Monday, February 09, 2009

Chelsea sack Scolari

And yay, in years henceforth, they will arrive upon this day and know their fate may fall into the lap of the gods. It shall be known as The Day of the Damned and those who believeth they are immune will be punished verily.

Or something.

Yes, no sooner had we consigned Tony Adams to a future selling hamburgers of dubious meat content from a van outside the Emirates Stadium than another Premier League manager was shown the door this afternoon.

Luis Felipe Scolari was the first and so far only World Cup-winning manager to ply his trade in the Premier League, but he might be the last for a while if other members of that elite band see what a narrow margin for success you have to operate in.

The affable Brazilian was, it's true, going through a sticky patch with Chelsea prior to his expulsion. Quite whether the patch was severe enough to cause his expulsion is open to much debate. In a snap poll on the BBC Sport website, 69% of people said Chelsea were wrong to dismiss Scolari and you can't help but feeling that the other 31% must have been hard-nosed businessmen and women with the phrase 'time is money' tattooed on their foreheads.

Somewhat scanadlously, Scolari's reign as Chelsea coach lasted just 223 days. During that time, he lost Steve Clarke as his coaching assistant, the club's 86-game unbeaten run at home and the opportunity to sign Robinho. Though these three are listed in order of most to least importance, it does highlight some of Scolari's less happier moments at Stamford Bridge.

Much has also been made of the fact that Chelsea's form against the other three members of 'the big four' was not good, but to be fair Scolari's side have just drawn too many games that perhaps they should have won. At any other club outside the top four, that wouldn't have been signalled an all-out crisis, but Chelsea are very much a top four club with ambitions to be the top club. Mr. Abramovich, it seems, wants that to become reality rather more quickly than the manager he appointed last June.

It's a shame really. Some people say he didn't have the ability to guide a club team through its day-to-day existence as opposed to an international team manager who can do a bit of work here and there on the odd day once in a while, but that doesn't hold much water. Some say Scolari didn't have the tactical awareness to adapt the team to cope with all situations. As the former coach of a World Cup winning team, you'd have to discount that theory too.

No, what Scolari lacked was time - pure and simple. As a club bank-rolled by one of the richest men in the world, it's utterly scandalous that the possibility of finishing as low as fourth in this season's Premier League was out of the question. All coaches and managers need time to mould a winning team and even if Chelsea had missed out on next season's Champions League and all the financial benefits it brings, that would have only been a short-term inconvenience.

Luis Felipe Scolari had the potential to set up a truly great Chelsea squad, but the club couldn't be bothered to wait for it to bear fruit. And here endeth the lesson: whoever does come in to replaceth him as their manager must maketh success almost quickly as the special one turned water into wine.

Now there was someone who could turn miracles into reality...

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