The Jose Mourinho Chronicles: The Laundry Basket Hypothesis

Jose Mourinho in ecstatic mood

This story is unproven, but the audacity of it if it is true makes it worth recounting.

Uefa had handed Mourinho a two-game touchline ban in 2005 after the infamous incident with Frank Rijkaard. The ban encompassed both legs of the Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich from which Chelsea emerged victorious.

To get around the ban, it was alleged (by Mail and the Times) that Mourinho sneaked into the ground early and gave both the pre-game and half-time team-talks.

During the tie at Stamford Bridge, where Mourinho was nowhere to be seen, it was noted that Chelsea’s fitness coach Rui Faria was wearing an ill-fitting woolly hat and was regularly scratching his ear. It led to suspicions that Mourinho, who was strictly forbidden from communicating with his staff, was feeding Faria information through an earpiece.

.The chelsea assistant coach (Steve Clarke) discusses notes on the bench during the first half,   Screen grabs taken from Chelsea v Munich

.The chelsea assistant coach (Steve Clarke) discusses notes on the bench during the first half,
Screen grabs taken from Chelsea v Munich

Members of the media alerted UEFA officials at half-time and Faria stopped scratching his ear, but it was then noted how many times Silvino Louro, the goalkeeping coach also still working for Mourinho, returned to the dressing room during the second half of a game Chelsea won 4-2.

Louro would reappear armed with scraps of paper that were then passed to other members of the coaching staff and seemed to coincide with the three substitutions that were made.


Mourinho laughed off the accusations afterwards, claiming that Louro was a ‘nervous spectator’.

At the same time Chelsea also denied that Faria had an earpiece and mocked UEFA and the media by then sending in Faria to do the pre-match press conference for the second leg in Munich.

After the game Mourinho was reportedly wheeled out of the stadium in, wait for it, a laundry basket used for transporting the club’s kit around Stamford Bridge. The tale went that 10 minutes before full-time, Mourinho got back in the skip and was wheeled out of Stamford Bridge to a Stamford Bridge leisure club where it was claimed he had spent the entire evening.

The reports by Mail and Times came in 2007 (two years later) ahead of the first leg of semi-final clash with Liverpool in Champions League. Chelsea issued a statement immediately saying,

The situation is very clear. Both matches were controlled by UEFA and they were more than satisfied on both nights that their ruling was intact, hence the statements that were issued by UEFA at the time and subsequently.

The only reason to publish this so close to a big match (Chelsea were to play Liverpool in the first leg of CL semi-final) is to serve an agenda that is intended to undermine our team.

The Times suggested that UEFA were unlikely to act only because of the time lapse

We should note that Mourinho has a history for such subterfuge beyond the Bayern incident, as he admitted in a previous autobiography.

He wrote how, in his days as manager at Porto, he overcame a touchline ban by sending messages to his coaching staff from the stands via ‘a small, sophisticated telecommunications device’.

On another occasion he wrote of using a speakerphone to deliver his half-time address.