Defining: decisive; critically important
Why have I started with a definition of defining? Well, because that is what the book through its title is setting out to achieve and therefore should deliver to the reader.
So does this book detail the fifty critically important fixtures of Jose Mourinho’s career to date?
You could argue that to make any such selection is always going to be difficult, since it is highly subjective and therefore open to debate. However, Tony Matthews doesn’t help himself on a number of counts.
You can accept that selecting games where trophies are won and lost as being decisive, but there are a number of others included which are curious to say the least. Amongst these are a routine 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League at the start of the 2004/05 season and a charity game in which Mourinho managed a Rest of the World XI of ex-players and celebrities.
Even for those games which can be seen as significant, Matthews fails to provide any real detail or reasoning as to why the game was defining in the career of Mourinho and therefore included in this book. Instead, the reader gets a series of match summaries which are okay as far as they go.
It was strange too that the three seasons “The Special One” spent in Spain are afforded just three games, given the controversy Mourinho created during his spell in charge at Real Madrid.
A final disappointing aspect of this book is that Mourinho’s record and quotes are included straight after England XI v Rest of the World XI report, rather than placed as an appendix.
Throw in a typo on page 132 which details an aggregate score for a Premier League fixture and this is a disappointing read, which doesn’t deliver on any level.