As the dust settles in Munich and the legions of Bayern fans cancel their Olympic trips to London, all eyes are on the future of our interim manager Roberto Di Matteo. The most recent media reports suggest that the Club are willing to offer the Italian international a one-year deal whilst Roberto’s holding out for two.
I can see Robbie’s point on this. His stature has never been higher. Here’s a manager that was last interviewed for the vacant managerial position at Brentford now being courted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including his old ‘amore’ Lazio. It’s a phenomenal turnaround. Quite naturally Robbie wants a few years financial safeguard and, if sacked, a golden handshake a la AVB, Ancelotti, Scolari etc.
However, I can also understand the Club’s view on this. They’ve shelled out £millions rewarding managers for failure, not success. AVB failed abysmally and left with nigh on £13 million, working out at about £250k for every game he won. Scolari also left within eight months and took away £6 million.
But, you say, given Robbie’s lifted the European Cup and FA Cup in just three short months, surely he deserves a contract at least as big if not bigger than some of the aforementioned failures?
Here’s the issue: is Robbie experienced enough to re-build a team and keep us in the top 4? AVB couldn’t do it, Scolari couldn’t do it. Ancelotti even came second and was sacked. If the Club show that sort of impatience, what chance has he got? None.
And that’s why the Club don’t want to offer him a big contract. They feel it’s a risk appointing a manager who was sacked by West Bromwich Albion and who has no experience of re-building a team at the top level.
A similar precedent can be found at Aston Villa. Interim manager Tony Barton took over from Ron Saunders in early 1981 and promptly won the European Cup. 18 months later he was sacked.
The Club have got to ‘fess up and admit they know absolutely feck all about football. Sacking Ancelotti and appointing AVB was the signature of a board who are, frankly, clueless. The sort of board that would sack managers of the stature of Jose Mourinho and Ancelotti whilst buying trophy strikers behind their managers’ backs (Shevchenko and Torres being two standout examples). Bruce Buck knows as much about ‘soccer’ as I do about baseball.
The solution? If Robbie thinks he can re-build a side then he should grab the chance of a one-year contract and show the Club what he can do. If by Christmas we are challenging for the Premiership and still strong in Europe, then can you imagine the headlines? “Di Matteo courted by Barcelona” or “Club urged to tie Di Matteo to four year contract as AC Milan stalk” etc. By then Robbie will be in such a strong position he’ll be able to name his price in the same way that Pep Guardiola can name his price now.
The fact is, however, that Robbie’s seen Chelsea’s ‘previous’ and doesn’t rate his chances that highly. Otherwise why not just take a one year deal? He knows that by February 2013 he’ll probably be out and chasing the vacant manager’s job at Swindon Town.
Put simply, by their previous actions Chelsea Football Club has created a rod for its own back by rewarding managers for failure. It’s somewhat ironic that they can’t reward a manager who has lifted the biggest trophy in the Club’ history with a bigger deal. But then what do you expect from a Board that is not comprised of one professional sportsman?
Whilst the current Board are in place, no manager has a chance … and I mean none.