What a disastrous month February is turning out to be. At its inception I was all set for Federer to notch up another ‘slam, for Strauss to shape England into an ashes winning side, and of course for Quaresma to help turn around our season. One or two wins on the spin, as Lamps likes to say, and we’re back in business, one or two lucky breaks – you know, a handball given, a red card not – and the momentum shifts.
Of course none of these things happened. They nearly happened, they set themselves up to happen, but at the crucial moment they all went belly up.
And what was the snowy icing on this cowpat cake? After seven months (half of which were very tasty, let’s not forget) Scolari is sacked. Well I mean, that’s just throwing in the towel, isn’t it? That’s that for this season. All other managers, Premiership and other, are chuckling away, hands on bellies, pants round ankles, chuckling. All except for Tony Adams; poor Tony Adams.
There’s not a lot else a man can do when faced with this tidal wave of misfortune other than the inevitable. I bit the bullet and booked in a haircut.
Is Sally free any time today?
We don’t know,
You don’t know?
Sorry. I can book you in with someone else, Alphonse Craphair maybe?
Who would have thought they had a gardening leave equivalent for hairdressers? But I suppose it makes sense: people get attached to their hairdressers, mainly because they know they can trust them not to make them look like a cock, so they follow them when they move. Unless a hairdresser’s pretends not to know where its departing staff has gone, it’ll lose its customers. I didn’t like the sound of Alphonse Craphair, so I hung up. Now of course, having established I need a haircut, I can’t wait another minute. True it’s barely different to yesterday, but the point is I’ve made up my mind, and the hair must go.
And I imagine much the same emotion was felt by our Roman over Scolari. (see? you knew it would tie in) Not much had changed from one day to the next, but once he’d got it into his head that he wanted Scolari out, that was that: the head had to be cut.
I was surprised. For a long time I’d been taking the optimistic approach that although we may not win the league, Scolari was a proven cup manager, he knew how to work knock-out tournaments. We’ve brought him in for the Champions League I thought, and that’s what he’s going to deliver. Of course, that was me trying to justify one poor performance after the next; that was me wilfully ignoring the knock-on psychological effect of losing at home, of playing dysfunctional football and of failing to make enough chances, let alone put them away.
While I was saying give him a chance, Roman was answering with a question: have you spent £1bn on this team? I assumed it to be a rhetorical question.
I don’t feel sorry for Scolari though. He knows a football manager’s survival relies on results alone, and he knows the margin for error is small. He won’t be surprised. Besides, he’s been signed off to the tune of £7m, so you know, I’m not about to cry myself to sleep over his plight.
For once, I find myself agreeing with the management. When you look at the evidence, not that we failed to beat Hull at home, but that such a result came as no surprise, then clearly something needed addressing. We are no longer the team we grew up with, we have higher expectations and further to fall. Yes we remember the difficult, ground-out defeats; the mid-table glory; Dmitri Kharine’s leggings, but that was before. There’s no reason we should have to put up with that now.
The only thing I hope is that we have learnt from last year’s experience. Should a caretaker manager come in and try to steady the ship, let’s hold back on the “you don’t know what you’re doing” chants for a while. There are enough egos in the Chelsea squad without the fans acting as one too.
So as far as I can see, there’s only one course of action left to take. Avram Grant is back. I have it on good authority this is because he recently watched Don’t Mess With The Zohan on DVD and has been inspired to open his own salon. I think there may be introductory rates.