Posts Tagged ‘ John Terry ’

Premier League Preview: Jose’s Blues Are The Boys To Beat


With the new Premier League season fast approaching, it’s hard to look beyond an old foe of many managers and fans alike from stealing the limelight once the season gets underway.

This summer’s transfer window and indeed all of the summer’s talk has been shaped around three men, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Arsenal’s pursuit of the Uruguayan, Wayne Rooney and his transfer request and Spur’s Gareth Bale who is being courted by Real Madrid.

One team, with the exception of a handful of Rooney rumours, has slipped under the radar as they plan to wrestle back a title that they won back to back in 2005 and 2006, and they have Jose Mourinho back to steer them there. Continue reading

A Tale of Nine Managers

The furore over Chelsea sacking Roberto Di Matteo following the club’s recent slip down the Premier League and in Europe and cemented by Tuesday night’s embarrassing defeat to Juventus was greeted with no great surprise and amazement as what was expected finally came to pass. Stan Collymore, Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand have all registered their amazement at the move, with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew branding the sacking ‘unbelievable’. BBC presenter Dan Walker probably provided the best summation of events, saying “Binning Di Matteo seems harsh, brutal, a bit daft but sadly inevitable. What Abramovich wants…”

It’s a little hard to believe when recalling that only last May Di Matteo was celebrating Chelsea’s historic Champions League triumph on a pitch in Munich. Of course of great importance now is that we are living in and moving ever increasingly into the era of not just the great players and the legendary managers who set the course for clubs, but also the owners. As football becomes a sport where money and bucket loads of it is needed to remain competitive and challenge for trophies, clubs are relying more and more on owners with plenty of cash, and, unfortunately, owners who in some cases believe they know more about football than the managers they’ve paid to do the job.

The surprise isn’t that di Matteo has been sacked. That has always been on the cards, with Chelsea it’s expected and a two-year contract proved that the faith simply wasn’t there, despite being a manager who had guided a team in disarray during the early part of the year to Champions League and FA Cup glory. No, the only surprise is that Roman Abramovich hasn’t followed his own ego and misplaced faith in his own football knowledge and simply installed himself as manager. He really calls the shots at the football club, they know it and we know it too. Why not just be open about it?

The most successful teams in football are those who have that one vital component – stability. At Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson often speaks about the need to build a club rather than a team, and the first thing he did upon his arrival at the club was to reorganise the club’s youth structures. Many of the players developed during this time went on to become standout players at the club – Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham amongst them. And while of late Manchester United hasn’t been exactly living up to their fearsome reputation, the building is well underway again, as Sir Alex combines foreign acquisitions with homegrown talent. “The first thought for 99 percent of newly appointed managers is to make sure they win—to survive,” Sir Alex said, speaking to the Harvard Business School. “They bring experienced players in, often from their previous clubs. But I think it is important to build a structure for a football club—not just a football team. You need a foundation. And there is nothing better than seeing a young player make it to the first team.” At Barcelona, a similar approach is followed; while the managers do change somewhat often, the team ethos is what has kept the club elevated for such a long period of time – the tika taka style of play is embedded in the club from the youths to the first team.

What have Chelsea got? There is no set way they really play – managers haven’t had the time to put a stamp on the club, an established way in which they play because they simply haven’t been given a real opportunity. Managers come and go at Chelsea, each bringing their own brand of experience to the job, each bringing their own tactical ideas and player wishlists, and a gelling together of coach and club doesn’t always happen straight away. Some bad first results might have very well ended in the sacking of Sir Alex Ferguson all those years ago; if that had happened would Manchester United have enjoyed all of that success they’ve experienced over the years? Chelsea have a few trophies, some certainly very talented players, especially those brought in this past summer, and undoubtedly the money is there. But they need a manager to combine all of those positive aspects, and to do that definitively, they need time. And several of the more recent managers haven’t even had a full year at the helm. True success takes time. Where might Chelsea be if Mourinho had been left to his own devices and Abramovich had taken a back seat role consisting of signing the cheques and enjoying the success? At least that is something Manchester City are getting right – despite some pretty dismal performances over the past two Champions League seasons, Mancini has been given the owners trust along with their money and is experimenting, trying to find the Manchester City way, while building a solid base for the club in terms of the youth system. Managers need to be given time but in this day and age immediate returns on investments are expected, as manager’s terms in office are being measured in months rather than years.

It’s hard to see why any manager with any care for his reputation would come to Chelsea other than the impressive pay package coupled with the inevitable generous settlement when their tenure comes to an acrimonious end. Why would anyone come to a club as manager when they’re third in the pecking order, behind the Russian owner and senior players such as John Terry and Ashley Cole? Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail has recently revealed the conditions under which Di Matteo was forced to operate, chief amongst which was the constant and repetitive urging to play Torres, a wish on the part of the owner which impacted negatively on Di Matteo’s plans for the team, regarding proposed transfers.

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has already been confirmed as the ‘interim’ manager, a term which must surely fill the Spaniard with a world of confidence as he must realise the Russian oligarch trusts him at the steering wheel for just a little while as he makes his search for a more long- term sacrificial lamb.