The season may have only just begun, but it’s business as usual for the English Premier League. There’s been the expected stuttering, unconvincing start from Liverpool, a swag of goals from Man United, refereeing controversies and a nasty spot of cowardly thuggery from Ben Thatcher.

And then there’s Jose Mourinho.

The tiresome Chelsea manager and his equally unlovable club have been at it again, this time launching a remarkable attack on French defender William Gallas, who crossed to Arsenal as part of a swap for Ashley Cole in the last minute of the transfer window last Friday.

Chelsea had got the man they’d coveted for months, so you’d think they would have been happy. Instead, they launched what Richard Williams, writing in The Guardian, described as “the most extraordinary statement ever released by an English football club.”

Among other things, Chelsea claimed that Gallas had threatened to score an own goal or deliberately get himself sent off during a match if Chelsea did not allow him to leave (claims that Gallas has vehemently denied). As Williams points out, it’s just another instance of the “ceaseless stream of rancour and recrimination”, driven by Mourinho, that has overshadowed and devalued Chelsea’s achievements of the past two seasons.

“With (Mourinho), we now recognise, no slight goes unreturned and no wound unavenged,” writes Williams. “His response to a bout of mudslinging is to get down and scoop up handfuls of blacker, slimier, smellier mud with which to smear his opponent.”

Here at the Crikey sports desk, we’ve commented before on Mourinho’s lack of class and complete absence of grace, whether losing or winning. Now it seems he has taken his club down with him into the gutter.

Peter Fray

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