Manchester United have hired Jose Mourinho to be their new manager, just days after firing Louis Van Gaal. A move that once might have been surprising to many fans, now this hiring can only be considered expected, because after the misery both United and Mourinho have experienced, they’ve become an absolutely perfect fit for each other.
United are in a three-year tailspin, falling out of the elite of England and tumbling into a pit of self-inflicted mediocrity. Years of mismanagement by the club’s executives, lead and typified by Ed Woodward, culminated in the disastrous tenure of David Moyes that saw the club plummet in both standing and confidence. Louis Van Gaal was supposed to be their savior, but instead he spent two years trying to outsmart himself and making Manchester United boring and unimpressive.
Now comes Jose Mourinho, who spent the last year being angsty and upset with everything and everyone, alienating friends and allies and getting fired from the club that loved him more than any other. Given the miserable year that both parties have had, that they would end it by joining forces is only appropriate.
It’s little wonder that United fans are so eager to embrace him. Sure, Mourinho is widely considered one of the best managers around despite last season’s struggles, but it’s more than that. Despite being a fierce rival not too long ago, they recognize that look of pained anguish, that feeling of failure, of misery, of desperation to restore what’s been lost.
And make no mistake, both parties have lost something. Few have maintained the same level of respect and admiration for either Jose Mourinho or Manchester United as they’ve struggled, and that’s cost them both dearly. It’s cost them money, it’s cost them power, it’s cost them time in the spotlight — and now it’s time to get it all back.
Because that’s the goal, right? That’s why this odd, miserable couple has gotten together, bound by a common objective: to return to glory. They don’t have to like each other. Heck, there’s every chance that Mourinho and United loathe each other. Mourinho’s time at Chelsea and Real Madrid saw him go head to head with United numerous times, and there’s been no sign of any love between the club and their new manager. Sure, there’s been rumors over the years that United wanted to hire him before now, but that seemed to be more about getting the best manager available than any particular affection for the man.
What Mourinho and United do have to do, despite how they may feel about it, is help each other become great again. Alone, manager and club likely would have struggled to get the job done. Even at other big clubs, Mourinho would have struggled to achieve his previous glories again, and rare would be the manager with the skill and gravitas to pull Manchester United from mediocrity back to success.
Mourinho is that manager, and at United he’ll have the resources and pull to create a team of himself and his own purposes, free of the meddling egos and their poor decisions to force certain moves on his roster. He’ll be able to make the team he wants, shaped to his vision. Sure, he’ll have to work with some existing parts for now — there’s no way he can get rid of Wayne Rooney or other current parts of the Manchester United roster — but he can work his plans around them without too much trouble.
Both sides are sick and tired of being so miserable with their lot. Both sides are motivated to do whatever it takes get back the spotlight. When you’re talking about that with a manager as skilled as Mourinho and a club with the resources and history of United, that’s the perfect set of ingredients to create something truly special.
It’s time for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho to get back to the pinnacle of world football, and it’s time for them to do it together. They may not be the most elegant and glamorous of manager-club couples, but the same shared misery that brought them together can serve to spur them on to a return to glory. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work — and right now, there’s every reason to think that it will.