Friday 15 December 2017


I'VE said it before and I'll say it again and this time with feeling. Roman Abramovich should register with the League Managers Association and cut out the middleman at Stamford Bridge.

It would certainly be a much cheaper way of doing what he has been doing up to now. Instead of meddling in team affairs, he could take full control and he wouldn't have to worry about any more astronomical pay-offs. There's another one of them on the way by the looks of things.

We have reached a moment of clarity where Chelsea are concerned for pretty much everyone other than Abramovich and perhaps Andre Villas-Boas.


When Rafa Benitez is the man being touted as the next Chelsea manager, it's time for the owner to throw his hat in the ring.

It doesn't really matter whether Benitez was approached by Chelsea or not. The simple fact his name is being taken seriously at all tells me that there's inevitability about this club's decline, just as there is a sense of inevitability about Villas-Boas's future prospects. I'm staggered that Benitez is a candidate. He has good qualities and he brought them to bear at Valencia and Anfield but all Abramovich would be doing by appointing him would be to waste five years and an awful lot of money.

José Mourinho had everything Benitez has and then some. It would seem like madness to travel so far and spend so much money searching for "sexy" football and wind up back where you started but with an inferior version of the same thing.

For Villas-Boas alone, he shelled out about £30million. Fifteen of that paid off Porto and the rest is his wage packet.

If he does get the bullet, Villas-Boas will walk financially secure for the rest of his life and look back on six mad months at Stamford Bridge as a sharp learning process.

Mind you, the way he has been looking and talking for the last week, he might fancy a decade or two off because his reputation has been demolished.

When you are as young as he is and without any playing background in the game, the only way forward is to keep winning. He did that very nicely at Porto and needed to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge.


But he didn't and, naturally enough, questions have been raised about his qualifications. None of that really matters any more. It doesn't matter now whether he is a good, bad or indifferent manager because he lost his authority a week ago when he hid behind Abramovich and took the players to task.

Since then, we've seen the first stirrings of player unrest on public view and it goes without saying that there has been dressing-room upheaval at Chelsea long before he arrived and it will probably still be there when he leaves.

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