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Pauly

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GRANT AND CLARKE: THEIR BACKGROUNDS

In the management team that has taken charge of the first team from today, Chelsea has appointed two men with contrasting but rich football backgrounds.

Avram Grant has a wealth of experience, both in domestic and international football, with a rich coaching career in both club and international football.

He replaces Jos? Mourinho as manager after being recruited during the summer as the club's director of football, joining us from Portsmouth, where he had held the same role.

Prior to his appointment at Fratton Park, Grant was manager of the Israeli national team, narrowly missing qualification for the 2006 World Cup after guiding the team unbeaten through a difficult qualifying group that included eventual qualifiers France and Switzerland.

The 52-year-old began his senior coaching career at Hapoel Petach Tikva, his home town club, leading the side to an unexpected second-placed finish in the 1990/91 season, and capturing two Toto cups during his stay there.

This success was duly noted by Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he won the Israeli championship in his first season, 13 points clear of their nearest rivals. The side also lost in the final of the Israeli cup, denying Grant a famous double.

The cup did arrive in 1994, preceding a second championship in 1995, before Grant decided to move to rivals Hapoel Haifa for one disappointing spell, finishing fourth in the Israeli championship.

By 1997, he had returned to Tel Aviv, and captured one more Toto Cup, the equivalent of the League Cup, in 1999, before taking up the coach's role at Maccabi Haifa, in 2000.

It was there that Grant had most success in club football. In two years, he led the team to two league championships, as well as the 2002 Toto Cup, consolation for defeat in the national cup competition final the same year, which would have made an historic treble.

Grant's credentials are also highlighted by the emergence of talents such as Yossi Benayoun and Aiyegbeni Yakubu during his stewardship, and the success of the side he built becoming the first Israeli team to reach the group stages of the Champions League in 2002/3 following his departure for the national team role.

Appointed at the age of 46, Grant is the youngest man ever to manage Israel's national team, and achieved some superb results, making him the country's most successful manager of all time.

With a raw and inexperienced squad, he led Israel unbeaten through qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, just missing out on qualification for Germany behind France and Switzerland. Israel won four and drew six of the ten qualifiers.

His overall record at Israel, was winning 14, drawing 13 and losing six of his 33 games in charge.

Grant announced he would not be renewing his contract with Israel, and was duly appointed as Portsmouth's director of football in June 2006, working alongside manager Harry Redknapp in a successful season down on the south coast.

He made the move to Stamford Bridge in July of this year, initially as director of football, before the announcement today.

Steve Clarke represents the ultimate in continuity within the club having worked under the last nine Chelsea managers either as a player, scout, coach or assistant manager.

Jos? Mourinho promoted him from youth team coach to one of his assistants when our former manager took the job in 2004. Clarke provided both a deep knowledge of the club and the Premier League.

As a player, he moved to Stamford Bridge from Scottish football in 1987 and went on to become the fifth highest appearance maker in Chelsea history, mostly playing at right-back, or in later seasons, in central defence.

Clarke's loyalty through some lean years was rewarded when in his final years as a player, he won the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup. He was voted our Player of the Year in 1994 and was a Scottish international.

Although he didn't know it at the time, his final match was the triumphant 1998 Cup Winners' Cup Final against Stuttgart in Stockholm. Early the next season he took up an offer from our former manager Ruud Gullit to join him at Newcastle United in coaching role.

Clarke remained at St. James' Park after Gullit's departure, was briefly caretaker manager and then worked under Bobby Robson until leaving in 2000.

He first accepted a scouting post back at Stamford Bridge and then the youth team job before Mourinho upgraded him to work with his first team.

His work out of the spotlight has played a major part in the six pieces of silverware that have been won in the previous three years. He is 44 years of age.

The first game in charge for the Grant and Clarke will be on Sunday as we meet Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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