Tanned and trim, recharged and refreshed with a twinkle in his eye and freshly-inked contract in his zip-up pocket, Jose Mourinho stepped out before the cameras with the look of a man ready to take on Hollywood.
His arrival had been preceded by a request for all questions to be asked in English. The auditorium was jammed. It was standing room only for the Jose Show. And they had travelled from around the world at short notice.
To cope with demand Tottenham restricted each media outlet to one representative. Love him or loathe him, Mourinho is pure Box Office.
Jose Mourinho’s first press conference as Tottenham boss saw, predictably, a room packed full
Mourinho appeared tanned and trim, recharged and refreshed with a twinkle in his eye
Opinionated certainly. Arrogant perhaps. But he remains one of football’s most captivating personalities, capable of commanding and, if he feels inclined, charming the room.
Indeed it is one of key reasons Daniel Levy has been prepared to risk the wrath of Spurs fans and employ a former Chelsea hero on a contract worth more than £50million.
Yes, he hopes Mourinho still has the knack of delivering trophies. Tottenham are, after all, in the midst of their longest post-war trophy drought.
The 56-year-old has thrown himself straight into his duties and took training immediately
How they could do with a cup of any shape or size and this appointment is a way for Levy to prove he values sporting success.
It is a message to Harry Kane, the England captain, to say this club is just as serious about winning titles as Real Madrid or Barcelona. And to others in the dressing room who may have been tempted to wonder if the progress made in five years under Mauricio Pochettino was as good as it was ever going to get.
If you sack Pochettino — the most popular manager in the club’s recent history — five months after he led the team to the Champions League final, you have to deliver something to catch the eye.
Mourinho offers the players a tantalising glimpse of silver and he guarantees Levy a global profile. With him at the helm, Spurs will stay relevant, even if they are about to slip out of the Champions League — which they may well do after a disappointing start to the season.
Mourinho helps Tottenham sell the expensive tickets to fill their expensive new stadium.
He engages an audience in North America, so vital to Levy at a time when the success of the stadium is entwined with the presence of the NFL.
Chairman Daniel Levy had to make the ruthless decision to part with Mauricio Pochettino
His presence alone will have armchair viewers subscribing to Amazon Prime in anticipation of the documentary series which is being filmed behind the scenes. Eddie Howe, for example, probably doesn’t tick that box.
Mourinho sat down, poured himself a large glass of water and turned up the charmers for almost three quarters of an hour on Thursday.
He shook hands and slapped backs and genuinely seemed thrilled to be back where he loves to be.
There was an in-joke with the man from Sky TV where he has been working as a pundit, quips and fake anguish (‘oh no, not you’) at the questions of others.
He praised Pochettino, confessed to mistakes and offered amusing digressions on Spurs pyjamas and high-quality bedding.
He promised humility while scattering a couple of reminders of his great successes and prestigious past.
When asked if he though Tottenham’s form might have been hit by losing in the Champions League final, Mourinho noted that he had never lost in a Champions League final and it was therefore hard to know.
Mourinho offers players a tantalising glimpse of silver and he guarantees Levy a global profile
When, inevitably, connections with Chelsea were brought up, he dropped a reminder of the three Premier League titles he won at Stamford Bridge.
He mentioned a ‘Grand Slam’ of titles in England, Italy and Spain.
The flash of the untameable ego and a trace of mischief perhaps. Is he joking? He must be joking, right? He is a performer and when he performs in this way Mourinho is difficult to dislike.
It is easy to understand why they travelled to hear what football’s great showman had to say on his return to a game which, it must be said, often lacks charisma in its sterile, modern form. He talks the talk.
And, with that, it became a little easier to understand what Levy is hoping to get for his £15m a year. Now for the football.