November 14, 2016 and, after a tricky start to the season, an 89th-minute Wayne Rooney penalty gives Manchester United victory at Dean Court, and lifts them into the top four. An away end that has been bouncing all evening is approached by Jose Mourinho – who points to them, before thumping the left side of his chest with his clenched fist. And the Chelsea part of Twitter goes into complete meltdown.
For a while he was 'one of us'; now he is very definitely one of them. How will Chelsea cope when one of its most adored figures of recent years becomes the figurehead of the enemy?
When Mourinho left the first time, it was to Inter Milan he travelled after his lay-off. Considered at the time no threat to Chelsea, while the recriminations over his departure raged on for some time, the actual destination caused no real bother.
That was until the inevitable came up, two seasons and four Chelsea managers later, and the returning Special One knocked Carlo Ancelotti's domestic double winners out of the Champions League.
Mourinho's second coming, another three seasons and three managers on, was met for the most part by boundless joy by Chelsea's support. Not unanimously so, for there was a steady minority who were less keen on what they saw as the inevitable return to never-ending drama, which would accompany the equally inevitable trophy haul.
Mourinho revealed a 10-year plan – did anyone really believe that in their heart of hearts? It lasted a little over two.
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho (R) and team doctor Eva Carneiro attend a training session at Cobham in Surrey, south England April 29, 2014. Chelsea will play Atletico Madrid in their Champion's League semi-final second leg match in London (Reuters)
Image credit: Reuters
When he first uncorked that bottle, having left Porto, and told us he was special – he was merely a brash and dynamic unknown. When he did it for a second time, as Mr 'Happy', he was a returning hero. And here lies the problem with giving the top job at your club to a hero: one day, the law of averages says, you are going to have to sack him. That day came quicker than anticipated, and there seems to have been an almost constant blood-letting since.
Some blame Mourinho, some blame the club, a great many blame the players. As is the case when any huge figurehead is removed, it left a society riven with factions: the Jose-loyal, the no-man-is-bigger-than-the-club lot, the tired-of-it-all brigade.
Surely all knew Mourinho would one day work again? And given his earlier flirtation with United, and his almost paternal relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, surely people knew that the Sat Nav would be set for Old Trafford?
For fans, football is about heart, passion and loyalty. People channel huge percentages of their take-home into something that is so much more than a hobby or a pastime. It is a way of life, and people rightly carry a club allegiance from cradle to grave: inking the honours they together achieve together into their very skin; naming their offspring after favoured legends. But for the player, or the coach, football remains a job.
It is a special sort of job: where the question mark hanging over a captain's club future can be played out to worldwide audiences of millions, who become part of the story itself. Even when that same one-club man, earlier in his career, blatantly dallied with an even more moneyed employer 160 miles northwest, in a move that so nearly came off.
There is no doubt that, having returned to Chelsea, the club meant something special to Jose Mourinho. But this is a man who grew up supporting Vitoria Setubal and who announced his time and success at Inter as the greatest of his life. 'One of us'? As long as £8.5m a year keeps going in the account.
José Mourinho und Louis van Gaal beim Champions-League-Finale 2010
Image credit: AFP
There are some things about Mourinho in Manchester which can be pretty much expected. He will be a success. It won't last a long time. He will, at least at first, refuse to rub Chelsea's noses in it when the two meet, and should he come out on top. But, also, he will play to the gallery.
If anyone expects Mourinho, who has used popular appeal and the passion of fans as a a tactic at every stage of his career, to suddenly be entirely dispassionate towards a crowd of 75,000 – you're probably going to be very disappointed.
Before long he will surely be telling the world how much he loves his new club – and meanwhile, back at Chelsea, there will those to whom this will cause a form of adulterous heartbreak. But switch forward the calendar another four years...
By now manager at Paris Saint-Germain, a late equaliser at Old Trafford sees Mourinho's French side eliminate the Reds from the Champions League quarter-finals. He strides onto the pitch, and approaches the away end: thumping his chest, and mouthing the words 'Je taime'.