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Why Jose Mourinho deserves our compassion

Jose Mourinho’s father underwent surgery on a brain hemorrhage and has been seriously ill. It puts Chelsea’s current woes into perspective, writes Paul Allen.

Paul Allen

The media mauling of Jose Mourinho has become a spectator sport, but as someone whose father recently passed away and had to work through the experience, it is important we give Jose, whose father is seriously ill, and others like him some slack, writes Paul Allen.

I WAS CRYING. I could not help myself. Walking down the street in broad daylight the emotions I had been trying to suppress simply over took me. The tears would not stop.

My father had passed away a few days earlier. And while I continued to work, attend meetings and act like it was business as usual, beneath the surface my heart, my head and my soul were in tatters. To those looking on from the outside I looked the same, but most could have had no idea of the emotional torment I was experiencing.

Time heals and a few months later the days where I just burst into tears while rushing between meetings are gone. I still shed tears, but in private moments when thinking of my father.

The memories of trying to hold myself together professionally and ensuring my business could still function, even though my heart had been ripped out of my chest by the passing of my father, come flooding back every time I watch Jose Mourinho getting mauled by the media.

People seem to be rubbing their hands with glee at the downfall of the “Special One” and his Chelsea team who, although league winners last year, are languishing at the lower end of the table after a terrible run of form.

How can this be?  

How does a team of winners turn into a team of losers over night?

The answer is obviously not so straightforward, but when you take into account that Jose’s father, who underwent surgery on a brain hemorrhage in April, has been seriously ill, it puts Chelsea’s current woes into perspective.

Since the surgery his father has suffered two strokes. All this while his son is in England working. And even though his father, Jose Snr is now at home and is slowly recovering, the toll on Mourinho must be immense.

Even now with his 77-year-old father “winning his fight” it must be incredibly difficult for Jose Jnr to function at a professional level when all he wants is to be by his father’s side. And even though his father appears to be on the slow path to recovery, Jose will be aware that at any minute the phone could ring with devastating news.

This is a phone call no one wants to get. You can try and prepare yourself for it, but it will still be devastating.

I remember I was in Swords when I got the call that my father, who had been in hospital for months, was losing the battle. My mother had passed away two years before and as an only son I was crushed as I zipped across the city to be with my dad as he passed away. Luckily, I had enough time to spend with him at the end to share memories and talk to him before he finally died.

A friend of mine had told me to write down what I wanted to say and share with my father. This proved immensely comforting for the both of us as we shared stories and talked in the last weeks and days my father was alive.

Show kindness and compassion

My dad, Chris Allen, was aged 91 and 3 months when he passed away in August. He was my hero.

If kindness was a fruit and courtesy its flower, this describes my Dad’s character. His smile was irresistible and he was a man of great charm. He had a warm and sympathetic heart. Kindness, always kindness was his watchword.

Growing up as an only child, I was close to Mum and Dad, very close. But it was my Dad that taught me to walk and talk, to get up quickly when I fell down and to be strong.

I would not be the person I am today without his patience and his unswerving belief in me. He never stopped encouraging me. And I think Jose Mourinho would say the same thing.

But sadly for Jose he must be bearing the burden of not being there for his father. And that burden can break any man. In any other industry people would get compassionate leave, but soccer at the top level is sometimes void of emotion. So too is the media, who are all well aware of Jose’s family situation but still seem eager to twist the knife when possible.

My message to Jose and others is simple — you can get another job, you can pick yourself back up and dust yourself off when you fail, but when your parents die, they are gone. So it is time we all put things into perspective and realise that soccer is only a game and Jose is only human. And as a human we should give him the space, respect and patience to deal with his current adversity.

Get well soon Jose Snr.

Paul Allen is managing director of Paul Allen and Associates PR. Follow his blog.

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