Jose Mourinho's Stamford Bridge banners to be removed due to Chelsea tribute

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This weekend, Jose Mourinho will be returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was sacked by Chelsea back in December 2015.

Despite now being in the away dugout, the Manchester United manager can expect a positive reception from Blues fans thanks to the three Premier League trophies he helped bring to west London during his two spells in charge.

However, as the Mirror reports, there will be one marked difference to the last time Mourinho arrived at the Bridge in charge of the opposition - as Inter Milan boss in 2010.

According to the paper, the Jose Mourinho banners that are often still seen draped in various locations at Chelsea's home ground will be removed for the upcoming fixture against United.

But, rather than a direct attempt to distance themselves from their former manager in the early stages of current boss Antonio Conte's reign, it sounds like there is a valid explanation for the decision.

On Sunday, Chelsea will be remembering former vice-chairman Matthew Harding who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident 20 years ago. 

As a result, the west London club will be unfurling their own specially made commemorative banners to mark the anniversary of Harding's death.

This includes two banner and an enormous 100ft x 50ft crowd-surfing flag emblazoned with the message, 'Always Loved, Never Forgotten'.

It seems like there won't be room for Mourinho's 'Special One' or 'Simply The Best' designs on a day when the Portuguese boss makes his return to his old stomping ground.

Chelsea's efforts to commemorate Harding should, though, be admired. 

The lifelong Chelsea supporter invested almost £25 million in the club in 1994 and continued to sit with fans even after he became a member of the board. Of course, one of the Stamford Bridge stands is also named in his honour.

Although there may be a sombre mood to begin Sunday's high-profile Premier League fixture, Chelsea will be hoping they are celebrating come full time.

Moreover, if Conte can oversee an impressive win against United and Mourinho he will move one small step closer to the same reputation his predecessor still has amongst Blues fans.

It will take a few titles of European triumphs before the Italian has his own personal banners on regular display, however.

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