Now that Arsene has said he’s leaving Arsenal, it’s that time - time for people around the game to be nice, and to reflect on his contributions to the game. The tributes are pouring in from former players, fans, and other clubs, and this weekend’s opponent is no exception. The surprising thing is that the tribute, in this case, comes from a man who is not known for his humility, grace, or anything resembling humanity or civility in a lot of the things he says in public.
Jose Mourinho, let’s not forget, once branded Wenger a “specialist in failure” when Mourinho was at Chelsea, and let’s not forget the time the two squared up on the touchline a few years ago at Chelsea. Which makes Mourinho’s comments today all the more surprising. He was asked about the relationship between himself and Wenger, and the war of words, and he said:
There are little things where it would be obviously better without them, some gestures, some words would be better without it. I feel better now without it, no doubts about it.
I know that age mellows people out, and that when rivalries cool, nice things get said. I just honestly never thought those nice things would come out of that mouth. I also don’t think this marks a new era of a Kinder, Gentler Jose; he’ll be back to his old Mourinho-rific self in no time. It’s just nice to hear that respect is being paid.