It seems that Roman Abramovich will have to sigh and wait again to receive a glimpse of hope in his quest to turn Chelsea into a club associated with the ‘sexy football’ that Barcelona have taken to the pitch through the last few seasons.
Abramovich wants to ‘Barcelonize’ Chelsea. More interestingly though, Abramovich seems intent on turning his team into a Barcelona through adopting the type of management of the Catalan club’s fiercest rivals.
Chelsea seems to be lacking from Real Madrid syndrome.
When I heard that Carlo Ancelotti was sacked as Chelsea manager, I was appalled. Since then, two questions have been on my mind; first, the all-too-important, rhetorical cliché: what should a manager do to retain his job these days?
Ancelotti won the Premier League and the FA Cup double in his first season in charge last year. The huge success of Ancelotti’s debut year should have, at least, kept him secure for another season or two. Of course, I wouldn’t have said that the Italian should have stayed had Chelsea finished tenth – but then, how bad is a second-place finish for a change?
The fact is that Chelsea ended the season on a high note, having a more-than-decent close-season run of results after their performances dropped halfway through.
But Chelsea’s statement brought an end to all hope that there would finally be some kind of stability at Stamford Bridge. The London club announced Ancelotti’s departure, saying that the club’s ‘long-term’ football objectives and ambitions remain unchanged.
Whether ‘long-term objectives’ are concerned with a period in excess of two months is arguable.
Just like things happen in Madrid, a manager is hired, the board get into his business, and then the manager is sacked. After the sacking, the club issues a beautiful, diplomatic statement, thanking the manager for the short spell of brilliant service by giving him the boot. Someone should consider hiring Abramovich in the United Nations.
But seriously, the decision to trim Chelsea’s squad ahead of the season was not Ancelotti’s. It was not Ancelotti who sacked Ray Wilkins. The club undermined their manager, caused disharmony and dissatisfaction among the squad players and then blamed Ancelotti for the lack of results. Typical Real Madrid, don’t you think?
And Ancelotti gathered his team around him and got the best out of his players despite that Abramovich signed Andriy Shevchenko… Oh, I mean Fernando Torres… without Ancelotti’s direct approval (Editor’s note: Reportedly Torres was Ancelotti’s choice as far back as last summer).
When a manager guides his team to a second-place finish in a league where there are five or six teams who have the potential to challenge for the top spot – especially when he is continuously undermined by his club’s hierarchy – is, in fact, a decent accomplishment.
But that wasn’t enough. Ancelotti was given the chop.
My second question is: what kind of manager would join Chelsea after Ancelotti’s sacking?
Alan Pardew? Diego Maradona? Oh, no they have contracts – the first guy is already with a club where he doesn’t know that his best players will be sold until they have already packed their bags and moved out of Newcastle. And well, Maradona is in the United Arab Emirates, swimming in dirhams after signing a contract to coach Al Wasl for as long as that dubious agreement will last.
If Abramovich were to ask a potential manager to win continuously while making sure that the side is playing excellent football, would a reputable manager accept these conditions?
Knowing that finishing second behind a great team like Manchester United would seal his fate – even if his record at the club is uncontested – what kind of manager would sign?
Abramovich wants a manager who can lead his hand-picked all-star team out to the pitch, win everything, play the best football and maintain perfect ties with the media, the fans, the board and be friends with pretty much everyone. Abramovich wants a flawless manager. I have one!
God would be a holy choice to fill the managerial gap at Stamford Bridge.
Scolari was a World Cup winner. Yawn.
Ancelotti has won the Champions League twice. Yawn.
Sure, Mourinho was a special one. But Roman shall get the divine one. He has ‘long-term’ objectives, you know.