a tale of two (?) managers

Have you ever seen Premiership managers Avram Grant and Gerard Houllier on the same touchline? Of course not because they are one and the same person. Foreign, misunderstood and unloved by their English peers and the club fans alike. They both have a disliking for the English winter weather, cloaking themselves in the largest club puffa jackets and scarves (occasionally thrown into the crowd), spookily both in claret and blue! Same hang-dog expressions caused no doubt by the constant rumours that their jobs are on the line. One works for a Randy Lerner; the other for a randy expert.Both haunted by the spectre of that bloody Martin O’Neill !!!

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the not so special one

So Avram Grant gets the sack. We forecast it months ago but he’s lasted longer than I ever imagined. It never was going to be an inspired appointment, although that’s how Kenyon and Buck tried to present it at the news conference to announce his appointment as Chelsea manager. He was following in the footsteps of the most successful manager in Chelsea history, Jose Mourinho, the self-anointed ‘special one’. But he came in as a friend of Abramovitch having, it is said, been active in undermining Jo-Mo’s position at the club whilst Director of Football (a position JM thought was unnecessary). The players never really took to him – referring to him as Avram Can’t. Several, including the influential Drogba, openly flaunted their disappointment over the Mourinho sacking ( and by inference their disenchantment with his successor). Not a good start… Continue reading

tick tock

Hey what’s that sound,? Listen….it’s the clock ticking……on Avram Grant’s time as Chelsea manager.   I haven’t done a football posting for ages but couldn’t resist it this morning after reading that Chelsea are to appoint the Ajax coach Henk ten Cate ( which looks like an anagram of ‘The Canteen’ – spelt with the alternate K on Dutch days) as AG’s assistant. Actually his title’s not quite clear. Variously he’s described as Assistant Manager, Head Coach or Avram’s Deputy. Maybe it’s all those. Whatever, it looks like he’ll be taking control of  first team training and shaping team tactics. He’ll also be paid £2m a year, twice what Avram’s on. Tick tock tick tock. Continue reading

big sporting weekend revisited

Well the England fellahs managed to do it yesterday against Samoa (is it really pronounced saar-moa? everywhere bar in Lancashire!). I missed the match – travelling up north to visit C’s mum with my lovely daughters. They let me listen to final scores, bless them, but for most of the journey it was Motown or chat. I caught the score and a summary and have been reading all about it all this morning. Seems like a much better performance, still flawed and slightly unbalanced especially in midfield, but a decent victory against tough opponents. Tonga will be equally challenging but at least England are getting better. It’s a bit of a bugger to wait until the actual RWC pool matches to start looking for the optimum combination mind. Still one game to go before the going gets seriously tough to find the right mix and level of confidence. Can they do it and surprise us all by getting to the semis where anything could happen? It’s a big ask. Continue reading