Ex-Chelsea midfielder and all-round good guy Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed as the new manager of recently relegated West Bromwich Albion.
The Hawthorns side – who will play in the Championship this season having dropped out of the Premier League despite playing better football than, oh I don’t know, Stoke for example – were obviously impressed with Di Matteo’s short and successful reign at MK Dons.
He led the Dons to the League One play-offs, eventually bowing out in the semi-finals on penalties, but it was performances over the season which endeared Di Matteo to the clubs’ fans and attracted attention from sides like West Brom.
MK Dons began the season well before tailing off; with the season eventually culminating in that play-off defeat, but a manager of the month award for Di Matteo in April was proof of the 39 year old’s eye-catching start in football management.
The Swiss-born Italian international played over 100 games for Chelsea before injury ended his entire career in 2002. Memorable moments included crucial goals at Wembley – an opener after 43 seconds in 1997 against Middlesbrough was an FA Cup Final record until Louis Saha bagged one in almost half the time against us in May – leading out the side ahead of the 2002 FA Cup Final against Arsenal, and a coolness which could not be surpassed, both on the pitch and off it, often pictured in nothing but the best shades.
Di Matteo will also be joined at West Brom by a couple of members of his backroom staff who are also synonymous with Chelsea. Fitness coach Ade Mafe and Assistant Manager Eddie Newton conjure up memories of the golden late nineties period, the calm before the storm if you like.
With Gianfranco Zola at West Ham and Mark Hughes at Manchester City, the ex-Blues are making waves in the managerial world. It would be nice to see Di Matteo join them in the Premier League and eventually face up against Chelsea and return to the Bridge in the process.
Good luck Bob, from all of us here at CFCnet.