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Scolari fails to step out of Jose's shadow

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Phil McNulty | 17:38 UK time, Monday, 9 February 2009

If anyone ever doubted that Roman Abramovich still takes more than a passing interest in the affairs of Chelsea Football Club, then the brutal sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari on Monday provides the most compelling evidence to the contrary.

The sudden dismissal of Scolari just seven months after he was paraded in a barrage of flashbulbs and a blizzard of optimism in a plush Cobham hotel in Surrey has all the hallmarks of Abramovich's refusal to settle for second best.

Chelsea's hierarchy smiled in satisfaction back on that sunny July day when "Big Phil" charmed allcomers with his sense of humour and clever command of the English language. Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari

Abramovich was absent - but his fingerprints were all over the appointment of the man he wanted to bring the Samba touch to sterile Stamford Bridge.

It all seems an age away now as the coach who won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, and looked like he would win everything in sight in the opening weeks of the season, is sacked with a ruthlessness that might shock even seasoned Chelsea observers.

As Scolari walked in for his coronation in Cobham - arriving between an advert for a Tom Jones impersonator and a "Legends Of Swing" tribute night - he was asked a question so loaded it almost groaned under its own weight.

"Are you a Special One?"

In other words, are you big enough and good enough to banish the ghost of Jose Mourinho haunting Stamford Bridge?

"So so" came the answer from The Modest One - and ultimately his failure to make Chelsea's fans and players forget the hugely successful Mourinho reign may have played a part in his eventual downfall.

The glorious opening to the season was punctured spectacularly when Liverpool ended an unbeaten home league run stretching back 86 games in October. It was as if a magic spell had disappeared with something as simple as Xabi Alonso's deflected shot.

Chelsea's iron-clad self-belief was gone. The aura of invincibility that gave Chelsea a huge psychological hold on opponents disappeared with it - Scolari needed to fashion a new start and failed.

But the decision to end Scolari's reign effectively in its infancy still comes as a surprise, even to those of us who have observed a succession of lifeless Chelsea displays in recent weeks.

It is also an ominous signal that the clock ticks for coaches at the game's sharp end at an almost preposterous rate once results start to slide.

I watched Chelsea's home defeat to Arsenal and defeats at Manchester United and Liverpool. No shame there - but it was the manner that came as a shock to the system.

Chelsea were lifeless and had a chronic lack of ideas and invention. Manchester United outclassed them, and while Frank Lampard's unjust dismissal gave Scolari a straw to clutch at in the defeat at Anfield, Liverpool were still too superior for comfort.

It may have been a single banner and a few jeers in the goalless home draw against Hull City on Saturday, but once the tide of fans' opinion turns it is almost impossible to reverse.Chelsea fans call for Scolari to leave the club during the game against Hull

I found Scolari charming, gracious in defeat and disarmingly honest, a breath of fresh air. But there were whispers backstage at Anfield that all was not well.

A former Chelsea player told me that some senior players were not convinced by Scolari's methods and it was showing on the field. There were suggestions he was finding the transition from the hit-and-run style of international management to day-to-day affairs in a new country a difficult one to make.

I also have sympathy for Scolari in that success in football management, as in good comedy, can often rely on your timing.

Mourinho came to Stamford Bridge when Abramovich was prepared to lavish any sum imaginable on the team to attain success. He did a magnificent job, but make no mistake the cash helped him.

Scolari arrived when the purse strings were drawn tight - a situation exacerbated by a Chelsea team that was in serious need of a transfusion of new blood. He also had little to work with from Chelsea's youth system, overseen by Frank Arnesen.

Chelsea looked like a team coming to the end of a great era and in need of freshening up to conquer new horizons. Scolari's tools were never going to be as powerful as those at Mourinho's disposal.

Michael Ballack and Didier Drogba looked more like expensive, ageing luxuries with every passing week, while the young and hungry Michael Essien could only watch injured from the sidelines.

And then there was the Mourinho factor.

Do some of the players who hung on his every word still pine for the great man's return? It is a theory I think has merit.

He raised the bar - and Chelsea's expectations - to unimaginable, and now perhaps unattainable, heights and his succesors are suffering.

Will every successor be compared to Mourinho? It has been the case so far with both Avram Grant and Scolari.

Indeed Chelsea may continue to struggle until those emotional ties are cut, or new players untouched by the magic hand of Jose arrive at Stamford Bridge.

I actually believe Scolari is desperately unlucky to lose his job so swiftly, but the signs have not been good in recent months.

Chelsea are seven points off the Premier League summit, still in the FA Cup and in the last 16 of the Champions League. Scolari's successor will hardly inherit a scene of football wreckage.

The Stamford Bridge hierarchy are convinced they can still claim those trophies - but not with Scolari at the helm.

Scolari, a dignified and personable man, will be a loss to the Premier League, but Chelsea obviously believe he will not be a loss to them.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Sad. He's a true gent but was on a loser there. It'll be a few seasons before Chelsea are the force they were.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great article Phil. Blackburn fan here, not suprised with the sacking. As a football fan, I must admit Chelsea just didn't have that "edge" about them they possessed under Mourinho. Oppositions teams felt comfortable going to Stamford Bridge and that isn't the Chelsea we all know.

  • Comment number 3.

    This is the best decision at the best time.It has nothing to do with patient,because there is no confident in the team again.

  • Comment number 4.

    c'mon chelsea

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes, Mourinho was a tough act to follow. Yes, Scolari might have done a bit better.

    But the fault lies with the board for promising Scolari time and then denying him both time and money to turn things around. The squad was a little past its sell-by date, and Scolari needed some continuity.

    But, as this article suggests, sure enough he didn't get anything like it, and who's to think the next person in can do any better than a World Cup winner?

  • Comment number 6.

    It is apalling that the manager always has to bear the brunt of the brutal axe that swings precariously over the premier league setups.

    My only question to Roman is, why is Kenyon, who should and would have had a role to perform in bringing Scolari to Stamford Bridge, who so publicly botched up Robinho's signing and failed to provide an alternative, still at Chelsea?

    Why is Frank Arnesen, whose academy quite frankly has produced zilch as yet still there? Yes Stoch, Kakuta, etc. look promising but Stoch is 20, so are Sinclair, Sahar, Woods I presume and yet Arsenal and Manchester United have first team players of that age.

    Sacking Scolari is not the answer, I hope its just a part of the answer.

  • Comment number 7.

    it just didnt work out. life goes will chelsea
    we really need steve clark back and with zola does seem attractive but i cant see it happening soon.
    c'mon chels

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely this is going on to prove that those two titles were down to Mourinho, rather than RA's millions. When will he learn that money isnt the be all and end all of creating a fantastic team.

    I would also like to say this would also prove the difference between international and league football.

    I wonder if we are seeing the creation of another Newcastle, top players, masses of money spent but no return.

  • Comment number 9.

    im as shocked as any1 around, just logged on to get back onto 606 n this news greeted me (to b fair being a liverpool fan, im quietly happy for my team)

    but im desperately dissapointed for scolari, i honestly dont kno wot abramovic thinks it will accomplish, i cant c any1 coming in and sorting this out, n things i think with or with out big phil are going to get from bad to worse for the rest of this season.

    i dont think its the management that was a problem, its the players, the ones that came clearly for money, that play like they dont care, ballack, drogba, deco, malouda, kalou to name a few have to have the finger pointed at them for getting a great man sacked b4 the season is out, its just tottally shocking from a football sense

    all sed, jose, having money n clearly having a lot of nouse got out when he above every1 else could c that it was a sinking ship. the bubble had burst n jose knew it, they punched well above themselves last season to get to wer they did, but wer found out at each real test.

    money on frank rijkard next for the job... n another manager serendipidly put to the sword by the big wig at stamford bridge. after that the biggest bubble of em all will pop wen abramovic himself has enough

  • Comment number 10.

    Big Phil's problem is (was) his boss. Abramovich wants to be top, but apparently he's no longer prepared to shell out to achieve that.

    This isn't a squad that was developed, it was for the most part bought. Nothing wrong with that, could be said of many big clubs. But if you go that route (and Real Madrid is probably the prime example) you need to be prepared to maintain it by letting big names who are underperforming go, and bringing in other star players who are "in form". Deco was underperforming at Barca, not sure why anyone thought he would rejuvenate the club- but, he was probably seen as a "bargain". Once you start down the path of assembling "Galacticos", if you want the results, you have to keep going. It doesn't matter who comes in to manage Chelsea, as the blog suggests until some housecleaning happens (and Phil you're right, Ballack and Drogba are definitely on the list) and fresh talent is brought in, the results will be the same.

    I also think the lack of Essien is hurting Chelsea. He's the motor and the impact of his absence is there for all to see. Lampard's a wonderful talent but he needs someone like Essien on the pitch to round out the midfield.

    I don't think we've seen the last of Big Phil, and I expect he'll be a success wherever he lands.

  • Comment number 11.

    Total lack of loyalty. Who would bother take this club from here. The problem lies with inheriting arrogant, outspoken players like Drogba who said many things but deliver little. He had no money, and is still in two majoy competitions, a slim chance of a title.

    Based on this just this season Scolari has done more than Wenger. On the same merits if Rafa hadnt fluked a win on Saturday he should be sacked as well.

    Why dont we sack every manager who is not top of the league....Ridiculous...

    Sir Alex & recently Moyes, two managers who proved worth a bit of time after some early problems.

    Drogba/Anelka, about 6 others and the board should have all gone before Big Phil.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi phil, decent blog...

    I replied to you in you're blog at the start of the season where you criticised me for calling Mr. Scolari the next Christian Gross: you might remember this post,

    "He might have the charm of Mourinho and humility of Grant but he could end up been the Brazilian version of Christian Gross.

    This is a big moment in the Chelsea Ambramovich reign. He can sign all the Robinho's, Ronaldinho's and Deco's of this world but he will have to turn to the likes of Lampard and Terry to lead Chelsea.

    The fraility of Cech should be a worry and the mindset of Drogba if he does stay. Who will take Malouda, Anelka, Wright-Phillips and of course the enigma Shevchenko. Chelsea shot theirselves in the foot by getting rid of Mourinho and i don't see how this man can top even Avram Grants achievements after taken over from Jose.

    Chelsea fans can be all happy about his appointment but there should some sceptism. Time will tell. This time next year we could be talking about another new Chelsea manager if Scolari doesn't match at least a Champions League Final."

    I do feel sorry for Scolari, but I think he failed not due to the Mourinho factor. The man although a World Cup was out of his debt after being so long out of the club managerial scene, like Christian Gross before him unfortunately for Scolari, he couldn't handle the big players at a big club day in day out.

  • Comment number 13.

    I certainly agree that a degree of sympathy should be awarded to Scolari. He tried his best and attempted to play football in the way that he saw best. It could also be said that lack of funds did not aid him in his quest for brazilian style football, and so it was essentially a squad built with an ethic to counter rather than to press. However, there are points against Scolari - by several accounts his training methods were antiquated and disliked by players; his lack of a coherent tactic; ability to change a game with a substitution or two. You would think that a WC winner would have the tactical nous to omit a holding midfielder when one is clearly superfluous against Hull at home for example.

    I liked him as a character and hope he finds a job that suits him. However, it was the right time for the board to move him on - he wouldn't have turned it around.

  • Comment number 14.

    Chelsea - I hate to say this, but you're turning into a joke team. This firing is wrong on too many levels to list.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yea,yea! It seems Chelsea don't have the patience to wait for Scolari to deliver the goods. Every club has their ups and downs in a season and it's always difficult to guage when that might happen. I feel that they should have given him more time to get his team tactics together and he would have delivered. Poor guy!

  • Comment number 16.

    Pathetic and short sighted decision.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think its not just Scolari who is unlucky but everyone associated with the club for having a greedy, self centred 'i created this team' owner.

    Liverpool are showing what can happen when big money takeovers go wrong - luckily for them, the fallout started early before becoming to reliant on the money.

    I hope Man City and other clubs don't go down this route.

  • Comment number 18.

    he wasn't good enough. better suited for international football imo

  • Comment number 19.

    Just another shameful decision that disgraces Chelsea and football in general. Have no lessons been learned from history? Alex Ferguson would definitely have been sacked early on in the current climate, and the whole dynasty he has created would never have happened. Think Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, Martin O'Neill. Managers need time. Only shortsighted spoilt little rich boys with no sense will see any good in this sacking. It is another nail in the integrity of English football. The banking system collapsed because of short sighted short term thinking, football will go the same way, make no mistake. And I'm getting to the point where I no longer care what happens to the game I used to love.

  • Comment number 20.

    Abrahamovic was mad to have sacked Mourinho. That decision will haunt him for a long time to come. An owner who is not ready to stay in the shadows and who becomes uncomfortable if his manager seems more popular than him is always bad news for a football club.

    Put in perspective, the number iof trophies Mourinho won in the short time he was at Chelsea is unbelievable. Better even than Sir Alex's when measured against time.

    Yes he spent money, but then so did we, Tottenham, Liverpool and even Man. City (I am a united fan by the way) and who were his major purchases? Michael Essien and Didier Drogba.

    People who say Mourinho had money to spend and that was that are either mad or blind. Man City and Tottenham have spent like crazy and this is yet to be transformed into results on the field. Villa have not spent quite so much, but are performing fantastically.

    It all boils down to management. Mourinho won the CL with a Porto team whose budget is not greater than West Ham's (before the credit crunch).

    Show me how many other people have done thos.

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil, you say
    "It is also an ominous signal that the clock ticks for coaches at the game's sharp end at an almost preposterous rate once results start to slide."

    But that is just not the case, at Manchester United and Arsenal, they both have a policy for stability. Arsene Wenger is still held in high esteem by Arsenal despite the void of trophies in recent years, and Ferguson was allowed to go three years without winning the premiership title, during which time his job remained secure, allowing him to rebuild Manchester United into the force they are today.

    The problem is that Chelsea Football club is run as a dictatorship by Roman and his henchmen and I really hope the club is sold sooner rather than later, because the current ownership and management regime have shown they have not got what it takes to achieve sustainable success.

  • Comment number 22.

    It seems to me that no manager has a chance at Chelsae until the so called "professional" players get over Mourinho and start playing for the club rather than pining for "The Special One". It's pathetic. Scolari should have been given funds to bring in players to freshen the squad up and been allowed to get rid of the whingers that are being paid huge amounts to represent the club and the fans. But the worst aspect of it all is the lack of respect shown to the club, the manager and the fans by the overpaid, egotistical "professionals".

  • Comment number 23.

    Very shortsighted move by Chelsea! If there was any chance of silverware this season it is now very, very slim. Sure, results over the past month have not been good but can a 'bad' manager win 10 on the trot? Who's to say they wouldn't have turned the corner in the next game or two? Surely teams above Chelsea will drop points. Hopefully not too many by Man Utd. I also believe that some of Big Phil's players have let him down badly.
    Man Utd have only taken 4 of a possible 12 points against the 'big three' yet sit 2 points clear with a game in hand! Can help but think that that the 'instant mentality' has prevailed. I suppose one can afford that with piles of cash.

  • Comment number 24.

    England is the only place where a man can be a world cup winner or have massive managerial credential worldwide and suddenly be deemed a bad manager by media 'experts'. (see Sven, Big Phil, Ramos, and probably soon to be Capello).
    Everyone with a pen wants to be a backseat manager. When will it end?

    Its to the detriment of the league and the national team

  • Comment number 25.

    Once again the manager takes the blame for his players' poor performances. Who gets paid the huge sums of money, not the manger!!

    Chelsea have got what they deserve this season, they are an overpaid and overhyped group that are no longer a team and it shows. They all seem to think they all should play every week. Let the manger do his job and grow up boys!!

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm stunned. Top bloke, treated like that by Chelsea. When a manager can be sacked for being 4th in the PL and still in the Champions league and the FA Cup then you know that football is becoming crazy, I said the same last year when Avram was sacked, he basically came runner up in everything.

    You only need to look at the number of managerial departures of late to realise that football management is going down the pan.

  • Comment number 27.

    As always. Phil McNulty is spot on.

    The problem isn't with Scolari, a world-cup winner, but with Abramovich. He's shown he knows nothing about football and is leaving Chelsea, and its supporters, hanging out to dry.

    Also, as Phil accurately remarks, Frank Arnesen, has done next to nothing with the youth team at Stamford Bridge.

    Chelsea need to make changes throughout the organisation from the Chairman, Chief Exec., throughout the 1st team and coaching staff.

    This should be lead by, or based around a coach who knows what they're doing. But now they've got rid of him...good luck Chelsea. This is a sad day in your history.

  • Comment number 28.

    The players have to take a long hard look, at themselves for their part in this, however that said the sacking is 100% right.
    Big Phil is a manager that as everyone points out has a wealth of experience, so the lack of money is not an excuse, he had a very good squad even if they were not his players and should have been able to get something from them. Something was very very wrong on the training pitch and Scolari did not have the backing of the players.
    As a Chelsea fan I like the guy and really wanted him to succeed, but the manner of Chelseas play was too much to bear .... 1 shot on target in 180 min. against MU and Liverpool is a statistic that tells the story of why he was sacked ........... less of the Jose factor that is not the case, he is long gone.

  • Comment number 29.

    When a certain manager made a certain comment which stated his doubts about the the hunger of a certain team, certain people in the media miscontrued his words ... and made it seem like he was calling them old.

    No matter: 7 months later, that certain manager has been proven right yet again, as he usually is.

  • Comment number 30.

    The sudden sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari has probably come as a shock to many. However, to those who pay regular attention to the goings on at Stamford Bridge, the shortcomings so glaringly obvious in Chelsea's recent performances probably told them that something had to give sooner rather than later.

    Was this the right decision? Well, yes and no. My opinion is that the problems at the club go far deeper than simply the poor judgement and questionable tactics of the Brazilian World Cup winning coach.

    Firstly, he inherited a deficient squad of players with very little in the way of true quality. Sure, there are some big names in there. However, most of these big names have either simply not been performing to the levels we're accustomed to (Cech's increasingly frequent hesitant performances spring to mind), some are quite clearly well past their sell-by-dates (I'd put John Terry in this group who, without the drive and inspiration he's currently failing to provide, becomes just a slightly above average central defender, but especially the lacklustre Michael Ballack who, to me, looks as if he's washed up as a top flight player). We also can't leave out the players who were just overrated to begin with Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole coming immediately to mind. And we haven't even dealt yet with the enigma that is Didier Drogba, a fine and capable footballer who is also the owner of one of the worst attitudes of any professional sports person I have ever witnessed, something more akin to that of a 14 year old secondary school girl. Unfortunately for the club, the other striker, one Nicolas Anelka, is cut from very similar cloth. Not ideal.

    In short, the current Chelsea squad is quite simply ill-equipped to challenge the very best teams. There is no getting away from this fact. We only have 2 or 3 players in the squad who I would consider to be world class with no go-to-guys who have the ability to turn games in the way say a Robben used to do or a peak Drogba. We therefore need to start a re-building program as soon as is humanly possible to get rid of the deadwood and bring in some new young fresh faces. On that basis, we need to forget any chance of winning silverware this season. Sure, we could perhaps sneak an FA Cup win if things go our way. However, the Premier League is now out of range and we have absolutely no chance whatsoever in the Champions League. We have to be realistic.

    My idea of immediate action would be to make either Carvalho, Essien or perhaps Lampard captain. My preference would be for Michael Essien whose absence has never appeared more stark than it is now and the one player to get the respect of every single member of the dressing room.

    As for who we keep, who we get rid of and who we sign, all three items are worthy of being individual topics here on their own right. Suffice to say though that Messrs Ballack, A Cole, Terry, Drogba, Anelka and Malouda would be shown the door if I had my way.

    Moving away from the purely playing side of things, the other piece of this particular jigsaw that doesn't quite fit here is the issue of the club management structure. And by that, I'm really talking about Peter Kenyon.

    I don't think I'm alone in questioning just what Mr Kenyon brings to the table. I know he's meant to have a marketing role within the club. That said, my feelings are that he's just not a football guy and that cannot be. Any major club needs someone at the helm who understands the game and he's never given me that feeling.

    For example, our forays into the transfer market during his tenure have, to all intents and purposes, been disastrous with only the odd success to show for it and it's clear that he's had major involvement despite his apparent job description telling us otherwise. The money we've wasted on bad purchases - think Shevchenko, Crespo, Ballack, Deco, Ashley Cole, Mutu to name but a few - is unbelievable and most of these deals backfired spectacularly. In some cases, we've then further eroded any potential sell-on value by sending some of them out on long term loans. He wasn't necessarily responsible (or even at the club) for all of the above purchases but he was there at some point during their spells at the club.

    If I was Roman Abramovich, I'd be seriously questioning whether or not I was getting good value for money here and the answer has to be a resounding no. Sure, there have been some trophies, making this the most successful period in the club's history. However, if the truth were told, we didn't win any of these trophies by playing great football and it's about time we did.

    I'd have kept Scolari for the time being but he's now gone. I hope we now take our time to find the right person(s) for the job and that he/they are given enough time and resources to do it properly. That means giving them a suitable and able Chief Executive and a talented and driven squad of players to enable them to get the job done. We currently have neither.

  • Comment number 31.

    A Shock? yes. But not a surprising one. The rumours of unrest behind the scenes at chelsea, entwined with the poor performances on the pitch, all but ended his reign. The difference between Mourinho and the rest is that the special one was able to control the big egos that exist in the chelsea dressing room.
    The best replacement for me would be Rijkaard. He's in the Mourinho mould : young and successful. He was able to bring success to barcelona, along with keeping the stars happy.
    But the point remains. Abramovich should never have got rid of Mourinho. The biggest mistake he has and ever will make, for which we are still paying, and one which he still regrets.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am gobsmacked
    How on earth can a football club treat a manager thus?
    Chelsea's season has now ground to a halt. No more can I have respect, sympathy or reason to listen to so called "fans" after their treatment of a manager who deserves respect for what he was trying to do. Abromavich should be hounded out, though I realise that is an impossible dream, but, Hey, What are you thinking of?
    J.C. You Chelsea fans deserve nothing. Have you ever heard of "the long term objective"?
    SAF and other do. That is why a glitch in the season will be rgarded as just that; A Glitch. But to sack a successful, charismatic and technically sound expert manager for a what he has achieved????
    Shame on Chelsea FC

  • Comment number 33.

    Why are you so convinced that the shadow of Jose Mourinho is still hanging over Chelsea?
    Scolari was a completely different manager and had a completely different style. I didn't expect us to win the league this season, but the consistent abysmal displays put in by most of our team as well as Scolari's lack of ideas and often [near always] terrible decisions, on top of his chronic inability to motivate anybody made this tame draw against a side widely tipped to go down at the beginning of the season the final straw.

    We even managed to outclass Liverpool before Abramovich strolled in... so to expect us to even try to win under Scolari's so-called attacking football is hardly too much to ask, is it? The only problem now is we need a successor...

  • Comment number 34.

    Nobody is ever going to be able to come out of Jose's shadow unless Chelsea fans can finally accept that he is gone and isn't going to be coming back.

    Everyone is gunning after the next manager before he even gets both feet in the door, the media especially, i think they miss Jose more than anyone!

  • Comment number 35.

    why post this late at night wen the mods are gonna b out n about... not moderating

  • Comment number 36.

    Scolari to Birmingham City!

  • Comment number 37.

    Apparently the BBC can't moderate comments as quickly as Chelsea sack managers.

    I suggest reappointing Ranieri. Given what he managed with all those knives in his back, I wonder what he might have achieved with the support of the owner!

  • Comment number 38.

    Bad move - hes a good manager but the team lacks quality up front the like of which man utd have. Only joe cole buts hes injured, maloudas a waste of space, drogba is lazy, ballacks too old now though he was impressive last year. Shame for scolari and chelsea i feel. I think it would be better for abromavich to go. Scolari didnt really have his own team with no money. Cant compare mourinho and scolari or mourinho and avram grant for that matter as mourinho spent millions whereas the other 2 havent. Though tbh chelsea shouldnt have gotten rid of grant.

  • Comment number 39.

    Scolari was a true gentleman manager. As a Liverpool supporter, the way he greeted Benitez prior to the game where we won 2-0 was heart warming. It's doubtful that Ferguson et al. would have approached Benitez in the same way (ignoring the 'Rafa rant' took place!).

    Since Rafa won't be renewing his contract with Liverpool, I'd like to see Scolari as a contender to join us.

    So, athough I think his dismissal as Chelsea manager is unfortunate, perhaps this has come at a good time for Liverpool to bring on board a world class manager.

  • Comment number 40.

    What helped to tip the balance was the signing of that useless show-pony, Quaresma. If your major signings are a player who hasn't given a monkey's for at least 18 months (Deco) and a player who never even had a monkey to give in the first place, then you're looking for trouble.

  • Comment number 41.

    It is a pity that Scolari's achievement at Chelsea does not merit a high mark.
    However, that does not mean that Mourinho is a better coach than Scolari or the latter better.
    Mourinho is a lucky coach who has been successful at Club level while Scolari is a success at the National level.

  • Comment number 42.

    A wise man said many years ago (after being sacked for winning what is now called The Premier League): 'You could put a monkey in charge of that team and no-one would notice for twelve months'. That team went on to win what is now called The Champions League. The wise man was Ron Saunders, the team was Aston Villa. My point here is that for 12 months after Jose was forced out, the team continued under its own momentum and only fell marginally short of success on three fronts... but now it's all unravelling.

    Avram isn't the answer and he never was, it's all mirrors and smoke-screens.

    Get someone new in, invest where he wants to invest and let him get on with it.

  • Comment number 43.

    In all honesty, Scolari had to go. Yes, Chelsea managers are always going to get compared to Mourinho - after all, he set the standard for us. If Scolari had remained in charge however, we'd undoubtedly be heading for UEFA Cup football.

    It's easy for an outsider to say things like "this is a terrible decision" and "Scolari wasn't given enough time." The fact is that he was tactically naive. He had a system that involved the full backs bombing forward. Well, that worked great for a few weeks but, unsurprisingly, everyone got wise to it and we suddenly became predictable. Scolari didn't have a plan B, and it seems as though he never even tried to implement a plan B.

    Scolari deserved to go. Given Chelsea's expectations under the Roman era, this season simply hasn't been good enough thus far.

  • Comment number 44.

    The problem was losing Steve Clarke and the constant thing throughout Avram and Mouriniho's reigns was Steve Clarke and I think that shows something. Although Grant's teams never played the most beautiful football he did manage to get Chelsea to a champions league final did Mouriniho do that with Chelsea no. If Chelsea are to succeed I reckon they need someone experienced but I think the best man for the job could be Didier Dechamps!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    This is a typical decision of people who know nothing about football.

    I will say this because I've maintained this view for awhile now.

    Mourinho, Grant and Scolari are fantastic managers. None of which deserved to get sacked. As Sir Alex said in response to Scolari's departure, he had a one month slump. That's all. JM was sacked for drawing against Champions League minnows. Grant was sacked because Terry slipped and Grant wasn't manager from the beginning of August (had he been, he would've won the EPL that season. That is, if you base it on his form when he was at Chelsea).

    Look at the trends. Ferguson has managed United for 20 years and won loads of trophies, as has Wenger (12 years). O'Neill and Moyes have been around for ages and have been in the top six almost consistently, not to mention that Villa will probably qualify for the CL this year. Benitez too has had a lot of success.

    I think the deserved return of the mid-table Chelsea we're used to will come around sooner as opposed to later.

    The boards of these clubs should be focusing more on keeping their club out of administration and debt (like Liverpool, Chelsea and United are plundering further into.) rather than trying to dictate how to manage a team properly, which the boards aren't qualified to do.

  • Comment number 46.

    one word: ridiculous

  • Comment number 47.

    Are any of these going to be shown today ?

  • Comment number 48.

    Rediculous sacking him now, why not at the end of the season when we have a chance of bringing Zola in.
    We need a new back room staff setup, especially a decent youth coach and talent scout.

  • Comment number 49.

    This is a definite shock are Chelsea mad ? i mean i was expecting this to happen but not around this time.

  • Comment number 50.

    i am suprised LFS got the sack so soon, i might have thought he would be given a season at least, but avram grant got them to the champions league final.. within 1 kick of winning (thanks again Terry) and he still got the sack.
    After the lacklustre manner in their defeats to liverpool, arsenal and united, i think abramovich had had enough. Its not what he expects of chelsea long term but thats as good as it gets for them.
    it wasnt structured for long term success, down to buying the likes of

    its all good though because it means united will dominate for years to come as we invest in youth and see chelsea as the biggest threat.

  • Comment number 51.

    Chelsea dont deserve Scolari. Whoever was chanting 'you dont know what your doing' should be shot. I feel sorry for him but hes better than that arrogant team and their impatient fool of an owner who knows nothing about football. Who would want that job now?

  • Comment number 52.

    Coincidence? I think not, Adams to Chelsea!

  • Comment number 53.

    Why hasn't Frank Arnesen been sacked?

  • Comment number 54.

    Shame because of continuity but, bring on GLEN HODDLE, he has unfinished business at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 55.

    What the Yanks have long known by following baseball, that no matter how rich you are, you can no longer buy Championship teams.
    Here in North America, we have know this for a long time.
    Apparently in Britain, you are not aware of this story.
    If you follow the history of Chelsea, Spurs, Portsmouth, Liverpool and now Man City, history seems to be repeating itself. You may buy a Championship for one year, but it does not last.
    This is not a local story, but an internationa phenominum.
    Whe will people learn?

  • Comment number 56.

    Great article

  • Comment number 57.

    Welcome to corporate football done the Kenyon way. Those at the very top don't take any blame for the problems within the club (ie. Mourinho left under a cloud, Grant was treated like dirt, Scolari has suffered likewise and the side in general lacks any real cohesion) but blame those appointed and not given full control. Grant was never given full control and neither was Scolari.

    Are there two bigger rats in football than Abramovich and Kenyon?

  • Comment number 58.

    2 sackings in one day. Tragic. The premiership has gone downhill. Scolari didn't deserve to be sacked, he was given a team full of players past their prime. And with a youth team full of players of not top quality potential. I feel sorry for Scolari. It will be a downhill spiral for Chelsea from now on. They have the wrong people in the top jobs. Arnesen is spotting no good talent, and Kenyon is well...Kenyon. I think their needs to be a change in the structure of the club before Chelsea can move on and be successful again, and this time consider long term succes and not quick short term success. That would mean stop selling the talented youngsters we did have like robben and johnson.

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree entirely with this article's main point - it's not been a good season to be Chelsea manager. The club has a whiff of a band of ageing rockers, still peddling the same tune we heard years ago - the other EPL clubs have heard it before and aren't impressed.

    Chelsea need new talent. They simply don't have the vitality to sustain the kind of consistency required to challenge for the title these days.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Where are the mods?

    I said at the time sacking Grant was hasty and it has proved to be true.

    Despite no real track record grant did what 'the special one couldn't do and that was beat Liverpool oer two legs in the champs league.

    The person i believe is to blame (a have said it on many threads on 606) for a long time now is Arnesen. He was supposed to be the main man in finding the new Messi, Ronaldo. Aguero etc.

    As far as i was aware his role at tottenham was not only find 14 -16 year olds but also find 18-20 year olds who were ready to be involved with the first team squad. So far what has he produced on that front he has done nothing!

  • Comment number 62.

    I know it sticks in your craw but everybody is second to Sir Alex and United right now. Mourinho has obviously been the best at Chelsea but he still couldn't win Champions League and he was judged on that. Liverpool can't win the Premier League. Between the other "top three" they have won everything. Just happens that United have won the lot in the last few years. That's the yardstick not Jose.

  • Comment number 63.

    Proves Abramovich knows nothing about football. His team aren't having a good season so he sacks a quality world cup winning manager and expects to be able to immeadiately replace him with somebody better and turn their season around, just by opening his wallet. It is a joke.

  • Comment number 64.

    Why is moderation taking so long today?

  • Comment number 65.

    Well, if I were Big Phil I certainly wouldn't be downbeat. A great big wad of money about to enter the bank account (but for God's sake Big Phil, make sure you transfer it into a proper currency, in a few years Monopoly money will be worth more than sterling), loads of sympathetic press coverage and a reputation more or less in tact.

  • Comment number 66.

    As a Newcastle fan, I know all too well the story thats unfolding at Chelsea. Team wins nothing for years, has a couple of amazing years, then drifts backwards. Fans now expect success, no manager ever gets more than a year, before they get sacked. Ok, Newcastle were never as successful as Chelsea, but we had to come from further down. Chelsea will simply win nothing now, and drift back to mid table, And Abramovich will be out in 3-4 seasons, when he realises that his champions league dream will never be fulfilled at Chelsea. Lampard, Terry, sorry lads, you're time is over, time to move on.

  • Comment number 67.

    Scolari isn't the saint you make him out to be. It was after all his advice that had Ronaldo pining to go to Real Madrid, if Ronaldo had left it would have been a major success for Scolari before he even took up the job.
    The whole affair stinks to high heaven and surely abramovic has panicked. Not good business at all, unless he is ordering the manager of the Russian National to take over!

  • Comment number 68.

    How could you possibly feel that big Phil could not get past Mourinho shadow?
    THe only shadow that Mourinho casts comes from his big mouth.
    Big Phil is a great coach/manager, while all of Mourinho's actions come from his mouth.
    Big talker, who will ocassionally win one title, when you break the bank.
    On his own limited football skills-afraid not too many.
    Let see how many titles Mourinho wins in Milan?
    One, maybe this year-not more.

  • Comment number 69.

    How quickly the memories fade! Mourinho left with Chelsea already going stale and off the pace.

    The rocket fuel of money got them into orbit but couldn't sustain it. So Chelsea have gradually been descending back to earth ever since.

    Avram Grant now looks to have done a very decent job, before he was sacked as well.

    It's absurd to think there are any better managers out there than Scolari.

    Who, exactly?

    Abramovich bought the title for Chelsea briefly, but could not create the sustained success that Man United have managed, or Liverpool in their great days.

    Winning is the easy bit. Sustaining that success is the hard part.

    You need an infrastructure of success, from the manager, down to the boot room and youth system - and continuity!

    Who would have have bet against Chelsea being Champions under Scolari perhaps in 2010 or 2011?

    Adams getting sacked and now Scolari shows that football has gone stark staring bonkers.

    There's a danger here that Chelsea will end up like Man City, or Newcastle, or Leeds...........

  • Comment number 70.

    hi phil,if you read my comments last week,i was wright ,they got what they deseved.but know its not the time to look back,they have a chance to fix it one more time, the only man for the job is frank rickard,chelsea will not win the league this year,they have to put all there effort in winnig the campion league,rickard won it ,and he knows the job,but next year they have to give him total control of the team,the same power sir alex has in man u.
    if they dont do it they might wont make next year champion league,i hope avram grant id smiling wright now,he deserve some respect from chealsea fans and the media for what he achive last year.

  • Comment number 71.

    Luis Scolari was a unique manager not a production line one. Maybe he was more suited to International Teams where he is not subject to the same overblown ego's in club life.
    I am a died in the wool M U fan but am missing the competition from Chelsea.
    Competition is what has driven the top clubs
    to be the best in Europe and the World.
    Good luck Luis, maybe you can find a club with a heart as well as a desire to win.

  • Comment number 72.

    i think scolari has paid the price today simply because of sir alex fergusons ruthless quest for trophies '(if fergie liked chocolate as much as football success he'd be 25 stone by now!), chelsea, and in particular roman abramovich dont like looking up at united ,throw liverpool and aston villa into that as well and our russian friend sees millions of roubles drifting out of his ever shrinking bank account, unfortunately he cant spend any of them on players until the close season so he's going to have to be very generous with his new managerial contract to the new man whoever he is. my money's on riijkard purely because he has been a successful club manager and is used to spending vast sums of money on top players and would give chelsea fans the attacking game they crave,hiddink has had more joy as an international manager and i dont think abramovich will go down that road again. i do feel sorry for big phil but i'm sure his huge payoff will help cushion the blow.

  • Comment number 73.

    Its time to sack the owner.

  • Comment number 74.


    Anyone could have done what he did with all that cash.

    The only outstanding managers in the PL are/have been SAF, MON and Moyes. (And yes, quite probably Wenger too).

    Chelsea have done nothing but what money can buy.

  • Comment number 75.

    The man is a very confident human being. But he could sadly not provide the same form and style of play he produced at Brazil back when they won the World Cup in 2002. Farewell for now 'Big Phil'.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yet again a premiership Manager is sacked without been given enough time. Scholari was honest and proud in victory but magnanomous in defeat. Yes Chelsea Havent really seemed like the team they were last year but Abromovich doesnt keep his toys long enough to prove themselves. He wants everything won yesterday and football doesnt happen like that regardless of how much money you spent. I wonder if Mourinho is coming back?

  • Comment number 77.

    Ugh. Who would even take the job at this point. It's a poisoned chalice. Four managers in two years? Unless you're completely unemployed, you've no reason to take that. And even if I were someone like Rijkard, I'd look at Pompey as the more attractive job at this point.

  • Comment number 78.

    It's also worth noting that much of Chelsea's problem was that they were in a terrible tactical bind. Once they lost Joe Cole to injury, having sold SWP, they had absolutely nothing on the wings. Their wide threat was their fullbacks. Past that, they had to rely on a central attacking midfield to get everything. The modern game is a wide game, and that just doesn't cut it.

  • Comment number 79.

    I found Scolari charming, gracious in defeat and disarmingly honest, a breath of fresh air. But there were whispers backstage at Anfield that all was not well.


    Eerm, am I alone in wondering what whispers at Anfield had to do with Chelsea's situation?!

  • Comment number 80.

    I think this is the start of the major decline for Chelsea.
    Abramovich doesnt want to bankroll them anymore...the players want Mourinho back.
    It was writing on the wall...I cant see Grant coming back...he should have been made permament manager, instead Buck and Roman sacked him in a digusting way.
    The decline of Chelsea starts now.

  • Comment number 81.

    Somewhere in Italy, Claudio Ranieri is laughing til his belly hurts...and I don't blame him.

  • Comment number 82.

    And get rid of that useless, ridiculous Malouda !!!
    15 million for that? you must be joking !!
    worst thing mourinho ever did !!

  • Comment number 83.

    i had said at the start of the season that deco was a bad signing. a waning star to add to the list of waning stars at chelsea. in the final analysis that is where chelsea fell apart. they didnt have a solid replacement for joe cole and malouda is mid table fodder. deco also proved a false dawn. i doubt mourinho could have done much better with the current crop of players. most are simply past their prime like ballack and deco. chelsea just dont have the excellent scouting system that machester united or arsenal have. they just seem to be unable to find young talent that can move into the shoes of the older talent as the move past their prime.

  • Comment number 84.

    A dignified man? Really? Remember when he announced he was taking over at Chelski right in the middle of Euro 2008? How unprofessional and insulting to his players is that, acknowledging that he's basically spent the 1st half of such an important tournament negotiating his next pay packet. He even said this job would give him financial security for life showing himself to be a total mercenary. I hope he's happy with his buyout.

    Hardly the actions of a dignified man.

  • Comment number 85.

    It's not unreasonable to compare new managers to old ones, especially if they were massively successful.

    You can bet the manager that takes over at Man Utd once Sir Alex Ferguson retires will be endlessly compared and high expectations will be set.

    Mourinho was extremely successful, and Grant didn't do badly. All managers that come now are going to have to produce nice football and results.
    Scolari's biggest fault I think was losing the undefeated home record

  • Comment number 86.

    When will clubs realise that foreign managers who don't speak English and don't understand the English game simply cannot do the fundamental thing - motivate their players? The only consistently successful foreign club managers have been Jose Mourinho (anyone could have succeeded with £300m to spend) and Arsene Wenger, and he spoke better English than most of us. The Premier League managers with the best track records relative to their available resources have been Redknapp, Curbishley and O'Neill. It's an insult to keep importing foreign names when we actually have talented people here already; British jobs for British people??

  • Comment number 87.

    Following Scolari's sacking, all I can say is that nobody with a passing interest in forming a football TEAM should want the Chelsea job. Abramovich simply cannot understand that we live in straitened times. Instability is helping to kill off such teams as Charlton (remember their manager-go-round season of 2006/07 which saw them relegated from the Premiership?) and, in all probability, Chelsea should now struggle to keep Arsenal back from 4th spot. No football chairman seems to have learned a thing.

  • Comment number 88.

    this is a shock. he needed some time to adjust to club managing and i think was doing a fair job considering the circumstances. abramovich is not patient enough, mourinho spoiled him. but i shouldn't complain, united are helped by this

  • Comment number 89.

    Good report Phil. As a Liverpool supporter I take no pleasure in this. Rather it is a sad indictment of much that is wrong with our game. The man only had 7 months in the job! How many years did Fergie have at OT before he won a major trophy? Was it 7 or 8? Should the MU board have sacked him at the end of his first season? What about the brains trust that appointed Scolari? Are they really such poor managers that what they thought was a whizz-bang idea 7 months ago is now a bad one? Where is there liability in all this? I know little about Abromavich but his actions to me are that of a spoilt rich man who believes his money entitles him to everything he wants the moment he decides he wants it. Well life, and football, just aren't like that.

    My sympathies go to Scolari, who seems a decent and honest man, and to Chelsea supporters. It looks to me like your club is under the control of a megalomaniac. Good luck with that.

  • Comment number 90.

    Guus Hiddink is without doubt the man for the job - here's his CV

    - fairly crap as a player (an underestimated quality in a manager)

    - won the treble with PSV Eindhoven including the European cup
    - the most successful Dutch coach in history with six Dutch League titles, four Dutch Cups and that european cup
    - also managed Fenerbahce, Valencia, Real Madrid and Real Betis
    - won Club World Cup (previous version) with Real Madrid

    - led Netherlands to 4th in 1998 World Cup
    - led South Korea to 4th in 2002 World Cup

    - led Australia to 2nd round of 2006 World Cup; their first appearance in the tournament for 32 years (at the same time as managing PSV in his second spell). Australia only lost 1-0 to Italy through a highly controversial penalty kick eight seconds from the end of normal time (btw -their match against Croatia was Graham Poll's infamous 3 yellow cards against a Croatian)

    - manager of Russia since 2006 and led them to semi-finals of Euro 2008, Russia's best performance since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    Russian background, european club experience and the guy even has a stadium named after him - the Guus Hiddink Gyeoggijang Stadium in South Korea!

    I rest my (well researched) case

  • Comment number 91.

    If any managerial decision was insane, its this one. Lets get rid of a World Cup winning, title contending, European Cup contending, FA Cup contending, coach.

    Yes,that sounds clever. I personally think that Guus Hiddink will be the next Chelsea manager, but really you wonder why he would take the job.

    And for those alleged Chelsea "fans" that want Zola and Di Matteo in charge, oh dear, just oh dear.

  • Comment number 92.

    One thing's for sure:
    The next manager at Chelsea will be getting paid a pretty handsome sum as insurance against his inevitable lack-of-performance.

    Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the Fergie vs Mourinho show.

  • Comment number 93.

    I started getting concerned about 2 or 3 months ago and I thought we needed to give him time. The season started so well, there was an incredible buzz as we were winning 5 - nil at times. Since then things have taken a turn for the worse. Our amazing home record vanished and has since been getting worse. And now our away record has vanished as well. I was hopeful that in the January transfer window Ambramovich would finally let Scolari build his squad with the players he wanted. This didn't happen and that is the real issue here.

    Every manager has his own style and some player suit that style better than others. The core of the chelsea team are still Mourinho's and I believe many of them are not suited to Scolari's system.

    While I've mixed feeling about Scolari's sacking it's a true shame that we will never know what his capabilities really were if given the chance to build a team of his own. Let's hope that the new manager is given that opportunity.

  • Comment number 94.

    There's one thing that I can't understand in all this carnage - Chelsea wouldn't increase their offer for Robinho in the summer transfer window - which in my opinion, was the beginning of the end for Scholari - yet they can now pay off his very lucrative contract, and yet again no needed transfers in, apart from a loan, and players out, in the January window. It really doesn't make sense!!

    Yes it seems that AB is concerned about our plight, by the sacking of Scholari, but it seems he is going about it in all the wrong ways!

    Can somebody, maybe you Phil, please square the circle for me!!

  • Comment number 95.

    It would not suprise me if the people who run my beloved Chelsea Football Club, Bruce Buck, Peter Kenyon and in particular Roman Abramovich continue with their cavalier aproach to running a Football club.

    I have nothing but contempt for those that have risen my expectations to a level I never knew, only to allow them too fall so low.

    I would have rather we went Bust under Bates and ended up like Leeds in Division One than see the rapid dismantling of a Clubs persona.

    Such is the need for the Chelsea hierachy to have the Brand name of Man Utd, the trophiy cabinet of Liverpool and the flashy attractive style of play of Arsenal they have forgotten the Chelsea fans right to walk into work today like I have and be proud of what their club represents.

    I have attended matches since 1985, I will not however claim to have clear memories of the real bad times at Chelsea, the save the Bridge campaign , losing to Middlesborough in the play offs.

    What I do have is clear memories of a whole host of people that for me eppitomise the progress that Chelsea have made in the last 10- 15 years.

    The following is a list of formers players and staff that despite them playing an integral part in our progress in this time, have been either overlooked or undervalued.............................................
    Mark Hughes, Dennis Wise, Gustavo Poyet, Gianfranco Zola, Steve Clarke, Brendon Rodgers, Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton. I am sure there are others that I have overlooked and am merely scratching the surface.
    It's all well and good talking about the great success we had under Mourinho, I will always look back fondly at his time at the club with a smile, however with one foreign manager after another with no real connection after another being installed at the club are we not recreating our History and style over and over again. Man Utd
    Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Liverpool not only reatin their status and admiration in the World Game due to the titles they have won, each has a core spirit that is reflected in the loyalty they show to staff and former players.

    People that understand what it is to wear the Chelsea Shirt and how much the fans care about the Club should have been rewarded instaed of overlooked because a manager wanted to bring 17 backroom staff.

    The time has come for Chelsea Football Club to stop trying to re invent itself and start appointing people that really care aout the club

  • Comment number 96.

    You can say what you like about a team of ageing/disinterested "Galacticos", but a manager of the kind Chelsea are able to hope for and afford should certainly have got more out of the players than Big Phil did. I mean that both tactically and in terms of instilling a belief and desire that have clearly been absent in the past few months.

    Drogba, Ballack, Deco et al. have unquestionable ability and physical fitness, whatever their ages; they need the right motivation and clearly this is missing

    Malouda, however, is a lost cause; the man is a joke.

  • Comment number 97.

    Hardly a surprise. Abramovich does not tolerate failure. Nevertheless it makes me smile when these managers and coaches give their post-firing statements.
    "I would like to thank XXXX club for their aupport and offer them my gratitude. I wish XXXX all the success for the future, etc, etc."
    I just wish they would be more honest and add "Where´s my big fat cheque, then?" ergo Sven Goran..........

  • Comment number 98.

    New managers need time to put their own stamp on the team.

    Scolari couldn't do that when he's dealing with old hand-me-downs. With a fair few players that even Mourinho didn't want.

    If anyone has to go it is Abramovich. I don't care if we end up in dire financial trouble, I don't care if we postpone our challenges on the title. I want an owner that understands great clubs are built over time and need stability.

  • Comment number 99.

    Scolari had no chance really, saddled with a squad that's grown old and an owner who's decided that enough is enoughon the spending front, the squad needs major surgery and that is going to cost money, not least because Chelsea have a lot of players who aren't worth anywhere near what was paid for them and who are on cartloads of money.

    Anyway, Scolari's done his best but losing Carvalho for large chunks of the season has cost them dear because it's exposed John Terry for what he is, and that is pretty average, I don't know if it's injuries that have taken their toll or what but anyone suggesting that Terry is anywhere near the player he was 2 years ago is honestly deluding themselves, he's too slow and his marking is appalling.

    Couple Carvalho's absence with Essien's and honestly you could put who you want in charge and they couldn't do any better with that squad, 2 years ago yes but not any more. Although being honest Scolari hasn't helped himself by fetching in Deco who was always going to find the Prem rough going at his age and experience, although again the flipside of that is, not outbidding City for Robinho makes sense from a purely financial viewpoint, but in a footballing sense he is what you are crying out for creatively.

    Unless Abramovich loosens the purse strings again Chelsea will suffer the same fate next season. And sacking your managers the week after the transfer window closes is honestly crassly hopeless timing.

    The question is who do they replace him with, who's available? Steve Clarke's an obvious one, or could they go back to one of their choices this summer and test City's resolve to hang on to Mark Hughes (and Hughes' to stay there). I can't see Hiddink agreeing to come in at this stage of a season with no chance to shape the side in the transfer market.

  • Comment number 100.

    Chelsea was never a big side, and this proves why. Graeme Souness said, on Irish TV, as Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 back in early 2007, that Mourinho had seen that day "what a real club looks like".

    Chelsea not being a "real club" has something to do with their lack of medals and silverware, but a lot more to do with the tee-total absence of a sense of direction.

    That flows from Abramovich.

    As long as he is there, Chelsea will never be a big club.


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