Alan Hubbard

Missing you already. The message is intended for Jose Mourinho, although I accept it is one that will not be shared by every English football fan.

But for me, AS Roma’s gain is the Premier League's loss. In my eyes he will also always be the "Special One" not because of any managerial qualities but the fact that he brought a sense of theatre to the still occasionally beautiful game. Mean, moody, albeit not quite as magnificent as he once was.

His sacking by Tottenham Hotspur was no surprise, nor perhaps was the alacrity by which he was snapped up by Italian club Roma. He was never going to be out of work for long, and the Stadio Olimpico is his new office.

I have always liked Mourinho since I first encountered him back in the early 2000s, when he brought his home team Porto to Old Trafford, overcoming Manchester United. At a press conference afterwards we found his English far easier to comprehend then Sir Alex Ferguson's Caledonian brogue.

His for spells with English clubs - twice with Chelsea, then United and latterly Spurs - have never lacked controversy, drama or intrigue which is why I found it strange that so many of my colleagues were so quick to put the boot in when things did not quite go the way they had expected. Because they were never short of a quote or a story from or about Mourinho to fill their columns.

Joe Mourinho has found a new home in Rome and will take over as AS Roma manager next season ©Getty Images
Joe Mourinho has found a new home in Rome and will take over as AS Roma manager next season ©Getty Images

His tactics on and off the field may have become somewhat defensive but as a personality he always fascinatingly enigmatic. He may he may have posed and pouted but he always gave us something to argue about.

When he did not deliver quite what Tottenham wanted, the writing was on the dressing room wall for football's Brando to exit stage left, with yet another seven-figure payoff cheque neatly folded in his back pocket.

No doubt there will be more of the same once his romance with Roma comes to an end, as it surely will. But the Italians will have had their money‘s worth in terms of publicity, if nothing else. For wherever Mourinho goes, a football production number will follow! Either captivating or frustrating the fans.

Personally, rather than enlist with yet another European giant from football’s rich list I would like to have seen Mourinho take a far different path, burying his ego and taking a job in the lower echelons of football to see whether he could transform fortunes rather than attempt to boost an existing situation.

And not merely the fortunes of the moguls who may own the club.

How fascinating it would have been had Marino taken over at Sheffield United rather than Roma. You could argue of course that the club relegated from the Premier League could not have afforded him but does Mourinho really need the dosh? Might he not find more enjoyment working for a nominal salary, his reward being in helping a struggling club back on to its feet rather than simply going for the glory game? Perhaps not, but we might have thought all the more of him if he did.

While success has disserted Jose Mourinho in recent seasons, drama has not ©Getty Images
While success has disserted Jose Mourinho in recent seasons, drama has not ©Getty Images

Instead we have The Roman Spring of Mr Mourinho. At 59 he has a few more years yet in football's limelight, win lose or bore. He returns to Serie A with his reputation tarnished by his spells at Manchester United and Tottenham. Yet his reputation in Italy remains high, but it is a country he left 11 years ago having led into Inter Milan to successive league titles, even claiming a treble which includes the Champions League in his final season - the first time any Italian club ever done so.

Mourinho will have money to spend and an adoring public behind him. While this may not be quite the Roman Abramovich adventure he first encountered with Chelsea in 2004, Roma are under new ownership and surely he will be given more time than he was with either United or Spurs to mold a team of his making.

For Roma won’t be rebuilt in a day - even by the Special One.