As soon as Roman Abramovich began to visit the training ground the writing was on the wall. But what now? nothing has changed and surely we cannot continue to hire and fire managers at such an alarming rate?
The news that Andre Villas-Boas was sacked yesterday by Chelsea may not have been a surprise but it certainly was a disappointing ending to a reign that had begun brightly in the first few months of the season.
Many had not seen a lot of his Porto side, however, with comparisons to Guardiola’s Barcelona side there was a feeling of optimism at Stamford Bridge following the Portuguese’s appointment, an air of positivity around the club which the summer signing of Juan Mata and promotion of Daniel Sturridge to the first team did little to quell.
After decent early form, the visit to Manchester United at Old Trafford in September, despite the 3-1 defeat, saw the players leave the pitch to a chorus of ‘we’re gonna win the league’ from the away end after a display – in which the aforementioned Mata was brilliant – that impressed many, fans and pundits alike.
However, fast forward six or so months and vast swathes of Chelsea fans will be pleased with the decision the board took on Sunday, and with three wins from the last twelve games, and the side looking devoid of ideas, inspiration and ingenuity it’s hard to argue with their logic. Indeed, these recent performances have embodied all the problems that have characterised post Mourinho Chelsea – Hiddink’s three months and Ancelotti’s first season aside. Despite all the promises and projects, nothing had changed.
I, however, feel neither elation nor disgust, just a disappointed numbness at the sheer predictability of it all
Yet there remains the question: ‘what if’ and a nagging doubt that this is another short term solution to a long term problem. Whilst, there are squabbles amongst those on the outside looking in as to whether the players didn’t help the manager or the manager didn’t help the players, it seems that the club is in a deeper malaise and at the heart of it is neither the manager nor the players but those in charge of the club.
As fans we’ll always be grateful to Roman Abramovich for what he has done for Chelsea, but many Chelsea supporters have, for several years had, grave doubts about the people he employs to run our club. It was the board who sacked the man who had won the double the year before, the board who curiously sacked his popular number two Ray Wilkins half way through the season and the board who appointed Villas-Boas ‘for the long term’ with the objective of overhauling the squad yet failed to provide him with tools or the opportunity to do so and sacked him in the short term.
Whether it was the right decision, will become obvious over the coming weeks and the club will feel vindicated if the team, under the stewardship of club legend Roberto Di Matteo, again qualify for the Champions League. Whether, Villas-Boas would have turned it around in the long term we’ll never know.
The sacking has divided opinion amongst fellow fans whilst many felt it was needed, others are very angry. I, however, feel neither elation nor disgust, just a disappointed numbness at the sheer predictability of it all.
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