Even though a green and gold cloud surrounds Old Trafford these days, with Red Knights waiting patiently in the wings with an attempt to overhaul the club’s ownership this summer, certain football owners could take a page out of the Glazer’s book when it comes to owning a football club – stay well out the way of the footballing decisions.
The only peep worth noting from the Glazer’s since they took over on footballing matters was last summer when they confirmed there was money to spend following the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. They rarely even go to games.
Of course, the level of debt, increase in ticket price and £500 million they raised for income bonds, have all been well reported. But, United are still making a profit and haven’t decreased in form or honours since the arrival of the American owners.
No sooner were Chelsea picking themselves up from the blow that Mourinho’s landed on them by knocking them out of the Champions League last week, were they being informed of the aftermath which would lead to a impact of a summer merry go round by a fuming Roman Abramovich.
A merry-go-round which would consist of the older, ‘past it’ and generally not pulling their weight players and staff to be shown the door before the start of next season. Is it any wonder with this dark cloud over them they didn’t win at Blackburn?
Sure he has every right to be angry. Any owner that has invested the best part of a billion pounds over the last seven years and has only seen his return in that time in the format of two lots of league titles, two FA Cups and two Carling Cups, has the right to have a moan and groan about it when his side loses. Even more so out of the one competition that he craves the most.
Is it just a coincidence though that only one of six trophies from the above list have been won in the last three season? No prizes which manager won the remaining five!
As Abramovich plots the changes for the summer which he hopes will grant him success in Europe next season, he should do so with caution. After all, he already has past experience to learn from.
Mourinho is special. Not many managers will have been able to pick up the reins at Chelsea the way he did and bring instant success. Ask Avam Grant and Phil Scolari. Time will tell if Ancelotti will add his name to this list too.
Mourinho, like Ferguson, lived and breathed the club. They were his players, they played for him. He led them into battle with the win at all cost mentality. Fans loved him, enemies hated him. He was the boss and his way was going to result in success.
Only, he was soon reminded who the real boss was and the real boss decided he could do more than sign cheques and influence the teams ventures past the white paint of the touchline.
When Abramovich bought an aging Shevchenko it was the beginning of the end of Mourinho’s love affair with Chelsea. Frank Arnesen and Avam Grant were bought in and giving meaningless meddling roles which incensed the ‘Special One’ and he and Chelsea divorced in the Autumn of 2007. The sacking has proved to be the Russian’s big mistake in his football career.
The senior players at Chelsea have really been the ones who have carried the club since then. Grant was a kick away from winning the biggest prize in European football but you felt at the time, even if he had he wouldn’t have been around to defend it. Scolari’s rein was cut short but that did result in a small Dutch revolution when Hiddick took over. The players seem to take to him like they once did for Mourinho. The FA Cup win was to be his parting glory.
Enter Ancelotti. The Italian who had mastered minded the aging Milan team’s Champions League success in 2007. Quite useful really as he had inherited a aging Chelsea team too. The problem is it was Mourinho’s aging Chelsea team.
Now, at this point, Chelsea are at a cross roads. A 5-0 win at a club who are already relegated doesn’t change this. They will either go down the route of success with their first title in 4 years or a trophy-less finish and the old debate about their tactics not suiting their players again. Oh, and the age of those players.
The FA Cup on its own might not be enough to avoid the second outcome it has to be pointed out. But surely the Abramovich has to take some of the blame? He wants to stop the mega bucks summer spending, that has decreased at Chelsea over the recent years. He wants to invest in youth. Sensibly thinking. But, Ancelotti doesn’t set his sides out in the same manner as Mourinho did. Yet is being asked to do so with the same players. Mourinho’s players.
You can argue their talent, their wages surely they can adapt but what players has Ancelotti brought in that are ‘his own’? In fact what players did Avam Grant and Phil Scolari bring in? Mourinho was right when he claimed that the current Chelsea squad was still the majority of his players.
Abramovich has to expect that if he changes a manager other personal may change also. It’s hard to imagine three managers not wanting to make a squad their own unless he was told otherwise. Yes Ancelotti said he didn’t need to buy in the January transfer window, he wasn’t going to say ‘we have one of the richest men in football bank rolling the club but I can’t buy the players to make this team play the way I want it to’ was he?
The behind the scenes problems with some of the Chelsea cast is well known and a shake up is needed. You question at a club like United would it have ever got to the stage the West London club is at? But then how much more control does Ferguson have than that of Ancelotti?
If Abramovich changes manager in the summer or sticks with Ancelotti, he needs to sit down with him for a deep discussion and ultimately let him run the football side of the club his way. Let him play the way he wants to and back him to let him bring the players in to let him do that. Surely its a no brainier to let a football manager do this? They wouldn’t advise Abramovich which company to have a punt with on the Stock Market would they?
The Ferguson era at United will not be repeated in the modern game. Especially not with the start at United he had. But owners need to let the football managers do their job and if it takes time to set the right foundations to build from surely it’s better than ending up like the castle built on sand across Europe in Madrid?
Written By Luke Harrison