Mourinho: The Special One, BBC1

by | Oct 31, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A vivid journey into the heart of one of English football’s most engaging characters.

What to say if you didn’t like it

Gary Lineker lathers up Mr Flavour Of The Month with soft soap questions.

What was good about it?

• The peculiar machismo of the seating arrangements. While the Chelsea boss slouched like a king on his throne, the ex-England striker perched uncomfortably on his slightly raised, stiffer chair and talked sideways like a drunk on his barstool regaling uninterested patrons with stories of his former glories.

• Mourinho’s straight talking is a welcome antidote to the artificially cautious argot of English football. For Mourinho’s there’s no “he’ll be disappointed with that” or any similar facile cliché, it’s: “I didn’t like Arsenal at the start of the season when they were winning all their games, but I liked them in the middle of the season when they dropped points every week.”

• Details in Mourinho’s nebulous biography were painted in by his father, his best friend and former colleagues such as Bobby Robson. We learned how he got into coaching after it became evident he couldn’t follow his dad and become a professional player and so was an odd job man at Sporting Lisbon, mixing the duties of a translator and goalkeeping coach.

• Mourinho gave an insight into how the three top managers in the Premiership overcame anonymous playing careers to climb to the top of the management tree, claiming that because he got into coaching in his 20s he had time to learn the necessary skills and mentality, which a great player who quits in his mid-30s may not get the opportunity to nurture.

• The footage from Mourinho’s time at Barcelona when he was the club’s translator but seemed to be giving coach Bobby Robson advice on tactics during a game.

• Joe Cole amusingly speaking in a voice that resembled air being slowly released from a helium balloon.

What was bad about it?

• Piers Morgan’s detestable tabloid hyperbole about the “Special One’s” impact. “Mourinho crashed into this country like some kind of foreign asteroid.”

• Quite often the dialogue furrowed the same ground that has already been over ploughed to over-familiar sterilisation throughout the football season such as Mourinho’s annoyance of how Chelsea were accused of employing “boring” tactics early on.

• A concentration on most tedious aspect of football over the past decade: mind games. This ruse utilised by desperate managers to avail an advantage over their often superior rivals was once again thrust aloft like some exclusive dark art when it’s really just middle-aged men bickering.

• Even though his abrasive vocabulary is appreciated, Mourinho has picked up a few of the worst traits of the English language beginning one sentence with that most gruesome of profanities “At the end of the day.”

• Gary Lineker was hardly a vicious inquisitor; the toughest, most confrontational question he posed was “Are you a bad loser?” And any incident beyond Mourinho’s absolute professional life was never explored leaving a rather bland, flat biography. For instance, Lineker didn’t follow up Mourinho’s disappointment at not making it as a footballer, nor were we privy to an incident in his early life that exemplified the qualities that have blossomed into making him such an excellent football manager.

• Gary Lineker also didn’t press Mourinho on some of the worst incidents he has provoked this season such as the accusations that led to referee Anders Frisk retiring and his role in the Ashley Cole “tapping up”. Perhaps legal constraints prevented such inquiries, but if so, the documentary should have been postponed to be broadcast at a time when such anomalies could properly be probed.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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