Roman Abramovich Has Earned the Right to Hire and Fire
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Let me just state in no uncertain terms that I am not a fan of the way Roman Abramovich treats managers at Chelsea Football Club. I am a firm believer that the best way to ensure long-term success at a football club is to give managers time to build a team in their own image and not just sack them the first time they come to a bump in the road. Manchester City's mega-rich owners are trying to replicate the success enjoyed by neighbours Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Abramovich has never been a fan of this long-term planning strategy and you can see this in the way he has gone through managers during his near 10 years in charge. His roll call of managers so far stands thus: Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Huudink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and current 'interim' boss Rafael Benitez.
All very successful managers, but this hasn't stopped them from feeling Roman's wrath when he has not been happy with the results.
However, the reason for these sackings is a genuine desire by Abramovich to see Chelsea become the most successful football club in the world and his frustration when he doesn't win every single trophy that is available to him.
In fact, one of the many reasons speculated upon for why he so ruthlessly disposed of Di Matteo was their lacklustre performances in both the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup. Abramovich viewed these as genuine trophies to win as a result of their success in the previous year and was particularly disappointed with the total capitulation against Atletico Madrid.
The list of managers he has been through is also somewhat misleading. Claudio Ranieri was never his manager in the first place and was always likely to be sacked no matter what he achieved. Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink and Roberto Di Matteo were only ever caretakers much like Benitez is now.
There is a strong argument though, that Abramovich is fully justified in running the football club any way that he sees fit. He saved Chelsea from near bankruptcy when he took charge of the club from Ken Bates in 2003. Since then he has pumped in over a billion pounds of his own money to make the club so successful.
In that time, their list of silverware is extremely impressive. They have won three Premier League titles, the Champions League, four FA Cups and two League Cups and they are still in with a chance of winning five trophies this season, starting with the Club World Cup in Japan this week.
Of course the man the Russian really wants in charge is Pep Guardiola. The big question, though, is whether the Spaniard is willing to risk his glowing reputation at the hands of Abramovich. One thing that is for sure is that whoever is in charge of the team, Roman Abramovich will ensure that the trophies keep on coming for Chelsea and their supporters.
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