LONDON - If John Terry had remained upright
for half a second more on a soggy Moscow night in May then Avram
Grant would probably still have been battling for honours on all
fronts as Chelsea manager.
But the England centre half went flying and sent his penalty
wide, minutes later Manchester United were crowned European
champions and Chelsea's wait to get their name on the trophy
NEWS: Chelsea fire World Cup winner Scolari
NEWS: Big Phil suffers rare coaching setback
NEWS: Agent: No chance of Hiddink joining Chelsea
BLOG: Why Scolari couldn't save the Damned Chelsea
Grant, the only manager to take the London club to the
final, was immediately sent packing after nine months.
His replacement, Luiz Felipe Scolari, was sacked on Monday
after seven months as the impatience, some might call it
breathtaking arrogance, of the modern game's big clubs returned
to the spotlight.
There is only one Champions League trophy and one domestic
league for these mighty businesses to chase but when they are
not secured, and sometimes even when they are, the reaction is
often to rip it all up and start again with a new man.
When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and poured in funds
previously unseen in the game, he expected an immediate return.
Claudio Ranieri could only reach the Champions League
semi-finals so he obviously had to go.
Jose Mourinho delivered the League title, Chelsea's first
for 50 years, retained it and added other domestic silverware in
the club's most successful ever period but he too could not get
beyond the last four in Europe.
Mourinho was a believer in building a team, rather than
throwing together a collection of talented players, and that
view appeared at odds with Abramovich, who hoped that buying in
more big names would force the issue.
It did, as Mourinho, a proven managerial talent adored by
the fans, left "by mutual consent."
Grant was promoted from director of football to fill the hot
seat but, displaying the world-weary demeanour of a man who
expected every game to be his last, he was out after less than a
Chelsea then looked around for the biggest name they could
get and, in World Cup-winner Scolari, thought they had found
The Brazilian, however, never seemed at home at Stamford
Bridge and his struggles coincided with an apparent cooling of
interest from Abramovich, who failed to spend the money the fans
had hoped for to strengthen the team.
Chelsea remain very much in the hunt for the Champions
League, where they face Ranieri's Juventus in the last 16, and a
place in the FA Cup quarter-finals looks likely after this
week's home game against Watford.
But in the last few months their aura, along with their long
home unbeaten record, has disappeared. Chelsea were playing dull
football, the fans were tearing their hair out and Scolari was
not exactly a bundle of dynamism.
Being held to a goalless home draw by Hull City at the
weekend proved the final straw and Scolari, before he had
learned enough English to splutter "mutual consent", was out.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, generally
considered to have been one game away from the sack in 1990
after four barren years, must glance at Old Trafford's sparkling
trophy cabinet and wonder when everybody else is going to learn.
CHELSEA FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read:
One on One Gianfranco Zola, Nicolas Anelka
Boy's A Bit Special Michael Mancienne, Scott Sinclair
Perfect XI Ruud Gullit, Marcel Desailly
Sing When You’re Winning Vidal Sassoon
And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan
Plus! Ruud Gullit on Weekend Wonders and Chelsea on Talentspotter
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010