Even within a 24-hour period in which football began tearing itself apart over the proposed breakaway Super League, somehow Jose Mourinho still managed to regain the spotlight on Monday when he was sacked by Tottenham Hotspur.
On what must go down as one of the most hectic Monday mornings ever in the game, Spurs announced that they were parting ways with their Portuguese manager after just 17 months in charge.
Intriguingly, the club stated that Mourinho and his staff had been “relieved of their duties,” rather than the usual, more reciprocal talk of the coach leaving the club by mutual consent.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 19, 2021
Mourinho’s shock departure comes just six days before he was due to lead Spurs into the Carabao Cup final at Wembley (stream LIVE at 11:30 a.m., 4/25 on ESPN+ in the U.S.).
The announcement was the culmination of possibly the most eventful 12 hours of the club’s history, coming as it did hot on the heels of Spurs confirming their intended place in the Super League.
We’ll never witness two tweets in a row on this level from a club account again.
11:24pm: Joining a new European Super League
10:53am: Sacked Jose Mourinho
This is like transfer deadline day 2005-2007 era on steroids. pic.twitter.com/ASGDXcbw6K
— James McManus (@JamesMcManus1) April 19, 2021
The Super League news wasn’t seismic enough in its own right, with shell-shocked players and fans struggling to come to terms with the ramifications of a dozen of Europe’s biggest clubs simply removing themselves from the equation.
— Ander Herrera (@AnderHerrera) April 19, 2021
Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League – not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there…⚽💔
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 19, 2021
The fans are making their voices heard 😳 pic.twitter.com/2IWdFGie5w
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 18, 2021
There was also plenty of scoffing as to how “super” the Super League would actually be in reality, especially given some of the weekend’s results.
On the same day a new European Super League is announced:
Arsenal 1-1 Fulham
Atalanta 1-0 Juventus
Getafe 0-0 Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/4SqAfWNPg2
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 18, 2021
Plenty poked fun at Spurs too, joking that a club might not warrant a place among the world’s elite having not won anything of note since the 2007-08 League Cup or a league title in quite a bit longer than that.
The European ‘Super’ League 🥴
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) April 19, 2021
With less than 12 hours separating the two bombshells, it’s perhaps understandable that fans were left feeling perplexed at the chaos that had just been unleashed. Indeed, some were left wondering whether the two stories — Tottenham signing up for the Super League and Mourinho jumping ship — were related in some way.
good day to bury… good news? https://t.co/ElPga6mS1j
— Muhammad Butt (@muhammadbutt) April 19, 2021
Would love if Mourinho just grabbed a mic and announced the reason he was sacked was because he opposed the Super League. The chaos we need right now.
— Joshua King ✏ (@JoshKingWrites) April 19, 2021
If it’s true that Mourinho refused to conduct training because of Tottenham’s decision to join the #superleague then he is the first martyr & we will call April 19 St Jose’s Day
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) April 19, 2021
Of course, it’s far more likely that Tottenham’s decidedly underwhelming performances under Mourinho this season played a larger part in chairman Daniel Levy’s decision to fire the manager.
Says club with more Premier League defeats than Crystal Palace in 2021. https://t.co/d13cVvbLsm
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) April 18, 2021
Spurs are seventh in the Premier League having picked up just two points from their last three league games, as well as having won just one of their last six games in all competitions — a dire run that also saw them knocked out of the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb last month.
Mourinho has lost 13 games over the course of the 2020-21 campaign, which is more defeats than he’s ever suffered in a single season during his entire management career.
Not including his short spell in charge of Leiria and Benfica early in his career, the Spurs job is the first which former Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Mourinho leaves without winning a trophy.
Nevertheless, some felt it was harsh to sack Mourinho just hours after the Portuguese had become the first manager in Spurs history to qualify for the Super League.
Jose Mourinho is fired. He is the first of the European Super League managers to lose their job.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) April 19, 2021
Jose Mourinho sacked despite becoming the first manager to qualify Tottenham for the Super League. No gratitude whatsoever.
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) April 19, 2021
— James Sharpe (@TheSharpeEnd) April 19, 2021
Still, it’s difficult to feel too much sympathy for Mourinho missing out on a Super League adventure, especially given that his vast contract with Spurs means the 58-year-old is set to receive yet another lucrative severance package.
Jose Mourinho money earned after sackings…
– 2007 Chelsea: £18m
– 2012 Real Madrid: £17m
– 2015 Chelsea: £12.5m
– 2019 Man Utd: £15m
– 2021 Tottenham: £30m
— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) April 19, 2021
Mourinho could probably fund the entire Super League with all the pay offs he’s got.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) April 19, 2021
Coaching duo Ryan Mason and Chris Powell could take over as caretaker managers at Tottenham until a suitable, Super League-ready replacement for Mourinho is sourced.
At this rate, Spurs may have to look outside of the usual suspects for a new boss capable of steering the club into their brave new global franchise era.
Mourinho sacked as Spurs manager. Big shock. They’re currently in talks with the bloke off of the front of Monopoly to spearhead their European Super League charge for next season. pic.twitter.com/ocAzAhiVmK
— Chris Hewitt (@ChrisHewitt) April 19, 2021
— Michael Fry (@BigDirtyFry) April 19, 2021
Sources have told ESPN that Mason and Chris Powell are likely to be appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season. Given what has happened over the past day, who knows what could transpire between now and then.