Let’s be under no illusion here. Roman Abramovich was spot on in sacking Roberto Di Matteo. No question. Di Matteo wasn’t delivering the results Roman craved, and he had to go, it’s really very simple.
Chelsea’s performance in Turin was embarrassingly bad. Not only have we conceded 3 goals away from home in a vital game, but we are now on the brink of Champions League exit, and with only one game to save ourselves, we might not go through. This is unacceptable from the competition holders, and as a result our pride is heavily scarred. How have we not yet cruised past Juventus and Shakhtar?
If we were to win our last game against Nordsjaelland and qualify from the group, then, heaven forbid, people may look back and talk about how we were nearly eliminated at the group stage. Think of what people would say! “’Ere Dave, remember how that Chelsea mob nearly didn’t get out the group stage that time, bloody laughing stock they was!” This would be too much for the club to bear.
Don’t get me started on our league form. Top after 8 games, and now back down to third, this is a worrying time at Chelsea. Given that we finished sixth last season, this improvement in form, and increase in quality of football, is clearly not something we want to see at the club. Beating Tottenham and Arsenal away, both games we have found very difficult in recent years, both our London rivals, isn’t something the club aspires to achieve.
There’s talk of us having title ambitions, but frankly, under Di Matteo we wouldn’t have had a hope. I’d also doubt that under him we would see more varied, exciting football played by a young, fresh team looking to make a name for themselves, inspired by his mature approach. With this invigorating attitude we surely wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Has anyone even noticed how Di Matteo has managed to gel a new attack in such a short time, and integrated Oscar and Eden Hazard into a dressing room full of experienced players? Nah, me neither, that kind of positive work isn’t really what the club’s about anymore.
The fact that Di Matteo won the Champions League and FA Cup in his first 3 months as Chelsea manager is almost irrelevant. The fact that he did what Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink and world cup winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, amongst others, could not, does not hold water here, and only a fool would argue this in his favour. It clearly does makes sense to sack the one man who delivered what every other before him could not.
The fact that Di Matteo pulled Chelsea back from the edge of defeat against Napoli, helped us cling on for our lives against the best team in the world, then beat the Germans on penalties on their own patch whilst also beating Liverpool to win the FA Cup, is trivial, and is quite frankly, a flimsy and futile argument in Di Matteo’s defence. We must do better.
And for those who argue that Di Matteo hasn’t been given enough time, he has. Eight Months is more than enough time to form a top class team. If he can win the European Cup after 3 months, he can win every trophy on offer the following season, no doubt. And in fairness our progress by late November does dictate exactly what we will have won by the end of the season. It does.
I mean who even cares if Bobby has a deep affinity with Chelsea? This affinity is a worryingly warm trait in the man, and could imply incompetence and inefficiency in carrying out his duties as manager.
His 30-yard wonder-strike against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup final in 1997, and his winning goal against Aston Villa in the 2000 final are now confined to the past, and any sort of sentimentality on the part of the fans for this shows weakness from them too.
Who really cares that Di Matteo broke his leg playing for the club that he loved, forcing him to retire aged 31?
What does it matter that he had a unique rapport and mutual respect with the players that has allowed us to beat all these great teams? Why should the fact he got the very best out of a squad of “dead wood” players when they needed it most count in his favour?
I could go on all day about all the great things that Di Matteo has done for Chelsea, about all his positive characteristics and the things that make him a good, young manager who could really build a legacy at the club, but these things don’t seem to interest Mr Abramovich.
The bottom line is we are the biggest prostitute club in the country, and the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo is a disgrace, and an utter embarrassment to Chelsea Football Club.
Where on earth do we go from here?
Written by TCB reader J. Dartnell