English Football

Mourinho and Wenger are back in the sandpit

red v blueSometimes I think that football managers and players think we are all stupid. Why else would they all behave like they do, posture as they do and make stupid statements like they do? We all know it’s a game of cliché and jargon (always has been, always will be), but it is also a sport where the behaviour of the school playground prevails. And they think we buy it.

The FA Community Shield at Wembley showed us that nothing has changed during the summer months. Why should it have? The only aspect of the game that is likely to be different is that Arsenal, Chelsea, United and City will all be wearing new kits this time around and the proletariat will certainly buy that.

But the ongoing “battle” between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger is becoming tiresome. There was no need for either of them to continue this “feud” at the start of the new season, but both seemed quite happy to make their own point.

Mourinho had the look of a guy who was trying to say, “I don’t care too much about this game”, but deep down you knew he begrudged losing to Arsenal. The body language of one or two Chelsea players at the final whistle suggested they also didn’t like it – John Terry appeared to be on the hunt for something as he prowled around the pitch.

And then there was Mourinho, standing at the foot of the stairs as the Arsenal players came off with their salver. A bit of defiance and, one might say, a patronising gesture as Arsenal won some silverware. It is doubtful he would have done it had the scoreline been reversed.

And as he shook the hand of each Arsenal player, Wenger came down the steps, body-swerved to the left and accelerated past Mourinho. He should know better. Would Mourinho have shook Wenger’s hand? – I think he would have. Surely the new season is a time to start afresh, to bury a hatchet, but not in each other’s head?

Mourinho couldn’t resist stealing the show. He was almost hit on the head by a piece of rubbish and then threw his own medal into the crowd. He was effectively saying, “I don’t want this runners-up bauble”. But then he does it with winner’s medals, too.

Wenger, for all his Gallic charm and air of professorial intellect, has had more than his fair share of touchline spats, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Mark Hughes and Martin Jol. The man has form! But Mourinho is no angel. He’s more the master of the barbed comment, though, and he was at it again when he made a sly dig at Rafa Benitez’s weight this past week.

I always thought that Wenger didn’t want to hog the limelight from his team and that Mourinho liked to massage his ego whenever he could. But they are one and the same. Neither of them have to work hard at getting their percentage of exposure. The media look for reaction from both of them and it’s all very predictable. At Wembley, both reminded us that as 2015-16 beckons, it’s status quo– as if we didn’t know. Grow up, boys.

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