The Buck Must Stop With Roman

If you listen closely enough, you can almost hear the managerial guillotine being sharpened by one of Roman Abramovich’s heavies round Stamford Bridge way. With Carlo Ancelotti’s claret barely dry, even the pseudo-mobster doing the sharpening probably thought it would have been longer than this before he was preparing the blade for what has now become a yearly ritual.

The ever filling basket of heads contains some of the biggest names in management – world cup winners, self-ordained special ones and others that have won virtually every club trophy up for grabs on the continent. But the soon to be latest victim, Andres Villas Boas was by far the biggest ‘experiment’ of the bunch – brought in with the fanfare and expense of a star player but waving a C.V. that had fewer lines than a limerick.

But due to fractions amongst the squad, a poor run of results and  some very public spats with some of the club’s ageing stars, the metaphorical destiny of the young Portuguese looks more and more assured to involve a rolling cranium.

For Villas Boas, the writing has been on the wall since Mr Abramovich began showing up to the Chelsea training grounds with the regularity of a vegetarian, which one could only suspect, lead the young manager to suffer a few unwanted bowel movements himself.  Then, following the Champions league game against Napoli, the Chelsea owner demanded to know why the experienced trio of Lampard, Cole & Essien did not start during the 3-1 defeat.

Since that time it’s all gone a bit Young & the Restless at Chelsea – with Lampard (the restless) describing his relationship with the manager as ‘not ideal’, the Manager in turn joking that he and Lampard were not married to each other and David Luiz (the young) implying in an interview given in Portuguese that Lampard should remember he is only an ‘employee’. This unfolding soap opera has been very embarrassing to the club and is fairly concrete proof that the dressing room divisions are beyond repair.

Many believe that the only reason AVB has received a stay of execution thus far, has been the costs that would be incurred by Abramovich if he were to remove him.  With an initial outlay of around £28 million spent bringing Villa Boas in from Porto, his hiring has turned out to be the most expensive failed experiment since John Travolta tried to take Scientology to the big screen.

Despite implementing a bottomless pockets policy since taking charge at Chelsea and being a regular on the Forbes rich list, even a man like Abramovich begins to feel the sting of £64 million pounds spent over the last 4 years on managerial changes alone.

It is with this in mind that I must suggest that Roman Abramovich should for once keep his supersized wallet (or more accurately diamond encrusted money clip) in his pocket, and after removing Villas Boas, take the Chelsea management role himself.

Now, here me out – whilst I’d agree that this seems like an suggestion that borders on the ridiculous, don’t you think the Chelsea players might just find something extra during the second half with a well connected Russian giving the half time talks? After all, he came out of the other side of the ‘Russian Aluminium Wars’ with a fortune and a face full of hardened stubble, and that feuding over the control of the smelters was said to have cost around 100 lives.

Who would ever doubt he could excel in the area of premier league diva motivation?  Never underestimate fear as the greatest motivator of all.

The back four may just tighten up significantly if they knew that shipping a couple more goals could see Polonium 210 winding up in the drink bottles. Torres might find his goal scoring mojo if he thought his wife and child might be kidnapped by burly henchmen . Even Raul Meireles, a man with a hardened image and the ink of death row inmate, would probably find an extra yard of pace.

This whole scenario seems as likely as Tony Soprano taking charge at the New York Red Bulls, which itself is an imaginative scenario worth contemplating. I could just see Thierry Henry telling locker room stories about his undefeated season at Arsenal, only to be cut short by Mr Soprano with a menacing reminder that he’s only ever as good as his last envelope.

But for the Russian billionaire Abramovich, his last 9 years have been spent closely monitoring the football club, attended training sessions, watched countless matches and at times making his presence known in the locker room. Half the reason he has been forced to install a revolving door at Chelsea, for managers use only, are his strong opinions regarding squad recruitment and who should be playing.

Isn’t it time for the Gremlin with access to the Kremlin to take full control of his beloved Chelsea, particularly as it has been his unyielding views which have been the main problem for the various managers he has put in place. Granted, I can’t imagine  to the it would attract a huge number of Europe’s top players to Chelsea, but there is little doubt their current squad might start to play as though their lives depended on it.


Posted on March 3, 2012, in football. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Although a different code and different country your article reminds me (for no logical reason except for the head chopping ) of Mal Reilly, coach of the Newcastle Knights , who early in the season returning from a lost match, stopped the players bus, outside a hardware/forestry supplies shop, bought an axe, and sat in the back of the bus with it between his legs all the way home saying nothing.
    Reilly was a man of few words but under him the Knights won their first premiership in 1997.

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