Racing towards a La Liga title, threatening to be the first man to win three European Cups with different teams, having English clubs clamour for his signature next season – what more is there for José Mourinho to feel good about? Is not it obvious? His next challenge is, of course, to rival Hong Kong Phooey, Yogi Bear and Ivor the Engine for the title of best cartoon series ever.
February 2012 was a more eventful month than most for fans of Portsmouth. While their club was lurching towards a second administration in two years, Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric, the former manager and chairman, were on trial for tax evasion charges relating to their time at the club.
Cinque Minuti di Recupero is one of those quick filler shows Italian state broadcaster RAI puts out after the main evening news bulletin. It is a no-frills feature, in which the presenter interviews a footballing personality for five minutes. The show has enjoyed a few decent exclusives in its time, possibly because of its tight format.
Apart from the first day of the season, there are very few times in the life of a football team when you think anything is possible. The arrival of a new manager often brings increased expectation, but the fact they have been appointed more than likely means the club are already in the mire.
Joey Barton may have felt he was insulting Neil Warnock by likening him to the eponymous film hero Mike Bassett, but there is no identikit for the football manager. All sorts of folk have trodden the touchline in England, but only two goalkeepers have ever managed in the Premier League. Nearly two decades on from Mike Walker's sacking at Everton, it is surely high time we asked the question: where are all the goalkeeper managers?
I was in two minds whether to write this because the chances are that you'll see Steve Kean's name in the opening paragraph and promptly turn the page. That's if he is Blackburn Rovers' former manager by the time you read this. Should his team have built on that bolt-from-the-blue at Old Trafford to keep him in a job until this issue of WSC hits the shops, I may be able to count on your attention for a little longer.
To an outsider, it seems mad that a club that has been in the top four of the Premier League pretty much all season should be rumoured to be in turmoil and on the verge of dismissing their manager. Yet that is exactly the situation Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas have found themselves in at various points, usually coinciding with a marginal dip in performance level or results. These are not the chief reasons for the speculation, however. Constantly looming in the background is the over-confident shadow of player power.
Even discounting for the inevitable reaction when someone dies young and suddenly, there was something different and genuine about the tributes to Gary Speed. Along with shock and disbelief was simple bafflement. Why? Maybe the inquest, which reopens on January 30, will provide some answers. His case appears to differ from other sportsmen's self-inflicted deaths.
Ronnie McFall became the manager of Portadown in December 1986. He is still there 25 years later. A title-winner as a player and manager with Glentoran, the 38-year-old arrived with his hometown club bottom of the Irish League. A quarter of a century on, everything has changed. "I remember that first day well," McFall recalls. "When I arrived at training, there was only about six or seven lads there. The first thought I had was 'What have I done?’ The club needed restructuring from head to toe. We had no youth set-up and were rock bottom of the league. Everything had to be rebuilt."
Dario Gradi was not exactly a stranger to the experience of Crewe Alexandra fans calling for his head. Absurd as it sounds now, with the club currently sat in League Two, chants of "we want Gradi out" were doing the rounds even when the club was punching way above its weight in the Championship.