A Conspiracy of Dunces

1 May

“Sometimes to me it is disgusting to live in this world and have this football world for a living.” – Jose Mourinho

As the Happy Couple performed their much-anticipated nuptials and the world looked on with a sense of either wonderment, pride or sneering indifference (delete where applicable), much more sinister forces were at work behind the highly guarded barricades of Buckingham Palace. The royal family, you see, are not all that they might seem. According to sometime goalkeeper and now quasi-messianic oddball David Icke, the Windsors are in fact part of a shape-shifting reptilian race that controls and feeds on humanity. The sacrificial rituals required to carry on their domination led to the ‘murder’ of Princess Diana and there are grave concerns now for the future of the recently wed Duchess of Cambridge after her investiture.

Meanwhile, billionaire property magnate and wig-fancier Donald Trump sought to question the birth credentials of a democratically elected US President. Apparently, that Barack Obama has managed to pull the proverbial wool over   everybody’s awestruck eyes and his tenancy of the White House is nothing short of a land seizure by a foreign invader. As a consequence, Obama was forced to release his birth certificate for verification in a press conference this week in order to temper the insinuations of the Republican Party’s presidential hopeful. Worryingly, citizens of Hicksville are still to be convinced.

And then there was Jose Mourinho’s petulant and ungracious press conference executed with acidic aplomb in the aftermath of what has swiftly become known as The Battle Of The Bernabeu. A loss of discipline on his side’s part and two moments of artisanry from Lionel Messi had effectively left Real Madrid with an uphill task to overturn in the Camp Nou next Tuesday. Mourinho however, was unwilling to admit any kind of tactical deficiency on his part. He of course laid into the match officials, as is the set default of the aggrieved manager in the modern era. But then came the moment when Mourinho’s conspiracy complex went stratospheric:

“Congratulations to a fantastic football team. But congratulations for all they have as well, it must be difficult to get to get all this power. Where does this power come from? I don’t know if it’s because they give UNICEF publicity (on their shirts)? They have to get to the final, and they’ll get there, full stop.”

In essence, Mourinho has effectively implied that Barcelona, UEFA and a United Nations charity have colluded to fix matches in the Catalans’ favour. Without proof (other than a series of incidents that have given Barcelona advantages in key matches), his calculated inferences could potentially threaten the foundations and integrity of a game that already is riddled with the chicanery of FIFA officials, football agents and self-serving players. However, the danger lies when calling into question the integrity of an institution (UNICEF) whose sole function is the welfare of the disadvantaged young. Say it often enough Jose, and people might actually start taking your comments seriously.

As was the case in 2005 when Mourinho branded referee Anders Frisk an “enemy of football” after he deemed the latter’s performance in a match between the ‘Special One’s’ Chelsea and (surprise surprise) Barcelona inadequate. Death threats ensued and one of the world’s leading referees was hounded into an early retirement.

Or how about the accusation a year later, that the NHS and Reading Football Club did not act with urgency and care after Chelsea’s goalkeeper Petr Cech had received a serious but accidental blow to the skull in a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt? Mourinho’s righteous claims that the treatment offered the stricken goalkeeper was “shocking” and “a nightmare” forced both Reading and the ambulance service to release documents recording the fit and proper action they took which grossly contradicted Mourinho’s ministrations.

It seems that the magnetism of Mourinho is dissipating fast. Where once his swarthy charm and scowling arrogance held many in thrall, he is rapidly turning into a figure that looks to clutch at extreme straws rather than admit to his own and his team’s shortcomings. The facts may indeed show that players have been sent off whenever his teams are pitted against Barcelona. But rather than seeking to address the fact that this may be down to the intricate short passing game that the Catalans adhere to being rarely playable against his own philosophy of defensive brinkmanship, he seeks to conjure injustices and conspiracies, imagined or real.

As an unashamed self-publicist, Mourinho therefore shares much with both Trump and Icke. Whether you agree with their theories or not, they are always eminently watchable. Consequently, somewhere in a distant outpost of the world, impressionable souls might just take their crackpot theories as gospel. What happens then? Will they take responsibility when the letter-bomb is posted through the door or the gunman finds aim? That may seem a little far-fetched, but history proves that human beings are indeed very impressionable creatures.

Innuendo and subtext does not further any cause. By starting conspiracies that clearly do not exist and are solely created with personal gain in mind, these three men only serve to negate the valid and diligently researched efforts of those people who work to shed light on cover-ups. Without these people we wouldn’t have the unmasking of the British government’s shameful imprisonment of the Guildford Four or the unravelling of the Nixon administration after the Watergate scandal or the uncovering that Jean Charles de Menezes was not the terrorist we were lead to believe he was in the direct aftermath of the London bombings of 2005.

Somehow against these examples of real hidden agendas that affect real people with very grave and often tragic consequences, a lizard, a birth certificate and a red card pale into insignificance.

Dispatches From A Football Sofa has been nominated for the EPL Talk Blog of the Season award. Thank you to everybody who has read and continues to support this humble little blog. 

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One Response to “A Conspiracy of Dunces”

  1. Steve HUghes May 16, 2011 at 12:18 #

    Haha. I can’t believe no-one commented on this post! I’ve often been puzzled by the neutral fans’ love of Mourinho and I wondered if I was the only person who said I wouldn’t miss him when he left England. There must be something about the way he makes his crackpot rants that endears him to viewers. Ferguson and Wenger are lambasted as ‘whingers’ when they make (much tamer) comments about the performance of referees. Yet until recently the so-called ‘special one’ has got off scot free.

    I remember the Stephen Hunt saga well. In one interview Mourinho said (not suggested mind you, but actually said) that Hunt wanted to “kill” Petr Cech. Unsurprisingly Hunt was a little upset, and also understandably scared of running into – as you say – ‘impressionable’ Chelsea supporters.

    I think Jose is mostly loved by those unaffected by his rantings. He is entertaining after all, and as a reporter, what’s not to love about a guy for whom no subject is off limits? But you’re quite right that one day his comments will eventually have consequences. Be sure about one thing though – he certainly won’t be to blame!

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