In terms of ill-fated returns in 2015, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea ranks right up there with Harrison Ford's Star Wars comeback.
The fall-out during Mourinho's second spell at Chelsea was spectacular, if not psychotic, and many of the details are already well-known. It began before ever Chelsea lifted the league, when Mourinho made that bizarre Goals on Sunday appearance to have a go at Burnley.
It then continued, with those weird pre-season snipes at Rafa Benitez' wife about her husband's weight, and his continuing crusade against the concept of Arsene Wenger, and the idea a man could be judged on something other than silverware. With Mourinho in the bizarre situation of running out of enemies, he turned closer to home for his necessary jolt of conflict: beginning with the absurd treatment of Eva Carneiro, ending in his throwing of his players under the bus he once parked; accusing his players of betraying his methods in an interview after defeat to Leicester.
Then again, for those who believe that conflict is necessary in the production of art, maybe it was all worth it:
— Ahmed Ashkanani (@a_ashkan) December 20, 2015
Today, Mourinho returns to Chelsea, and his repairing to his former home has naturally been the main talking point of the Sunday football pages, and the incomparable Daniel Taylor has some cracking detail in his Observer column.
Given how much we know, we had a suspicion that there was much more melodrama behind the scenes at Chelsea. This is entirely true. As Taylor reveals, Mourinho became convinced that goalline technology - the kind of soulless, singularly obedient robot Mourinho likes to play on the wing - was out to get him:
It certainly offers an insight into Mourinho’s psyche this time a year ago that when he waded into the referee’s room at Upton Park, abusing Jon Moss with enough ferocity that West Ham’s head of security had to intervene, one of his complaints pertained to a wafer‑thin decision on the goalline. Mourinho thought Kurt Zouma’s header was in. The goalline technology disagreed and the buzzer on Moss’s wrist never went off.
Mourinho seems entirely motivated by winning, but to do that, you need an opponent. Mourinho seems to have a pathological need to be rivaled, and when enemies don't exist, he perceives them.
Here's one more line from Taylor's column:
Another intriguing revelation is that Mourinho is said to have changed his email address during the first half of last season, purportedly out of concern that third parties might be going through his correspondence as part of the Carneiro case, and apparently sent a message to one contact with the opening line: “No emails … dangerous!”
It's a customarily excellent column, and you can read it here.