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Villas-Boas fails to match high expectations

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Phil McNulty | 15:50 UK time, Sunday, 4 March 2012

Andre Villas-Boas now knows the answer to a question that was thrown into the air at Stamford Bridge as the first cracks appeared in the reputation he built so rapidly at FC Porto.

It was late November and Chelsea had lost at home to Liverpool in the Premier League.

Villas-Boas had awoken to headlines suggesting owner Roman Abramovich was having his first doubts about the young manager he appointed at great expense to replace Carlo Ancelotti.

Villas-Boas, under heavy interrogation, responded: “The owner didn’t pay 15m euros to get me out of Porto to pay another fortune to get me out of Chelsea.”


Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked as manager of Chelsea FC after a string of poor results and assistant manager Roberto Di Matteo will now take charge of the team until the end of the season. PHOTO: Getty

It turns out he did – or at least that he was prepared to do so once he was convinced that what was meant to be a new era of modernisation under Europe’s brightest emerging coach had turned out to be a mirage.

In that November moment, Villas-Boas certainly showed a flimsy grasp of Chelsea and Abramovich’s history, as well as some of the naivety that characterised his tenure.

All he needed to recall was that Ancelotti was sacked at the foot of the stairs at Goodison Park only 12 months after winning the Premier League and FA Cup double.

As recent figures revealed, it cost Abramovich the not inconsiderable sum of £28m to dispense with Ancelotti and his staff while bringing in Villas-Boas and his.

In other words, never believe Abramovich will feel it is too expensive to rid himself of a manager in whom he has lost his faith.

Villas-Boas breezed into Stamford Bridge backed up by a glowing Chelsea reference claiming he “was the outstanding candidate for the job…one of the most talented managers in football today”.

The man christened “AVB” may fulfil those credentials in time but it soon became clear that the task of challenging for the Premier League title while wrestling with the beast that is cryptically known as “the Chelsea dressing room” was too much for a manager whose career was still in its infancy.

So with Chelsea’s Champions League campaign on the edge after a 3-1 defeat in the last 16 first leg in Napoli, the title a distant dream and a place in the top four no longer a certainty after another defeat at West Bromwich Albion, Abramovich decided to call time on Villas-Boas on Sunday afternoon.

Villas-Boas’s recent words, coupled with his resigned body language, suggests the call will have come as no surprise.

He bristled with defiance in the early days of his time at Chelsea but recently looked burdened, the natural confidence replaced by a careworn expression.

And Chelsea’s fans, who sympathised with Ancelotti when he was dismissed and greeted Villas-Boas optimistically, delivered their own verdict when the manager was vociferously criticised by the travelling support during the defeat at Everton last month.

The Villas-Boas who arrived at Chelsea was summed up by a feisty December exchange with the media when he claimed the Champions League win against Valencia was “a slap in the face” to his critics.

The one who leaves is a young man chastened by a brief, fruitless experience that leaves a blemish on his previously spotless CV.

One of Villas-Boas’s main tasks on taking over from Ancelotti – and one that will face his eventual successor – was to move an ageing team populated by influential and powerful personalities on to the next stage of its development.

He could hardly have been expected to accomplish this overnight, but Villas-Boas was in the building long enough to discover it was a task easier said than done.

He had to deal with the fall-out from Chelsea captain John Terry being charged with racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand - a claim Terry denies - in the league game at Loftus Road in October.

Villas-Boas was publicly supportive of Terry but his relationship with another of Chelsea’s old guard was fragile and provided a backdrop to the closing days of his reign.

Frank Lampard, a pivotal figure in Chelsea’s successes, became a symbol of the perceived unrest at Chelsea as he was left out of key games, with many suggesting he was being used as a tool for the new manager to demonstrate his authority.

Ultimately, as ever, it is results on which Villas-Boas has been judged, even though the clock ticks more quickly for managers at Stamford Bridge than at most places in football.

Chelsea were starting to lose some of the old air of invincibility under Ancelotti and it was hardly likely to improve under Villas-Boas without a major rebuild and the removal of some of the elder statesmen.

Terry and Lampard, while still serviceable Premier League players, are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. The same applies to Petr Cech, Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole.

And for all his coaxing and cajoling, Villas-Boas has had no success in restoring Fernando Torres, regarded in most quarters as Abramovich’s prime vanity project, to anything like the form that made him one of the greatest strikers in world football during his time at Liverpool.

The next man ushered in by Abramovich will find the same work in his in-tray.

Even the Russian, not noted for patience, may have expected some period of transition but results have been so poor, and the prospect of not qualifying for next season’s Champions League so real, that another manager has bitten the dust.

The appointment of Roberto di Matteo smacks of a holding operation and no more. Is this an attempt to preserve some semblance of continuity, even from a failed regime, or an admission of defeat for this season?

And while Villas-Boas pays for his shortcomings with his job, what of the players whose failings have ensured his sacking?

The time is surely coming for Abramovich and his cohorts to cast a glance towards Chelsea's dressing room and seek some responsibility in there.

Results aside, Villas-Boas was undermined by a series of less-than-flattering stories seeping out about his work at Stamford Bridge, ensuring the spotlight remained on the manager rather than players who were letting him down with their dismal performances.

Villas-Boas has the confidence and ability to emerge elsewhere but ultimately the task on and off the field proved too much for even this most self-assured character.

The process now starts again. The task of rebuilding Chelsea passes to another manager.

And, despite the cost involved, the Villas-Boas experience proves there is no long-term guarantee given out with any Abramovich contract.


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Typical Chelsea, No class what so ever! What ever happened to the 3 year plan?

  • Comment number 2.

    RA sacked the wrong man. Leaving Lampard out was right. He is 34 and past it, as is Terry. The future was AVB, not the players whose only objective is to prolong their Premier League careers and massive wages.

  • Comment number 3.

    Abramovich and Chelsea get what they deserve..... nothing. It's not the manager they need to change, it's the owner.

  • Comment number 4.

    What a shame. Let's just hope that Chelsea are knocked out of the F.A. Cup at St. Andrews on Tuesday. They deserve absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 5.

    Managers take the blame for bad performances, and there's been more than enough of them this season. His tactics from day one didn't suit the players he had, but he persisted, and kept getting shown up. He's paid the ultimate price for failing. I don't believe the player power hype. Roman knows most are past their best, so why would he listen to those that will be gone sooner than later.

  • Comment number 6.

    Think Abramovich needs to throw different toys other than managers out of the pram. Too many old or underperforming players.

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    What a surprise, Abramovich has yet again thrown his toys out of the pram because he's not winning. Has he not realised yet that there can only be one winner of the league or champions league and that it won't always be him? Sometimes you just have to stick with it and give time to a new project such as the complete rebuilding of a club and a new ethos. Not this season but maybe the next the new tactics, players and style might have come together to provide a new era of success. Not now, the only reason any manager to go the Chelski now is money, sign a three year contract, get sacked after one and pocket around £15m in severance pay. Chelsea is rapidly becoming a joke and the players and fans know it.

  • Comment number 9.

    A 3 year plan with a 6 month time-span is always going to fail whether you have the right man or not. Chelsea have simply never recovered from losing Maureen.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nobody is ever going to get a fair crack of the whip at the Chelsea job. Pretty soon they will run out of top class coaches prepared to take the job.

  • Comment number 11.

    This doesn't solve our problem of too many of our players taking out of the club in the form of wages but not putting in to the club in terms of performance, we really need to clean house.

  • Comment number 12.

    Petr Cech is at the end of his career? a 29 year old goalkeeper?

  • Comment number 13.

    I also think they'll get 4th place now. Spurs seem to be struggling with the Harry for England talk. Strange to think they themselves have had as many, if not more, managers than Chelsea this century.

  • Comment number 14.

    2 Points:

    1 Abramovich will never achieve success until the managerial revolving door stops spinning at Stamford Bridge.
    2. You didnt once mention Man Utd, Sir Alex Ferguson or Wayne Rooney. Well done!

  • Comment number 15.

    So accurate. As a Chelsea fan, I can only hope the next big name manager has the removal of the "legends" included as part of his contract. For AVB, I hope he learns from this and goes on to prove his methods work. For Abramovich, I hope that he can learn that if you want a manager to succeed you need to provide time and authority.
    Good luck AVB!

  • Comment number 16.

    di matteo, zola and vialli dream team!! who else is there that would risk their reputation by managing chelsea?

  • Comment number 17.

    Top Managers need time to establish themselves and mold their teams, you only have to look at the likes of Moyes, Wenger and Ferguson to see that if you give managers a chance they will be able to prove their worth. AVB had a tough job trying to reorganise an ageing team, Abromovich should of given him until the end of the season and over the summer to do this, perhaps a poor decision to bring a relatively inexpereinced manager like AVB into Chelsea in the first place, but without doubt a poor decision to sack him at this point in the season.

  • Comment number 18.

    Feels a little like flogging a dead horse after those first 7 comments but honestly, I've never seen such blatant scapegoating in my life! There are at LEAST 7 players in the Chelsea 'first choice' lineup that are on a considerable decline, AVB does exactly what he said he would do and try to bring in new faces and gradually phase out the old ones, and he gets the sack!

    I bet they wish they'd not offered such a derisory amount of 20 million for Modric in the summer, he's the exact sort of player that would have helped Chelsea move forward. (I use the word 'derisory' in relative terms obviously, to the real world it's an offensively large sum of money)

  • Comment number 19.

    ---The chain of events to come---
    1 Arsenal finish 4th = Chelsea dont get Champions league
    2 Nobody wants to go to Chelsea now because they arent in the Champions League and they arent competiting for the league (realistically speaking)
    3 New manager hired
    4 New manager expected to win the league and Champions League within one or two years
    5 New manager cant do it because its extremely difficult
    6 New manager sacked.

  • Comment number 20.

    At least now the players have no more excuse for their miserable performances.

    FA Cup, next step in CL and 4th position in PL it is then!

    AVB was good, and am surprised the players didn't back him. Guardiola next year? Mourinho back? Either will do...

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't agree with those slamming Roman because he's sacked another manager. My philosophy when it comes to making mistakes is that there really is no point in talking about the previous errors: i.e. sacking Carlo. So if Roman has come to the conclusion, and one which i think a lot of pundits, and most importantly, Chelsea fans have come to, that AVB is infact not the right man to take Chelsea forward, then he's better off today than yesterday surely?

    He's made two mistakes in the last year, sacking Carlo and hiring AVB. Whilst i doubt he'll be re-hiring Carlo and making up for the former, he's made up for the latter.

  • Comment number 22.

    Chelsea yet again sack their manager.Yes he was performing below expectations, but managers need time to assemble a team. AVB should certainly have been allowed more time in charge, but now Chelsea have a manager West Brom sacked untill the end of the season, and have wasted £13m, plus whatever it cost to sack him.

  • Comment number 23.

    He should have moved on Terry, Lampard, Drogba, and Cole and not AVB. Chelsea need to bring in youth and give a manager more than 12 months to do it. I just hope AVB takes them to the cleaners for full payment on his contract.

  • Comment number 24.

    There are 4 problems with Chelsea at the moment.
    1. Abramovic is a jackass. He sacked arguably 2 of the worlds greatest football managers. Mourihno and Guus Hiddink. Guus being the master of the art of defence. Chelsea under Hidink had one of the best defences in the world and only needed one goal from anywhere to win a game. He ven tactivally schooled Barca. I dont have to say anything about Mourihno.
    2. The Players. The players have been utterly terrible this season. The only bright spots being Mata and Essien. Im amazed how Chelsea are 5th.
    3. Lack of consistency. In the premier league their largest win streak was 3 wins in a row.
    4. AVB constantly bangs on about Chelsea playing attacking football in his 'project'. Playing attacking football with a 50 million flop striker and an attacker who has declined massively recently is not going to work. Anybody with any sense would have made Chelsea hard to beat during the transition period.

  • Comment number 25.

    Naturally, nobody here is surprised by this decision. Just goes to show what is expected from Chelsea now. Why anyone would want that job is beyond me.

  • Comment number 26.

    chelsea are a basket case and laughing stock.

  • Comment number 27.

    You do a great job of decimating a manager who is still in the champions league and FA cup which to all intents and purposes no other manger in England is. The story is not his ability. The story is the Chelsea owner and nothing else. The Chelsea team was past it last year, and what difference is in that team this year? Not enough investment or trust and a dressing room, from the time Murhino left that has been allowed to dictate how to play. Yes AVB was fired, that is not the story. Chelsea auto distruct is the story and should be investigated very very deeply.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    sorry..not reveievers..i mean recievers..cos you're losing money hand over fist...and you know it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Kiernan809, i thought EXACTLY the same thing!!

  • Comment number 31.


    1) he never sacked Guus...
    2) Essien being a bright spot? He has been injured for the majority of the campaign

  • Comment number 32.

    Anton Ferdinand Phil, not Rio (paragraph 20).

  • Comment number 33.

    To those that say Villas-Boas should've been given more time, I think he was hard done by but he should've never been given time in the first place, Chelsea never should have fired Ancelotti

  • Comment number 34.

    I truly feel sorry for Chelsea fans as they won't taste success for a really long time. That is as long as they have Roman Abromovich as the owner of the club. For me the most important thing that the Chelsea faithful needs to do is to get rid of Roman. He is a very impatient investor

  • Comment number 35.

    - Abramovich wont admit his mitake and get Mourinho back
    - Guardiola wont touch the CFH poison chalice with a barge pole unless he needs to boost his pension fund

    Hiddink would be your best bet but my money is on Benitez or Capello :)

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm glad you mentioned the players in this fiasco. I would hold them more at fault that ABV. Twice Chelsea have hired managers from Porto that have won European silver ware, yet Cheksea have under performed under both of them when it really counted. I don't think it's AVB's fault at all. Firstly, there's the megomaniac owner and then there's arrogant failiures like John Terry. I say failiure not because he hasn't captained his side to the Champions' League for example, I say failiure because he hasn't appeared to have gotten over missing that penalty against United in Moscow. That was his one, big chance and he missed. Not that that is bad in itself, but I suspect he has never looked himself in the eye and given himself, in the words of Bob Dylan 'a good talking to'. since. A leader must be more humble than those that he leads in my opinion. Chelsea won't be rebuilt until Roman and the likes of Terry leave. It's as simple as that. There's an atmosphere of arrogance at the club, I'm guessing. Jose may of been the only man capable of standing up to it, but Roman wouldn't have that. So long as Roman is in charge, Chelsea are doomed to fail.

  • Comment number 37.

    A lot of people are pointing and laughing at Abramovic's epic failure since Mourihno's era of management. But actually Chelsea without RA would be in the same position as Portsmouth.

  • Comment number 38.

    The problem is not with the manager, it is with the owner. Mr Abramovich apparently has one overriding aim - to win the Champions League - but he has no effective strategy to do it.
    He has hoped that buying a superstsar manager would bring success, but the litany of near misses and sacked superstar managers testifies that this is a failed strategy.

    If Mr Abramovich realised that the club's players were ageing and he decided that a new manager with fresh ideas was needed, then AVB was a good buy - but then he needed to back the poor guy by realising that the plan would have to be a change over maybe four years (Roman cannot go and buy 8 new players at huge prices in one transfer window now - as the Financial Fair play rules might knock him out of Europe if he did) and that the ageing players would have to be replaced sooner rather than later.
    However, he wanted the superstar manager, but then failed to back him: result, same old story of failure, unrest in the dressing room and another sacked manager! But then, apparently, they (Mr Abramovich) appoint Roberto Di Matteo as caretaker - is Roman writing off the rest of this season, as I can see them winning absolutely nothing this year with him in charge for the last few months!

  • Comment number 39.

    What a joke.
    A good young manager gets the boot because he's not allowed to drop/sell the old has beens.
    Lets see how far Chelsea get playing Lampard/Terry/Drogba/Cole and co. No more CL league for them in the near future.

  • Comment number 40.

    The sucess that came in 2004 and 05 was simply because of the amount of spending with prices of players not as high. Players have become ridiculously expensive over the last 5 years and even a rich man like Abramovic cannot afford to revamp a squad in one summer like he and Mourihno did in 2004. A classic example would be Fernando Torres. 50 million for a 27 year old with a history of injuries!

  • Comment number 41.


    Hiddink wasn't sacked, he was a temporary caretaker. Agree he should have stayed though, I maintain we'd have won the CL had he stayed on

    Very typical McNulty journalism here, having spent the past 8 months under-mining AVB you now turn on us for dumping him

    This season has been a nightmare. I think the probelm has been trying to instil a whole new set of tactics and ethos in a group of players

    Player power has also played its part. The attitude of some players has not impressed me either, Lampard has got to accept that at 34 he cannot continue to be the bedrock of the team

    It's a very different situation to Ancelotti, Carlo was sacked for being too conservative and not even trying to tackle our reliance on the old guard, AVB went too far, and fell foul of player power and a very strong dressing room

    Performance wise I think hopeless finishing has been costing us all season. Yesterday just typified it all, Mata and Sturridge are the onyl forwards even worth mentioning. Drogba has been wildly inconsistent, Torres has been a nightmare but I will just say that AVB still got him looking more dangerous than Ancelotti ever managed to do. I don't know why we paid all that money for Laukaku and don't even use him. And now rumours are suggesting Sturridge is unhappy at being played out wide to accomodate a hapless £50 million disaster

    Defence wise it's been poor. Ironically I feel it's the much maligned David Luiz who's best suited to the high line. Poor fullbacks haven't helped either, I have lost track of the number of times I see Cole get skimmed game after game only to see him back oin the teamsheet and Bertrand kicking his heels on the bench

    Another thing I've notiecd is a real lack of cohesion between the defence and the midfield. The lack of protection the midfield has been giving the defence is startling, this was especially noticable in the Napoli game. Why did we stop playing the hugely impressive Oriol Romeu? Meireles looks more money down the drain

    Where do we go from here? Good question. I wonder if we have Rafa Benitez lined up, given the fee we paid for Torres was have to get him scoring

  • Comment number 42.

    This blog seems to be written as if it is fitting the timeline to the outcome.
    No discussion on whether such short-termism is warranted, let's just say ooh Ambramoich is famously impatient as if that is unquestionable.

    I suppose Chelsea pensioners is fitting for both their aging team and attitude to their managers. I hope this ridiculous short-sightedness never brings success.

  • Comment number 43.

    If Abramovic had kept his relation with Mourihno strong, he would have probably bagged the CL about 3 times by now. Mourihno would have moved on players alot sooner and bought alot better players. Plus he would have handled the dressing room very well.

  • Comment number 44.

    To see where Chelsea's real problem lies, Abramovich only has to look in the mirror.
    He can't resist meddling. No doubt because he's made a lot of money, he thinks he is infallible.
    Against Mourinho's wishes he decided that Chelsea needed Shevchenko and then he decided that an unfit Torres was the next big idea.
    I'll bet given his time over he would've let Mourinho get on with the job but then again, perhaps he is incapable of self-criticism.

  • Comment number 45.

    The circus that is Chelsea football club roles on. Once again the prima donna players have won out. Just what is it that drives Abramovich to believe that the likes of Drogba, Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole are great players waiting for the right manager? All have rode on being grossly overrated throughout their careers. They must be happy that their pay packets are safe for another few months at least.

  • Comment number 46.

    Chelsea is the only team in the Premiership who have an management problem, not team management but club management. They have spent the budget of small countries on pedigree players who have turned out to be duds and turned pedigree managers into mediocre coaches, except for the "Special One". It is time the owner stopped getting involved in team management and spend that time making himself richer. Also I think it is difficult for arrogant, overpaid and mediocre players like John Terry and Frank Lampard to accept a manager who is younger and wiser than themselves. Also Chelsea should model their remodelling on Man Utd and let the manager get on without management involvement

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    The problem has never been the manager, its always been the players. What does Abramovich expect? , here is an old squad go win all 4 trophies with it....., as a Chelsea fan it frustrates me seeing no backing from the owner. Lampard,Drogba,Kalou and Malouda need to be replaced and Torres needs to start scoring goals. Give Lukaku a run in the team he looks decent in the sub appearances he has made. Or even play Sturridge down the middle, there needs to be some experimenting. There just needs to be whole sale changes at the club and a manager who can bring a breath of fresh air.

  • Comment number 49.

    AVB was destroying Chelsea by persisting with playing a system and players that simply do not work - the phrase flogging a dead horse springs to mind ! He also made some very dubious substitutions like subbing a striker for a defender when you're only 1 goal up. It was obvious Chelsea would grab a draw from the jaws of victory. Why oh why would anyone persist in trying something that doesn't work - what happened to learning from your mistakes - like playing Torres 30 times(?) and being rewarded with 5 goals - £10 million a goal ! The "old guard" maybe older than some but that doesn't make them rubbish. Who is Chelseas top scorer ? well, its not Sturridge but Lampard. He tried to play like Barcelona - why !? Chelsea are Chelsea NOT Barca ! Play to YOUR strengths not someone else's.
    In short, AVB is too "corporate". He was too prickly with the media (who, if onside, can win you 4-6 games/season), was not personable or approachable enough for the dressing room and is more suited to being a high level statistician for NASA !

  • Comment number 50.

    AVB was bought in to do a job, change the Chelsea old guard. So why does RA then allow this old guard to sign his death nell???
    The players have done the same as they did to a number of recent managers, under performed deliberately. No matter what the manager tried they made sure it didn't work. Pay them a small basic salary and load win bonuses on the result. Lets see how many of them are prepared to deliberately play below par then.

  • Comment number 51.

    I suspect Robbie Savage (and I don't often agree with him!) is right, and many others too, when they say that ABV was in a no-win situation. Hired by a petulant owner, and given no public backing whatsoever by him or anyone else at Chelsea that I could see, expected to succeed with players he inherited (including the owner's own white elephant pet project, Fernando Torres, who's been ruined as a player by the move to Chelsea) and criticised for trying to advance the team without being supported in attempts to bring on newer younger talent, very few experienced managers could have done any better.

    He's been criticised for being tactically naive, but anyone who followed him at Porto knows that is not the case. I don't know whether he'll want to come back to England after this, but I for one would love to see him managing another Premier League club, one where he might be able to show what a future he has.

    As others have said, Chelsea will remain a laughing-stock in England and in Europe under this owner unless Abramovich himself realises this is not how to run a football club. AVB is one of the few to come out of this sorry episode with any respect. I hope he realises that.

  • Comment number 52.

    Can I just say there is alot of evidence that suggests that it was Ancelotti, not Roman who wanted Torres? Ray Wilkins, after he was sacked and with every reason to feel bitter towards Abramovic and the club heirarchy, has said as much. And why have successive Chelsea managers, after they've been sacked, confirmed that Roman does not pick the team?

    Considering how vitriol AVB has taken from you lot all season I'm amazed you're not commending us for this decision!

  • Comment number 53.

    (See #51) apologies for the typo. I mean of course Andre Villas-Boas (AVB) not ABV.

  • Comment number 54.

    I predict AVB will meet Chelsea in the champs league(assuming they qualify from here on) with another team and knock them out.

  • Comment number 55.

    My big worry is that RA will get bored of the incompetent managers that come through Chelseas revolving doors and will take his swag bag elsewhere !

  • Comment number 56.

    Lots of people ask , "who would take the Chelsea job" ? I can only assume thats a rhetorical ? as theres at least £10m reasons !!

  • Comment number 57.

    AVB is a likeable chap but he knew the risks.

    He was also tactically naive.

    The question is - what next? To get Chelsea back to their previous position they need to spend spend spend again - will Abramovich do it again?

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm not sure anyone at Chelsea FC can spell the word CLASS let alone understand what it means!

  • Comment number 59.

    As a Chelsea Supporter, I'm glad he has gone. He was the wrong man from the start.
    There is a rebuilding project needed at Chelsea, and you don't give that kind of job to someone in their 3rd year of management.

    Other Chelsea fans have said, back him give him time, he's a good manager, look what he did at Porto.. Well sorry, he didn't show any tactical ability in the Prem. Also with his success he had at Porto, how many of the squad did he get in, and how many was there before he arrived?

    I'm not one to agree with sacking managers (Jose, Carlo & Wilkins was wrong) but in order to have a long term manager he has to be right for the club. AVB was too young.

    Hopefully now Di Matteo will see us to the end of the season, when the Special one comes home.. Why else did you think he was house hunting around Chelsea:)

  • Comment number 60.

    Think the sacking of AVB is despicable, especially when he is supposed to be working on an agreed 3 year plan. Why not sack some of the over rated and over paid, but under performing "Stars", sorry players, as stars is being over generous to a some of them.
    But it is just typical of the owner, sack the manager, and ignore the facts, the players are aging, don't seem to try most of the time, and it is not a given that they will win anything either this season, could be out of the FA cup Tuesday, Champions league the following week, and not even finish in top four.

  • Comment number 61.

    58. At 17:57 4th Mar 2012, DATB wrote:
    I'm not sure anyone at Chelsea FC can spell the word CLASS let alone understand what it means!


    Excellent comment

  • Comment number 62.

    I'll do it for 90 grand ;-)

  • Comment number 63.

    Just about par for the course. Abramovich and the board have very little real clue about football. Buck Gourlay & Tennenbaum are NOT football people. Businessmen with no grasp of what it takes to establish a good quality club. I despair of the advice that Abramovich has. Strange to note that the best time under Abramovich was with Kenyon as CEO: he knew football. Look hard at yourself Abramovich and ask yourself what you want really. get rid of that board and replace them those who know the game well - and I don't mean Bobby Campbell!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Despite the players dramitcally under-performing this year AVB must take some blame. The reason Chelsea got out of the mess last year was because Ancelotti could adapt his tactics. AVB could not. He persisted in using 4-3-3 which was not working. The high line was also useless with a slow defence and a poor pssing midfield. How many times has the Chelsea midfield given the ball away this year? Sturridge is also too greedy to be a winger and cannot track back and give the right back support, therefore he needs to be played in the centre.Malouda and Kalou are also useless as wingers and need to be axed and not played, ( AVB did play them). Finally Mata needs to play as an attacking midfielder, because he does not offer as much on the wings.

  • Comment number 65.

    What a circus Chelsea have become.

    Ageing players well past the peek of their careers running club affairs to enable them to stay in the team.

    The likes of Lampard, Terry, Cole and Drogba were never going to take to AVB as he had plans for the future. Obviously none of them would be involved. It is however silly of them not to realise that any new manager coming into Chelsea will offload them as soon as possible now or be undermined over every decision by quite frankly second rate players at a level where they cannot compete.

    Any manager in the world would not be able to do anything with that team. Anyone surely cant be foolish enough to try and take on the Chelsea job with those players still in the squad would be mad.

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil McNulty's article is rubbish, I'm only reading this blog for the reader comments. PM's assertion "Terry and Lampard, while still serviceable Premier League players, are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning" is a misleading statement; Terry has looked a liability, in contrast to Lampard, who's goals from midfield have won several matches.

  • Comment number 67.

    I think some of the 'wise guys' on here need to get real...give him 3 years my arm! Its clear AVB was way out of his depth and the gamble failed. A team like Chelsea with all the resources available to the them, should be able to rebuild without looking like mid-table mediocrity and upsetting half the team in the process. Yes, some players are getting on, but they are still great players who should be treated with respect. Just look at how SAF has used OAP's at MU. I'm afraid that AVB has shown by his handling of almost everything, that he is naive, in-experienced and definitely NOT the man for the job. It was a monumental gamble for Chelsea to go with him, and fair play for realising they were wrong. I know its another manager sacked, but this guy should never have been considered in the first place, and I for one think the damage he's done will not be easily fixed.

  • Comment number 68.

    Mourinho to return with a carte blanche.

  • Comment number 69.

    Wonder what Wilkins thinks of this.

    Moi wurd! he was a very talented young man, perhaps? (chuckle)

  • Comment number 70.

    I also think despite Ancelotti's success, he destroyed Chelsea. I know Milan are doing decent this season and he had great success their but he persists in old players and does not let them go. Look at some of the oldies in Milan still there. He sold Scott Sinclair at Chelsea, who is doing very well at Swansea who could have done alot better than Torres. Chelsea have mad alot of terrible decisions wuth youth over the years and it has cost them.

  • Comment number 71.

    When your ownership model is based on the purchase and expectation of instant and continued success then this is no surprise. If AVB was the make a transition of the team, he should have been left to get on with it.

    This many changes over the recent years suggests the problem is at the top of this club.

    Why doesn't RA just be done with it and turn over the management to the senior players?

  • Comment number 72.

    Can't see Mourinho going back although I bet he would love to be offered the job just to tell Abramovich where to go....

  • Comment number 73.

    One has to question how such a successful businessman can make so many ridiculous errors of judgement that has cost him so much.

    Does anyone else finds it interesting that after another weekend of great action in the EPL, with north east derby, van persie and progbenyak's performances and so on, the story deemed the most interesting and relevant so have a blog about it is the sacking of AVB. Listen, he got hardly done by, but I think his pay off will balance out his disappointment. AVB is no longer part of the EPL. Focus on the many players and managers that are!

  • Comment number 74.

    Nobody with any sense will touch the chelsea job with a barge pole. Maureen was sacked for daring to drop John Terry. Ancelotti won the double and was sacked within a year, Avram Grant came within a spot kick of the Champions League and was sacked, Scholari was given less than a season.

    It seems that the more they decline as players, the more influence Lampard, Cole and Terry have over the way the club is run. If they are not carefull, Chelsea will repeat the mistakes of United in the 70s, and allow an ageing squad to get them relegated.

    The current squad is not good enough, and with the fair play regulations, any attempt to bring in big name signings will see them kicked out of Europe. Joke of a club with no class at all.

  • Comment number 75.

    It is sad to see AVB go. I genuinely wanted him to succeed. But he did not. Premier league football is a results based business and he failed to get the results needed. Occasionally naive tactically, and guilty of conceit on others , his time had run out. Player power at Chelsea can be a problem but also a strength. Not playing a fit Lampard in the big games contributed to his undoing. He needed a defensive coach and got Matteo and Emanalo instead, (not a dream team). Emanalo is a particularly baffling choice for director of football. So AVB wanders off and who is next in the dressing room? Drogba, Cole, Essien, Torres, Kalou and even Super Frank must know their time is up and must play their best to salvage something from this miserable season. Bring on Fabio Capello as he at least understands how to defend, but he is probably going to replace the Tinkerman Ranieri at Inter Milan, if not then AVB will. Hope we do not get Rafa as he is completely barking.

  • Comment number 76.

    I said it last week and I'll say it this week:

    Ageing drek... Lampard, Terry, Cole, Drogba. Chelsea will be a mid-table side if the following do not occur:

    1) Abramovich needs to clear off
    2) The ageing drek need to clear off
    3) Pick a manager and give him time.

    Chelski's main problem is Abramovich, a feckless billionaire who clearly doesn't care or doesn't see his own poisonous, corrosive impact. He will destroy Chelski and all you blues fans who cant see this are kidding yourselves... Chelski = Biggest Joke in English football history.....

  • Comment number 77.

    "No class"

    What does this mean?

    Football and class are two polar opposites.

  • Comment number 78.

    Some of the more asinine comments are more laughable than the 100/1 odds being quoted by a leading bookmaker for John Terry to be the next permanent manager.

  • Comment number 79.

    Lots of people ask , "who would take the Chelsea job" ? I can only assume thats a rhetorical ? as theres at least £10m reasons !!

    I think this is a valid question. You're not going to be interested in anyone, only the best, well the best are already getting paid extremely well, so its going to take more than money to interest them. Furthermore Chelsea do not have the same financial muscle they used to have with man city, psg, barca and madrid to name just 4 clubs richer than chelsea and considerably so.

  • Comment number 80.

    Chelsea are a joke. The club is more dysfunctional than the circus that was Real Madrid under Florentino Perez in the early 2000s.

  • Comment number 81.

    Extremely disappointed! I really thought AVB was a great young manager that would see us through the years. I blame the players for not supporting him and the owner for not sticking to his plan. We will never become a club of substance if we keep switching managers and never give our young players a chance. Chelsea is going through a major change and sacking the manager in charge is not the solution.   We need an owner who will not treat the club like his personal toy and trust the staff to do their jobs. Sooner or later Mr. Abramovich will learn and and only then Chelsea will prosper. 

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    Chelski's main problem is Abramovich, a feckless billionaire who clearly doesn't care or doesn't see his own poisonous, corrosive impact. He will destroy Chelski and all you blues fans who cant see this are kidding yourselves...


    Problem with that is, Abramovich IS Chelsea. Without him they are are left with 25 highly paid players and zero pence to pay them with.

  • Comment number 84.

    Firstly I am delighted we have sacked AVB as he was clearly out of his depth as a manager.
    Secondly in answer to all this criticism of Ambravomic - since he arrived we have won three titles, got to one champions league final and three other semi finals and won five domestic cups - so very successful.
    Thirdly I agree the team needs strengthening and renewing but the problem is it is near impossible to replace world class players of the likes of Lampard, Drogba and Terry. They may be declining but are still performing better than the ones brought in like Merieles and co. We have to be very careful before we get rid of such players as we have never replaced other departing stars like Robben who we replaced with Kalou!
    We will be back next year.
    Bring back Mourinho or if not Eddie McCreadie

  • Comment number 85.

    1 I am not a Chelsea fan in any way

    2 All the talk of a lack of class at Chelsea is rubbish, there is no 'class' in football, you win, you lose, you draw, you play with style, or you hoof it up and hope. An owner may have class (but not Mr A) as can a manager or an individual player, but that does not rebound to the club.

    3 Chelsea may bounce, it sometimes happens, from this change, but Di Matteo was sacked from WBA, according to reports from inside the Hawthorns at the time, because when they were losing he was more interested in going for a smoke than giving a team talk. WBA were good going forward and dire in defence under his leadership, which sounds not far removed from Chelsea now.

    4 Yes a lot of the players need to move on, although I am not sure Cole is one of them, but for the rest of the season they need the best side out that they can get to try to get back up to 4th, and if I were in charge and I thought that was Lampard Drogba Terry et al I would pick them. It improves the chances of getting better players in during the summer if they have CL football.

    5 Long term replacement needs to be someone that Abramovich wont be too keen to sack. Vladimir Putin seems the only choice.

  • Comment number 86.

    AVB might one day be a great coach, but he was fooling himself if he believed that he was ready for Chelsea. The club are also at fault for offering him the position in the first place. Can't believe he got the job ahead of Guus Hiddink.

    He has displayed tremendous naivety in dealing with the players, in dealing with the press and, most importantly, tactically. This was always going to be a difficult season, with the team in transition. However, there was no clear plan. Youngsters were not given a chance to show what they can do and AVB appeared paralysed in bringing about change when things started going wrong.

    The appointment of Di Matteo is one of the greatest hospital passes in the history of the game and is surely a prelude to him being shown the door come May. If RDM gets us into next season's champions league, they'll have to call him Moses - that's the sort of miracle it'll take.

  • Comment number 87.

    #65 the problem is that offloading the likes of Lampard and Terry is almost impossible. Both are on long term contracts earning twice if not three times what they would get elsewhere, and with their England careers likely to be over after the Euros, if not before, they are not going to go anywhere.
    The new manager may want rid of them, but short of CHelsea paying them off, he is going to be stuck with them.

  • Comment number 88.

    5 Long term replacement needs to be someone that Abramovich wont be too keen to sack. Vladimir Putin seems the only choice.

    brilliant, if not for the dislike between the two!

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 76. At 18:19 4th Mar 2012, Bigly_Dee

    No Abramovich is quite smart actually and he will put Chelsea back to the top of the pile again.

    The selling of Stamford Bridge is the main obstacle at the moment.

    Chelsea fans (Chelsea Pitch Owners plc) need to get out of the way and allow Abramovich to move the stadium (preferably to the Battersea Power Station site).

    Once it is sold, he can redevelop Stamford Bridge into flats for maybe £1-2 billion profit. (It is prime SW6 land after all).

    Once this is achieved we can get a brand new 65,000+ seater stadium and use the mountain of money to dominate Europe.

    Quite straight forward.

  • Comment number 90.

    Should have Given AVB more time. Should have waited till end of next season and see where things were going

  • Comment number 91.


    CLUELESS..... Abramovich is no more a Chelsea fan than I am.

    He only bought Chelsea because he sees it as the club of the British establishment.... He wanted to get in with them for business purposes. Unfortunatley he has discovered that business in Britain is not conducted like it is in Russia !!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    Its easy to say this with hindsight, but AVB was never cut out for Chelsea as he lacked the experience needed. When United got thrashed at home by City after their free scoring run Fergie went back to basics, made the team hard to beat with 5 in midfield and happy to grind out 1-0 wins. When your defence is shaky, stengthen your midfield to help protect the back four, instead he played midfielders who have no tactical discipline and are poor defensively. AVB's biggest error was to be like Wenger, one game plan for all events regardless of personnel available and it doesn't help having a white elephant that couldn't hit water if they fell off a boat at sea.

    Despite what he did wrong, an equal proportion of the blame has to be put onto the players with some going to Roman for not publically backing his manager when he needed it most. If Roman had done so it would've made the players think twice before double guessing AVB and let them know where the power really lies. Instead we've learnt that Terry & co have the power & the backing. AVB was doomed before he started and so will the next manager unless this changes.

  • Comment number 93.

    14 Charlie Chalk

    You've managed to mention them though. Unbelievable.

    Well done

  • Comment number 94.

    Feel sorry for AVB, however he should not have got the job, as Ancelotti was the right man for Chelsea (watch him win the CL with PSG!). I can see a lot of footy fans are revelling in Chelsea`s pain, and understandably so. But whatever we think of Chelsea, it is sad to see a manager get the sack underservedly. Here, I mean Ancelotti.

    Chelsea will now struggle to get a top class manager. I really like Benitez, and think that Liverpool should still have had him (with the new owners, he could have bought those players he wanted, and Torres and Mascherano would probably have still been flourishing at Liverpool). I wish Benitez all the best for the future. I would, however be very suprised to see him go to Chelsea. He would have the money to spend, but the flip side would be Abramovich sticking his oar in. Benitez probably could win the CL for Chelsea, but he would get fed up of RA`s meddling in team affairs, or lack of patience.

    I actually see RA going for someone like Donadoni, Gullit, or even Alan Pardew or David Moyes. Why these fellas? Guardiola will not leave Barca, Mourinho will go to Spurs, Hiddink is too honourable, and Rafa Benitez will not be interested. So he will have to look at those who are at the next level down so to say(no disrespect intended).

    Whoever unluckily gets the job should make it a requirement that they ARE given time to buy/bring through the next batch of players. Otherwise, Chelsea will be the next Leeds or Portsmouth x50. I really believe that. Chelsea are at a critical point in their recent history. Things could go very bad, if RA makes the wrong decisions for now and for the longevity of the next manager.

  • Comment number 95.


    He sells oil !! I could sell oil and make a profit... he isn't all that good.

  • Comment number 96.

    Well, that's just made it even harder for the next poor devil who comes in and takes over at Chelsea. They're well and truly finished now.

  • Comment number 97.

    Harry for Chelsea?

  • Comment number 98.

    Hope Emenalo,Gourlay and Buck get the sack too.

    Afterwards shipping out/dumping Torres,Obi Mikel,Jose Bosingwa,Benayoun and Meireles cant do Chelsea any harm

  • Comment number 99.

    Most of these posts are from Chelsea-haters, so should be viewed in those terms. Giving AVB more time is giving him longer to fail. He has been axed now because Abramovich is worried that Chelsea won't qualify for next season's Champions League. If RA was about to walk away from the Bridge as some silly sods are suggesting here, do you think that he would give a stuff how they are 'performing' at present? If RA is guilty of anything, it's that he cares too much. He knows that without CL football next season, he will not attract any 'marquee signings'. I mean, look at poor old, hyped Liverpool, without CL football, their marquee signings have been Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. Oh and buying Joe Cole was a smart move.
    There are ManUre fans who scoff at RA's lack of patience. These are the same hypocrites who were calling for the head of their new young goalkeeper after two matches. Those who expect RA to move on or who claim that AVB should have stayed longer and failed longer are not Chelsea supporters.
    Some silly sausages hace claimed that Chelsea are a laughing stock. Less than two years ago, they were the most recent winners of the DOUBLE. Not bad for a laughing stock. They've always qualified for the knockout stages of the CL. Such a laughing stock. They have not been in constant decline since Mourinho. They won the DOUBLE without him and thanks to the 'assistance' of the much-maligned Abramovich.
    I do feel slightly sorry for AVB. he does have a rubbish team. Cole, Drogba, Lampard, Terry, and yes Cech, are has-beens; Torres doesn't score [nobody's fault but his own, no excuses please]; Luiz doesn't defend; Bosingwa can't defend, Meirles and Ramires are average players, and the mother of them all, Mikel can't shoot, can't pass, and has no pace. Otherwise he's outstanding.
    Chelsea's biggest mistake is to invest in fancy Dan foreign coaches. Keep Di Matteo or turn to Glenn Hoddle, a level-headed, no nonsense intelligent guy. No more foreign flops please. Chelsea are so poor that they need someone who can squeeze extra five per cent out of ordinary players.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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