On our podcasts, it’s been hard to avoid discussion of Mourinho’s latest statement, outburst, tirade, or Chelsea’s latest disappointment. In the following imagined scenario, Nanu Emannuel Ugwu takes us into Chelsea’s inner sanctum for crisis talks. Follow him on Twitter @Nanu759
DISCLAIMER : If you believe this, you will believe anything
The last to arrive was obviously Eden Hazard.
Roman Abramovich, not a man famed for his patience, had anticipated this and asked Marina Granovskaia to only invite him once all the senior members of the squad were present. This select group which included JT, Ivanovic, John Obi Mikel to represent the old guard as well as “Dave” (Azpilicueta), Oscar, Ramires and Hazard. It was rumoured that Diego Costa made himself unavailable and that Fabregas was not summoned and neither were any youth team players. Nevertheless, the meeting had begun.
The situation room at SW6 was seldom opened to members of the playing staff except during extensive contract negotiations and never before had anything like this occurred. Roman wanted the meeting to be concise but accepted that there were so many layers to get through. They all sat down in a circle in no particular order:
R. Abramovich (Chairman of the club)
M. Granovskaia (de facto CEO of the club and Abramovich long term ally- she was responsible for bringing Jose back and signed off on his contract extension)
B. Buck (the club president whose powers have been rumored to be on the wane – he would represent the clubs image)
M. Emenalo (the club’s fabled head of technical recruitment – he would represent the interests of the club’s academy at this meeting)
J. Mourinho (the embattled club manager – he was under immense pressure from all sides and becoming more erratic)
A yet-unrecognised non-member of the club and the only one not dressed in a club crested outfit.
It was immediately clear to all present the purpose of this meeting. Traditionally, inquests which deal with proposed continuity are very brutal and compromises are made and met swiftly. Today’s was, however, markedly different. There was an elephant in the room. A very big and expensive one ($36,000,000.00). Jose started off with his list of gripes about pre-season, the lack of investment and so on. A few of the players listened pointedly but didn’t say much. This group was quite sure they had been made to witness the passage of the man. They didn’t need more prompting.
Abramovich calmly observed this go on and felt dejected. He couldn’t believe what he had allowed to go on. After the most reluctant sacking of Andre Villas Boas, he had vowed never to let situations descend to this level at Stamford Bridge again. Hence, the swift and brutal sacking of Di Matteo. But things had changed. The group of players had changed as well and the club were already defending English Champions unlike the last time. He also didn’t want today to be about Jose Mourinho. Everything prior to this point had been about him and he seemed to be losing the plot. Emenalo then spoke. He reminded all seated of the club’s failure to transfer the achievements of the youth side unto the first team. He had said his bit and was clearly uncomfortable at the prospect of having to wait for any difficult statements. He privately wished the club would never do business with the Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes but knew that suggestion would not improve his chances of keeping his own job.
Only “Lady” Granovskaia took notes. The club secretary was not present as this was not considered an official club meeting. She had a bit of explaining to do some felt, but Roman spared her that ignominy over concerns that any perceived weakness in her would reflect poorly on his chain of command. Buck, who moderated the entire meeting, invited the players to contribute. None of them offered anything of note. When it really came down to it, nobody in the room actually felt the relationship with Jose had gone to the point of irreconcilable differences but they desired some acceptance of responsibility from the coach for some of the issues.
Those who believed Mourinho was gone knew this would never happen. Roman Abramovich listened carefully to all involved but had already decided. He spoke clearly, leaving no one in doubt of his intentions. He took the ultimate blame for all the unclear and misguided occurrences over the summer with consummate ease. Not everyone agreed with his humility but this was Roman Abramovich. He then proceeded to remind everyone of their own responsibilities including the playing staff, beckoning everyone to remember that their loyalty and cause was to the club’s fans and loyals who came to Stamford Bridge and travelled around the world to support. It was to them, he insisted, they owed their efforts. He promised to reset all relationships if everyone was ready to make concessions. There would be no ultimatums.
A cloud had been lifted from all the minds present and the players promised to win their next game on the 19th against Arsenal. As the meeting was about to close, the unrecognized individual in the group announced herself as a legal representative of a certain Ms. Carneiro. The mood changed. A certain buzz descended around the room and a lot of eyebrows were raised. She explained casually and without much ado, that Ms. Carneiro was ready to return to the first team and even in a reduced role that had been the cause of so much strain just a month ago. She accepted the effect her social media acknowledgement of support had been received as insubordination.
Jose knew where this was headed and shifted uncomfortably even though his countenance remained steady. The representative said that Eva’s reintroduction was based on the team manager apologizing to her and Mr. Fearn for professional incompetence. She was not seeking a financial solution, her litigator explained.
All eyes fixed pointedly at Jose Mourinho. Even he knew what was expected of him at this stage. The players were raring to support his rise back to prominence. This was the moment of truth. They were no cameras, no press men, no “moles”.
Would Jose Mourinho take responsibi……
Roman Abramovich woke up with a start on his luxury yacht moored off the coast of the French Riviera.
He had been dreaming again.