It's Not Easy Being Roman
A short time ago, before the existence of the Champions League and the money that rules it, local teams gave their manager enough time to develop a squad to challenge often through their youth system and rarely importing players. Failures were considered learning experiences.
That trend of having stable managers helped teams in having a system well put much before their current owners came in. The current owners never had to make any tough decision because they already had a manager with the knowledge, passion and intelligence that cannot be replaced easily.
What is at stake now is not just the pride, but the money involved, the exposure, the ability to attract talent and fans and merchandise sales. When a team misses a boat to cash in on these opportunities, it becomes more and more difficult to catch up with the ones who are in the top tier.
Football has become a lot more than just the game—A fact that we all have to live with and accept rather than reject.
Roman is far too often being criticized as being a bad owner. On the contrary he is one of the best owner in the English premier league. the brand of football he craves involves winning with entertainment.
Now who would not want that? Roman has often acted on best interests of Chelsea and has always tried to ensure that Chelsea are moving in the direction of a team that can provide entertaining and winning football.
Before Abramovich bought the club, Chelsea was a light weight team that was punching above its weight. He gave Ranieri enough funds to assemble a squad strong enough to break the monopoly of the then Big three.
Ranieri was successful in challenging for the title in an entertaining fashion but he lacked the finish. Winning is very important for a club not only from the monetary perspective but also in terms of establishing a cult status and attracting other established and promising players to the club.
Ranieri was too nice a guy to install the winning mentality and sadly had to be replaced.
Ranieri was given the sack and in comes Mourinho. The titles and cups started coming and it was a honey moon period in the blues history. Mourinho bought the trophies but he did not bring the style than Roman craved.
The style of play shifted to defense and a possession based linear offense. Roman bought an Ukrainian specialist Shevchenko for a then world record fee and the German midfielder Ballack to add flair to the Chelsea team.
Mourinho however used them sparingly and did not shift from his style of play. With patience wearing thin and the draws increasing the date with Rosenberg was Mourinho's last game in charge. Many fans were disappointed by this and sometimes I wonder if deep in his heart Roman regrets it too.
Avram was never a long term solution and nobody expected him to be! But he turned out to be a sweet surprise and led Chelsea to two finals and an exciting premier league finish which was the closest title race in a long time.
Clenching a victory in any of those would have maybe secured his managerial post, but he could not lay his hands on the golden eggs and was shown the doors. While Chelsea fans are happy that Avram is gone Roman was blamed by many neutrals as being trigger happy.
What Roman saw in Avram was a manager who could not motivate the players beyond a certain point, a manager who did not have a clear style of play but only continued what was started by the predecessor with help from Steve Clark (some say he was the real motivator) and Henk Ten Cate.
He also did not have the glitz in his CV to attract star players.
Scolari was thought to be the answer for all of Romans problems. Chelsea started playing the attacking football that made them a joy to watch. Benitez however threw the spanner in the works and teams now knew how to stop the Chelsea engine.
A pinball offense and a shaky defense saw Chelsea nose dive from top spot to fourth. Scolari's firing came as no surprise except to some. Scolari's Chelsea were leaking goals from set pieces and the the zonal defense instead of man marking did not work as Scolari expected.
The offense could not get past the opponents defense and the will to win was slowly crushed. Scolari could neither bring the winning mentality nor show the tactical acumen to change the formation/ substitution.
He was also alienating many of the clubs players. His firing was harshly criticized but the truth was this was one firing that made perfect sense. Roman was spot on about this.
Guus is a temporary appointment and will make way for yet another manager and the new manager will not be new to club football. Also the new manager will be given enough time to develop his own team and style provided Chelsea will not sacrifice their champions league spot to do this. The investments are too big to risk a failure.
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