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Oliver Holt artical


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Scolari sacked: No money, no class and no security - why Chelsea dream job is fast becoming a nightmare By Oliver Holt 10/02/2009

Once, it seemed like the dream job. Money was no object and it was spent with glorious abandon.

You wanted a player, you got him. A glorious new training ground where the best footballers could be pampered and cared for and made ready for battle? No problem.

The scent of new riches drifted along the King’s Road and the stars of the game arrived in great flocks.

And when Roman Abramovich used the occasion of Chelsea’s centenary in 2005 to talk of building an empire that would dominate the game for 100 years, it seemed less a boast than a vision of football’s new reality.

There did not seem any way back for the chasing pack back when Jose Mourinho had the best job in football. Everyone wanted what Mourinho had: the hundreds of millions in transfer funds, the backing, the glamour, the profile, the players, the squad.

Every whim satisfied, every request met, two world-class players in every position, the luxury of using a talent like Hernan Crespo as an occasional substitute.

They were great days in their way, heady days when the old power structure of the Premier League changed.

And when the established powers of our game were coming to terms with being ambushed by an upstart.

How far away they seemed at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when Chelsea were outplayed by Hull City.

How far away they seemed when the crowd mocked a manager who was appointed only seven months ago.

How far away they seemed when a tiers that houses the corporate boxes had blocks of empty seats.

How far away they seemed in the attitude of some of the players, their cynicism, lethargy and indifference.

Luiz Felipe Scolari looked an old man, impotent and tired, as he watched another match slip away. If he thought managing Chelsea was still football’s dream job when he arrived in the summer, he soon discovered he was mistaken. Things have changed and whoever Chelsea make their fourth manager in 18 months will inherit a radically different environment from the one Mourinho strode into.

The shock of the new is long gone at Stamford Bridge. The intoxicating sense of adventure has been replaced by a kind of wonderment that so many things could have gone so wrong so quickly.

For a start, Abramovich seems to have grown bored of spending vast amounts of money on footballers. He lets Manchester City do that now and spends his cash on art instead.

Last year, he paid £17.1m for Lucien Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping. He could have nearly one and a half Craig Bellamys for that.

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Since he bought the club, Abramovich has fired four managers in six years. It’s not the way to build success. What do you have to do to get his backing and a bit of support from chief executive Peter Kenyon when the going gets tough?

Claudio Ranieri reached the Champions League semi-finals, then got the boot.

Mourinho won the Premier League twice in three years and was rewarded with the sack at the first hint of a blip.

Avram Grant was the best of all: he took Chelsea to within one penalty of Champions League glory. And what happens? He takes a silver bullet as soon as he gets back to London.

Now a man as eminent as Scolari is sacked, being boss of Chelsea is starting to look like a toxic chalice.

Put it this way: you don’t take a job as Chelsea manager expecting loyalty and understanding from the board. Lose a game or two and it’s the Night of the Long Knives.

Much more of this and far from being football’s dream job, it will take over from England manager as The Impossible Job.

Whoever Chelsea next appoint knows he won’t get money for new players until the close season at least. Maybe longer. And when he looks at what he’s got to work with until then, he may not like what he sees.

In Deco and Michael Ballack, he will have two once great midfielders who look suspiciously like they’re washed up. Ballack goes through the motions. Deco hasn’t got it any more.

Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and John Obi Mikel aren’t good enough.

Nicolas Anelka has too many poor games, Alex is a liability at set pieces and until they get rid of Didier Drogba the spirit in the dressing room will not be right.

Scolari’s successor faces a grim fight to keep hold of a place in the top four. The fans may not accept that, though.

They have had a tantalising and brief glimpse of the glories on offer and dread it all being taken away.

Chelsea’s place in the hierarchy has slipped, too. They are no longer the golden boys, whichever way you look at it. Manchester United are better, Manchester City richer, Aston Villa hungrier, Arsenal younger and Liverpool stronger.

Apart from that, everything’s fine.

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Gosh. Well I never. RA must be bankrupt.

Or maybe there's a 'transfer window' that's closed until the summer.

Good article, though.

Perhaps it means he'll have to sign on the Dole till the end of May...he'll probably have to by next Christmas anyway :Whistle:

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Well, if I didnt want to stuff my gob full of sleeping pills before, that certainly tipped the bucket. What a depressingly accurate read of the situation.

Going back to the drawing board I dont think goes far enough. We need to get what we can for the players we have and start younger, fresher and with far more financial flexibility. I really dont think there is any way around rebuilding for a season or two

And when Roman Abramovich used the occasion of Chelsea’s centenary in 2005 to talk of building an empire that would dominate the game for 100 years, it seemed less a boast than a vision of football’s new reality.

Did anyone else read that and get echoes of Hitler promising a thousand year reich? In that it all went tits up about 6 years later?

and I thought that BEFORE the long knives bit

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