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Time waits for no man at Stamford Bridge

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Phil McNulty | 06:51 UK time, Monday, 5 March 2012

Roman Abramovich gathered his trusted advisors around him at Chelsea's Cobham training complex on Sunday to put the final touches to another brief managerial reign by sacking Andre Villas-Boas.

Director Eugene Tenenbaum and chief executive Ron Gourlay were in attendance while chairman Bruce Buck will have been kept in the loop as the end came for the 34-year-old Portuguese who has only been at Chelsea for nine months.

Abramovich answers to no-one at Stamford Bridge - certainly not the growing number of managers he has hired and fired during his time as Chelsea owner. If he has been taking advice, however, the growing body of evidence suggests some of it has been bad.

And yet it might be the greatest service the secretive, silent Abramovich's inner circle could do Chelsea if they plucked up the courage to point out the mistakes the Russian has made, the list of errors that mean he is now further away from his dream of winning the Champions League than at any point in his time in the club.

Abramovich made a mistake in allowing "The Special One" Jose Mourinho to slip from his and Chelsea's grasp in 2007. The pair's relationship had fractured but common sense decreed that his departure was never going to be good news for anyone at Stamford Bridge.

He made a mistake in sacking the experienced and worldly Carlo Ancelotti for having the audacity to fail to win a trophy in the 12 months following his historic feat of winning the Premier League and FA Cup double.

Andre Villas-Boas signed a three-year deal at Chelsea after leaving Porto on 20 June, 2011. Photo: Getty

And now, having personally overseen the appointment of Villas-Boas, Abramovich has effectively admitted to another error by sacking him in such short order, with Saturday's loss at West Bromwich Albion the final straw in a sequence of only three wins in 12 league games.

Abramovich's wealth and lavish investment in Chelsea's squad has always acted as an effective shield against criticism, but discontent with performances this season suggests a tipping point is being reached.

What Abramovich did get right was, after sacking Villas-Boas, turning his fire on Chelsea's players who have done little to assist their young former manager in his time of struggle - indeed at times seeming almost willing to add to his troubles.

Chelsea has leaked like a sieve with stories designed to paint an unflattering picture of Villas-Boas' man-management and technical skills, undermining his attempts to move an ageing and under-achieving squad on to the next stage of its development.

Time will tell if Abramovich's harsh words have any effect on the powerful characters inside the Chelsea dressing room as the real fear emerges that they may not even qualify for next season's Champions League.

Abramovich came within a John Terry slip of clasping his Holy Grail, the Champions League, against Manchester United in Moscow in 2008. He must know the opportunity may disappear forever if he gets his next big decision wrong, or is allowed to get it wrong by those around him at Stamford Bridge.

No-one other than those chosen few lieutenants can second guess Abramovich with any degree of accuracy, but if he does not make the right choices in the months ahead Manchester City will stretch further away, Manchester United will be the ever-present domestic benchmark and Barcelona and Real Madrid may not even believe Chelsea are worthy of consideration as serious European rivals.

Mourinho and Ancelotti gave Abramovich domestic supremacy while Avram Grant took the former's team and guided them to the Champions League final, although his record since suggests this was one occasion when player power was a force for good.

Abramovich handpicked Villas-Boas from Porto after he won the title and the Europa League, but it was always going to be a tough task for a rookie manager to make long-term plans at a club with such short-term vision.

If Chelsea's squad was to be overhauled and the elder statesmen edged towards the exit, this was surely a task better suited to someone with Ancelotti's background allied to his diplomatic and political know-how rather than a man in his managerial infancy, albeit one who had made impressive beginnings?

He leaves having got virtually nowhere with his task of reducing the average age of Chelsea's squad and providing a more attractive style of play. Abramovich is back to the drawing board and even he must know his next selection must be made with utmost care then left to lay the foundations for Chelsea's future, irrespective of complaints from within the dressing room and without breaking into a cold sweat at the first sign of a bad run.

So where does Abramovich go from here? The usual suspects are being assembled and lined up.

The name of Mourinho will surely be at the forefront of Abramovich's thoughts. The rub here will be that, after their split, the current Real Madrid coach would almost certainly demand total control over all football affairs, something the Russian may be reluctant to accept.

If he can force himself to take such a step, Abramovich will be swamped with goodwill and gratitude from Chelsea's supporters who have not forgotten Mourinho's brilliance and also by many of the players he has left behind.

The dilemma for Mourinho is that time has moved on at Chelsea in his absence and many of those he trusted and who trusted him, such as John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba, are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.

Another name exercising Abramovich's mind will be Barcelona's Pep Guardiola, currently considering whether to agree an extension to his contract at the Nou Camp.

Is it a serious possibility, however, that he would leave the dreamland he has created in Catalonia with players such as Messi, Xavi and Iniesta - and the club that has stamped its philosophy through his veins - for the dysfunctional beast that is Chelsea?

It appears former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has been cast aside as a short-term option, although a run of poor results for caretaker Roberto Di Matteo may prompt yet further action.

So will Abramovich be tempted to make the 'revolutionary' move of exploring domestic managerial territory?

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin made his views clear when he said: "I would grab Everton's David Moyes in two minutes, get him in there and tell him to start the dynasty."
Is Moyes really global or glamorous enough for Abramovich, who wants Chelsea to play a part on the world stage?

Even his choice of Di Matteo as a temporary solution until the end of the season tilts against logic. The Italian was part of the Villas-Boas regime Abramovich deemed unworthy and yet he has effectively been charged with either moving Chelsea into the latter stages of the Champions League or, at the very least, qualifying for next season's competition.

The only other theory is that Abramovich has a narrow list of targets and wants Di Matteo to simply hold the fort until the summer. If this is the case it almost smacks of Chelsea's owner admitting defeat, with the accompanying danger that the likes of Mourinho or Guardiola are unlikely to be tempted to a club nestling in the Europa League.

So another day brings another change in Chelsea manager - but it may also take a change in Stamford Bridge's enigmatic owner if the next move is to be a success.


Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    Too many personalities and chiefs at Stamford Bridge.

  • Comment number 2.

    Someone at Chelsea needs to buy Abramovich a new dictionary - his appears to be missing the word 'continuity'. Without a long term manager, given the freedom to actually manage, Chelsea will continue to decline. It seems to have gone so badly so quickly!

  • Comment number 3.

    How on earth am I first, when there are the professional commenters waiting to pounce. It was my first comment in 6 months?

    Hiddink could do it, but they've missed the opportunity.

  • Comment number 4.

    Someone needs to step up and tell Abramovic what he should be doing if he wants to win the Champion's League, because constantly firing every manager he appoints is clearly not the way to do it. Now he needs to get in someone with the courage to let go of Terry, Lampard, Cole, Drogba, Torres, Malouda, Kalou, Mikel, Bosingwa, Cech... You know what, more or less the entire first team apart from Mata and Essien.

  • Comment number 5.

    If Di Matteo is left in charge till the end of the season it only proves that it was the players purposely playing bad for AVB and that Roman fired him to let the players think they have control again and so they will try to win as they have not been doing that. There is too much to risk for Chelsea's season for not having the next 4 months thought about and suggesting that Roman has given up for this year is just a thought amongst fools. If the Chelsea hirearchy feel that the players are not to blame and it was poor management by AVB we will see a Cappello or Rafa in.

  • Comment number 6.

    Abramovic ,Terry, Lampard, Cole, Drogba, Torres, Malouda, Kalou, Mikel, Bosingwa and Cech might well leave in that order.Queue flushing toilet sound effect.
    3.Duckwithpen-'It seems to have gone so badly so quickly!' Ok but It got so good so quickly. Chickens come home to roost you know.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Chelsea job is only a slightly less poisoned chalice than the England job. No manager with any sense or current employment would/should go anywhere near it.

  • Comment number 8.

    If success was that easy to abramovich, then he should just move out to the dug out and start overseeing the Chelsea players playing week in week out........he obviously think because he inherit is millions from somewhere he can do like wise in football..........IF he continues like this with policy of When having headache the best solution is to cut of the head, then there is only one way for Chelsea football club, and that Way Down .........Dear to say Decline...........???

  • Comment number 9.

    How many more managers will this bunch of players get sacked?
    I cant see anyone buying them with their attitudes, so unless JM comes back then the players will keep losing till they get what they want.

    The LMA are right, this is now embarrassing for the owner.

  • Comment number 10.

    Abramovic is a business man, used (probably) to sacking managers left, right and centre when they do not perform to his expectations. What he has yet to come to grips with is that professional football managers are not as easy to replace as general managers of his many high-end businesses. For a man who spends more on his boats than his football club, he may be excused for his short-term thinking .. But ultimately, I feel as he also gets older, Chelsea's fortunes are bound to decline. Letting go of Carlo was the first sign that he will not be doing the club, and his own lofty ambitions, justice. I say let it be, let the world see and realize that money backed success is fleeting and temporary.

  • Comment number 11.

    Honestly AVB is not the main reason for Chelsea's decline at the moment, they simply have far too many old players who are way past it. To win the only way Chelsea know how they're going to need another £200-250 million of investment in new players to be competing for trophies again. They're just too flat in their performances with these 'veterans', so sack AVB if they like but only their young players are earning them points as it stands.

  • Comment number 12.

    Chelsea's finances will make an interesting reading early next year.

  • Comment number 13.

    Lets be clear here, AVB although a little inexperienced was/ is not the real problem at Chelsea.

    1) The owner and his 'advisors' are an embarrassment
    2) The senior players do not deserve to wear the shirt

    Like every Chelsea supporter we appreciate the investment put into the club by the owner, but if we are to accept this financial backing at the cost of losing our club's dignity, then I'd rather the club be a run of the mill mid-table team.

    I agree with Nevin and would back David Moyes, but it won't happen. Our owner is prone to the latest flavour of the month, which usually means an overseas candidate....

    Mourinho was great for us, but coming back he'd only been on a hiding to nothing.

  • Comment number 14.

    So the managerial merry go round at Chelsea continues. Already the press are sharpening up their knives for Di Matteo. They must share some culpability with the senior players. Chelsea's troubles started with the sacking of Ray Wilkins, a dismissal that still hasn't been fully explained. Wilkins was the go between with players and management. As a Chelsea fan I would love to see Mourinho back in the hot seat with Wilkins at his side, but I cannot see the owner eating humble pie and re-instating him. My one fear is Benitez and the dreary 4-4-2 formation.

  • Comment number 15.

    Its quite simple. If time does not wait for someone soon at Chelsea then Chelsea will continue to find it difficult to hang on to the coat tails of their major competitors. The job is a three year one,move players out,get players in,evolve a system of play,test it,fine tune it. Nobody can do that overnight. It will invlove a year or two possibly not playing Champions League football at all. Chelsea can avoid having to undergo such a complete overhaul by planning in future. They have simply allowed the mainstays of the side to all become too old at the same time. Task one however is to get the owner to understand any of that. He shows precious few signs of having done so thus far.

  • Comment number 16.

    As a Chelsea fan I was not schoked at all by the news of AVB sack, rather I was stunned by Abramovich continuous gullibility.. My freiend once asked " to reduce the average age of chelsea team, is it by signing a young coach?" I am sure chelsea will have one if not the oldest squard in England. This guy keep sacking coaches and never players... Ferrera is still collecting salary @ chelsea, what a shame. Players are now mafias you must appease as a manager, they are old, tired, arrogant yet no skills (Malouda, Lamparp,Drogba, Cole, Terry, Essien etc). Someone needs to tell this guy that why he is busy scaking coaches others are building stornger teams and dynasty, making profits instead of incuring loses paying compensations. Mr Abramovich wake up, money can only buy you short term success, for long term you need to plan, develop a policy and ideaology.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am truly disgusted by the attitude of Abramovich towards Villas Boas and the Chelsea team. Not even giving a young manager a season to prove himself, especially at a time when the team is in a state of transiition, is truly shameful.

    When is he going to realise that Chelsea won't win anything, and will never develop the legacy of teasm such as Man Utd and Barcelona, if he drops the manager each time things go wrong. I'm praying that someone has the balls to tell him he's being a fool, and to tell him that what the team needs is continuity. And i pray that he listens, otherwise Chelsea will continue to decline.

  • Comment number 18.

    chelsea need to trust and give tym to their managers, look at arsenal, at one point they were 17th n the table that doesn't mean you sack manager they gave him time and the playrs supported arsene and look where they r nw, 4th n the table and just 4 points behind third place tottenham, the way chelsea players have behaved hasn't helped Avb either

  • Comment number 19.

    Chelsea have looked poor under him, right decision to sack him. If they’d shown some potential it might have been a different story. If they’d been playing like Blackpool from last season, and were in the same league position as now I doubt AVB would have been sacked. They probably shouldn’t have hired him in the first place.

    No guarantees when hiring a manager. As professional investors say “past performance is no guarantee of future results”. Abramovich looks like a hedge fund manager.

  • Comment number 20.

    There's never been a problem with any of the consistent contingent of continental managers.

    The problems at Chelsea are abundantly clear. They have a cornucopia of sub-Standard English plodders (Lampard, Terry, Cole) and a number of ''young'' Englishmen who will clearly never cut it at this level of the game (Sturridge, Cahill).

  • Comment number 21.

    Not really sure why there is some "heat" on Abramovich. This is a guy that has single handedly transformed the near bankrupt club into title contenders. He has every right as the owner to decide who are the correct staff to manage and run his club.

    AVB clearly showed that he was not good enough and lacked the experience to manage such a big club. He was unable to handle the pressure and his open attacks on the media showed he was unable to bear any critiscism.

    It was a mystery why Ancelotti was sacked, but now they need somebody with experience and good man management to save the season and help the team get 4th spot.

  • Comment number 22.

    20.At 08:56 5th Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    There's never been a problem with any of the consistent contingent of continental managers.

    The problems at Chelsea are abundantly clear. They have a cornucopia of sub-Standard English plodders (Lampard, Terry, Cole) and a number of ''young'' Englishmen who will clearly never cut it at this level of the game (Sturridge, Cahill).

    As opposed to the classy continental pros that have been well known for their quality performances.......David Luiz, jose bosingwa, jon obi mikel, florent malouda, fernando torres etc?

    Torres has a 1.6 goal per manager record!!

  • Comment number 23.

    #20 - for someone who seems to have a very low regard for England and Englsh players you seem to spend an awful lot of time on English website focused on the English game.

    “Journalists” and bloggers often talk about continuity as the way forward. Arsenal have had 15 years of continuity and haven’t won anything for the last 7 years!

  • Comment number 24.


    I suppose Torres 3 goals in 14months,thats 16.66 million pounds per goal isnt a problem?

  • Comment number 25.


    Still waiting for an answer

  • Comment number 26.

    Abramovich owns a football club and has improved it massively, but he clearly does not have the patience and vision to be the best.

    I have felt sorry for a few of the managers, especially Ancelotti and Scolari, but then you realise that they were very well paid off.

  • Comment number 27.

    The question must be asked. What if Chelsea do not come back into the Champions league for a protracted period of time? How long until Abramovich decides he has a new hobby? Who will be left to pick up the pieces and is the club at risk of following Portsmouth, Rangers etc. (remember there is little transparency in CFC's financial health)

  • Comment number 28.

    All Roman has done here is shown any manager who may even consider taking over a stamford bridge that its an impossible job! i remember when Jose took over, chelsea has this appoarch to players such as Essien, Robben and Mikel all of which were very close to signing for another team, they came in offered more money got the players and showed for the first time how they wished to do business. Money talks in football as we all but i wouldnt call chelsea rein a success, in fact considering the money spent and quality of players brought in I would put them down as the biggest failure in the prem league! AVB wont be unhappy, he has just been paid close to £10m for 9 months work!!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Why are people saying the Chelsea mangerial job is a 'poisoned chalice'??

    If you were offered a very well paid job with the highly likely outocme that you would be made redundant within the next 12-24 months and receive a fantastic redundancy package. I think we'd all be snapping at the chance.

    Also I believe the other 'Special One' is available at the minute - Gary Megson!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    25.At 09:06 5th Mar 2012, Robbie-England wrote:

    Still waiting for an answer
    He'll not answer. he'll wait for another chance to slate the english then dissappear for an hour when someone makes a good point against his "plodders" comments,

    Northern Ireland hammered spain a couple of years back, he never remembers that match!!!! plus spain are on a downward spiral, swings and roundabouts

  • Comment number 31.

    29.At 09:17 5th Mar 2012, wirral18 wrote:

    I think he's in competition with Alan Curbishley, Lee Clark and Mick McArthy.

    My dark horse tip, Ian Dowie!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Roman was right to fire Villas Boas. He has failed in every aspect of his job and left the owner no option at this stage of the season.
    There is no doubt that Villas Boas had a major task coming into the role as Chelsea Manager and would have identified the following priorities
    1/ Revamp an ageing squad
    2/ Man manage those senior players coming to the end of their careers and get the most out of their final year or two
    3/ Continue to be competitive
    4/ Win trophies
    Villas Boas has had limited success with new signings, Mata looks a good buy but Luis and Mireles less so
    He has lost the dressing room and does not have the man management skills to get the best from ageing players. Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have managed to build teams and make changes over many years while still remaining competitive
    Results are now so bad that the only chance for Chelsea to get 4th. place in the league is if the players get a lift from his departure

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 28 "AVB wont be unhappy, he has just been paid close to £10m for 9 months work!!!!"

    I disagree. He strikes me as a man with dignity and he will feel that he has been treated unfairly by his employer. He was clearly undermined from above and was not given the freedom to do what he (and even the average fan) thought was necessary i.e. curbing the player power of the ageing elite at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 34.

    27.At 09:15 5th Mar 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    The question must be asked. What if Chelsea do not come back into the Champions league for a protracted period of time? How long until Abramovich decides he has a new hobby?
    Good point considering the Russian Government have basically told Roman that they expect at least 1 Billion in funds for the 2018 worldcup! he is also funding formula 1 in russian which will cost around £800m to get started, i.e designing a car and starting construction on a track. he may be rich but i cant see him spending much more.... oh and FFP!!!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    Capello....Terry - have we heard this before somewhere?

  • Comment number 36.

    33.At 09:20 5th Mar 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    I would agree if he were managing PSG or City, but as he is a very smart man i can almost guarantee he thought this through, 8 managers in 8 years!?! im sure he sat back in his office chair and thought even if i get sacked, im still loaded. he has a family, he is still very young for a manager...... boats and ho's for AVB for the next month i bet!!

  • Comment number 37.

    30. At 09:19 5th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    Behave yourself.

    I am eternally grateful to the Northern Ireland region of England for their unwitting part in the supreme Spanish glory which we've all witnessed over the last 5 years. Although, bizarrely, Northern Ireland compete in ''international'' football, it was their defeat of Spain in 2006-07 which gave La Furia Roja the much needed ''boot up the backside'' to go on to bigger and better things.

    European Champions in 2008.

    World Champions in 2010.

    A mere formality to be crowned European Champions - yet again - in 2012.

    Ah, life is good. :sitsbackindeckchair:

  • Comment number 38.

    Romans advisors are the problem!
    Who is reponsible for renewing the likes of Mikel, Malouda, Bosingwa, Kalou contracts year after year!?
    Whilst your keeping garbage like that at your club you have got no chance.
    Problem is we have no football people at the club.
    Agreed with AVB's princibles but he went about it all in the wrong way!

    Good Luck to Robbie always wanted to see an ex-blue in the hot seat :)

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    The problem was not AVB it was the squad he inherited, and you can't clear out a load of overpaid, over the hill English, French, Ivorian etc plodders in 5 minutes.

    Chelsea are in danger of becoming a a bit (more) of a joke...

    Interesting to see this weekend that Harry again gets caught short, actually that makes him more suitable for England manager, Liverpools £millions are sitting just three points above Stoke and four above Norwich, Mancini gets away with his squad rotation (costing me mucho fantasy football points), and Fergie shows why he is and will always be the best EPL manager...

  • Comment number 41.

    The two main problem Chelsea have is that Abramovich doesn't have the first clue about building for the future and isn't patient enough to go a few seasons trophyless in order to come out better for it in the long term, him and his advisors constantly upset the club.

    The other main problem though is that Chelsea FC is basically Abramovich FC. Without him, Chelsea will fold quicker than a stack of cards in a hurricane so unfortunately they're stuck with Abramovich and his foolish decisions.

  • Comment number 42.

    34.At 09:21 5th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    It's no just Abramovich that has been tasked to fund other sport projects. I think it is the majority of Oligarchs that are coerced into complying otherwise the Gov takes action against their illegal gotten gains like they have done with Berezovskiy & Khordokhovsiy.

    The Anzhi owner, Suleyman Kerimov was "instructed" to buy the club and make it competitive as they wanted to have clubs from all regions of Russia to be competiing for the title, rather than Moscow & Zenith.

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    37.At 09:27 5th Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    Northern Ireland is not a "region" of england, goes to show what you know ;0)

    Beating Spain was easy to! 3 goals and all of them clinically finished, euro champs my whole family, not this summer, you were lucky at the last world cup, barely made it out of the group stages if you remember!

    I didnt know Iniesta had not scored in the league up until; last night!!! i thought i was a good player! piiiiiiiisssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • Comment number 45.

    ahhh Soul_Patch do you feel like answering my debunking of you for once? You always like to duck reason and just stick with assertions maybe change that today? If EPL is a 'pub league' why since 2005 has a team made the Champions League final every year but one? from a selection of four teams- only Barca have done it in that time... Yes the Premier League is in a slump right now but I don't write off players because of slumps in form the same applies to clubs. You have two teams in the long term capable of mounting a Champions League challenge, England has 4-6...

    Oh yeah and why is it that you say Torres has declined because he played in our 'pub league'? Most experts (you are far from an expert) say injuries have been the cause of his downturn in form. And how did Fabregas who was sold for £1 million by Barca become statistically the best midfielder in the world playing with our 4th best team? Madrid owe their success to Mourinho (and where does he want to return to again?) and Valencia can only better STOKE CITY with a wonder goal- La Liga's third best team against England's (roughly) tenth. Sit down you philistine.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ 43 I thought I was perhaps being unfair but then quickly realized Hossein Rezazadeh's armit has retired.

  • Comment number 47.

    37.At 09:27 5th Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    Ah, life is good. :sitsbackindeckchair:

    What on earth are you doing on a deck chair? Unless you are abroad?

    "A mere formality to be crowned European Champions - yet again - in 2012" - Have any team retained the European Championships? I can't think of any. That would be an impressive achievement.

  • Comment number 48.

    I feel Roman still feels Chelsea are the best club in the premier league, but now theres Man City with all there money, he has to spend big, or he will be behind, and no manager will last long, he also needs to get rid off old wood, and bring in young blood, and have a good 3 year plan, so there can be a rebuilding plan

  • Comment number 49.

    @46 armpit I meant obviously. (more tea!)

  • Comment number 50.

    Oh but I should say you have never answered my points but have commented as little as four comments later- indicative at all?

  • Comment number 51.

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

  • Comment number 52.

    Difficult decision and whichever way it went the fans would need to be patient, reckon it’ll be a couple of seasons at least before the trophies start coming again. The damage had already been done pre AVB, too much chopping and changing coaches and meddling from the hierarchy. Look at the top three clubs all have coaches have been with the club a few years at least, stability is a necessity to stay at the top. If Chels kept AVB though then almost for sure no trophies this year and no CL next season. Maybe things would have picked up as the ‘project’ kicked in or maybe the project was like the emperor’s new clothes, AVB had Abramovich believing he was doing something when everybody could see there wasn’t rhyme or reason to his tactics, just a lot of prancing around on the touchline. AVB said ‘I don’t need the players backing’, makes you wonder how on earth he thought he was going to get anywhere without support from the dressing room. So now we are going down the yet another new manager road again, whoever he turns out to be, there’s no shortcut, he will need time at least a couple of years similar to Mancini at City. Like I said patience is going to be needed whatever way.

  • Comment number 53.

    Ah, life is good.


    The life of a glory hunter is a simple one.

  • Comment number 54.

    Another big mistake was squandering £50M on Torres. For that money I'd have picked up Schweinsteiger plus two decent defenders to shore up the ageing wall. The owner appears to enjoy breaking up his train set.

  • Comment number 55.

    Roman Abramovich is summoned to a meeting with the new manager of Chelsea.

    The new manager is the same manager who has been there since Sept 2007. It is a 4 headed creature which speaks collectively.

    JT/Ash/Drog/Lamps: So who you gonna get this time RA. You know who we want so why dont you get him?

    RA: I cant have you dictating terms to me, the owner of Chelsea.

    JT/Ash/Drog/Lamps: Listen sunshine, we've seen off Scolari, Hiddink, Ancelotti, Grant and now your latest wheez, AVB so dont think you can go dictating things to us. AVB! Who did you think you were getting? The Special One Mrk 2? Cant you see we dont need challenges at our age. We need an arm 'round the shoulder and someone to clean our Bentleys so get to it Roman.

  • Comment number 56.

    53.At 09:37 5th Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    Ah, life is good.


    The life of a glory hunter is a simple one.
    you know what they say about a simple mind!!?? ;)

  • Comment number 57.


    Not a chance of Spain retaining they title this year.

    Put your money where your mouth is because I am willing to bet you GBP1000.00 that they will not.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 57 Germany are going to walk it imho.

  • Comment number 59.

    Chelsea need Vladimir Putin. What a combination former KGB officer and

  • Comment number 60.


    My opinion too

  • Comment number 61.

    Another big mistake was squandering £50M on Torres. For that money I'd have picked up Schweinsteiger plus two decent defenders to shore up the ageing wall.


    Didn't they sign David Luiz to do that? And having the money is one thing, convincing Schweinsteiger to leave a massive club for them is another.

  • Comment number 62.

    Chelseas problems would be solved thus;

    get a good Brass Band ! it did wonders for englands recent performance against the Dutch

  • Comment number 63.

    I think it's incredible how Chelsea's old guard continue to remain at the club (even getting improvements in their contract).

    But not as incredible as soul_patch still flooding every blog with the same stuff. Get a life, mate!

  • Comment number 64.

    not sure which is funnier, the idea of abramovich inheriting his billions, mikel being "close to signing" for another team or people still biting on troll patch's ridiculous comments.

    abramovich should look at the early years of fergie's reign and appreciate that you need to hand over control and give someone time to rebuild before writing them off. maybe not forcing unwanted players on them at £50mio a pop would help too. then again, he's not exactly a "businessman", is he?

    the sooner abramovich (and the rest) lose interest, the better.

  • Comment number 65.


    What is it with you and brass bands.

    This is a blog about football not music.

  • Comment number 66.


    It did England alright against Spain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Also, all this talk of signing big name players - get over it, it's gone. Chelsea had that window when they were the new kids on the block, but Chelsea have lost that european challenger title. There's no reason people will favour Chelsea over Bayern or AC Milan unless there's triple the wages, and if you do that you get half the player you thought you were signing.

    Chelsea - predictable, naive, and on the decline. Hopefully we'll see Man City go the same way

  • Comment number 68.

    He may have saved the club, but Abramovich has to take a long look at himself. The sacking of Ancelotti was possibly the biggest mistake he has made, the man is a proven coach at the highest level and was only 2 games against United away from the title and a place in the CL final. To sack him one year after the double was a joke, to then replace him with a rookie manager who won an uncompetative legaue with by far the strongest team was even more so. Now to sack him and give it to di Matteo..... I don't know what he's smoking but I sure as hell don't want any.

  • Comment number 69.

    Player revolution, Despotic Leader - sounds familiar doesn't it and I'm self moderating my views!
    Be careful want you wish for as Chelsea have craved success at any price as CiTEH supporters are now.
    However it will always come at a price.
    It might work for CITEH but for Chelsea the wheel's have completely fallen off.
    The only guy that will bring succes at a Football Club is the Manager.
    The Owner should merely facilitate.
    The only way Chelsea can hope to gain future success is for someone to have the unchallenged support of the Owner and Board to rebuild Chelase Foot ball Club.
    The ageing stars have had their way again and continue to line their own enormous pockets and should be the first out of the Door.
    Ron Gourlay and Bruce Buck should be replaced by more challenging (in a Footballing sense) people who will help protect the Manager.
    Chelsea are unlikely to qualify for the CL next time so use this period to completely rebuild.
    There are so few of the current squad worth keeping that it's a clean sheet of paper time which, in many ways, is no bad thing - like Phoenix rising from the Ashes.
    The 64 Milion Dollare question is who in their right mind will want the Job?

  • Comment number 70.

    Come on Soul Patch you pajero when are you going to accept my bet.

  • Comment number 71.

    DOES SAF need 3 years to make a team/squad transitions? AND at the risk of becoming uncompetitive?

    GIGGS, SCHOLES, NEVILLE. Should SAF have moved them on as well once they went over the age of 30? Lampard scored a hat trick earlier this season. Not good enough?

    Good luck to AVB for the future, but it was not good enough this season.

    And frankly, i think it is some of the newer players who are not good enough. Luiz, Ramieres, Torres.

    I would be absolutely elated if Chelsea can capture Capello. He has the authority and experience to keep the club competitive whilst making a transition.

    David Moyes? You must be joking...

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    Chelsea is a still an arriviste club that presumes it has some sort of status as a significant football institution. The way it has gone about things, with its 'Loadsamoney' owner and 'Flash Harry' players, has made it a laughing stock to real football fans. It has always had an oversized view of itself but come across as nothing more than a London wideboy which is ultimately all mouth and no trousers.

    The behaviour of the cosy coterie of players that is the remnant of the Mourinho love-in has been an extremely destructive force within the club for several seasons. Too big for their boots by far, they should have been shown the door long ago.

    Get a grip! Try and become a real club and not an imitation for one. The fans should also be less tolerant of the Abramovic financial safety net which seems to exact such a high price for his often unrealistic ambitions.

  • Comment number 74.

    The problems at Chelsea are abundantly clear. They have a cornucopia of sub-Standard foreign plodders (Luiz, Malouda, Torres) and a number of ''young'' Englishmen who will clearly never cut it at this level of the game.

    There's always been a problem with the consistent contingent of continental managers.

    What they need is a British Manager, that is the only way to get sustained success in the Premier League. Just like SAF, King Kenny or David Moyes.

    What they don't need is "Mike Bassetto," or any other overated foreign manager that would be best suited to managing "Benidorm Beach FootbalL Club."

    :rollseyes: :lookswistfullyatharryredknapp:


  • Comment number 75.

    @ 71 Chelsea never had players as good as Giggs, Scholes or Neville so I don't see how that's a relevant comparison.

  • Comment number 76.

    The overrated old players are the problem. Until you break up the cabal (no doubt led by their 'esteemed leader' JT) then no decent manager should consider the job.

    AVB should just take the money and laugh at them all

  • Comment number 77.

    Does Abrahamovic think the likes of Drogba, Terry, Lampard, Cole, Essien, can win the champions league, he must be daydreaming in his boat. These players are all past it and cant consistently win games against PL opposition, not to talk about the European opposition. The problem with Chelsea is not the manager, its 1stthith Abrahamovich himself, the board, the players, then the manager. The sacking of Carlo Ancelotti was clear to all that the owner and the board had no vision. AVB came and realised that certain players had to be dropped and subsequently sold this summer for the club to move forward, but what has the owner done?? He has just shown his silliness and poor knowledge of what is needed for success in sporting terms. A manager needs to build his team, and not one built by the owner for success to happen. AVB was not allowed to do this, does the owner now think a seriou manager would want to come and work for Chelsea after all this fiasco? Any manager taking the job in the summer, will be one who wants some extra money, to pay off his mortgage or retirement plan income. Until Abrahamovic realises that Terry and co are past their best, and need to be replaced by the football managers choice, Chelsea fans are in for a long erm disappointment

  • Comment number 78.

    DOES SAF need 3 years to make a team/squad transitions? AND at the risk of becoming uncompetitive?


    Yes it's taken a good few seasons sometimes. Remember the Djemba Djemba, Kleberson, Alan Smith years? Rooney was inexperienced, so was Ronaldo but you could see it starting to come together, despite Chelsea's complete dominance at the time.

  • Comment number 79.

    Why do people go on about age, age, age?

    Problem with AVB is that he wan't playing the most EFFECTIVE players.

    Lamps and Sturridge, one'ageing', one young - both scoring, never know if they are in the team or on the bench. Get substituted when they're playing well. Lampard is the top scorer, and has the best record for pass completion, assists, crosses, even tackles for just about any English midfielder.
    So it makes no sense to be edging him out the door if he's delivering the goods. If you've got someone better, fine. But only Mata looks worthy of being in the team with him. He's 4 years younger than Scholes, btw...
    No point if having a 'project' if your project is to bring in worse players than the ones who do the biz

  • Comment number 80.

    Mr Nevin - Please leave Moyes alone.

    He is a decent manager who does not need to get embroiled in Abramovich's dolls house.

  • Comment number 81.

    Good business acumen that Roman Abramovich. How many CEOs would last in their posts with his track record at losing money. £64m spent on AVB!!! £50m on Torres. £30m on Svechenko and goodness know how much he lost on Ancelotti, Scolari and Mourinho. As for him being a ruthless owner i dont buy it. Hes a puppet being manipulated by the players.

  • Comment number 82.

    other news:

    it was a very good week for Arsenal :)

    I was impressed with the Cart Horse Carrols cameo at anfield and even more impressed that a certain J Rednapp still values the said player at 35 million, this despite valuations which put the figure more realistically at 5 million + change.

    i do have some sympathy for spurs who now know what it feels like to dominate a game only to come away empty handed.

    To be honest i do not have much sympathy for chelsea at all, having said that i do have some feelings for the chelsea faithful pre the Russian's coming. I do feel that AVB was out of his depth and was certainly not helped by the players revolting, or should that be, revolting players. I am sure he is more than happy with his compensation package, and won't be out of work long.

    I wish to observe that RA's methods seem abundantly clear, and i also observe that all managers that took the role were well aware of the contractual obligations placed upon them and were more than happy to accept them.

    so now that liverpool are firmly behind Arsenal it remains for them along with chelsea, stoke, sunderland and others to battle it out for that europa cup place.

  • Comment number 83.

    "What Abramovich did get right was, after sacking Villas-Boas, turning his fire on Chelsea's players who have done little to assist their young former manager in his time of struggle - indeed at times seeming almost willing to add to his troubles."

    Mr McNulty, please quote your source for that information. I for one am totally fed up with the misinformation put out by the media regarding CFC. A media who are not without blame for the sacking of Villas-Boas!

  • Comment number 84.

    Robbie Di Matteo was as much outside the management of the club as the players were. All the input he had was ignored by a wilful, arrogant and incompetent manager. Villas Boas was sacked for sheer incompetence as much as anything. His results were the worst for a decade at the club. He should have been dismissed a month ago for now it may be too late to make a great deal of difference.
    People go on about player power but these are seasoned pros who will go out and play if they are on board. Clearly the ideas of VIllas Boas were so at odds with the team and so misplaced that failure and defeat were inevitable. The so-called project or rather redevelopment needs to continue with a different and better cast. The way to do it is to involve the whole team not be an autocrat. COllectively there is more experience at the club than nearly every other in Premier League. The blueprint to rebuild is there at Man United, Barcelona, arguably Arsenal. Chelsea have the best academy in Europe and they ignore it. That is a fundamental flaw.
    There are no tears whatsoever for VIllas Boas at Chelsea. Frankly he is good riddance. If there are tears then they are for Carlo Ancelotti and Ray Wilkins. Expect a return of familiar faces but not necessarily Jose Mourinho.

  • Comment number 85.

    I would be absolutely elated if Chelsea can capture Capello. He has the authority and experience to keep the club competitive whilst making a transition.

    I'd give the Capello-Abramovich relationship about 3 months unless the latter completely changes his attitude towards running the club

  • Comment number 86.

    I'd sack Lampard - no one is bigger than a club....

  • Comment number 87.

    @ 81 I read somewhere recently that costs incurred in relation to sacked managers at Chelsea over the past 4-5 years are as high as 1/4 of matchday revenue for the period.

  • Comment number 88.

    What has happened to my chelsea?

    Decent article - agian to critical and slightly harsh assesment, not surprised from you phil.

    Ive very split on this decison, nad it brings me back to last may when Ancelloti got sakced and never should have.

    I do feel the AVB Made a lot of mistakes - but that was obvious with a young manager coming to the premiership. HE NEED TIME, to develop the team and he needed to stop talking about his job so much.

    I also dont think the players helped his downfall. I have the utmost respect for the legend that is Frank Lampard ( and Drogba to some extent). He however needs to realize he is not half the player he once was, he needs to except he is an impact player now, and more of a role model than a game changer - he is fat and of the pace. He needs to stop being so big headed and think he can get in the team, just cos hes been our top scorer. Crtisising the manager - what a disgrace.

    The thing about this decison is that, if it where at the end of the season - regardless of if we finished top for or won a trophy, then atleast we've given him a whole season.

    Chelsea realesed a statement saying that 'with a curcial run of games coming up' they had to sack him? Absolutly Ridicoulous! Will Di Matteo, a man sacked by west brom, who has a short managerial career, taking him back to swansea etc will glavanize the players, or employee the right tactics? (not saying htat AVB always had his tactics on point) However this seems suicidal to me, we we most probably going to have a rubbish season, now we most definaitly have a rubbish season.

    Thanks Bruce Buck, Ron Gourlay & Roman Abramovich for ruining my Football club, we are now 10 years (minumum) away from winning the champions league!

  • Comment number 89.

    86 -good point

  • Comment number 90.

    78.At 10:00 5th Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    DOES SAF need 3 years to make a team/squad transitions? AND at the risk of becoming uncompetitive?


    Yes it's taken a good few seasons sometimes. Remember the Djemba Djemba, Kleberson, Alan Smith years? Rooney was inexperienced, so was Ronaldo but you could see it starting to come together, despite Chelsea's complete dominance at the time.


    It has taken a "good few seasons" once if you call 3 seasons "a good few". Even then UTD finished 3rd,3rd,2nd......Wouldn't really call that complete dominance by Chelsea considering they finished 2nd, 1st, 1st during the same period.

  • Comment number 91.

    Anyone else notice how HAHA's style has evolved into something mimicking patch's diatribes? Both failing to add anything constructive or vaguely original to these discussions.

  • Comment number 92.


    brass bands play a pivotal role in inspiring players to " rule " the world as could be clearly seen in the recent england vs holland match.

    if it was not for the Brass band the scoreline would have been far more embarrassing to rule britannia. ( coughs ) and :)s

    never underestimate the effect a Tuba has when blown at full pelt in ones lug holes it inspires people to achieve greatness.

  • Comment number 93.


    You may find that Shevchenko and Torres were Abramovich's dolls. Torres was already there when AVB came so I can't see how you can pin that signing on him

  • Comment number 94.

    I hope for Soul-Patch's sake he looked on that deckchair before he sat in it!

    There's a German towel on it,pal, this year's Euro winners!

    As for Chelsea, why not just give John Terry the manager's job & have done with it, especially after Euro 2012. Not as though he doesn't know how the club runs already,is it?

  • Comment number 95.

    84. At 10:02 5th Mar 2012, STIG wrote:"Chelsea have the best academy in Europe"

    That is a joke, right?

  • Comment number 96.

    Two blogs in 24 hours, the first being balanced out by the second. Not bad. Moyes if he is as intelligent as he seems to be will stay well clear of Chelsea. But please what is the media Love in with Rafa. His last job was shocking and his Liverpool days ended in misery for everyone. Leave it out.

  • Comment number 97.


    Germany will struggle to get out of the group.

  • Comment number 98.

    I hope for Soul-Patch's sake he looked on that deckchair.

    There's a German towel on it,mate, this year's Euro winners!

    As for Chelsea FC, why not just give John Terry the manager's job & have done with it, especially after Euro 2012. Not as though he doesn't know how the club runs already,is it?

  • Comment number 99.

    @96 I doubt anyone is seriously considering the fat waiter. Although United fans would be delighted I am sure :)

  • Comment number 100.

    @ 97

    not with a umppa oober german Brass band behind them they won't !


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