Carlo Ancelotti – Dead Man Walking? Not So Fast…..

by Thomas Gaunt

Two months ago Chelsea were dead and buried scrapping to qualify for Champions League football. One of the most remarkable things was, that although he was the bookies favourite to lose his job Carlo Ancelotti somehow avoided the chop from the Russian oligarch famous for his long pockets and short patience.

Whether he was distracted jetting around the world brokering dodgy oil deals or whether he had just grown weary of sacking people, Abramovich, it seems, has given Carlo a second chance. His reward has been eight wins out of nine in the premiership and a gap of 15 points closing to just three. You would hope that this will help Abramovich see that sometimes stability and consistency go hand in hand and that knee jerk sackings are rarely a beneficial tactic, as he witnessed after mercilessly giving loyal soldier Ray Wilkins the elbow, but the bookies aren’t convinced. Ancelotti remarkably still sits up there with other regular favourites for the chop like Steve Keen, Gerard Houllier and Avram Grant (how they would love to have won 8 of their last 9 games).

With a massive game approaching on Sunday this is potentially Ancelotti’s chance to either keep or lose his job, although even a win would not see Chelsea firmly in the Premiership driving seat. I for one do not feel that the outcome of this match or indeed the season should be the defining factor. He has already won the double with an aging Chelsea team and with only a fraction of other Chelsea manager’s spend. At the beginning of the season Chelsea were running away with the league, but a combination of a small squad, key injuries and a simultaneous dip in the form of the team lead to a confidence crisis and an unthinkable run of results which saw Chelsea plummet into 5th place in the league. Ancelotti had not started doing anything different, he was just suffering from a threadbare squad and the snowball effect of bad results.

This leads me to the extraordinary fact that Ancelotti kept his job working for footballs toughest boss. Or are we not giving Abramovich enough respect as far as his decision-making is concerned. There is an assumption that Abramovich doesn’t know anything about football, incorrect. He may not be Kenny Dalglish or Alex Ferguson but he probably knows as much as me or you, he watches every game and is clearly obsessed with the beautiful game. So from this we can assume his decisions are based on football as well as business. I do not think it is any great surprise that he and Mourinho fell out and could no longer work together, there is probably not room in Stamford Bridge for both their egos, let alone in his office. Avram Grant’s record speaks for itself, and Luis Scolari has admitted in an interview recently that he could not handle the big personalities at Chelsea and that he was blocked by Abramovich from signing Brazil’s very own Gazza, Adriano – a lucky escape I think you’ll agree. So in summary he may be quick to fire but it seems somewhat justified on the most part and after all Chelsea are now a massive force in World football, so he can’t be doing such a bad job at the helm.

This is why I think, and hope, that Ancelotti may not be the dead man walking that everyone, especially the media, seems to think. He clearly has the support of the players and has even kept super diva Didier Drogba in check. He already has Silverware under his belt and made history with Chelsea’s first ever double. If Abramovich was going to sack him surely he would have already done it, and maybe just maybe like all good businessmen he is learning his lessons and steadying the ship for an assault on all fronts next season. Finally Carlo has got Chelsea playing good football again, whilst our results over performance attitude of late has seen less flair, more muscle and more points, overall he has created an exciting high scoring team.

What I think should also be applauded is the manner in which Ancelotti has conducted himself and steadily dragged Chelsea out of the mire. He has not panicked, nor added fuel to the media’s already roaring fire. He even refrained from commenting when his number two was pulled from him with the speed of a magician removing a table cloth. Recently Andy Townsend suggested that Carlo Ancelotti might actually walk at the end of the season because of the way he has been treated, mainly in reference to the Wilkins sacking, but I would argue that he knew what he was getting himself into when he took the job. Chelsea is a tough job but one of only a handful in the world where you have a genuine chance every season of winning silverware. Ancelotti falls into the category of being one of only a handful of managers in the world to have won domestic league and Champions League trophies, so it seems a match made in heaven.

I, like many Chelsea fans I speak to, do not want to see Ancelotti sacked, or to walk away from the job. I think Chelsea need stability and I want to be proud of the unity and spirit going throughout the club with a manager a part of it, not just waiting for the call from the big man. It is quite simple, if you look at the Manchester United model of stability with one man at the helm. It breeds long term success and means that the same manager is learning each year from his mistakes – I hope Ancelotti can be that man for Chelsea and maybe just maybe we can dominate for the next 20 years. Top managers are expected to win the league or cup every year, but only one team can. So does this mean that all the others have failed or have they just not succeeded in as stronger fashion as their compatriot? Ferguson may have failed to win the league last season but in the long run he is well up on the competition.

Want more of this? check out Thomas’ blog!

4 Responses

  1. Raffael Fernandes says:

    The way Ancelotti has handled himself in an exemplary manner this season, and should be highly commended for that. He is clearly a gentleman and a manager I rate highly. Chelsea deaperately need to do something that they haven’t ever done – namely trust a manager and give him time to undertake his project.
    The Chelsea team we’ll see competing against Man Utd in the crunch match tomorrow is still very much the aging spine of Mourinho’s team – this is a squad that will need significant surgery to be made in the summer, and with a new playing style to be formulated to get the most out of Torres.
    These are issues that are best left to the experts. Abramovich may be a highly successful gangster, but he’s not a world class football manager, tactician or scout – so unless his aims to constantly undermine the management team he is no doubt paying millions to every year, he really should keep his hooter out of their business!

    1. Josh Wright says:

      Highly successful gangster? Doesn’t warrant a response really.

      But your right he is a gentleman, one of the nicest managers in the Premier League, lets hope he stays for the sake of the league, a breath of fresh air from traditional moaning managers such as Wenger and Fergie.

  2. Brandy says:

    Agreed – Ancelotti has done a very good job at Chelsea. I really struggle with most football fan’s impression of Roman Abramovich. I hear that he is unhappy with Ancelotti, looking to bring in Hiddink, signing Torres was his decision, etc. Even journalists constantly comment on Abramovich’s opinions and stance on certain issues. But from my knowledge, he has never given a single interview – he just turns up to watch his team and applauds when they win.

    If he was as outspoken as Sullivan, Gold, Levy or Ashley I would understand the press forming an opinion of how his mind works… but he isn’t. The best is that it is apparently an obsession for Roman to win the Champion’s League and that any manager that fails is due the sack. If anyone could provide me with a quote that even remotely suggests this – please enlighten me!

    1. Thomas Gaunt says:

      Brandy – you are 100% right! Also, although I do not want to see another manegerial change, there are many other clubs who have chopped and changed both managers and owners. Roman seems to go by the rule of thumb that if the team dont impove the manager is gone, which isnt entirely unfair. He is still, it appears searching for the best manager in the world to make chelsea the best team in the world, and so why should he stick with someone who isnt going to achieve this. I hold my father’s opinion in high esteem and he suggested that Carlo couldnt get the team “up for” big games, as he isnt that type of manager and that it was the senior players that got chelsea out of the slump, not carlo – he may have a point. Carlo’s league record with AC isnt great also…. #timewilltell

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