Chelsea FC: Roberto Di Matteo to Get the Axe at End of Season

Louis Hamwey@thecriterionmanAnalyst IIIMay 10, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Roberto Di Matteo caretaker manager of Chelsea is lifted by his players during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Chelsea FC manager Roberto Di Matteo has been stunning in his role as interim manager since taking over for beleaguered Andre Villas-Boas in early March. However, his FA Cup triumph and getting the club to its second Champions League final seem not to be enough for owner Roman Abramovich.

A source close to the club was quoted in The Sun suggesting that no matter the outcome in Munich, Di Matteo will be asked to resign his post at season’s end:

Robbie is determined to go for glory against Bayern, even though he’s resigned to leaving regardless of what happens in Munich. He has tried to talk to the club’s hierarchy about pre-season training for next season and been given very short shrift.

That convinced him he really is just an ‘interim’ manager, filling the post until a full-time appointment can be made.

The news may come to a shock for some Chelsea fans who were more than apt to see Di Matteo appointed the full-time manager given the results he has gotten thus far. There is also, of course, a sense of club loyalty, that he is the first manager to serve in the Abramovich era that was a part of the club before the Russian was even a recognized figure in the sport.

Chelsea have since combated the rumor as being “pure speculation,” but it is easy to see this as more of PR move than anything to stave off any friction before arguably the most important match in the club’s history.

It is somewhat hard to imagine that the man who took over a team that was in real threat of being ousted from both the FA Cup and Champions League was able to overturn two deficits to reach the finals in both, but has his job on the line.


However, poor league form has brought him under a bit of heat. Back-to-back losses to Newcastle and being utterly embarrassed by Liverpool could not have helped his case to be the full-time man.

Though at a point, Abramovich must stop asking himself what his fantasies desire and begin to take a realistic approach to what best suits the club.

Di Matteo was a fan favorite before he made his triumphant return and forever sealed himself in Chelsea lore with his half season of managing. To sack him could develop into a PR nightmare where any manager who does not come in and win right away will have very little support behind them.

Not to mention there is also little wiggle room in terms of finances. A manager that will be an acceptable replacement for Di Matteo in the fans' eyes will have to be one of the game’s giants such as Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, and neither will come at a fair price.

With Financial Fair Play rules already expected to hinder the club’s transfers, having a big-name manager will unnecessarily eat into that spending money and not give the manager much room to improve this aging squad.

We can only hope this remains off-the-cuff speculation. If not, then Chelsea is losing a very good manager and another, perhaps rival, club will be gaining one.


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