Saturday, September 22, 2007


These two stories are almost impossible to credit. Almost.

Among the basic allegations: John Terry, in a snit about Mourinho asking medical staff if there was a physiological reason for Terry's mediocrity this season, was the one responsible for sticking the knife into Mourinho's back. This was regicide, and it was the trusted general who was the assassin

This is an assassin who, by the way, is now alleged to have wanted a contractual guarantee that at the end of his playing days he would get to manage Chelsea. This is megalomania of the highest order. Even Abramovich drew the line at this.

Other great stuff: Abramovich on Tuesday thought it was appropriate to give Michael Essien a lesson on tactics in the dressing room in front of the entire team, using Shevchenko as an interpreter. This is like one of those contests in newspapers with the two slightly different pictures many things are wrong with this picture? Several thousand, by my count.

Much of the squad, lured to Chelsea by the prospect of playing for Mourinho, are in a state of shock and fury at their captain. With Grant assuredly going to be playing Shevchenko every match, that makes two players out of Chelsea's starting eleven who are utterly loathed by the rest of their teammates. One has to think that Chelsea go into today's match with ManU playing the equivalent of at least a man down even before they step on the pitch.

A rich man using the team as a plaything as a form of ego gratification is not necessarily a recipe for failure. Berlusconi has done it rather successfully for more than 25 years now. But to my knowledge, Berlusconi doesn't play favourites with players on his team to the degree Abramovich does. And while he certainly has his views on tactics - "Milan play with two strikers", "Zoff was an idiot not to man-mark Zidane" being his two most well-known interventions of the past decade - I'm pretty sure he has never barged into the dressing room to tell a star midfielder how to pass a ball.

When Shevchenko and Ballack came to the Bridge, I remember thinking that this was the first step in the Inter-fication of Chelsea and that Abramovich, like Moratti, was behaving like a fan, buying whatever players seemed best without a second thought. But I now think we may actually be heading into Jesus Gil territory, where the owner actually thinks he is smarter than whatever coach is there at the moment.

Even with gobs of money, success in football is delicate and ephemeral. Abramovich has thrown away the only thing that united his fissiparous squad. The rest of the season will be one long disaster, and fifth place isn't inconceivable. And then what? Might Abramovich get tired of his play thing? The mind reels at the consequences

If I were a Blues fan, I'd be terrified. Poor bastards. They didn't deserve the success of the last three years, but they don't deserve this nonsense either.


Anonymous arsenalist said...

Nice post. I'm not shocked to see Terry act this way, he seems like a egomaniac every time he's interviewed on TV. If him wanting to become manager of Chelsea after he's retired is true, he's completely insane.

I think Shevchenko is a great player who hasn't yet adjusted to the English game, he needs a little more time and I really think he's going to score a lot of goals for them this year. So if Abramovich insists that Sheva get playing time, he's not a complete ass. I think Sheva will turn the corner this year.

Most importantly, this is Chelsea, the more turmoil the better. The Man U game will be something else, here's hoping for a tie.

Thoughts on TFC, Arsenal?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous ursus arctos said...

Marca is running an unsourced piece in which Roman "admits" to "being the real manager" of Chelsea, with Grant "just taking orders".

This could be a meltdown of Biblical proportions.

3:41 PM  
Blogger roswitha said...

Damn, if that isn't the coldest piece of news I have read in a while.

7:24 AM  

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