As Chelsea fans celebrate the second "marriage" of Jose Mourinho and their club, Will Batchelor imagines how the conversation might turn once the honeymoon period is over.
Marriage is more than a word for Jose Mourinho
"I asked the boss: 'Do you want me back?' and the boss asked me, 'Do you want to come back?' And in a couple of minutes, the decision was made. I think we are ready to marry again and be happy."
Scene. A hospitality suite at Stamford Bridge, strewn with confetti and streamers. A "Just Re-Married" banner hangs from a solitary pin while helium slowly hisses from a balloon bearing the slogan: "The Special Ones". Only two guests remain. They sit at the bar, collars loosened, each nursing a coffee. The bearded man speak firsts, in a heavy Russian accent.
Roman Ambramovich: Well, Jose, we did it. How does it feel to be back?
His companion pauses. Running a hand through salt-and-pepper hair, he purses his lips and stares into the middle distance. Eventually he responds.
Jose Mourinho: Fine.
RA: That's it? Just fine?
JM: What else do you want me to say?
RA: Well, if I have to tell you, it's hardly worth saying. But a thank you might be nice.
JM: Oh, I'm sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much for bringing me here to show me what a great time you had without me.
RA: What? I don't know wh...
JM: That Champions League replica trophy? Bit tacky to still have it on display like that after all this time.
RA: What? But we keep all our trophies on...
JM: Oh, I know you do. Don't think I hadn't noticed the three FA Cups, one Premier League trophy, one Community Shield and that sorry what is it called again the "Europa League trophy"?
RA: But your trophies are there, too.
JM: At the back. If you can see past the glare of old Jug Ears.
RA: Well, sorry, but perhaps if you had won me a Champions League...
JM: Oh, throw that one in my face again. Like I told you at the time: That referee had it in for me.
RA: Sorry, which referee?
JM: Whoever was in charge when we lost a match.
Both men are silent. Eventually, salt-and-pepper pipes up again.
JM: So, good party was it?
RA: Tonight? Yes, it was...
JM: Not tonight. Did you have a good party after Roberto gave you your precious Champions League?
RA: What? No! I mean, yes, we had a few drinks and some snacks, perhaps a little music and dancing, but it was hardly a party.
JM: In this room?
RA: Look, I can't remember. I mean, it was such a long...
JM: A long time ago, yes. And yet you still have the trophy on display. So, did you enjoy working with him?
RA: Who, Roberto?
JM: Oh, so you admit there was more than one since me?
RA: Well, yes, a few. But you have hardly been a shrinking violet.
JM: Two clubs I have managed, two in six years. Remind me again, how many managers have you had?
RA: I don't really keep a count of.....
JM: Eight. You've had eight managers since me: Avram, Felipe, Ray, Gus, Carlo, Andre, Roberto, Rafael.
RA: Well, technically, Rafa was actually an interim manager. And let's not pretend you have been waiting for me all this time. We all saw you making eyes at Manchester United.
JM: Oh, really? I'm surprised you noticed anything while running after Pep Guardiola like a lovesick puppy. And he took his tiki-taka elsewhere. So you came running back to me and my old, tired, highly successful brand of defensive football. Take a good look at me, old friend, because this - you and me - this is all we've got.
RA: Well, not all. There is Michael, too.
A smartly dressed Nigerian man enters the room, holding a coat, which he hands to the bearded man.
RA: Yes, Michael Emenalo, my technical director. You'll be working together. I am sure you'll get along like a house on fire.
The Russian smiles and leaves, with Michael in tow. Salt-and-pepper walks across to the helium balloon, now drifting at knee level, and stamps on it.