While there wasn’t much to celebrate from a Tottenham Hotspur perspective about their dismal 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, there was at least one football fan who was left smiling by the result.
Sahil Arora, a Manchester United supporter from New Delhi, India, made £5,000 ($6,790) from Spurs’ shock loss against a team hovering just outside the relegation zone. The 29-year-old pocketed the prize thanks to the result at the Amex Stadium by playing a fantasy football jackpot game.
Jump to: More multimedia messages
Newly flush with cash, Arora decided to spend part of his winnings on a message to the coach responsible for his windfall. He proceeded to take out a full-page advert in an English newspaper to personally thank not Brighton coach Graham Potter, but Spurs boss Jose Mourinho.
— Sahil (@WigginSanity) February 3, 2021
Arora purchased advertising space in the Enfield Independent, the North London paper local to Tottenham’s training base, in order to extend his gratitude to Mourinho, who spent two-and-a-half years in charge of United before he was sacked in December 2018.
“Dear Jose, this advert was paid for with the £5k I won from Spurs losing to Brighton,” the message, posted underneath a little cut-out-and-keep piece of ‘silverware,’ read. “Here is a special trophy* to say thank you.
“*It might be the only one you win this season.”
Of course, we may never know if Mourinho saw the ad while leafing through a copy of Wednesday’s Enfield Independent. But, given that he has collected 25 major honours over the course of his career — including three at Arora’s beloved Manchester United before things went south for the Portuguese coach at Old Trafford — we doubt he’ll be too upset.
Mourinho certainly seemed unperturbed by any mockery during his prematch news conference for Thursday’s clash against former club Chelsea. He gave an introductory ribbing to Thomas Tuchel by publicly informing the Blues’ new head coach that any manager worth their salt should find it easy to deliver titles at Stamford Bridge.
“It cannot be very, very difficult because we won titles there.” Mourinho said. “In my case, I was there in two different periods and I was champion in two different periods.”
The Tottenham manager also mused that coaches should only be considered upper echelon once they’ve won a truly competitive top-tier title, like the Premier League for instance.
“What I think makes a coach elite is to be successful in the top leagues, to be successful in leagues in a different dimension,” he continued. “I am not talking about Thomas, the French league is a very competitive league — apart from PSG because they play in a different league.”
We get a slight inkling that Mourinho might have actually been talking about Thomas there, despite his claims to the contrary.
Villa fans pay for ‘Anti Mcleish’ advert in the Birmingham Mail! pic.twitter.com/0ZdiqYRy
— Tom Witcherley (@tomwitcherley) May 5, 2012
Mourinho is not the first manager to be criticised via the medium of newspaper ads. In 2012, Aston Villa fans grouped together and paid to publish a message on the back page of the Birmingham Mail to voice their collective displeasure over manager Alex McLeish. Already angry over their club appointing the Scot, who got rivals Birmingham City relegated the previous season, the Villa fans barked “We Told You So!” as they watched their club flirt with the drop too. McLeish did go on to ensure Villa avoided relegation on the final day of the season, but it didn’t prevent him from getting the sack shortly thereafter.
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) May 31, 2013
Queens Park Rangers fans were still so annoyed about Mark Hughes’ lacklustre performance as manager that, when Hughes was hired by Stoke City two years later in 2013, they paid to display messages at local petrol stations thanking the Welshman “for nothing.” Talk about bearing a grudge.
Another plane banner protesting Arsene Wenger has flown over the bet365 Stadium.
It reads: “Wenger – Out Means Out.” pic.twitter.com/ZbJLDXig4o
— Standard Sport (@standardsport) May 13, 2017
Some fans feel so strongly about broadcasting their message that they go to even greater lengths — or should that be heights — to get it across. Hiring planes to drag banners across the sky became a fad in English football a few years ago, with perhaps the most memorable target being Arsene Wenger. Arsenal’s most successful ever manager was subjected to several aerial assaults in 2017.
Thoughts Arsenal fans?
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) March 18, 2017
Wenger was eventually ousted in 2018, a full year after those banners were flown and not before he and Arsenal had become the FA Cup’s most successful manager (7) and club (13) respectively by winning the 2017-18 final.