'I doubt that we will ever see such a great manager again'
Chelsea supporters gave an overwhelming thumbs down yesterday to Jose Mourinho's enforced departure from Stamford Bridge.
Alan Norman, 70 and retired, from Lancashire but a Blues fan, professed himself to be baffled by developments at the Bridge.
"I was a bit devastated by the sacking of Mourinho last week and I couldn't understand the timing of it," he said, perhaps echoing the nation's sentiments. "I think when they brought Grant in in the summer, they always knew that he was going to take over eventually. I think maybe Guus Hiddink will come in next summer or maybe [Marco] Van Basten."
Though a fan of the departed manager, Mr Norman added, "I didn't like some parts of Mourinho. I didn't like it when he put his fingers to his mouth as a shushing gesture against Liverpool in 2005's Carling Cup final.
"I think all in all though, Mourinho did a job no one else could and I don't know what was going on behind the scenes that made them want to get rid of him."
He added: "I have seen so many ups and downs in my 50 years watching Chelsea, but I think this one hurt the most. Today we played well, but had no strike force, although I think maybe if Lampard and Drogba hadn't been injured, maybe Mourinho would still be in the job. Who knows?"
Robert Gillings, 45, a storage expert from Camberwell, south London, said: "For three years Mourinho has been outspoken, blatant and honest, and as a manager I think he's been good for the game. We need more personalities. It's a sad reflection on the club that he's gone in such circumstances."
His sentiments were echoed by Matt Harris, 18, a student, from north London.
"Mourinho was the biggest bit of fresh air Chelsea have ever seen. I doubt we will ever see such a great manager again."
And Harry Derby, 36, an accountant from Catford, south London, added his voice to the chorus of disapproval.
"What Jose brought to the club can't be replaced," he said. "He gave us belief, pride and titles. It's been a shock this week, what has gone on."
Another Londoner, Kate Carpenter, 42, a teacher from Kensington, said: "[Roman Abramovich doesn't appear to know how a club needs to be run. Throwing money at it doesn't work. Look at [Andriy] Shevchenko and [Michael] Ballack, who have done nothing much. [Avram] Grant will not last long."