We are all now overly familiar with the three-year cycle that clubs are unfortunate enough to bear if misguided enough to employ Jose Mourinho and we’re very aware too of the seemingly inevitable stages contained within.
On taking charge of a new club, he is all smiles: jocular and positive; praising the squad and the board and his new employer’s rich heritage. The intimation is that he is a changed man, as evidenced by his claim to be humble on taking the Spurs job and a notable downplaying of his managerial abilities when taking the reins at Manchester United, opting instead to talk up his work ethic.
And at first everything does indeed seem fairly rosy, with results picking up and surprisingly it is an upturn in performances achieved via a semi-entertaining approach that feels anomalous to the Mourinho way.
Despite doubting ourselves we begin to think that maybe, just maybe he has experienced a Road to Damascus moment during his previous hiatus and certainly this is the trope being put around by his many sycophants within the media. This is a new Mourinho. Enjoy.
Only even at this early juncture, with optimism in the air, we witness the first act of poisoning the well with Mourinho singling out a player – first Luke Shaw at United, then Pogba, with Ndombele and Dele Alli following suit at Spurs – and metaphorically throwing them under a bus.
This is not an accidental occurrence, far from it. Once a bond has been formed with his players and trust is half-established Mourinho sets about testing its foundations by implementing his patented divide-and-rule blueprint that worked a treat at Chelsea during his first spell, and at Inter but has proven disastrous ever since. Resentment stirs. The first sparks of disharmony flicker into life because players see a poor performance by a team-mate isolated and called out beyond the inner sanctum of the dressing room and suspect they might be next.
Ironically, this is precisely what their coach wants them to think only his intention is to have his men subsequently fall into line, under his spell. Instead, they bristle at a mate being bullied. Instead, they only see disloyalty.
With team spirit purposely sabotaged in a failed attempt to be dictatorial the results naturally suffer and it merely takes a couple of meek displays before Mourinho reverts to his true ultra-cautious self.
The football becomes unimaginably dull and sterile and this prioritising of destruction over construction would at least make sense if the team in question put together a succession of 1-0 wins as they bored their way to a title.
But they unequivocally don’t. In the latter days of Mourinho’s last three appointments he has presided over teams whose reductive fare loses games they would probably win if some semblance of ambition had been shown.
Having sucked the very life force out of his team Mourinho now instinctively goes into blame-shifting mode, setting his sights on the board; the very same board he praised to the rafters on being appointed.
It is at this stage too where we wince at the sheer predictability of his expectation management, as he further belittles a group of players he insisted were world-beaters in his opening pressers.
The reason, he insists, that his team is falling so short is because he is not being financially backed in the transfer market. What am I, a miracle worker? How am I to win anything with this limited bunch?
His many sycophants in the media print his words verbatim and nod along but they should be careful because they are next on his hit-list and that’s because there is only so long a man can avoid blame. Soon he must turn to conspiracies.
It is at this point that any club worth their salt would cut him loose and that is absolutely true of Spurs right now because we have seen time and again that when things turn sour with Jose Mourinho is only gets significantly worse and quickly.
Yet they don’t and Tottenham won’t either. They don’t because they invested too much into the myth of Mou and were blinded by his trophies of yesteryear. And this is their punishment, one that they must stomach until he has not only sucked the life force out of the team but from the whole club and fan-base too.
So it is that we can anticipate the increasingly dishevelled state of Mourinho by this season’s conclusion, and believe sincerely that his erratic and borderline sociopathic behaviour is designed to bring about the sack, so as to ensure a lucrative pay-off. This is Tottenham’s penance.
And after that, well that’s where it all gets intriguing.
Because surely no other big club will fall for his hopelessly out-dated schtick and counter-productive methods again? Surely now they know he is a man unravelling and out of time?
Yet surely too, such is his colossal ego we can discount a lesser offer. Only last week the Portuguese scowler claimed that Pep Guardiola was his only true peer. These are not the words from someone happy to take on a relegation battle.
Perhaps then a prolonged spell doing punditry might be the best scenario for all concerned and the deliciousness of this is that he is exceptional at it: thoroughly watchable and insightful.
In fact, he is so astute when analysing passages of play that at some point in the near future a club owner will shell out the big bucks and bring him back in the Premier League fold and the whole sorry cycle from this coaching great with the character flaws of a psychotic will begin again. This is our penance.