Chelsea fans across Northern Ireland have been reeling at news that the club’s most successful manager has been sacked.
Jose Mourinho was sent packing by Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich just seven months after winning the Premier League.
The current champions are just one point above the relegation zone having picked up just 15 points.
They only lost three games on their way to the title, but have already lost nine of their first 16 this season.
Jim McMahon of the Newry & District Chelsea Supporters Club said the Portuguese manager – who previously managed the club between 2004 and 2007 – should have been given more time to put things right.
“Given his record of achievement at Stamford Bridge, surely he’s entitled to one bad season. Most of the guys in our club would feel the same as me – that he was the man to turn it around,” he said.
“There are a few within the club who thought it was time for him to go because he had lost the players, but the transfer window is opening again in January and the opportunity is there to bring in players.
“If he felt the players weren’t playing for him then there is the opportunity there to bring players in, but obviously he wasn’t going to be given that opportunity unfortunately.”
Mr McMahon said he didn’t think Mourinho would return to The Bridge for a third time.
“I can’t see him coming back. I don’t think he would want to come back after this. In the short term I think it will be Guus Hiddink, to do what he did previously after [Luiz Felipe] Scolari left.
“He is going to come in until the end of the season.
“Long term you would have to be looking at [Pep] Guardiola, although it’s almost certain that he is going to go to one of the Manchester clubs.
“It’s that sort of calibre of manager, but personally I think Guardiola would be the man.
“I’m still gutted that Mourinho has gone. A top four spot is gone. Top six would be the absolute maximum you could achieve from this position.”
Chelsea fan and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: “It’s a sad day for the club and I’m sorry that we are losing such a great manager as Jose Mourinho.
“The club has had a very poor start to the season, and I suppose some of the blame falls on the manager, but I don’t think he should take all of the responsibility.
“For once I would agree with Sir Alex Ferguson that they really shouldn’t have let him go [in 2007].”
Mr Donaldson added: “I think many supporters like myself will be deeply disappointed by this. I’ve heard Pep Guardiola’s name mentioned and he would be made very welcome at Chelsea.”
Guus Hiddink is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Mourinho.