Well, we’ve had a little time to get over the shock of transfer deadline day and having the one player we’d been after for months seemingly pinched from under our noses, so it’s time for a little reflection.
It’s fair to say I felt more than a little bitter on Monday night about the whole Robinho mess and I laid the blame squarely at Real Madrid’s door. Not that I’m prepared to take any of what I said back now, because I’m not. They’re a club I’ve abhorred for a long time and this summer has only added to that. From their embarrassing harassment of Cristiano Ronaldo and the way they were prepared to treat Robinho right through to their laughably hypocritical comments about Chelsea’s conduct – it’s only served to exaggerate any bad feeling I had for them to start with.
However, in the time I’ve had to think about it since Monday – when I haven’t been sulking – I’ve thought about Chelsea’s part in the negotiations, or more precisely, Peter Kenyon’s part. Because he’s the man who told us with ‘confidence’ for a fair few days before Monday, that the Robinho deal would happen. The thing is though, no matter what he insisted on saying, there was always a nagging doubt in the back of my mind. Why? Specifically because it was Peter Kenyon saying it. I mean, let’s be honest here, he doesn’t have the greatest track record for either getting things right or being honest does he?
After all, this is a man who professed to be a dyed-in-the-wool Manchester United supporter and then defected as soon as a significant pay rise came his way – hardly surprising he’s widely regarded as one of the most untrustworthy men in football then (only marginally behind Calderon you’d have to assume). Little wonder Manchester United haven’t exactly mourned his departure really, in fact, if anything the more time that passes, the more grateful they are that money is his god – they’re well rid.
You see, whilst I was sitting there gutted Monday night as news of Robinho’s move to Manchester City was confirmed and Manchester United supporters everywhere were celebrating the acquisition of Dimitar Berbatov, I couldn’t help wondering, ‘would that deal have happened if Kenyon was still there?’ I’d hazard a guess at probably not. Because whilst it’s fair to say he was involved in some major deals with United (often with questionable price tags I’d guess), he was also responsible for one very public and potentially costly transfer cock-up there as well that saw Ronaldinho slip through United’s fingers and end up at Barcelona. And what did he do that allowed this to happen? As summed up by one United supporter sums, Peter Kenyon: “ famously blew our deal with PSG’s Ronaldinho. Having agreed a fee for the player, who would become the FIFA World Player of the Year for the following two seasons, Kenyon got wind that Barcelona’s last bid was a couple of million quid short of the price we agreed on. Upon returning to Manchester after conducting negotiations in France, Kenyon faxed through an agreement to PSG president, Francis Graille, in Paris, however, offered £1 million than had been decided on. Graille responded furiously, whilst Kenyon was left spluttering and appologising. It was too late. On principle, Graille sold Ronaldinho to Barcelona for less than United had been prepared to pay.” In other words, with Ronaldinho almost on board at United Kenyon tried to act the smartarse, putting the selling club’s back up and as a result they promptly sold the player to someone else.
And what do we know about the way he handled the whole Robinho saga? Well, surprise, surprise, he tried to act the smartarse. Not only did he brag to the media at any given opportunity, he also took the player and his agent out to a paparazzi haunt in Madrid before virtually confirming he’d be playing at Stamford Bridge this season. Why else would the shirts have ended up on the official club website if it wasn’t for his actions? So, as much as I detest Real Madrid, to an extent I could see why they reached a point where they’d cut off Robinho’s toes before they’d agree to sell him to Chelsea.
I think one of the biggest problems I had with Monday’s events was the implications something like that could have on Chelsea in the future. We’d been made mugs of – very public mugs – and whilst I’ve no doubt Real Madrid’s part will have an impact on any business dealings of theirs in the future, it’s Chelsea that concern me. I mean, whilst I – along with many other supporters – have known Peter Kenyon’s a loser for quite some time, he’s now spent the best part of three months advertising the fact very publicly to the big money men in football.
Indeed, from the minute Peter Kenyon stepped foot inside Stamford Bridge, he’s given the world and his wife even more reason than Roman’s millions to hate and deride us – but this time, just like missing out on Ronaldinho probably cost Manchester United at the time, his failure to bring Robinho to Chelsea could have a direct impact for Chelsea on the pitch. Because unlike a lot of the deals Kenyon’s been involved in previously – usually involving much more money than was strictly necessary – this time I believe Chelsea genuinely needed Robinho and could end up suffering in terms of performance as a result.
Of course, you could look at Robinho’s very quick change of mind as a sign that his ‘head’ wasn’t really ‘already at Chelsea’ in the first place, and clearly he’d have gone just about anywhere to get away from Real Madrid in the end. But again, what had Kenyon really offered him apart from the money anyway? Look at the difference with Berbatov and United, for example, City probably offered him a fortune and yet he didn’t give Hughes the time of day. Why? Because United know how to get their man. Did Scolari go out of his way for Robinho? Pick him up from the airport ad deliver him to the club personally? Make him feel like he was the most important part of the whole deal? No, because Peter Kenyon is the most important part of the deal as far as Peter Kenyon is concerned. And yet the fact is Chelsea need Peter Kenyon about as much as Manchester City need a bank loan right now.
But one of the real ironies for me has to be something Peter Kenyon himself was saying not all that long ago when he was commenting on lack of competition outside the top four. Because, in his usual arrogant, condescending manner he was busy bragging “Other teams in England should be knocking on our door. It’s more about them getting their houses in order than us coming down to their level.”
Well Mr Kenyon, Manchester City did indeed come knocking on our door and you let them in a little too easily.