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Excellent rant on everything that is wrong at Chelsea


blizeH

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On a topic basically asking if the problem lies with Benitez, someone came up with this gem of a post on Reddit:

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/chelseafc/comments/17rcoh/question_is_it_rafa_or_are_the_players_not_good/c8865f5?context=2

 

Commercially, the club is very well run. I don't particularly care about that however. I only care about the football, the football decision making and the football management.


As a bit of background, we have a Director of Football and football board that effectively make all the squad-related decisions and personnel acquisition. The manager has next to no input in this.

 

Let's start in 2010. We let Carvalho, Ballack et al go, which is fine in itself. The problem is in replacing them. Our only signings of note were Ramires and Benayoun. That's it. To replace a vast number of valued squad members. When the board recognised that we were severely lacking depth (especially in midfield - remembering that we lost Ballack, Deco, Belletti and Joe Cole that summer) they responded by spending £75m on Fernando Torres and David Luiz in January. What did that do to fix our squad? Next to nothing - we gained another striker where we already had three (Drogba, Anelka, Sturridge) and gained a centre back which wasn't our main problem area (although we did need one at the time, I do seem to recall).


So in 2010-11, what's the verdict on the squad building? On replenishing the squad with valued contributors in all areas? Remembering that we largely played 4-3-3 at the time, our out and out
midfield options at the time were Ramires, Lampard, Essien and Obi. Zhirkov and Malouda did jobs at various times. That's it.

 

Why did this happen? This happened because of the organisational vacuum at the top of the club. This club is run at Roman Abramovich's discretion. When he wants someone, he does his level best to get them cf. Andrei Shevchenko; Fernando Torres. In lieu of decent planning and
decision making, it was instead deemed prudent to spend £75m (of which £50m is definitely wasted, the other £25m, the jury is out on) on two players. What does this say about the organisation of the club to you?


Here's the best bit - what happens to the men responsible for the dismal squad? Nothing really. Abramovich pet Emenalo is promoted to Director of Football and Gourlay etc keep their jobs. Zero accountability. Apart from for the manager. Somehow managing to finish second with that disaster of a squad is deemed to be not good enough for Roman. Who does he choose to sack? Not Frank Arnesen, he's already going to Hamburg having had enough of the way the club is run. No, he sacks the man who dragged that team to second, Carlo Ancelotti.

 

For the people surrounding Abramovich, for the people directly answerable to Abramovich, zero accountability, zero responsibility. Do what Roman wants and you keep your job. Does that sound like a well-run football club to you?

 

It's 2011. Bright young thing, Andre Villas-Boas is the hottest property on the football manager market. But what has he really achieved? He's had a sensational season, but where is the detailed planning? Where is the analysis of what's he like as a person? Where is the long term plan? Is Villas-Boas part of the long term plan? Will he get significant funds to implement his ideas? Will he be given significant funds to help move out the old guard and progress the club?

 

Or! Will he be hamstrung by a complete lack of organisation at the top? Will be be undermined by promising him the complete support of the board and the owner, yet not giving him the appropriate funds to build the squad in his image? Will he labour under the misapprehension that hehas the owner's full support, alienate half the playing staff and then get sacked? Who knows, let's see.


Moving out over the summer, mainly lots of youth and ex-youth. Zhirkov the main one to go. You'll remember the midfield point I made before, at this time we played 4-3-3. When Michael Essien ruptured his ACL in August, our options were Ramires, Lampard and Mikel. Not to forget an extremely raw 19 year old Oriol Romeu (for whom you have to wonder why he was available at £3m from Barcelona) and Josh McEachran, who would eventually go out on loan. Essien's injury caused a last minute purchase of Raul Meireles. As you can see, the planning of this isn't great. Injuries do happen, but we're fairly light there anyway.


As for the moving out of the old guard, this isn't done in the summer. That would make too much sense. Instead we're going to make two valued members of the squad train away from the first team with the transfer window already shut. Whose decision this is, it's not quite clear, but as we will come to see (with Malouda), perhaps it wasn't Villas-Boas' decision after all. What does this say about the organisational structures at the club? Does it scream "well thought out planning, by a sensible and rational football policy" or does it scream "ad hoc idiocy"?

 

There is no plan. There is no idea of where the club is going. Andre Villas-Boas makes mistakes, sure, but there is nothing like the support needed for a 33 year old manager coming into one of the biggest bear pits in football. He is thrown in with his hands tied behind his back and guess what? It goes very wrong. He is thrown out of Cobham with the other pariahs and Roberto Di Matteo somehow manages to guide the club to win the Champions League. However, this isn't a true indicator of the health of the club. With a depleted/inadequate squad, the team rightfully finish sixth.

 

So who's to blame? Is it Villas-Boas? Well, we've sacked him already. We tried the long term plan and the patience with the manager but we could only really be bothered with it until March. Time to rip it all up and start again.

 

The Champions League win glosses over what a disaster our squad is, so the board decide to
rectify that. A lot of it is positive; we need a right back - good purchase in Azpilicueta. We desperately need some attacking players - excellent purchases in Hazard and Oscar.

However, where do they fit into a formation? Eden Hazard largely played in a 10 role behind the striker for Lille, yet Juan Mata has been doing that for Chelsea. Oscar largely played in a 10 role behind the striker for Internacional and the Brazilian national team, yet Chelsea already have Juan Mata. Oh well, I'm sure it will work out. They're good players. Victor Moses and Marko Marin are added as depth options. Moses - great signing.

Does this not strike anyone else as having an enormous amount of panic in it? We suddenly realised that we had lost the majority of our mainstays in attack over the past season and a half - Drogba, Anelka, Kalou and Malouda (as he was supposed to leave). We needed a new attack
anyway. Could these players fit into a 4-2-3-1? Of course, they're good players. They'll work it out.

What about the asinine double pivot policy? Well, we have a still raw Romeu and in Mikel a player who will be missing for a month and a half over an extremely busy period. Not to forget two players in Lampard and Ramires possibly the complete opposite of what you want in that
formation. What do the board do? Get rid of two viable rotation options. Essien leaves on loan and utterly bizarrely, Meireles leaves after the close of the transfer window in England. Why was this done? What was the thinking? Was it genuinely that we would be okay with four players for
two spots? Who is accountable for this? Is it the manager? Is it the director of football? Is it the football board? Where is the responsibility? Who knows.

 

The striking options - Torres and Sturridge, are both pathetic. Torres because he's finished as a footballer at the highest level and Sturridge because he hasn't got the mental fortitude to play for this club. Yet these are the only two options available to Roberto Di Matteo.

It has been suggested that Di Matteo was undermined by the board so as to make it easier for Roman to sack him. He was never supposed to win the European Cup. Just look at the body language when he went to get the trophy. Does anyone else have a rational explanation of why Essien and Meireles were let go? As soon as the ship hits a rocky patch (as tends to happen with Chelsea), Di Matteo is sacked. He is replaced by a man suggested by Director of Football, Michael Emenalo. That man is Rafael Benitez, a man so utterly detested by the fans that they're in revolt. The man with the plan, with the grand scheme of what he wants his Chelsea to look like, sacked the man who had the fans on his side and who had given him all he wanted when he first found an interest in football in 2003. The man with the plan has divided the support with one
move.

The sacking is justified by saying that we were in danger of failing to reach our targets and progressing as a football club. A few months later, Rafael Benitez is doing worse than Roberto Di Matteo. He has a worse record and the fans cannot contain their revulsion for the man. To
make things worse, despite every single person in the Western Hemisphere realising that Chelsea's squad is utterly pathetic, the football board do not strengthen in January. Players like Moussa Sissoko are ignored in favour of leaving things as they are, with two midfielders for two midfield spots. This is even without speaking of the 25 players we have out on loan. That's twenty five. Twenty five players on our books that we haven't found use for. Twenty five players some of whom could contribute right now. Twenty five players whom the football board have purchase yet cannot find use for.

So where's the accountability? Who is in charge of the squad? Who is in charge of the decision making?

Is this club run like a well-organised football club or is it run like an Early Modern English court, with factions all vying to impress the King? With people undermining eachother in every direction? With shady, unnamed individuals gaining the trust of the owner and feeding him what he wants to hear?

 

Where is the plan? Are we playing 4-2-3-1? In that case, let's get some midfielders who can play in it, not three number 10s, a Brazilian who is the third man in a 4-3-3 and Frank Lampard, who has never played defensive midfielder in his life. Where is the communication to put the squad together? Where is the unanimity of setting out the plan?

 

The entire organisational structure of the club depends on the whims of one man and of getting the attention of one man. Have any of you heard of Marina Granovskaia? She's allegedly the most powerful person at the club, after Roman obviously. Remember Piet de Visser? Remember dear old Avram? The owner surrounds himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear.

 

That is why the organisational structures at the club are a shambles - because they're run by a man who does not have a single clue about football.

He raises some fantastic points, but also misses the Wilkins sacking, which IMO is just a big a disgrace as anything else that's happened in the past few years.

 

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Hard to argue any with any of it. I fully agree the start of our issues can be traced back to the Summer of 2010 and we've been stuttering ever since.

 

I specifically remember being one of the few here that was lobbying for us to invest heavily at the time into the Ozil's, Khedira's etc that had shone at the Euros. The key to remaining at the top is to invest into fresh talent on a consistent basis. That is precisely why Man United are there every year and why they overhauled City this season (City simply didn't buy the required quality to strengthen their squad). However, the Chelsea board let half the squad go with no adequate replacements and we're still suffering.

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I specifically remember being one of the few here that was lobbying for us to invest heavily at the time into the Ozil's, Khedira's etc that had shone at the Euros. The key to remaining at the top is to invest into fresh talent on a consistent basis. That is precisely why Man United are there every year and why they overhauled City this season (City simply didn't buy the required quality to strengthen their squad). However, the Chelsea board let half the squad go with no adequate replacements and we're still suffering.

 

I think we were interested in Ozil and Khedira, they wanted to go to Real Madrid though. To be honest i wouldn't take any of them right now, they ain't exactly in top form, i haven't seen Ozil play consistently well for some time now.

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I think we were interested in Ozil and Khedira, they wanted to go to Real Madrid though. To be honest i wouldn't take any of them right now, they ain't exactly in top form, i haven't seen Ozil play consistently well for some time now.

 

Ozil was great last season. For some reason, he isnt doing well now. Disagree about Khedira though. He is carrying their midfield this season.

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I specifically remember being one of the few here that was lobbying for us to invest heavily at the time into the Ozil's, Khedira's etc that had shone at the Euros. The key to remaining at the top is to invest into fresh talent on a consistent basis. That is precisely why Man United are there every year and why they overhauled City this season (City simply didn't buy the required quality to strengthen their squad). However, the Chelsea board let half the squad go with no adequate replacements and we're still suffering.

I'm not convinced that we haven't signed adequate replacements. Our problems lie with the fact that we fired the man who brought us the Champions league after we just hit a bad patch (following a traumatic game against United which has been well documented on here). We then replace him with an imposter who has no place at our club. I also blame the board for allowing several players to stay on long term loans when they could and should be doing a job for Chelsea now. Our squad would look much stronger now if we just had Courtois, Lukaku, and KDB to name 3. In the case of Lukaku we should have made the decision to either keep him this season, or keep Drogs for another year. Certainly there was no logical reason not to recall him once we sold Sturridge. Even with Ba arriving.

So I absolutel hold the board accountable for a lot of the crap that is going on right now. I also agree with most of the original article on this thread. But I really think we have the basis of a strong squad ruined by our ridiculous policy of loaning half our players.

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I'm not convinced that we haven't signed adequate replacements. Our problems lie with the fact that we fired the man who brought us the Champions league after we just hit a bad patch (following a traumatic game against United which has been well documented on here). We then replace him with an imposter who has no place at our club. I also blame the board for allowing several players to stay on long term loans when they could and should be doing a job for Chelsea now. Our squad would look much stronger now if we just had Courtois, Lukaku, and KDB to name 3. In the case of Lukaku we should have made the decision to either keep him this season, or keep Drogs for another year. Certainly there was no logical reason not to recall him once we sold Sturridge. Even with Ba arriving.

So I absolutel hold the board accountable for a lot of the crap that is going on right now. I also agree with most of the original article on this thread. But I really think we have the basis of a strong squad ruined by our ridiculous policy of loaning half our players.

 

As the guy that wrote that correctfully points out, our squad has been imbalanced for years. Granted, we have a lot of talent, but many of our players don't really fit our formation.

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  I have always regarded Emenalo as a curious appointment.

 

  Granted he got Hazard and Oscar but failed to get a dominant player in midfield such as Fellaini.

 

  Gourlay is undoubtedly a "yes man" and has little to offer.

 

  Buck is only a figurehead who should have prevented the appointment of Emenalo.

 

  I hold no brief for Benitez,

 

  He would not have been my choice as manager.

 

  Who influenced Roman in signing him?

 

  The people making the decisions must assume responsibility for our current predicament.

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If we thought the problems started with Rafa we are kidding ourselves.

 

Shevchenko, RDM (reluctant appointment and subsequent dismissal), Mourinho's departure, Torres, Wilkins, Benitez's appointment and continued presence, Avram's dismissal when he was a slip away from RDMs success (whatever you think of him), 

 

There are more but you get the idea. This is a club run on a kneejerk basis with owners favourites and no place for dissenters. Fans must put up or shut up and success and money, have, in the main, meant put up. If we were top of the league now and still in the CL/LC with Benitez many fans would probably have accepted it regardless of principles or objections.

 

Only when Roman's petulant decision making starts to lead to failure (as recently) will fans start to seriously object. Principles get eaten up by cash and success and that applies to any club.

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If we thought the problems started with Rafa we are kidding ourselves.

 

Shevchenko, RDM (reluctant appointment and subsequent dismissal), Mourinho's departure, Torres, Wilkins, Benitez's appointment and continued presence, Avram's dismissal when he was a slip away from RDMs success (whatever you think of him), 

 

There are more but you get the idea. This is a club run on a kneejerk basis with owners favourites and no place for dissenters. Fans must put up or shut up and success and money, have, in the main, meant put up. If we were top of the league now and still in the CL/LC with Benitez many fans would probably have accepted it regardless of principles or objections.

 

Only when Roman's petulant decision making starts to lead to failure (as recently) will fans start to seriously object. Principles get eaten up by cash and success and that applies to any club.

 

I think the sacking of Carlo was arguably worse than any of them.

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Carlo was class, it just reminds you that, for Roman, second is no-where and that past success counts for nothing. I think we've had four managers removed within 12 months, often less, of what most people would regard as success. Very rarely has that been followed by significant improvement. In truth, despite the CL win, we are a weaker club than when Mourinho was here and although some of the appointments have improved things, it is usually when that change follows the removal of one of Roman's miracle cures where there was no illness.

 

Our win % figures are telling

 

Mourinho 67% sacked

Grant 67% sacked

Scolari 56% sacked

Hiddink 73% left

Ancellotti 61% sacked

Villas Boas 48% sacked

RDM 57% sacked

Benitez 47% soon to be sacked

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Carlo was class, it just reminds you that, for Roman, second is no-where and that past success counts for nothing. I think we've had four managers removed within 12 months, often less, of what most people would regard as success. Very rarely has that been followed by significant improvement. In truth, despite the CL win, we are a weaker club than when Mourinho was here and although some of the appointments have improved things, it is usually when that change follows the removal of one of Roman's miracle cures where there was no illness.

 

 

Our win % figures are telling

 

Mourinho 67% sacked

Grant 67% sacked

Scolari 56% sacked

Hiddink 73% left

Ancellotti 61% sacked

Villas Boas 48% sacked

RDM 57% sacked

Benitez 47% soon to be sacked

 

 

And just as an indictment of everything that is wrong with the way Roman rules the roost

 

Just look at the equivalent win % figures for these two characters

 

Ferguson at United 59.8%

Pailsey at Liverpool 56.1%

 

They'd both of been out sharpish being in Scolari territory

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  The only way Roman is going to stop this policy of firing & hiring at the drop of a bloody hat is if it hurts the club then ultimately him and his

   fat & bloated ego. IMO the team of excellent players on the pitch, that in spite of his meddling have won 5 more trophies since Jose left, including the CL

    have  helped him dodge the bullet, the one that was fired from his own gun.

   It might be a good thing if the team place outside the top 4 with no trophies this season, it just might be a wake up call for him. Time to fire

   Emelano, Buck, Tenebaum, Gourlay & Benitez and start over.

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I can only imagine this article (from the Observer printed 3 days after Jose left) has been posted elsewhere, but I feel compelled to post it as it still feels relevant with regard to, for example, the shady yes-men all through the club, transfer policy, and our chances of Jose coming back in the summer (all strongly interconnected, of course).

 

 

Tuesday, 10pm, home dressing room, Stamford Bridge. Andriy Shevchenko is taking Michael Essien to task on his performance in the night's embarrassing 1-1 draw with Rosenborg. The former European footballer of the year tells Africa's finest midfielder that he tried to make too many passes through the centre of the Norwegians' formation where '70 percent of their players were'. Essien learns he should have been passing to the wings 'where they only had 30 percent of their men'.

Not the most insightful of tactical advice, but then these are not the thoughts of a Ukraine international, they are those of a Russian billionaire. Standing beside Shevchenko, tactics board in hand, Roman Abramovich is the man telling Essien how to play football. Shevchenko is merely there to translate. In another room, attending to the press, Mourinho is utterly unaware of his employer's actions.

Tuesday, 7:11pm, the home dressing room. Chelsea's squad of 18 are called out for their pre-match warm up. All the players step out for the carefully prepared drill - except one. John Terry remains sitting where he is. One of Jose Mourinho's assistants urges Terry out. Chelsea's captain refuses, swears, and, according to an eye witness, says he is upset and has 'things on my mind'. Terry is said to be furious after finding out that Mourinho had been asking in Chelsea's treatment room whether there was a medical reason for his perceived loss of form over recent weeks. The stand-off continues until a team-mate cajoles his friend out on to the pitch.

The game starts, Chelsea quickly lose a goal at a free kick as Miika Koppinen stretches ahead of Terry to turn in a near-post cross. Chelsea go in at half time 1-0 down and Jose Mourinho takes his captain to task, blaming the defender for the deficit. Terry says nothing but all his team-mates can see the anger on his face.

The pair had once been the closest of footballing allies, but within 24 hours Mourinho is no longer Terry's manager as Chelsea agree to a £10.5million pay-off to rid themselves of a man they describe as 'the most successful manager the club has known'.

'The relationship broke down not because of one detail or because of something that happened at a certain moment. It broke down over a period of time.' - Jose Mourinho, 21 September 2007.

To understand how the winner of two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup, a man who averaged an unprecedented 2.33 points from his 120 Premiership games in just over three seasons, steadily became persona non grata at the club he made great, it is necessary to return to the summer of 2005.

'In Jose's first season everything was fine,' said a Chelsea employee who suffered the Abramovich guillotine long before the Portuguese. 'He came in, he won the title by miles, almost made the Champions League final, everyone was happy. But then it all began to go wrong. Peter Kenyon started thinking it was his genius as a chief executive that was important. Abramovich's mates were telling him his money had done it and any half-decent coach would win the league with those resources. They forgot that the most important man at any club is the manager.'

That summer, Chelsea poached Tottenham Hotspur's sporting director Frank Arnesen at a cost of £5m. Ostensibly recruited to revolutionise the club's sub-standard youth ranks, the Dane was actually brought in on the recommendation of Piet de Visser, a well-known Dutch talent scout who had advised Abramovich on football matters from his first months as Chelsea owner.

Arnesen and De Visser, friends and allies from their time together at Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, steadily worked to influence Abramovich's thinking on the first team, and, most importantly, player recruitment. Along with the agents Soren Lerby, Vlado Lemeic and Pini Zahavi they sought to steer Abramovich towards the purchase of certain footballers. Their objective, according to one source, was 'to get to Abramovich's money. To do that they needed power at the club, needed a manager who would do what they wanted. Mourinho was not that manager.'

Thus emerged a power struggle in which Arnesen and others seemed to undermine Mourinho by questioning him at every opportunity. When Mourinho went to war with Uefa over the actions of referees they told Abramovich his coach was embarrassing the club. When Mourinho's team dourly won key matches by a goal to nil, they told the owner a better coach would win by more goals and bring him far more flamboyant football. When a Mourinho signing failed to perform on the pitch, they told Abramovich that better players could be found elsewhere.

Within a year, and despite Mourinho's success in claiming a second successive Premiership, the manager had lost control of transfers. In the 2006 summer window, Mourinho asked the board to buy Samuel Eto'o; they spent a UK record £30m on Shevchenko. Chelsea sold William Gallas to Arsenal against Mourinho's wishes, and forced the £7m Khalid Boulahrouz upon him, while Arnesen compounded the error of allowing Chelsea's most effective defender to leave the club by pulling the plug on the £5m purchase of Micah Richards. Inside a season Richards was a full England international, while Boulahrouz was stinking out the reserves until Chelsea paid Sevilla to take him off their hands.

At least Mourinho could easily leave the Dutch defender out of the first team. A personal friend of Abramovich's, Shevchenko played regardless of his performances, and those were usually awful. In his first 26 appearances for Chelsea, the Ukrainian striker scored five goals. His coaches and team-mates often felt as though Chelsea were playing with 10 men and Mourinho was faced with a problem - should he leave out the owner's pal or lose the faith of the rest of the team?

As January approached, Mourinho asked to be allowed to sign a new striker. The board refused. Mourinho asked for a centre-back to cover for Terry, then sidelined with a serious back problem. The board offered him a choice between Alex, a Brazilian bought via De Visser and 'parked' at PSV for two seasons, and Tal Ben Haim, a Zahavi client. Mourinho wanted neither.

Worse still, Chelsea's manager was instructed to sack one of his assistants and add the Israeli Avram Grant to his coaching staff. When he refused, the club descended into open warfare.

Mourinho dropped Shevchenko from his first team, leaking the story to a national newspaper in an open challenge to Abramovich to sack him. On an emotional afternoon at Stamford Bridge the manager first rallied his team around him, then sent them out to overrun Wigan 4-0. Long before kick-off the Chelsea supporters were chanting 'Stand up for the Special One' through standing ovation after standing ovation.

An infuriated Abramovich ceased attending games and instructed his advisors to find a replacement coach. Mourinho let it be known that he would leave, but only on payment of the outstanding value of his contract - about £28m comprising £5.2m per annum for three-and-a-half years and up to £10m in bonuses. In the meantime he kept winning matches, pushing his injury-hit squad to within a few games of a remarkable quadruple.

Ultimately Chelsea won the League Cup and the FA Cup, forcing Abramovich to reconcile with his manager. A consciously 'mellow' Mourinho promised to avoid conflict with opposing managers and football authorities, accepted restrictions on his transfer budget, and reshaped his team in a more flamboyant 4-4-2 formation. Fatefully, he also acceded to the appointment of Grant as Chelsea's director of football.

Though some in Mourinho's camp had Grant pinned as a 'Mossad Spy' from the off, the manager attempted to work with him, holding long meetings with him during the club's staggeringly positive pre-season US tour and letting it be known that he welcomed his arrival as a buffer against Arnesen and route to Abramovich. The early-season optimism, however, swiftly evaporated.

Grant began calling individual players aside to ask them questions.

'You look sad, why?' 'How do you feel in this position?' 'Is this the best place for you to play?' 'Are we using your abilities well?' Because many of them complained about this to Mourinho, the manager decided to cut back radically on team meetings, the only one this season having been arranged for the Jewish New Year when Grant had returned to Israel.

While Grant looked on at training, Shevchenko treated it with disdain. A morose, lonely figure around the camp, he seemed to show more interest in improving his golf swing than his shooting. As the first team prepared for their final pre-season friendly against Danish side Brondby, Shevchenko declared himself unfit with a back problem. A 2-0 victory ensured the £121,000-a-week striker was not missed, but Mourinho was bemused to discover that Shevchenko's bad back had not prevented him from enjoying a round of golf at Sunningdale that day.

The board, though, were not interested and the club's descent continued. Other players began to realise what was happening, that the summer's peace was a false one, that their manager had no support from the top. 'The mentality became weaker and weaker,' said one insider. 'You could feel the team's strength sapping away.'

Mourinho knew his time at Chelsea was coming to an end. At Uefa's forum for elite coaches in Geneva a fortnight ago he allowed Premier League rivals an insight into his thinking. 'Mourinho said he loved Chelsea and he loved English football, but thought he would not stay for long,' said one coach. 'One of us asked him why. He wouldn't answer, but it was obvious something was seriously wrong.'

His next Champions League match brought the end. On Wednesday afternoon the board asked Mourinho to resign, citing his handling of Shevchenko, his attitude to authority and, crucially, his relationship with Terry as reasons why he should go. Mourinho refused to walk, and fought only to maximise his pay-off as Chelsea apparently threatened to call club employees to testify against him at any employment tribunal.

A £10.5m pay-off was agreed and the following morning Mourinho made a final trip to the training centre at Cobham to pick up his possessions and say goodbye to his squad. There was a message in each farewell. For most there was a Latin embrace and warm words of thanks. For Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard the emotions were so strong that both men were reduced to tears, Lampard retreating to the shower room in an attempt to hide his. For Shevchenko and Terry there was nothing but a handshake that, in the words of one observer, could have 'frozen a mug of tea'. No one was in any doubt about who he considered the true captains of his team.

Out with the old, in with the new. Furious at Mourinho's dismissal, senior players describe Grant's appointment as 'a disgrace'. Some at Cobham call him 'an idiot' and describe his coaching techniques as '25 years behind the times'. Abramovich pushes the Israeli around 'without a hint of respect'.

Former academy coach Brendan Rogers has been drafted in to help out with the first team, a promotion that may not be unconnected to the one-on-one training sessions he gave Abramovich's son. Only in Steve Clarke is there the level of football knowledge to deal with a squad full of international superstars. As the sole survivor of Mourinho's cadre of four assistant managers, the Scotsman has an unenviable task.

But then neither he nor Grant will be picking the team. As Michael Essien discovered on Tuesday night, the new manager of Chelsea is also the owner.

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