As if to punctuate the madness of this season both Tony Adams and Phil Scolari have been sacked by their respective teams, ostensibly for failure to perform but in reality because the braying of the supporters got to their respective owners and they chose the easy way out of a complicated problem.
In Pompey’s case you could make an argument that Adams probably wasn’t ready to manage a Premiership team. He hadn’t really distinguished himself at Wycombe and even under Harry he hadn’t really done anything to show that he should be a head coach. Simply put, he needed more time before he took over a team. But worse than just being a raw recruit to the job of management, Pompey promptly pulled the rug from under his team; selling Diarra and Defoe and then cutting the purse strings before Adams could bring in anyone of any quality. It says a lot of the man that he stuck by the team after the owner basically told him he had to perform a miracle. In fact, it may be a flaw that he stuck by that team, by sticking around he let them make him a fall guy — you gotta have more spine than that to succeed as a manager in the Premiership.
Scolari, on the other hand, simply fell prey to the insanity of Roman Abramovich. Roman Abramovich has a hard-on for Arsenal. He saw how Arsenal went from middle of the pack club to perennial league champion challengers in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and wanted to replicate that form with Chelsea. If he pulled it off, just like Arsenal, the club’s value would skyrocket, he’d have a room full of trophies, and everyone would hail him as a genius. What he failed to see is that Arsenal didn’t buy their way into that status, they took the long, hard road to the top of the heap: hard work, dedication, hunger, a stellar youth program, a tremendous scouting network, all components of Arsenal that Roman abandoned for the quick fix of simply buying a few trophies. That’s a house of cards and as the cards got older and the winds of chage blew through London it had to collapse.
I’d feel bad for Scolari if he wasn’t 173 years old and about to receive a £15m payout for the honor of being sacked. I honestly don’t know what Roman expected to happen this season. That team was built by Jose Mourinho for one purpose; to play and win English football. They are not ever going to be able to play Arsenal style football when human refuse like Lampard and Mikel are patrolling the midfield. They aren’t beautiful footballers, they are the kind of players who will grind you down and get a win. To win trophies in England you need to have some (more than one, Arsene) English national team players and you need to be able to put in one goal and shut down your opponents with stiff defense. Jose knew that and he built a team to do exactly that. Paradoxically, to win things in Europe you need to play more like Arsenal than Chelsea — OR — be like Man U and be able to play in a variety of ways.
I don’t think Roman really understood that, so, his insistence on playing “beautiful football,” like his true love Arsenal do, led him to bring in Phil Scolari. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, Phil, Gods bless him, tried his best to emulate Arsenal — right down to the horizontal-passery-ball-holdery-bullshit that is currently plaguing Arsenal. This went over like a fart in church with the Chelsea faithful: if you think Arsenal fans are shrill crybabies who are insanely demanding of their club, you should check out the Chelsea folks — they are complete lunatics.
Hey Roman and Chelsea supporters, here’s a clue, you’re not going to sack your way to a Champions League trophy. In fact, you’re going to sack your way through all the good managers and leave yourself with no one wanting to take the job. Now that the transfer window is closed, and the crazy transfer money has dried up, the only reason I can see to take the reigns at Chelsea is to get that inevitable payout when Roman fires you in 6 months.
So, I feel a lot worse for Adams in this than Scolari if for no other reason than Adams is at the start of his coaching career and Scolari is at the end. Adams’ sacking could have a much more deleterious effect on his career than Scolari’s sacking will have on his. Plus, well, it’s nice to have Arsenal’s troubles out of the papers for a few days and see the Chelsea supporters squirm under the spotlight. I mean, Avram Grant is being linked to the club again for Christ’s sake!
But with Theo coming back by the end of the month (I was hoping to see him on the 21st, but it looks more like the 28th before he’ll be ready) and Eduardo getting a run out with Croatia on Wednesday Arsenal have two players coming back into the fold just in time for Arsenal to strip Chelsea of their Champions League place and seriously question the resolve of Mr. Abramovich and his band of Chelsea-come-lately supporters. Given all that and the sudden availability of Mr. Adams, maybe Arsenal should open the door to Tony?
He could hardly make our defense any worse and as I always say “defense wins Champions League places.”
That and, irregardless.