Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chelsea lose all credibility

You could to a point argue that much of Chelsea's managerial merry go round was in some way defensible. Ranieri was a madcap manager from the old regime and no one could argue that Jose Mourinho was anything other than a fantastic appointment.

Mourinho although clearly irked by interference from above, proved to be a short term guy in any event who engineers his own removal when it suits him, he has done it at both Chelsea and Internazionale after all.

Avram Grant was nothing other than a short term fix designed to keep the Chelsea juggernaut on course until the arrival of a new broom in the Summer.

Again, few argued with the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari, a manager of huge international pedigree but here is where the case for any defence starts to breakdown. Scolari was clearly struggling to some extent to adapt but the issue of player power within the dressing room forced him out quickly.

Hiddink again was a short term fix who had no aspirations to manage Chelsea long term and he merely paved the way for Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti lasted longer than most as he doesn't rock the boat - something which has clearly appealed to PSG's new owners - and he was a popular figure amongst the players. He was given little funds to develop an already ageing team and was merely asked to patch up the old warriors, the double in his first season wasn't enough to save him.

Andre Villas Boas would herald a brave new world we were told yet other than the inherited and erratic pair of David Luiz and Ferando Torres (not so much erratic as flat lining), AVB was only really given Juan Mata to add to the mix.

What AVB wasn't given at all was any time and with Chelsea lurching towards financial disaster in the shape of no Champions League football this season he was also hooked and Roberto Di Matteo stepped into the bridge with the rest of last season becoming the stuff of legend.

Everyone who follows football knew that RDM was not Abramovich's first choice over the Summer, in fact he may not have even been his second or third. We would also point out that this blog, as much as we love RDM did not think he was the right man either.

It was a populist choice based on the fact that he had somehow inexplicably steered Chelsea to Champions League glory and quite simply that Pep Guardiola had absolutely no interest in managing Chelsea.

Given that RDM was not Chelsea's first choice, it would seem churlish for anyone to suggest that the purchases of Hazard and Oscar were anything other than Abramovich's. Signings such as Victor Moses strike more of a manager who knows the game a little.

Whislt there is no question that there would be three less Premiership titles and one less Champions League title without Abramovich and that all Chelsea fans are extremely grateful for that, the situation has become a farce.

Chelsea now appear to purely be a billionaire's play thing, a reality version of Championship Manager if you like except that most CM players employ much more meticulous planning.

Given the level of investment and the push to move to a new style of football, why would you entrust the task to a manager that you clearly did not rate?

Rafa Benitez will prove a hugely unpopular choice - initially at least - amongst Chelsea fans who have a spikey view of him at best from his frequent clashes with Chelsea demi-god Jose Mourinho. It is also yet another 'interm appointment' meaning again that long term planning is a fantasy. It may also be nothing other than a last throw of the dice to get Fernando Torres playing well, Benitez after all being the only manager to bring him to the peak of his powers.

Pep Guardiola's name keeps being brought up but he must be looking at all of this and asking himself why on earth would he really need it? It is a long way from Barcelona.

There are certain clubs such as Real Madrid and Inter that have employed similarly ludicrous short termism but they remain a huge draw for managers given the stature of the those clubs. Chelsea are now of course a 'big club' given their recent success but they remain a level off these huge institutions and they would do well to remember that.

Winning the league this year was always going to be a stretch and whilst admittedly going out of the Champions League at the group stage will clearly hurt the club, it is again bad planning that is to blame for yet another manager being fired.

If RDM was to be given such little time and margin for error then he should not have been appointed in the first place. It is also not his fault that the ageing axis of Lampard and Terry has not been adequately replaced yet and that Jon Obi Mikel is simply not good enough as their holding player.

Chelsea's dysfunction has become an embarrassment for the fans but unfortunately not for the club's management. They however care not what the fans nor anyone else think.

Abramovich would argue - if he ever spoke - that his policies have brought around three Premierships and a Champions League in the nine years he has been there and he would be right to a huge degree.

He clearly has a passion for football but unfortunately, unlike the Championship Manager players, his trigger finger exists in the real world and is to the wider detriment of the club irrespective of the trophies that come along the way - No Nonsense.