Spoony meets...José Mourinho
It was the opportunity to sit and speak with one of the finest football managers ever. Have I over stated that? I don't think I have. League titles in four countries. In three of the four he has won the league twice, and in the fourth he is still the manager so who knows? One thing for certain, he IS a special one.
I was about to meet somebody I'd watched in many press conferences, almost baiting the media, playing with them, toying with them like a young cat would a ball of wool. Except for José Maria Dos Santos Mourinho Santos it's a science. Everything with Mr Mourinho is a science. Well that's what I thought before meeting him. I was wrong. I have to admit it.
The human side is what really drives him. He cares. It matters. They matter. They? The players. The fans.
"I feel the fans as part of myself, I create internal links with fans," he told me. I'd seen him throw his medals and a blazer into the crowd before but I wasn't aware his respect for them went this far.
I wondered if there would be areas he'd be cagey about addressing. His relationship with Abramovich? Returning to England to manage? And the million dollar question (although I suspect it would be MUCH more than that): would you manage Chelsea again? I was spoilt because he was forthcoming with all three. Although I'm sure there would've been a few crossed words between Roman and himself at some point.
He was and is charming. He is intelligent. An authority on football and without reservation, a formidable adversary. If you should ever find yourself on the other side of the battlefield to him make sure you prepare for every eventuality. He will.