Chelsea Football Club – what a carry on. Roman Abramovich may have purchased the club with a mind to get them to be a powerhouse in European football. When he sacked Jose Mourinho it was partially to do with the style of football he was expecting. Since then he has managed to put together a style of club ownership that is making him a laughing stock.
Recently I watched a documentary on the QPR story from the time they were taken over by a group of billionaires. It was a fascinating football documentary and gave an intriguing insight into the factors that determines an owner’s approach to his club.
It would be even more fascinating to see how a similar documentary would note the Abramovich years at Chelsea that lead to what appeared to be the inevitable sacking of André Villas-Boas. What is it that runs through the Russian’s mind as he makes these decisions. Don’t get me wrong, the sackings of the managers actually make sense. Ranieri wasn’t doing a convincing job of taking Chelsea over the line as Premier League Champions. Mourinho was getting too big for his boots and wasn’t delivering the style of winning football required. Avram Grant … well, that almost explains itself. Scolari upset the apple-cart far too much as reflected in performances and results. Hiddink was a short term measure. Ancelotti failed to deliever on trophies and critically progress in Europe in his second season.
Sure there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth at some of these departures, but the rationale is not so crazy.
The sacking Villas-Boas has been a significant mistake for the club. It’s a mistake for a club endeavouring to show it’s coming in line with the Financial Fair Play rules set to come in. the amount they are spending on managers would be able to fund some clubs in themselves for years. What the sacking says for the influence and power of players over the final authority of the manager is unmistakeable.
I was not surprised by the lack of overwhelming sympathy from the English football press. From the start a number of them had already sown the seeds of doubt in the man with constant reference to his age. Roman has shown a complete lack of faith in a plan to progress the club to be in a position to realise what he bought the club for.
Sure AVB made his mistakes, but essentially he should have been given the time to see the project through and with conviction and faith the bad start could well have turned around and established the foundations for a flourishing and refreshed Chelsea Football Club. As it is, the club are pinning their hopes of doing well in the immediate at the cost of the necessary change for the medium and long term. Whoever succeeds AVB will know that they face a sizeable task on their hands and they do so with an owner on their back who doesn’t live out the concepts of investing for now and the future.