 12.45 pm. Birmingham City v Manchester United. Setanta 1, k/o 4.15 pm. Norwich City v Sheffield Wednesday. Sky Sports 1, k/o 4.20 pm.  Sunday 30 th September West Bromwich Albion v QPR. Sky Sports 1, k/o 1 pm.  St. Mirren v Hearts. Setanta Sports 1, k/o 2 pm.  Everton v Middlesbrough. Sky Sports 1, k/o 4 pm.  Monday 1 st October Tottenham v Aston Villa, Setanta Sports 1, k/o 8 pm.  Tuesday 2 nd October Lyon v Rangers, Champions League. Sky Sports 2, k/o 7.45 pm.  Manchester United v Roma, Champions League. ITV, k/o 7.45 pm.  Steaua Bucharest v Arsenal, Champions League. Setanta Ireland, k/o 7.45 pm.  Wednesday 3 rd October Liverpool v Marseille, Champions League. Sky Sports 2, k/o 7.45 pm. Valencia v Chelsea, Champions League.  Sky Sports Xtra, k/o 7.45 pm.  Celtic v AC Milan, Champions League.  Sky 1 k/o 7.45 pm.  * Chelsea’s Frank Lampard is set to be the first star to follow Jose Mourinho out of Chelsea. The midfielder has been left devastated by the departure of the manager to whom he was very close. * The best joke of the week: Reading’s Steve Hunt insists he is genuinely disappointed that Mourinho is longer at Chelsea. * Pete Mahon has hailed UCD’s cup upset as the greatest result of his career with the Students. * Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce has warned that Mourinho’s exit from Chelsea is a sign that football is in danger of destroying itself. * Peter Ridsdale, the Cardiff City chairman has blasted his critics who are pushing him out of the club. Ridsdale said: ‘You’ll not stop me delivering a new Premier stadium and Premier football to Cardiff’.  * Bolton manager Sammy Lee is battling to quell dressing room unrest at Bolton. * Jermaine Defoe must quit Tottenham to further his career according to his old pal Kanoute. Yeah, he better get back into the first team first!