Fans in Northern Ireland welcome ‘special one’ to Man United

Football manager Jose Mourinho signs a Manchester United shirt outside his house in central London.  Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
Football manager Jose Mourinho signs a Manchester United shirt outside his house in central London. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Manchester United fans across Northern Ireland have welcomed the ‘special one’ to the dugout at Old Trafford.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho signed a three-year deal with the Red Devils on Friday bringing the two-year reign on Louis van Gaal to an end.

Paddy McNair, Gareth McAuiley and Jonny Evans model the new suits that  Northern Ireland players and  officials will wear in France this summer

Paddy McNair, Gareth McAuiley and Jonny Evans model the new suits that Northern Ireland players and officials will wear in France this summer

Rory McIlroy is one of the Province’s best known United supporters and is already a massive Mourinho fan.

The Holywood man described the appointment as “the right move”.

He said: “I think it’s a good move for the club, and hope they have the whole summer now, obviously after the Euros, to try and gel together and piece it all back.

“But whenever you finish fourth and fifth in the League, when you’re Man United, that’s not really good enough, even if you do win an FA Cup. I think the change will be good for them,” he told the Daily Mirror.

Sometimes a club like Manchester United need a big personality and Mourinho fits that bill

Jonny Evans

McIlroy added: “I’m not sure if Mourinho might be able to come in and produce that entertaining sort of football that Man United fans are used to seeing over the years.

“But at least it gives the fans and the supporters a little bit of excitement and a bit of a lift, because it’s sort of what we needed I guess.”

West Bromwich Albion and former Man Utd defender Jonny Evans said he thought van Gaal was a good coach who gave many young players a chance, but said Mourinho would be a good fit at his old club.

“I’m pleased for Van Gaal that he won the FA Cup. I think he’s a very good coach and I was pleased to see his team win something,” he said.

“A lot of players will be sad to see him leave in a way, especially the younger players. He’s brought a lot of younger players into the squad and given them opportunities.

“He was very brave and very good at doing that.”

Commenting on the impact of Mourinho’s arrival, Evans told Sky Sports: “I think it’s something, over the years, people have been expecting to happen.

“He’s definitely got the personality and the charisma for it. Sometimes a club like Manchester United need a big personality and Mourinho fits that bill.”

Shares in the club - which is listed on the New York stock exchange - rose by 1.3 per cent following the new manager’s appointment.

Mourinho has been described as a popular choice among fans in Northern Ireland by one of the main supporters clubs.

Harry Blevins of the Portadown branch said: “The majority of the guys in our club are delighted with the appointment. I personally think this will be his last club management job.

“Where else is he going to go? There’s nowhere else to go after United only down. In my opinion he will be at Old Trafford for eight to ten years.”