Claudio Ranieri came into a club on the road to ruin. They had started the season disastrously under a manager appointed, when no fans wanted him, and then sacked, when many fans insisted he ought to be given a proper chance. Since Jose Mourinho even Rafael Benitez had come, tried, and failed. The players were exhausted, probably in part by Jose Mourinho’s fitness regime (which focused on short term fitness, for one season) the year before, and the players were disillusioned. Many had been denied moves to other clubs, for example Maicon to Real Madrid and Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United, whilst players who weren’t sure if they wanted to move, like Samuel Etoo, were pushed out of the door to Russia for big bucks. Then Leonardo came, Wesley Sneijder was again denied his move to Manchester United by last minute stumbling blocks and, to top it all off, the local city rivals, AC Milan, won the league title, Serie A champions for the first time in several years. The treble was the pinnacle, and what a great pinnacle it was, but, after that, the only way was down and it has been a long fall since.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the seventy year old manager of Manchester United, said in an interview with the BBC that he intends to stay in the Old Trafford hot seat for at least two or three more seasons. He has already been in the position for more than two decades and will be close to thirty years by the time he decides to call it a day, if he even does at that time.
Harry Redknapp is likely to be the next England manager. This is hardly a revelation and nor is it something new. Everybody who follows English football is aware of the idea. It even seems to be a case of a matter of when and not if he is to become England manager. The question that nobody is asking, however, is where exactly will leave that Tottenham Hotspur and who will be chosen to replace Harry Redknapp?
Andre Villas Boas is struggling at Chelsea. The players are rebelling against his authority, at least some of them are, whilst results too are not happening according to his designs and wishes. Even the fans have started to turn against him, in the last match the Stamford Bridge support even called for his head and yearned aloud for a Jose Mourinho return. The only relevant support Andre Villas Boas has, besides himself, seems to be from Roman Abramovich, the most important man of them all at Chelsea. So long as Andre Villas Boas maintains the support of his employer then what everybody else thinks is of little importance. But, as we all know, football club chairman can change their mind without a moments notice and so long as results continue to not arrive as expected then Andre Villas Boas is always on the precipice. So, the question is, if Andre Villas Boas goes, who comes?
Andre Villas-Boas, new to London, new to Chelsea, new to the English Premiership and, to some degree, new to football management. Having been a professional football manager for only a handful of years and, considering his relatively youthful age (in comparison to others in the same profession), yet to experience any serious issues the Chelsea manager is on course for one now. Supposedly, many members of the Chelsea first team squad have mutinied.
Carlos Tevez was told by Roberto Mancini he would never play for Manchester City again. Carlos Tevez told Manchester City he never wanted anything to do with the club again. This week Carlos Tevez is going to return to Manchester City and within a couple of weeks, after fitness training, Carlos Tevez will be pulling on the blue Manchester City shirt all over again.
Anzhi Makhachkala, the Russian club with an abundance of wealth behind them, are reportedly close to signing Fabio Capello as manager. The club, owned by Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, has made no attempts to hide its wealth and in recent times has made moves for every notable high profile player available for transfer. Now, it seems, Anzhi Makhachkala are also going after a high profile available manager.
Liverpool might end up in fourth position and wrap up a League Cup, perhaps even an FA Cup trophy too. At the season’s end, however, the most poignant event, the most significant, will still be the Luis Suarez debacle. This club, Liverpool, of the John Barnes era, which stood up against continued racism (during the days when bananas were thrown at the England winger, and star Liverpool player, John Barnes from the terraces) has now sided with a player found guilty of racist incitement by a tribunal.
Wesley Sneijder has been linked with Manchester United in the past few days, and not for the first time. The Dutchman has continuously been linked with Manchester United for the best part of two seasons but each time the move was apparently close to completion something cropped up an prevented it from being finalized.
Arsenal smashed Blackburn Rovers on the weekend. Scoring several goals, dominating the match and appearing genuinely impressive for the first time in a long time Arsenal looked like Arsenal used to look like. In the eyes of Arsenal fans Arsenal played like Arsenal should always be playing. In the eyes of neutrals Arsenal got their old swagger back. According to Theo Walcott the players did it for their manager. According to pundits, however, the victory was a hollow one that masked serious systemic problems at the club.