June 4th, 2013
10:54 AM ET

Can Chelsea go 'Back to the Future?'

Jose Mourinho was sacked as manager of Chelsea in 2007, but has now returned.
Jose Mourinho was sacked as manager of Chelsea in 2007, but has now returned.

“Getting back was only the beginning.” Not only the strapline for Hollywood sequel Back to the Future II but also a fitting description of Chelsea’s decision to reappoint Jose Mourinho on a four-year contract.

The return of the self-dubbed “Special One” after a six-year absence has prompted a euphoric response from the Premier League club’s fans, who are delighted owner Roman Abramovich has decided to go “Back to the Future."

Between 2004 and 2007, Mourinho’s Chelsea, for a time, dominated English football. The Portuguese coach guided the west London team to a first league title in 50 years as well as four other major trophies.

But his return is being greeted with caution by some who warn it is never wise to return to the scene of former glories.

Liverpool were forced to sack club legend Kenny Dalglish in 2012 after a largely disastrous Anfield comeback, while Zdenek Zeman failed to inspire on his recent return to Roma.

But just like Marty McFly in the 1985 hit film, Mourinho can count on a grey-haired old timer to prove returning to the past can be the key to saving the present.

Bayern Munich are currently the toast of world football, basking in the reflective glory of an unprecedented haul of silverware. The 2013 German title was won by a record-breaking margin as Bayern finished 25 points clear of Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern beat Stuttgart last weekend to lift the German Cup and, sandwiched in between those twin triumphs, the Bavarians defeated Dortmund in the first all-German Champions League final to become kings of Europe for a fifth time.

The mastermind behind this unprecedented treble was 68-year-old Jupp Heynckes, Bayern’s very own “Doc Brown” who returned to the club he previously coached two decades earlier to achieve historic success.

Heynckes, who won two Bundesliga titles during his first spell as Bayern coach between 1987 and 1991, returned in 2011. His arrival followed the departure of Louis van Gaal, who had presided over an unacceptable third-place finish in the league.

Why 'Special One' needs to be loved

Heynckes’ first season back at the helm ended in heartbreak. Bayern finished second in the Bundesliga, behind Dortmund, and suffered a crushing Champions League final defeat to Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea team in their own Allianz Arena Stadium.

While the club’s players and fans plunged the depth of despair, Heynckes steeled himself for a monumental comeback.

The power of his all-conquering 2013 team was at its most apparent during a 7-0 aggregate thrashing of Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal.

Barca, the team roundly accepted as the best in the world up to that point, had seen their mantel stolen by Heynckes’ red and white juggernaut. The veteran’s return instilled a confidence and a swagger into a team which was in danger of going down in history as chokers.

Heynckes’ achievements were such that, prior to announcing he would take a break from the sport, there was talk he might return to another old stomping ground.

He was hotly-tipped to replace Mourinho at Real Madrid, a club where he won the Champions League in 1998.

Chelsea’s decision to get back with an ex comes after six years which have seen seven managers try to work under the shadow cast by Mourinho's departure.

Success has remained consistent. Since 2007 Chelsea have enjoyed a first Champions League triumph in addition to a Europa League win, a Premier League title and three FA Cups.

In the last two seasons, however, Chelsea have been nowhere near the top of the Premier League table.

The two Manchester clubs have battled for supremacy, while Chelsea floundered in sixth in 2012 and finished third in 2013.

Chelsea have suffered an identity crisis without Mourinho and he will be pleased some of his most loyal disciples remain stationed at Stamford Bridge.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech, defender Ashley Cole and stalwarts John Terry and Frank Lampard will know what it takes to succeed under Mourinho and they could be key in creating a sense of togetherness in what often seems a fractured dressing room.

For Chelsea owner Abramovich, he will be hoping the rehiring of a man he sacked six years ago can lead to more European Cup success.

The second coming of Jose will be judged on whether he can finally lead the team to Champions League success after failing to get beyond the semifinals during his first spell in charge.

Mourinho will have an early opportunity to demonstrate he is capable of filling the only gap in his Chelsea resume when his team head to Monaco for August’s European Super Cup final.

Their opponents? Bayern Munich.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Fabio

    Mourinho is a great coach, and I think that he will make a good job in front of Chelsea.

    June 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  2. Seagal K

    U am optimistic he will do great. The good start is that the fans and players love him and therefore he will be focused on the job and not distracted by hate banners.

    June 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  3. Elo Martins

    Mourinho is made for Chelsea. We love him tremendously and will support him colossally. The Blues all the way...

    June 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  4. Jasper

    Mourino might have one or two seasons of success and the next thing from there he should think of retiring. Soccer can be a frustrating profession even for a coach with a flair of ingeniuity

    June 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  5. johnny

    there shall be pain. benitez was the answer

    June 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  6. Ajibola

    Whether Jose succeeds or fail, either way Chelsea cant lose. His return will either lead to a long time success for Chelsea, while his failure will allow the club and the supporters to move away permanently from his shadow. As a chelsea supporter I am routing for his long time success.

    June 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  7. Seth

    Chelsea is good, Mourinho is great, the combination will make Chelsea the best, and Mourinho the greatest!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  8. Kent R. Sailer

    Chelsea will win the Premiere League, Man. City will be second. But both will fail in the Champions League. Both need a player like Falcao. A dominant goal scorer (Rooney?).

    June 6, 2013 at 7:23 am | Reply
  9. rich

    we are the fans, chelsea is the club, mourinho is the caoch, he loves the club the fans loves him, happy to have him back, i wish him sucsses, we still cant discurse chelsea good memories without remembering didier drogba we miss him.

    June 7, 2013 at 12:19 am | Reply
  10. bakv

    Fan MU: He is a hero. I like mourinho.

    June 8, 2013 at 3:46 am | Reply
  11. omegafifteen

    Ok but don't take for granted that he'll obtain success immediately.
    A coach is only one of the gears of the Chelsea Soccer Machine.

    June 8, 2013 at 8:18 am | Reply
  12. herberthlahla

    Reblogged this on herberthlahla and commented:
    now for Chelsea to dominate!

    June 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  13. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Building multicultural squads with international stars is his strong point. Unearthing footballers with a winner mentality is what José does best when given full charge. Good luck to Senhor Mourinho.

    June 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  14. Okatta Okey

    It takes a lot to be a good and performing coach. In Mourinho we stand.... Lets go Chelsea

    June 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  15. Taye Mchael

    mourinho is d Lord of soccer.

    June 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  16. vincent nwankwu

    In nigeria we call Jose Mourinho the HALF MAN AND HALF GOD...fo sure he will conquer england once again long live the Blues

    June 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  17. Adamu Uzairu

    The happy one is the father of english football we like him an we wish him success all the way "victory is our concerned"

    July 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  18. Markus

    In Malaysia we call Jose Mourinho th HALF MAN.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply

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