How Has Avram Grant Measured Up?

Since taking over for Jose Mourinho in 2007, Avram Grant has been a pleasant surprise. In 28 matches played, Chelsea have won 21 matches and only lost two. They have achieved a place in the Carling Cup finals, and are currently in the Champions League knockout stages. He has been without at least one of his five headline players, namely John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, and Michael Ballack, throughout his entire campaign. Since the beginning of 2008, he’s been without his 13 first choice players, and he’s won every match. For someone who was given precious little to work with, he has achieved much.

Roman Abramovich, current owner of Chelsea (for those of you who live under a rock), chose Grant because he was a safe substitute for the brash and outspoken Mourinho. Grant, unfortunately, lacks the finesse and charisma of The Special One, and is rather boring to watch. He will never yell at the refs for a shoddy call, never argue with the press off the field, and so far has been rather unremarkable in the public light. I’m rather surprised Abramovich gave Grant a four year contract, especially since he was supposed to be a temporary solution until Abramovich could find a flashier, well-known manager. But, Chelsea’s patience has been well-rewarded with the successes they’ve garnered since he signed on. Like I said, he has had precious little to work with, especially with playing much of the second team as stop-gaps for the missing players on the first team, and has done substantially well.

After hating Grant in the beginning, he’s slowly growing on me. I’ll miss The Special One’s outbursts, but Grant’s methodical organization of the Chelsea side has won him a small, fuzzy place in my heart. What do you think?

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The Special One is ‘apparently still special’

I love The Special One. If I could, I would bear his children. Better yet, if I had my own multi-billion dollar football team, I’d let him manage it, no strings attached. The FA are running about like chickens without their heads trying to find a manager. According to the not-so-reliable Sun, “FA chief Brian Barwick is believed to have now put together a £24million four-year deal to lure their No1 target Jose.” That’s not a whole lot of money compared to some of the players, you know. Now, if he got £24million every year, I would be satisfied. He needs to be bribed heavily to want to manage a team like England. (Yes, all of you potential haters, I still love my country, thankyouverymuch.)

From the number of discussion boards I’ve read in the last few days (like BBC’s ‘606 your say’ and such things), there’s a mixed reaction to the FA’s infatuation with Mourinho. (Yes, it is an infatuation.) Some really, really want him. Those are usually rabid Chelsea fans, like me. I love Mourinho (for supporting evidence, please see opening statement). He’s a brilliant manager who focuses on results rather than how pretty the football is. Now, Abramovich wants pretty footy, and apparently wants no results (because he hired Grant, who had a fluke with the Man City win of 6-0, so don’t bring that up as proof). England may not see the players they want playing, but Mourinho would get the job done. He would seriously go to the ends of the earth to have the starting eleven be who he wants, regardless of what club they play for. Hell, if England’s best striker plays for Cheltenham Town (they suck, but hold a special place in my heart because of boarding school), then he would get that player. My point is, he would spare no expense to have the players he wanted. Unfortunately, this is for England, and not for Chelsea. No foreign players for England.

I’d rather Abramovich suck it up and apologise to The Special One so we can have our manager back, but that really has nothing to do with England. At least Chelsea won (albeit a rather embarrassing win… except for Joe Cole’s score in the 74th min or something like that – it was nice).

Poor England not going to Euro 2008. I’m still irked about that.

Goodbye, Steve McClaren.

We all knew it would happen.  When Robinson, despite his imperfections, didn’t show up on the roster for last week’s England – Croatia match, we knew it was going to go downhill.  Robinson DOES suck, but he was much more qualified and had so much more experience than Carson (who was only 22, for those of you who didn’t know).  In 8 minutes in, Kranjcar shot from 30 yards out and Carson kind of elbowed the ball in as it hit the top of the net.  Honestly, it was a beautiful shot and Carson was kind of lost in saving it.  If it had been Robinson, he would have got it.  (If it had been Cech, and he was English, we wouldn’t have lost).  About six minutes later, Eduardo kind of tipped the ball to Olec, who just tapped it in (and apparently Carson forgot he was playing).

Well, suffice to say, I was on the brink of tears, and Justin and Ashley were both in shock.  After the interval, they put in Beckham and Gareth Barry (one of my favourites… I’m not sure why, tbh) and we received a penalty (woo!).  Not from them!  Defoe had his shirt tugged on by some guy on Croatia.  Lamps took the penalty kick, and we were then at 2-1!  After nearly giving them 2 goals, Beckham crossed the ball over just like he does (beautifully) and Crouch just made a spectacular goal.  I found it on You Tube and watching it can make me forget that we lost.  We were tied, that’s all we needed to qualify, and we had it!!!

Of course, in the end they got another goal with 15 mins left of the match, and we didn’t have enough time to catch up.  I was soooo depressed.  I cried, Justin swore, I swore, and Ashley slept through it.  How did she do that?!?

Right, so back to Steve McClaren.  If I were him, I would’ve wanted the ground to swallow me up, or a natural disaster to happen during the match so we could have a rematch.  He was hired by the FA because he was easily manipulated to do what they wanted.  But, now he’s gone.  They considered The Special One, but naturally, he turned them down.  He’s butthurt from being kicked out of Chelsea.  What makes them think he’ll come back and play nice?  I know the FA had nothing to do with him being sacked, and it’s all the Russian’s fault.  But seriously! If he was going to come back, I fully expect the Russian to apologise and kiss his butt.  Martin O’Neill was the other favourite, but he was passed over the first time in favour of McClaren, so what makes them think he’ll be chosen now?  Rumour has it Fabio Capello from Real Madrid is interested in the job, and I would be quite excited if we picked him up.  He’s one of the most decorated managers in european football, with titles for every team he’s coached (Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus, and AS Roma).  Granted, he did screw up with not playing Beckham or Ronaldo (he’s a whiny little bitch anyhow) when he still managed Real Madrid, and forced them both to pay out their contracts and move to other teams (LA Galaxy and AC Milan, respectively).   One other little note, after he won that title this year in 2007, he was still fired for shaming the team.  The US team contacted him to be their manager, but he’s much more interested in moving to England.

Well, Steve McClaren, we’re sorry to see you go, but at the same time, you made me cry last Wednesday, and that is inexcusable.  We should have drawn with them, and your retardation at putting in an obviously green keeper cost us the match.  Thanks a whole bunch.

Fie on Russian Footballers

England lost 2-1 to the Russians.  How embarrassing.Rooney did well with the first goal. It was absolutely beautiful.  But, that all went away when a poor call was made against him in the penalty box, and they got their goal. Then they got another.If  we don’t win against Croatia next weekend, we’re not going to the Euros.