By Tony Attwood
Pep Guardiola as we all know, fooled most people by choosing Germany for his next job. But even with Pep out of the way I suspect Rafael Benítez still doesn’t anticipate staying at Chelsea beyond the end of the season. So Mr Abramovich perhaps is looking for another manager. I wonder who he might get.
Apparently (at least according to a couple of mates in the journalist world who I tend to trust a little more than most) there are quite a few managers around who have replied “no” when invited to come to Chelsea. But I am not quoting my sources here, so you can take this with a pinch of whatnot if you wish.
The problem is of course that the Chelsea owner has now got a reputation for not supporting his managers as much as the managers would like, and although the managers tend to get a nice pay off at the end, the feeling is, such a pay off never does much for one’s career. Almost 10 years on and he is not satisfied with his manager. Overall what he doesn’t seem to get is the fact that change takes time. He acts like an owner for whom there is never any time.
Several papers have commented on the fact that there is increasing consultation between top managers about clubs and what they are like to manage, and the feeling is that managers with styles and approaches as varied as Messers Ferguson and Wenger made their feelings known when asked by Germany bound Pep. And it seems they didn’t have much good to say.
Ray Wilkins who actually worked at Chelsea weighed in with a few words, saying, “There is a big salary that comes with the job but also the understanding that you could be relieved of the post at any time. In my case, it was ‘crash, bang, wallop and off you go’. That’s the way he works. Guardiola may well have decided that he didn’t want to be in a situation like that.”
At Chelsea there has been stability, and there has been the success that many Arsenal fans would love to see again – especially the success (if not the style) of the Mourinho era.
And it can be argued that with trophies pouring in, maybe endless managerial changes don’t matter at all. But of course the thought is always of the future, and it can also be argued that other clubs on the European stage seem to be progressing at a faster rate than Chelsea.
Part of this is of course due to Benitez and his time at Liverpool, plus the dismay at the dismissal of Di Matteo. Unity is now often asked for but not always got because of the sheer dislike of that dismissal and that appointment.
What doesn’t happen though is any booing of Abramovich. Maybe the Chelsea crowd don’t blame him – after all he has delivered an era of unprecedented trophies. I don’t have my reference book with me but from memory I think Chelsea won just one championship before Abramovich took over. Sorry if I have remembered that wrong – but Chelsea don’t have a history akin to Arsenal in the 1930s, and its subsequent brilliance and trophies in the earlier years of Mr Wenger’s reign.
My pals in the know (assuming they are not kidding me) tell me that Abramovich actually liked the Arsenal style of play with Henry and Pires in the side and tried to buy Henry for some incredible sum of money. But it takes time to put the sort of revolution that Mr Wenger brought, in place – and those of us who were there each fortnight at the time, remember that we did indeed have to wait a little for both of those players truly to show their worth. Fortunately we also got one player who fitted in from the moment he gained fitness and started playing: Vieira.
But Arsenal have shown that they can await developments. On the other hand, as Villas-Boas once said, “At Chelsea, I think another sacking is just like any other day at the office.”
So goodness knows who Chelsea get next. Or come to that Arsenal. If Mr Wenger decides he has had enough of the AAA who would we get.
Michael Laudrup, Jürgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, and Joachim Löw are all names bandied around. If style is no longer an issue then the name Mourinho turns up quite a lot too. It could be any of those guys. But would they want to come and face a club with the AAA doing its stuff all day long? I begin to wonder.
Footnote: During the course of 21st/22nd Jan the site has been bombarded with comments, many of which are from false email addresses, many of which are repeats of other comments. Our general rules of discussion state that both of these actions are liable to get the post removed, as will posts which are simply abuse. It is of course fine to argue against anything written here, but abuse, or indeed simply saying this is wrong, without putting up evidence, isn’t really helpful. I am sorry that I have not been able to edit out all the offending commentaries – time has simply overtaken me. But at least all the extra hits will have helped keep us at the top of the rankings, and kept our audience figures up, which in turn helps the advertising revenue. So pain though it might be to fight through some of these commentaries, they do at least serve a purpose (although I must admit I would by and larger sooner not have them here.)
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