We are now getting it from all media sources either directly or in the form of sarcastic innuendo that Chelsea’s ‘problems’ are all down to Roman Abramovich. Suggestions that Roman picks the team, buys the players, interferes with the Managers daily running of the club etc. Suggestions that he is some kind of Stalinist brute figure that changes his Managers and staff as easily as changing his underpants!
The facts are that Roman has spent approaching a BILLION pounds on his club in his tenure of ownership. Yes, he has a dream (as do all Chelsea fans) that Chelsea will become the best footballing team in the World and what is wrong with that? He has put HIS money where his desire is and does NOT seek the limelight or adulation that others less philanthropic would absolutely demand (remember Ken Bates!). When was the last interview he gave to the sports press (even with a translator)?
I disagreed when Roman sacked Jose Mourinho but that was as a 40 year Chelsea man and I was just loving having a silverware winning team for a change. That team and style of play wasn’t good enough for Roman as he wanted (and demanded) a style of play that Jose doesn’t do. Roman wants a ‘Bacelona style’ of football team to dominate both the Premier League and in Europe.
Avram Grant was only ever going to be a short term arrangement but due to him taking ‘Jose’s’ side to the Champions League final Roman received a rubbish press for dispatching him so quickly. In his position as caretaker to the vacancy Avram clearly showed a lack of style or original thinking on his part. Grant certainly lapped up the sympathy he received along with a barrow load of cash out of CFC.
Luiz Felipe Scolari comes in (as we now know 2nd choice to and on the advice to Roman by Guus Hiddink). Having won a World Cup final with Brazil and taken Portugal to new heights, Roman offered him a £5m p.a salary and a 4 year contract to show the Russian’s commitment. In return Scolari divided the dressing room, tried to sell the clubs best striker Drogba and replace him with a troubled Adriano, whose personal issues have come under scrutiny in the past, because he felt he could manage the Brazilian bad boy better? Poor results soon showed how badly Scolari was doing and that he had ‘lost the dressing room’.
Once again on the advice of Hiddink (and others close to his circle) Roman was recommended to go for Carlo Ancelotti to try and drive the dream forward. Having narrowly won the double last season with basically a maturing Ranieri/Jose team Ancelotti was forced to make a ‘telling’ decision last summer. How to replace the loss of Michael Ballack, Deco and Juliano Belletti, who both opted to return to their native Brazil to finish their respective playing careers. Joe Cole also left the club after demanding a contract that he was clearly not worth, and Chelsea suffered the tremendous loss of Ricky Carvalho, who was not prepared to only play a bit part in Ancelotti’s overall plans.
Ancelotti decided that Chelsea’s ‘youth’ were good enough to fill the gaps and so we went on a disastrous tour of Holland and Germany only to learn that apart from young Josh McEachran he was totally wrong. This despite the announcement from Bruce Buck that funds were available to bring in 2 or 3 new players including a ‘marquee signing’ from Roman if he wanted.
The real scary moment for me was when we still went into the season with either Ross Turnbull or Hilario as our ONLY back up should Petr Cech get injured! As far as these youngsters that were then good enough to fill the gaps are concerned, where are they now? Well, Daniel Sturridge is out on loan to gain experience, Gael Kakuta the same. Fabio Borini is out on loan having fallen out with Ancelotti and refusing to sign a new contract with the club, Patrick van Aanholt is out on loan because he can’t get a game at Chelsea, likewise Jeffrey Bruma, Jack Cork and Michael Mancienne. Also, promising youngsters Scott Sinclair and Miroslav Stoch were sold.
When the team went through its bad patch in November and December (having started the season so well), Ancelotti fell between two stools. He did not trust ANY of these youngsters to replace players that were either injured or who had gone off of the boil. McEachran SHOULD have been given a run of games as should Sturridge. As for the keeper situation, Ancelotti has been very fortunate that Cech has been fit and able to play every game.
I wonder if any single member of the media were in Roman’s shoes whether they would think that he has been worth his £6m pa salary this term? I wonder how many of them would gladly pay that to someone who has been so sadly lacking in tactical know how against the top clubs or managers? Don’t get me wrong because I do like Carlo as a person. He is a character, he is honest with a fantastic sense of humour and I am sure he is popular with most of the team. He is however NOT good enough to give Roman what he wants.
Roman has supplied the money to Jose, Grant (remember he bought Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic), Scolari and now Ancelotti. Due to political and business commitments he spends most of his time in Russia. He DOES NOT pick the team, the formation, the tactics from his exclusive Dacha or offices in Moscow. Yes his close advisers tell him which players could be available on the transfer market and yes he is bound to have his own favourite stars. His main involvement with the club is as its financial backer/owner and to my complete respect he is the guy that will NOT tolerate failure to achieve his (and all Chelsea fans) wishes of a World class team, especially when he is paying them £6m p.a! There is an old western saying that if you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I dare say there is an old Russian saying similar.
The guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t I would advise Roman to look closer to home for his next manager. In fact I would go the whole hog and form a partnership with Franco Zola and Gus Poyet. Two totally different characters but with a Chelsea ‘history’. Given Roman’s new penchant for highly skilled South American players and his financial backing I am sure that Poyet and Zola would bring the style of football that Roman Abramovich craves for his club. Both former Blues are held in the highest regard by the senior players and both have the experience to drive the club forward. Being South American himself Poyet automatically brings something to the table where as Zola was simply the most creative Chelsea player in Chelsea’s recent history. Roman should offer them a two year contract to prove they ARE the right people to take hold of the reins and to prove that his search for a stable, long term manager has not been in vain.