Imagine you are Roman Abramovich waking up this morning. Wouldn’t we all love to, but anyway. You open the papers and see the face of the manager you sacked three years ago and the headlines screaming at you. I will reproduce one for his benefit one presuming Roman is not a reader of The Sun. “SPECIAL WON”.
Imagine what it would be like if on the day after the Champions League Final he woke up to similar headlines about Jose’. After having seen Claudio Ranieri winning Italian Serie A (his Roma are at the top of the table one point ahead of Inter), Avram Grant the FA Cup and Fergie and that despicable sidekick of his Gary Neville holding the Premier League. It doesn’t even bear thinking about for us fans, let alone for an owner who has bankrolled the club with millions of pounds of his own money.
The bookies certainly don’t think that is a likely scenario. We are still favourites for The Premiership and the FA Cup, Barcelona, despite yesterday’s result are favourites for the Champions League and given Ranieri’s track record in twenty five years of coaching, Roma will probably contrive to fluff their lines.
Still, stranger things have been known to happen in football and I am sure that Abramovich sometimes stops to ponder over his managerial appointments since he bought Chelsea.
Scolari barely deserves a mention except to wonder who thought appointing him as Chelsea manager was a good idea. Prior to Chelsea he had never managed a club in Europe, he barely spoke the language and never even learned to pronounce the name of the club properly. He won the World Cup some would say. Who wouldn’t with Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and a whole of world class players in your squad?
Claudio Ranieri was a dead man walking the minute the ink was dry on Roman’s contract to buy Chelsea. The miracle was that he lasted a whole season. Events conspired against Abramovich when it came to sacking Ranieri. He either had to sack Ranieri within a few days of his takeover or else stick with him for the whole season as all the best managers would have found a club by then. We were in the title hunt till February, so that worked in Ranieri’s favour. A couple of months after we lost to Arsenal in February, effectively ruling us out the running for the league, we beat the Gooners in the Champions League quarter final but even that was not enough to save Ranieri’s bacon. The deal with Mourinho was done on the day Chelsea played against Monaco in the first leg of the semi final. Which, I am sure you all painfully remember, Ranieri blew big time.
Grant’s appointment remains one of the big mysteries in Chelsea’s history. Why Grant? No track record to speak of, the charisma of a cloistered nun and absolutely nothing to suggest that he would ever be accepted by the players after Jose’. Still the lucky bugger got a three year contract but only lasted one. Under Grant we got to the Champions League Final and challenged United for the Premier League till the very end. Who should get the credit for that is still under debate. My sources tell me that the team was run by JT, Ballack, Drogba and to a lesser extent Frank Lampard. Given Grant’s record before he joined Chelsea I tend to believe it.
As for Jose’ Mourinho you just don’t know where to start. Before Jose’ there were three certainties in football – Arsene Wenger complaining about Chelsea’s new found riches, United getting loads of injury time whenever they need a goal and Chris Kamara saying “incredible Jeff” at least twenty times every time he is on Gillette Soccer Saturday.
Since Jose’ came onto the scene another certainty can be added to that list. Jose’ Mourinho wins trophies. In the last six seasons he has been in business Jose’ has won the league five times with three different teams in three countries. He has won cups galore (Portughese, FA Cup and Coppa Italia, Champions League and UEFA Cup). Quite simply he is a serial winner.
The question is, what if, God forbid, we don’t win the league this season? Jose’ is fed up to the nose in Italy. Is it possible that the thoughts that cross the mind of each and every Chelsea fan whenever we see Jose’ on the telly occur to Roman.