Grant Trying Mourinho On For Size?

Looking back, this season’s league form has matched last season’s almost exactly, so in terms of the league Grant hasn’t done any worse than Mourinho –  In fact, we finished marginally closer than we did last year. Naturally, I haven’t forgotten he lost the Carling Cup Final as well as being defeated by Barnsley in the FA Cup, but even if we don’t win the Champions League final, he’s achieved more in Europe than TSO did. Of course, had  Mourinho stayed there’s no saying he wouldn’t have got to the final, but then again, on previous form, there’s no saying he would either.

Be that as it may, if Mourinho had stayed and got us into the final this season, I’ve no doubt there’d be a lot more supporters singing his praises than they have Grant’s (myself included). So why is that the case? Maybe because Jose sold it to us better? Where Jose would’ve been prowling the touchline ready to pounce on every decision, Grant’s shuffled and frowned;  where we’d have seen Jose leaping off the bench, sprinting down the pitch, arms raised in victory, Grant’s managed the odd bit of applause or maybe even a wave of an arm when really excited; and where Jose’s preparation for the big games included playing verbal tennis with the opponents on a daily basis, Grant’s attempt’s at manipulating the media have comprised of either boring them stupid  by mumbling  what they already know or holding mute press conferences when feeling a bit put out.  

But for whatever reason, maybe because he thinks it’ll increase his popularity or that getting to the final entitles him to act like a smartarse, or maybe just because he knows he’ll be back upstairs soon anyway, he appears to be making an attempt to try Jose’s personality on for size. We all saw him sink to his knees, raising his arms up to the heavens to show us all how much victory now means to him – although to be honest, my only thoughts on that gesture were ‘is someone gonna have to help the old man back up?’ And now, he’s decided to have a bash at Mourinho’s trademark  pre-match mind games.

Having watched us limp out of a title race we’d fought for long enough to be in, Grant’s dragged out the old ‘conspiracy’ chestnut to explain how it is we came to finish two points behind Utd. The major claim is that after we’d gone second in March, courtesy of a home win against Arsenal, Grant was told by a senior figure in the game that ‘the powers that be’ would do whatever it took to make sure Utd won the title. Having to go up to Goodison on a Thursday night while Utd had a couple of extra days to prepare for their game at Blackburn is further ‘evidence’ in Grant’s theory. As if that’s not enough proof that the Premier League are all reds at heart, Bennett apparently ignores a blatant penalty for Wigan on the last day, but also bottled a decision to give Scholes a second yellow. The fact that Utd pressed on for a 2-0 win whilst we scraped yet another draw at home (and couldn’t have won the league even if we’d held on to the 1-0) is completely irrelevant to Grant, who suggests the ‘powers that be’ were at it from as far back as September when “the referee changed the result for sure” in his first game in charge – strangely enough, also against Utd. Now whilst I also had plenty to say about the ref that day, having watched us and Utd throughout this season, I wouldn’t embarrass myself by suggesting that game is the reason we didn’t take the title this year.

But, with speculation about his future refusing to die down, Grant’s not actually helping his cause right now. He’s definitely no Mourinho where controversy is concerned – in fact, he seems to have actively avoided this sort of confrontation all season. As Grant knows all too well, Jose’s constant slanging matches in the press were not only a source of embarrassment to us all in the end, but they were also a key part in his downfall. So why he’s taken it upon himself to risk upsetting his boss this week is anyone’s guess. If he thinks it’s going to unsettle Fergie at all, then obviously he’s fallen well short of completing that particular piece of homework, with the Scot no doubt having a good giggle at his amateur gamesmanship. But if it really is just trying a new personality on for size then rather than his predecessor’s, I’d suggest he’s come out of this one sounding a lot more like a certain Liverpool boss recently – who’d clearly lost his bottle – right before he lost the semis!

So is Grant bottling it or just bowing out?



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