Heartbreak Hotel

Just before Christmas, Jose Mourinho, the self declared Special One, showed how special he really is by receiving a pay off worth millions of pounds for failing spectacularly at his job. Not fair! I do that every day but haven’t managed to turn it in to an earner, and no one’s offering me millions. Perhaps I need to fail in a more high profile way. Maybe I’ll become a politician.

I had a friend who served one term as an MP before his constituents found him out and he took the Mourinho route to the job centre, but with a slightly smaller pay off. I don’t have the self obsession to become a politician, and I’m usually sincere, so that’s me screwed. Also, my name’s not distinctive enough like Jacob Rees Mogg, or Orfhlaith Begley, or Bambos Charalambous, or even Andrew Adonis. Perhaps I’ll play Scrabble tonight and see what I can come up with.

But I digress.

The news that stood out for me when the Manchester United manager was kicked in to the pavilion long grass was that he had run up hotel bills near the stadium of over three quarters of a million pounds. How many bottles of Crystal and jars of manuka honey can you have with your room service porridge in the morning? In the old days hotel bills were astronomical because of ‘phone calls made via the switchboard, and those dodgy paid for videos on your TV that started after midnight, but now all that’s gone and I can’t see how on earth he racked up a bill bigger than Kanye’s ego.

It brought back memories for me of staying for three years at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham while presenting the daily TV show Pebble mill at One. I went home at weekends and during summer holidays but, other than that I had my own room on permanent reserve. This was back in the days when the BBC had money.

I became so familiar with the staff that I introduced one to an actor mate and they got married. That didn’t last, unfortunately, so my match making skills won’t ever rival Tinder, but the room next to mine was always used by staff for romantic “liaisons”. They knew I’d never complain about being woken up in the middle of most nights by their moaning and groaning, and they declared the room party central. I would then go in to work, knackered from a lack of sleep and facing even more moaning and groaning in the BBC morning meeting.

The upside was immense, of course. I never had to cook, there were no pots to wash up, I didn’t have to tidy my room, l had my clothes laundered whenever I fancied, and my bed linen was changed every day. It was like being a student and living at home. But things like the mini bar gave me a terror from which I have never recovered. Everything was on a BBC budget, and I used to believe that just opening the mini bar would register a debt on my bill. I’ve never willingly walked past chocolate but I did then. Even now I still won’t open a hotel mini bar in case it causes arguments at reception. “I was only looking. Honest.”

So now Jose is at home, adapting to real life where folk aren’t paid to run after you all day, and where the only Special One is a partner who makes you put out the bins, write all the Christmas cards, go to the supermarket, dig the garden, unblock the toilet, and repair the garden fence, all before lunchtime. Oh, and that grumpy demeanour will have to go too.

He’ll now realise that not everything is someone else’s fault, that the referee’s not to blame for the Amex card not being paid in time, the left back or central defender didn’t cause the gas to get cut off, and the chairman was faultless when you forgot to pay the council tax .

He might look back and think that £800,000 was worth it.