Jose Mourinho’s rise to the top of club football was a slow one.
He acted as a mere translator for Bobby Robson while at Sporting Lisbon and Porto and landed a coaching role while working for the Englishman at Barcelona.
There, he demonstrated his intelligence and tactical nous as he rose to become an important figure in a dressing room littered with stars.
From there his managerial career began to take off, assuming charge of Benfica and Uniao de Leiria before his journey to the top was capped off by a stint back at Porto, this time as head coach, and culminated with his impressively obnoxious (or obnoxiously impressive) celebration down by the touchline at Old Trafford in 2004.
A year later he was dubbed ‘the enemy of football’ and whether you love or loathe the man, you cannot deny that he revels in his battles against authority.
The Portuguese is no stranger, therefore, to a ban.
But his latest ban is something altogether different. He’s not been banned from a touchline or a stadium but instead from a kitchen.
Manchester United’s head chef Mike Donnelly has prohibited Mourinho and his coaching staff from serving the Christmas meal to all the players and staff, which is a long-standing tradition at Old Trafford.
In previous years, the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Louis Van Gaal have been on hand to serve up the pigs-in-blankets and brussel sprouts, but instead, in a break of tradition, the kitchen staff will take up that duty.
A United insider said: “The United Christmas lunch used to be one of the highlights of the year, with the players enjoying being served by the people who usually bark the orders at them.
“But this year the head chef has took matters into his own hands and told the manager and his team that they won’t be serving the food.
“The problem is when the management do it, they pile the plates high and loads of food ends up wasted in the bin.
When you’re cooking for 200-odd people, that’s a lot of time, effort and money going straight into the bin.”
Would Sir Alex stand for such a challenge to his power back in the day? We think not.
Mourinho will be used to receiving bans by now, but while this one is perhaps the most unexpected, it’s also probably the most welcome.
Being ordered to sit at the table while a host of talented chefs serve you and your mates a roast dinner is the kind of authority the United boss probably won’t want to fight.
Don’t expect any hiding in laundry baskets to get around this one, I think Jose will be quite happy to sit this one out for a change.
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