Luiz Felipe Scolari made a grand entrance as the new manager of Chelsea last Tuesday, announcing a new era for the London club.
The club's third manager within a year completes a circle of transition as owner Roman Ambromavich seeks to build upon the growing stature of his pet football project and turn it into not only the most successful club in England but also the most loved.
Although Jose 'Special One' Mourinho was able to bring success to the club, he also managed to make Chelsea the most hated in the country. He developed a siege mentality, successfully fostering a win-at-all-costs attitude.
His successor Avram Grant was steady but uninspired with the press. His down to earth nature was neither entertaining or charismatic enough to be interesting—or as it turns out, successful. Grant’s greatest legacy has been to turn Chelsea from being the most hated club to one of the most hated in the EPL.
So out goes Grant, in comes the Scolari samba, the ebullient, theatrical, and experienced former Brazil and Portugal manager, who brings just what the owner wants. He is liked—in fact loved and adored would be better words.
Ambromavich wants every new football convert in the USA and the far east to dress their teddy bears in Chelsea shirts, watch Chelsea matches on TV, and buy Chelsea car stickers.
Scolari is colourful, funny, charismatic, clever, witty and engaging. However, whether he is able to bring the same football success is yet to be seen, but his established pedigree would suggest it will.
Scolari’s appointment has little to do with football at this stage although that will certainly help. It is about making Chelsea marketable and enjoyable to watch.
Chelsea may finally have the ingredient they need to make the club a cynic free zone for all the family. When asked at the press conference whether he considers himself also to be a 'special one' he replied, "Yes. But only to my friends and family." A great answer and just what the billionaire ordered.
Now if he can provide some good football that would be great as well, and then maybe that little European trophy.