Has Roman Abramovich made the Chelsea job impossible?
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has seen many managers come and go throughout his tenure
An exasperated Rafael Benitez appeared before the press after Chelsea’s FA Cup win at Middlesbrough having finally snapped.
The Spaniard bemoaned fans who desperately want him out but, most dangerously, criticised owner Roman Abramovich for appointing him under the interim manager tag which he sees as the main reason he is subject to such hatred.
Benitez is incredibly the ninth manager under Abramovich’s 10 year era. Therefore, has the Russian’s quick trigger finger made the Chelsea position untenable?
When Chelsea and Abramovich came together in 2003 it seemed they were destined for great things. Money flowed from above and opportunities seemed endless.
Famous tinker man Claudio Ranieri was already instilled as manager and received backing by the billionaire Russian, making astute signings such as Joe Cole, Petr Cech and Arjen Robben.
The Italian delivered a second place finish in the league and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League (despite their infamous collapse at the hands of Monaco). Not good enough in the eyes of the Russian tycoon who swiftly replaced him.
Now, ask any blues fan which manager made Chelsea the team they are today and the majority, if not all will not hesitate to utter the name of Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager lifted the Premier League trophy at the first time of asking, before winning it again the following year, along with an FA Cup and League Cup trophy in his three years at the club. However, he only lasted a month into his fourth season in charge as poor relations with the owner resulted in his departure.
Since then it has been his blue print that managers have tried to emulate. Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant (reached the Champions League final), Guus Hiddink (temporary appointment; FA Cup), Carlo Ancelotti (League and FA Cup double) and Andre Villas-Boas were all sent packing with varying success.
Roberto Di Matteo seemed to be the new shining light, and having bagged the FA Cup went on to mastermind Chelsea’s remarkable Champions League trophy win, beating Barcelona in the semi-finals before their triumph over Bayern in their own back yard.
Alas, a poor start to the next season saw Di Matteo’s head roll.
It's no secret that Abramovich wants the Champions League trophy to permanently sit in Chelsea’s trophy cabinet. If this is unachievable then the Premier League is a must.
But with these goals must come with a certain sense of realism. A manager will need time. Tottenham have given Villas-Boas time and he is now enjoying success at the club, being named manager of the month for a second time this season and guiding the north London outfit above Chelsea.
With the possible exception of Mourinho, no top manager around Europe has stated their desire to take on the Chelsea job come next season. Pep Guardiola chose Bayern Munich over the Blues despite being odds on favourite to take charge at the Bridge.
And, while it cannot be denied that Abramovich took Chelsea to the next level, there is now a need for stability. The club is going through a transition period, as the old guard are coming to the end of their shelf life, a new team needs to be moulded.
Six months under one manager, before another six with someone else is going to hinder the team’s development, but is there anyone crazy enough to risk the axe wielded by the Russian billionaire?
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