So, what do fans of football outside of Chelsea think about the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo? I asked a number of them and here are their thoughts:
“Even with a Champions League under his belt, he just never had the pedigree of Mourinho, Ancelotti or even Hiddink.”
I’m not going to lie. As a Manchester United fan, I always find a certain pleasure when a rival sacks their coach. This is probably due to the longevity that our current manager has achieved with our club. Regarding his time at the club, there was always a feeling that Di Matteo was nothing more than a stopgap in Roman Abramovich’s plans. Even with a Champions League under his belt, he just never had the pedigree of Mourinho, Ancelotti or even Hiddink. Regarding his replacement, I’ve already said that Benitez would be the obvious choice. He would (perhaps) be able to rejuvenate Fernando Torres a bit due to the fact that he is the one who brought him to the Premier League in the first place for Liverpool. Inter Milan aside, his managing record is fairly decent and his experience in European cups is invaluable.
On the other hand, every Chelsea fan, Roman Abramovich included, would love another Spaniard at the helm. It would be a great surprise if Pep Guardiola dropped everything in order to manage Chelsea. It would be a dream come true for the Russian oligarch if he could lure the ex-Barcelona manager to London. In fact, it would be a dream come true for most teams if they managed to lure Guardiola to their club. His record speaks for itself. The one question would be: Can he repeat his previous record outside of his Barcelona cocoon? Only time and opportunities will tell. For the time being, the option of Rafa Benitez as a short-term option is one that Chelsea fans should embrace until the other Spaniard decides he is ready to return to the game.
“Roman does what Roman wants and at the end of the day he’s been very successful.”
Di Matteo, to my mind, was never going to last that long, but despite me knowing that I still found sacking him this early a little surprising given his achievements last year and the way he had implemented a better style of attacking football this. I don’t think he’s a great manager by any stretch, but he should never have been given the job in the first place if the board didn’t believe in him.I find the way Chelsea deal with managers really odd. The ease with which you dispense with them is mad to me. Now, that may sound like ironic given I’m a City fan and we’ve had a huge number of managers come and go but we generally sacked no marks, lame ducks and losers. Chelsea seem to have no problem binning off Champions League winners at the drop of a hat. I am a huge Ancelotti fan and felt like he should have been given longer but Roman does what Roman wants and at the end of the day he’s been very successful.
“It doesn’t appear to matter too much who the manager is… Sacking lots of managers goes against the British football culture but you can’t complain about the results.”
I’m happy he’s gone as a Spurs fan. Chelsea were starting to look like a real team capable of challenging for the league title. At White Hart Lane this season they reminded me of City last season the way they counter attacked so effectively.
The structure of Chelsea appears to be very feudal and hierarchical, with Abramovich running the club like a Tudor monarch would. He has absolute power, makes decisions on a whim and has various underlings competing amongst themselves to work themselves into his sphere of influence. I say that because sacking Di Matteo defies almost all logic. He’d done a very good job, was popular with fans and players, won the Champions League for god’s sake and was sacked for two or three dodgy results. At no other club would he have been sacked at this stage.
I don’t think Chelsea will be affected duly. As this article says, it doesn’t appear to matter too much who the manager is. The players and tactics mostly choose themselves and it’s not as if the players aren’t used to running things themselves like they effectively did under Avram Grant. Sacking lots of managers goes against British football culture but you can’t complain about the results. Perhaps it shows that in an era when people complain managers don’t get enough time, maybe they get too much time. Maybe the way in other countries where managers are not feted like monarchs but are little more than glorified light bulbs (take one out when one’s finished it’s life, pop another one in to replace it) is better. Even if it’s not for the better, it’s the way things are going in English football.
“The bottom line is that Abramovich is ruthless and often correct in the decisions he makes. Chelsea FC are little more than a very rich man’s toy”
Despite being completely the right decision to make Di Matteo the permanent manager last summer, I’m not sure that anyone truly believed this was ever going to be a long-lasting appointment. It wasn’t just that his contract was relatively short – Abramovich loves his big names and in managerial terms, Di Matteo isn’t one, yet. Still, nearly six months to the day since the triumph in Munich and with a very new and different squad, it seems an unfair and pretty unjust decision.
True, some will point to Chelsea’s recent form and poor showing in a tough Champions League group as some kind of justification for the sacking but all teams have their peaks and troughs not to mention that Chelsea have had a few unwanted off the pitch distractions this season. The bottom line is that Abramovich is ruthless and often correct in the decisions he makes. Chelsea FC are little more than a very rich man’s toy – for him it’s all about results today rather than accepting one off season that may lead to success in the future. Can one complain? Well, in the case of Di Matteo, an ex-player and favourite, yes, fans will feel sorry for him; but ultimately Roman is Chelsea and without him, the recent successes probably wouldn’t have happened.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more galling, Benitez is appointed as the ‘interim’ coach/manager/yes-man. A man who’s been out of work for a while and flopped massively in his last job is apparently better for the next few months than a young, hungry and seemingly talented coach. It doesn’t need me to preach just how poor this decision is in terms of getting Chelsea fans behind the team – they detest Benitez, the man who’s had plenty of bad things to say about Chelsea and its fans since 2007.
You know, Benitez may well win a trophy and do well but to the masses (everyone except Liverpool fans), his appointment will never be accepted or liked. To take a phrase from @ChelseaYouth, this appointment is all about Torres, you are now Fernando Torres FC – the staff are tailored to working with him and according to Neil Ashton, it seems the final straw with Di Matteo was him daring to drop Fernando.
Ultimately, it’s a sad state of affairs. Facht.
Part 2 can be found here