Midweek Memoirs #8
Ok. First of all, a bit of grovelling - James Beattie - whilst watching 'The Championship` I was alarmed to discover that Mr Beattie is indeed the countries highest scorer thus far with seven strikes. Congratulations James, I won`t be so quick to write you off in future. Another congratulations, this time for Hameur Bouazza - a superb strike against City last week, what a way to score your first for your new club.
Talking of new clubs, I am going to cover the inevitable this week - Mourinho`s departure from Stamford Bridge.
I`m not going to go and say, 'it`s been coming for a while now` because at the time I was personally stunned as a lay there in bed listening to my alarm radio talking about a replacement for Mourinho - in fact the news did a better job of waking me up than my actual alarm!
What I think had been obvious for a while was that things were not quite running 100% smoothly. There were a number of clues and I think the majority of people had picked up on them. For me, the main one was the moves in the transfer market - especially this summer. When you contrast the mere £17 million that Jose spent this past transfer window to the amount of money he has been able to spend over the past few years, it is obvious something is up. That money was spent on two players, one of which an attacking wide player. You could read into Mourinho wanting more width, or, like me, you could read into Mourinho wanting more width and more excitement for owner Roman Abramovich`s sake.
If Malouda was signed to please his billionaire boss, then Shevchenko most definitely was. There have been more words and articles written about Shevchenko`s career at Chelsea than about any other player Mourinho has 'signed` and that won`t stop yet.
I have no evidence to backup my opinions in this, but I really do feel Shevchenko was an Abramovich signing. It strikes me as a little convenient that Roman and Andrei are from the same corner of the globe, that Roman splashed 30million on a thirty year-old and how Avram Grant seems set on playing Sheva. Now I suppose that was because of his recent form, a couple of games and a goal to boot, but still, if Avram is Roman`s puppet, it all fits.
Moving on from signings I want to talk about the owner/boss relationship at Stamford Bridge. I firmly believe Mourinho was appointed because of his European success with Porto (winning the Uefa Cup and Champions League) and in the hope he could continue it with the Blues. However, he didn`t and for one reason or another he`s gone.
Now, in comes Avram. No experience in Europe so surely Roman`s European dream won`t be fulfilled under his management. Meaning, he`s either going to be replaced as soon as someone of a decent pedigree becomes available or is prised away from their current club. If not then surely Avram will be Roman`s puppet? If Avram is to be Roman`s puppet, then surely the Russian would be wise to save his money when he sacks the Israeli and just name himself manager, rather than seeing his employee winning all the press` spite and harsh headlines?
So it is my belief that Avram is just Roman`s puppet, but moving on, I feel that anyone who takes the managers job at the Bridge, under Abramovich, is doomed. If you look at the most successful clubs, say Arsenal, they have a chairman who accepts he is a moneyman, not a football man and then employs the best manager for the job and sits back.
On the other hand, you look at Chelsea. A chairman who appears to enjoy interfering and a manager who has only lasted a few seasons. Looking back at Arsenal, they win trophies, fans rarely have complaints and Arsene Wengar is now in his 11th year as manager, that`s his 11th SUCCESSFUL year too.
Another example is Middlesbrough. Now although they don`t win a trophy every other season, in fact, they`ve only ever one won, but never mind. Their chairman, Steve Gibson is probably the quietest Premiership chairman, yet season after season Boro push on with a progressive young team and now a progressive young manager is Southgate.
So really, the big question is, will Avram Grant be a success at Chelsea?
Ultimately I don`t think so. In fact, like the majority of the footballing community, I don`t think he will even last until the end of the season. As I have repeatedly said, Avram is surely just Roman`s puppet and when someone like Guus Hiddink, Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti or even Fabio Capello is ready to move, they will be winging their way to England.
The other question is where next for Mourinho? Until next season he can`t manage in the Premiership due to a deal he signed with Chelsea - unless he wants to lose 25 million! The Spurs job has been mentioned repeatedly, and allegedly offered repeatedly but I doubt he will make the move across London somehow. Therefore I expect him to try and conquer another league, probably Serie 'A` - which will be a real test of his ability because Roman won`t be there to undermine him or pay out for every player under the sun. Wherever he crops up next though, I`m sure he will be just as entertaining…
Keep the faith,