An Open Letter to Jose Mourinho: listen for once to the words of Heraclitus.

Dear Jose,

Much has been made of your return to Chelsea, much of it by yourself but you could do well to take notice of the words of the Greek left back, Heraclitus, and patron saint of football who said “δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης”.

This roughly translates as “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Jose, he was the first to coin the phrase the beautiful game in Fragments (2001) translated by Brooks Haxton: “Time is a game played beautifully by children” and of course it’s been a huge shame over the last 13 years that you and the rest of your premiership, FIFA and oligarch buddies have distorted that sentiment into the bloated gargantuan that the game now has become.

But as Heraclitus also pointed out, ‘Nothing endures but change‘ so perhaps us fans and commentators are as guilty of trying to step into the same river as you are.

The beautiful game might have been a beautiful oasis back in the 70s when Stuart Hall (of all people) coined the phrase about Manchester City – but since then it’s turned into a river bed, bled dry by the commercial monsters  who’ve polluted the springs from which it flowed.

Not that I wish you ill, Jose, but mid table mediocrity for your team this season would be a fitting destiny for someone who’s trying to step twice into the same river.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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