The Lead

Claudio Ranieri. Avram Grant. Luiz Felipe Scolari. Carlo Ancelotti. Andre Villas-Boas. Roberto Di Matteo. Total honours between them: one Premier League trophy, two FA Cups, one European Cup. Total average win percentage while at Chelsea: 58%. Together, they make up just under one fifth of Chelsea’s all time list of managers. All sacked under Roman Abramovich’s ownership.

It’s an impressive record, in all senses. With Roberto Di Matteo’s dismissal following Chelsea’s 3-0 away loss to Juventus in the Champions League, Abramovich and the Chelsea board have instilled a clear precedent. Managers incapable of sustaining win percentages well above the Premier League and European average will be fired. There is no time for adjustment, no time for transitions, no room for lulls. Get results, or die.

It may not matter. Chelsea have managed to do well even with the revolving door at the managerial office. While coaches of all nationalities and styles have come and gone taking large severance packages along with them, the core of players left over from Mourinho’s days is only now finally fading away. Perhaps Roman believes the era of waiting to see if your guy in charge is Sir Alex Ferguson or not is over, dead and gone. What matters is buying the best players and hiring a manager who can make them play.

And if you believe the lack of faith from the front office is a major deterrent for potential successors, the news today of interest in the job from Rafa Benitez and Pep Guardiola should give you pause. Moreover, the record of each manager post-Chelsea sack might lead one to believe Abramovich may be onto something: Avram Grant got Portsmouth to the FA Cup final and lost, and then led Partizan Belgrade to their fifth successive league title before resigning. Scolari went on to manage Bunyodkor in the Uzbek league, won a title, then went to Palmeiras where he was sacked in September for poor results three months before the club were relegated from the Brazilian first division. Carlo Ancelotti failed to win Ligue 1 last year at PSG with one of the most expensive squads in league history. AVB’s win percentage at Spurs is 38%, with the club in 8th place.

One might question Abramovich for hiring them in the first place perhaps, but winning managers are in short demand. We’ll gripe now perhaps, but how many Chelsea fans will curse Roman’s name should Pep get the nod this week?


Chelsea sack Di Matteo after loss, Rafael Benitez expresses interest in position.

Wenger interested in Henry loan.

QPR striker Zamora out for three months.

FA bans Aston Villa manager from the touchline after last weekend’s improper conduct.

GFH Captital waiting for approval of Leeds takeover.

Mourinho says even two wins won’t be enough for City to advance.


Allegri to use 4-2-3-1 formation against Anderlecht.

Cavani content in Napoli.

La Liga

Madrid decide to keep Cheryshev despite Everton offer.

Athletic Bilbao’s Europa League game suspended amid security fears in Israel.

Tim Stannard argues why City fans should embrace Ronaldo.


Football Fanatic analyses Bayern’s draw vs Valencia yesterday.

Dortmund need to secure at least a point against Ajax to advance to knockout phase.

Bit and Bobs

Drogba seeking FIFA permission to move on loan from China.

Ukraine now considering Redknapp for managerial position.

Swiss coach banned for two WC qualifiers due to offensive gesture.

A list of mangers Abramovich had to compensate over the years.

Adriano more concerned with winning than sportsmanship.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling the links.

Comments (12)

  1. It’s hard to even be shocked at the decisions this club makes when it comes to managers anymore. They could have sacked Di Matteo right after he accepted the Champions League metal and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.

    I don’t know how any sensible person can take on this job, unless there is some kind of severance pay clause in the contract as insurance. And even then, I don’t see why Pep would want to tarnish his record by being sacked after a couple of months – half a year if he’s lucky.. There is literally no winning in this situation and it is so disappointing to see a club being a little play thing for a billionaire who clearly doesn’t understand the game. Arguably, he hasn’t made the greatest decisions when it comes to picking managers in the first place, but it’s getting a bit out of hand now.

    I can’t even envision this club sticking with a manager long term, and how depressing is that?

  2. You’re drunk if you think Pep wants anything to do with Chelsea. He’s more than content waiting until summer to find an opening with a team he can go to and prove he’s not that great of a manager.

    Also, isn’t it odd that the last league game for both AVB and RDM were defeats to West Brom?

  3. In fairness though, Scolari was never really the “club football” type of manager. He’s built more for the international game rather than the domestic one. Avram Grant requires no explanation here… he should not have been hired. AVB had a good record going into Chelsea from Porto, he should have been given more time.
    My point is, I do not believe Abramovich is on to something. He is “on something” mainly some sort of drug (perhaps crack cocaine) for sacking a guy after he won the Champions League AND the FA cup fives months ago. He’s only the second manager in Chelsea’s history to do a double (correct me if I am wrong). The first manager to do the double (Ancelloti) was also sacked the season after he did it. Abramovich is a nutcase and needs to leave this club before he screws them up anymore. No self-respecting manager would even think to approach this job *enter Rafael Benitez.

  4. As hilarious as it is to think that Chelsea is a particular horrorshow, what problem do they have that other teams don’t? (Other than the Champions League title, which is a nice problem to have) They’re rich, they have a team full of difficult personalities, they have a wildly entitled owner.

    At least Di Matteo got the dignity of losing his job because of something other players did (beat Chelsea on the pitch) rather than the intrigues of his own players. It’s a bummer that we have moved past the days of player-managers, because John Terry would be wonderfully loathsome and transparently clueless. That would fit Abramovich’s vision very well.

  5. Chelsea would be a great “teflon” spot for Pep. If he win’s, he’s a god. if they lose, his sacking will be chalked up to Wacky Roman and the inmates who run the asylum. There’s lots (and I mean LOTS) of cash and no real downside to signing a 5 year contract and taking Chelsea for the next 18 months.

  6. When I first saw that RDM was sacked, I didn’t believe it. I had to read like 6 news outlets before I believed it.

    Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    I heard something about a Manchester team that did poorly in the Champions League group stages last year, and they (both) seem to be doing pretty well for themselves.


    Here’s my theory for what really happened.. Roman was drunk with whoever runs Juventus and said “If your stupid Italian team can beat my team I’ll fire my manager!” and that’s why this was done. Makes no sense to me.
    I’m not even a Chelsea supporter, but this makes me upset.

  7. Richard can you please explain me why Roman is convinced that Pep Guardiola can pull a rabbit out of his ass ?

    But all things aside, he would be a great addition to our illustrious managerial hall of fa… oh shame.


    Well what’d you guys expect?? Honestly?

    It’s kind of hard to park a bus when you have players like Hazard, Mata, and Oscar in your starting eleven. Did Matteo forget what his bread and butter was?? If he played six at the back as usual, chelsea would’ve drawn Juventus or won by some fluke goal and Matteo would’ve been okay. Ahhhhhhh the irony hahahahahahahaha.

    Let us all now share a few more laughs regarding the life and times of Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea:×149.jpg

    My god there’s so many…

    • Shame you didn’t get bought up by Rogers as well.

      • As I’ve mentioned prior, we are currently negotiating a deal. Talks stalled after my preferred blog name of “Park The Bus” was not chosen. I trust Rogers will sort something out.

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