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The Absurdity of Abramovich
Owner Undermines Managers of Real Quality
Posted Apr 28, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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With four games left in the Premier League season, we have ended up with pretty much exactly what we expected when it began: Manchester United and Chelsea competing for the trophy, with Arsenal a safe distance behind the front pair. Except up until three weeks ago, United were going to walk away with it, Arsenal were their closest competitors, and Chelsea were nowhere near. Having suffered a mid-season nightmare, Ancelloti could yet sneak his second Premier League title in his two seasons in charge.
If he does, he’ll likely still be sacked.
Last season – his first in charge of any club in England – the charismatic Italian led Chelsea to the domestic double and the Champion’s league quarter finals. This season, he again takes them to the wire in the Premier league – six points different with four games left is nowhere near as certain as many people are making out – and reaches the Champion’s league quarter finals again where he loses to the finest football manager of the last twenty years.
Only under Roman Abramovich would this be considered not good enough. In a world that is built around seemingly ridiculous high standards (Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton alone were both replaced with inferior managers this season, despite more than acquitting themselves in their roles), the Russian owner is the king of crazy sackings. Had he hung on to Jose Mourinho for a season or two longer, he would have that beautiful big trophy that he craves so much. However, he instead made his way through several more men, all of whom were also unable to deliver what seems to be the only criteria that the Russian has for success.
Assuming Ancelloti is removed from his position, who will Abramovich bring in? There is no-one available who can even really compete with the Italian for ability as well as record. There is certainly no-one more likely to win the Champion’s League.
If Abramovich ever wants an example of what longevity and support for a manager can do, he should have a look at the club that knocked Chelsea out of the European Cup this year. It took Alex Ferguson seven years to win his first league trophy. Abramovich would have sacked him in 1988.