Thursday, February 2, 2023

Avram Grant sacked – How sad were Kenyon et al really when John Terry fell over?

Graham Fisher in Editorial, English Premier League 26 May 2008


Football really can be a despicable, cut-throat business. At the top of the list of clubs living up to that stereotype come Champions League and Premier League runners-up Chelsea.

Just a few days ago, Chairman Bruce Buck was quoted as saying, “We have very high expectations at Chelsea and a couple of second place finishes is just not good enough for us. So although we never would have thought in September when Jose Mourinho left that we would be able to make it into a Champions League final as we did – and that is fantastic – Chelsea are here to win trophies. So although it was an excellent season, we are still disappointed.”

Chief Executive Peter Kenyon had said that Chelsea’s performance this season was simply, “not good enough”.

I find the whole thing very distasteful and whilst Avram Grant should never have been given the job in the first place, it was hardly his fault that he was. He then achieved far more than anyone could have thought possible. A Carling Cup Final, a Premier League title challenge that went all the way to the final day of the season and a Champions League final appearance for the first time in the club’s history.

For Buck and Kenyon and Abramovich, best friends with Grant, to say the season was disappointing is an insult to nearly every football fan in the world. How most clubs would crave such a disappointing season! Ridiculous!

It was clear that Grant was only ever a stop gap manager and that he would be sacked at the end of the season. I wonder how disappointed Buck and Kenyon really were when John Terry fell over and missed his penalty in Moscow? Losing the final certainly made the sacking of Grant easier didn’t it? How could they have justified sacking the man who took them to Champions League glory for the first time ever?

Instead, they can now say that the performance of the club was simply, “not good enough”, just because John Terry slipped on the Moscow turf. How do these people sleep at night?

Of course, it must all have been particularly galling for Peter Kenyon who left Manchester United to become an integral part of the Abramovich revolution at Chelsea which would almost certainly go on to dominate world football. How upsetting it must be for him that he managed to finish second to his old employers again.

Whoever takes over at Chelsea will know exactly what they need to do in order to be regarded as a success. They will know how to avoid getting the sack. All they have to do is win the Premier League by losing less than two games and win the Champions League in normal time and not let the skipper take a penalty!

Is there anyone in the world who can realistically take a job on those terms? Of course, somebody will because they will be paid an absolute fortune to do so. It is a fact however that the job description and targets for the new man will be ridiculously unrealistic.

Although it is no shock to see Avram Grant leaving Chelsea I do think it should send shockwaves around the football world. He has been arguably the second most successful manager in Europe this season and has been described as ‘disappointing’ and not ‘good enough‘.

On that basis, there should only be about eight managers still in a job in the whole of the European continent. Certainly Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger should be looking for work. If Avram Grant was simply ‘not good enough’ can you imagine how Buck and Kenyon would describe their performances?

Also, I would like to ask who appointed this inexperienced, somewhat dour man into the role of Chelsea manager. Buck admits that they never expected to get to the Champions League Final, so Grant actually exceeded their expectations. Therefore, they appointed a man who they didn’t think would be successful. It seems to me that the people who have been disappointing and simply ‘not good enough’ are actually the very men that are now behaving so despicably and looking for a new manager to enter the ‘Lions Den’.

Maybe Mr. Abramovich should be looking to get rid of Kenyon. That might be the answer to the terrible problems the club have in only being the second best team in Europe.

The whole thing leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. I hope that the new manager, whoever he turns out to be, is fully aware of the murky waters into which they will be sailing.


Graham Fisher



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Ahmed Bilal
14 years ago

Abramovich will go for someone who has proven himself as a player AND as a coach. Rijkaard fits that bill for me far more than Hiddink (who’s said no several times), Eriksson (City – 9th, thrashings in Thailand, not a ‘former great’) or Hughes (not proven at the top level, won’t command respect).

Would like to see Keano take the job – he’ll kick the bollocks out of Drogba in one day, I can guarantee that.

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