José Mourinho’s Fenerbahçe Adventure

José Mourinho received a rapturous welcome from Fenerbahçe fans. He was unveiled as the new man in front of thousands of fans that had packed into Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul.

Walking on to a bespoke theme tune, he went on to beguile the crowd and win over the Sarı Kanaryalar faithful. His speech was as charismatic as ever, as the Portuguese manager enthralled the crowd by stating “I promise you from this moment, I belong to your family. This shirt is my skin”.

What He is Adopting?

Mourinho comes in to replace İsmail Kartal, a Turkish native and former Fenerbahçe player with 236 appearances for the famed club. He is no stranger to the backroom in Kadikoy having previously managed Fenerbahçe in the 2014/15 and 2021/22 seasons, and serving as an assistant manager from 2010 to 2014. During his time with the club, he has amassed two Turkish Super Lig titles, two Turkish Cups and a Turkish Super Cup.

This was Kartal’s third stint with Fener having taken over from Jorge Jesus on a one-year contract, and it is fair to say he did well in that year. The club finished 2nd on 99 points having only one defeat. That was a 3-2 reverse at home to Trabzonspor back in November in which Kartal’s side finished the game with 10 men. The club went on to finish the season in second behind eventual winners Galatasaray.

They also had a successful campaign in the UEFA Europa Conference League, reaching the quarterfinal stage before being knocked out on penalties by eventual winners Olympiakos. The only blemish on a rather successful albeit trophyless season would be their Türkiye Kupasi run that was unceremoniously cut short by Ankaragücü in the quarterfinal stages. President Ali Koç and the powers that be thought it was time for change and what a change it is.

The Special One

Mourinho needs no introduction to football fans around the world. The former Porto, Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Tottenham boss has an extensive resume that has seen him pick up awards almost everywhere he has gone. However, there is always a trade-off with the Portuguese.

Mourinho has made a habit of short tenures never staying at any club for more than three consecutive seasons. He is a very uncompromising manager and looks to build a siege mentality at his clubs. He enjoys a “Us vs Everyone” ethos that regularly sees him clash with the higher-ups. Turkish football is already a chaotic powder keg that has boiled over on more than one occasion.

Controversy in Türkiye

Just last season Faruk Koca, the now-former president of Ankaragücü, resigned a day after he punched a referee in the face. This incident led to the entire league being suspended, and it was not the only one. Istanbulspor president Faik Sarialioglu walked down to the pitch to call his players off the pitch against Trabznospor after the former was denied a penalty back in December. Just this spring, Trabzonspor was handed a six-game ban after their fans invaded the pitch and proceeded to attack celebrating Fenerbahçe players.

So into this hotbed of footballing passion, we throw in the firecracker that is José Mourinho. The man who chased down a referee to the parking lot after a European game. The man who became infamous for his handcuff gestures in Italy with both Roma and Inter.

The hype train in the Fener community is reaching its fever pitch, as this is the biggest name to walk through the doors in Kadıköy for a while. It os unclear whether his time in Türkiye will bring trophies, but if nothing else, it will surely bring some juicy headlines.

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