My original intention was to write a topical post on the press conference announcing Inter Milan’s new coach but soon realised that this was, by any criteria, a major pitch that deserved inclusion in Pitches and Troughes, the 100 best ever pitch stories.
The challenge for Mourinho was daunting. Out of a job since the autumn, and in the face of coverage of other high profile manager jobs , he had this one news opportunity to re-establish himself at the top of the pecking order. He had to satisfy the high expectations of potentially critical audiences, his new team, the owner, the Milanese, Italians at large and their media, as well as the global rest of us.
A good way to judge the great pitch is to see how well it answers two questions. First, did it demonstrate mastery of its subject, here football? Second, and this is where differentiation lies, did it surprise, delight and engage? How did Jose shape up?
The short answer, brilliantly. There can be few people on the world stage in any sphere, politics, business, religion, who can match this kind of performance.
He radiated intelligence on his ‘subject’, with pointed reminders of his formidable track record . This was expected. What was not expected was his speaking fluent Italian, and better still, with Milanese slang thown in. Surprise! (Compare and contrast with England’s new manager, Capello)
Having captured with surprise , he delighted by turning the potentially irritating “special one” to positive effect “I am a normal manager in a special club”. This, and other remarks, underlined his total commitment to his new team, the club and Italian football.
Did he engage? As one of many captivated reporters said, this in the Mail, “Forty minutes, 55 seconds of enchantment. Jose Mourinho has landed in Northern Italy and Serie A life will never be the same again”
This is the first story to be posted in Pitches and Troughes but everyone I speak to has their own favourite. Now is the chance to share them!