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?

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.