Tuesday didn’t go to plan.
As Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn stepped up to their podiums in Salford, a very different leadership contest stole the show deep in north London.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy pulled the trigger on Mauricio Pochettino just six months after not winning the Champions League, and Jose Mourinho quickly moved into position as the first favourite for the job – a tedious entry, the lazy link, The Obvious One.
That is, until a tweet at 6:33am this morning heralded confirmation of the former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter, Man Utd boss as Spurs’ new manager.
Uniting the country like a politician can only dream of, Mourinho unanimously convinced social media he is not the right man for the job.
But, what if?
You can see how the ingredients are being whisked into a concoction likely kill than thrill Spurs.
- A tight, savvy owner meets an unrelenting budget-buster.
- A progressive, young manager gives way to a gnarled, has-been.
- An attack-minded squad to be forced into a style so defensive it would make MPs seem relaxed and open.
Yes, on the face of it, this has complete and utter disaster scribbled all over it.
But, what if?
Mention Tottenham, you think Spursy, you think ‘bottling it’.
For all the great things Pochettino achieved during his tenure, the fact that Spurs’ greatest achievement in the 21st century is ‘not winning the 2018/19 Champions League final’ speaks volumes.
Pochettino deserves enormous praise for his part in building a legacy that should endure at Untitled Stadium, but ultimately he fell short of trophies. Enter Mourinho.
His Manchester United woes need little more publicising, but his winning record elsewhere has been exemplary. Mourinho wasn’t the first – or arguably the last – to fail with United.
Ed Woodward’s hapless guidance transcends individual managers, though questions over Mourinho’s style – in terms of play and persona – remain valid.
But, what if he can cut through the bluster, wrap his hands around Spurs’ squad and mould them into champions?
What if The Special One steps forth from the shell of ‘Broken United Jose’? It’s a tantalising question that will keep Mourinho in top jobs until the day he retires: ‘what if?’
He has strong, though not always popular, leadership above him in the shape of Levy. This is his last realistic chance to shine in London, his home, and potentially the Premier League. His inherited squad is not riddled with egos, nor has the rot fully set in, in the grand scheme of things, Tottenham remain on an upward curve.
What if the old-school Mourinho rears his ferocious head and actually becomes the manager Spurs have needed for decades. A natural-born winner, a ruthless winner, simply, a winner.