The ugly face of corporate football, Volume MMXII: step forward Chelsea’s Abramovich

Jake on the art of communication

Chelsea supporters have no reason to care a hoot what a Sunderland fan thinks of the state of rottenness that pervades Stamford Bridge.

What business, after all, is it of ours if Roman Abramovich invokes his right as owner of a London football club to act as if he were a Victorian coalowner?

And any tears we shed for Roberto di Matteo will be wasted since, unlike the miners who were vicitms of earlier market forces, he undoubtedly leaves Chelsea with a handsome payoff.

But as even Abramovich knows, he also leaves Chelsea with a fuller trophy cabinet. The decision to fire him after just a few months in charge, initially as the head coach (from March after AVB was sacked) who led the club to plausible victory in an FA Cup final and a far less plausible one in the European Champions League, simply stinks.

And it brings to mind the stirring words of Jack London, who died nearly 100 years ago. I have adpated them:

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a [insert the missing word].

He is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.

Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When he comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. Judas was a gentleman compared with him.

* Clue: The missing word is either scab or Abramovich.

I raised the question on Twitter: would my lifelong passion for Sunderland survive the disgust I’d feel at supporting a club that acted in the way Abramovich has?

Say Martin O’Neill got the club to Wembley and a top eight place this season. But by November, a couple of poor results meant we were only 10th. And we were out of the early stages of the League Cup. If Ellis Short were then to dismiss him, would my faith in mod€rn football finally be shattered? Little or none of that will happen in any case, but I wonder all the same …

** I liked this from Del Day, a Facebook friend known to me for his work as a music PR: “Chelsea have sacked Rafa Benitez as he made his way to Stamford Bridge. A club statement said performances since he has been linked with the job havent been good enough.”

Monsieur Salut, by Matt

15 thoughts on “The ugly face of corporate football, Volume MMXII: step forward Chelsea’s Abramovich”

  1. The fabrication of a racial slur, against Clattenburg is an unacceptable disgrace. T he use of the race card to switch the emphasis of error is one I am well used to in Africa, and some dirt will always stick. They are using Clattenburgs accent and Ramires lack of English as an excuse to to blame an innocent man of such a high profile crime which could have or may still end his career witout being 100% sure. Some very serious action should be taken against this club and explain to them they are not above the law. This is England not Russia

  2. I think he can handle the pressure of a big club and if we ever went foreign I’d much rather it was with a bloke like him than an unknown as he has won things and knows the league; Like I said it will be interesting to see what he does, but if he’s only there six months it may be difficult to judge.

  3. Plan B. I fail to see what they are hoping to achieve with this at all. Given the demographics of their squad, does Abramovic think that these players are going to be pulling their pluck out for a temporary boss?

    You clearly have a much higher opinion of Benitez than I do. I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. I think the bloke’s hopeless to tell the truth. I think we’re about to see just why he is out of a job and the only man stupid enough to take the poisoned challice at Stamford Bridge. He will be well paid for his services as the latest clown in ring at this particular circus of course.

  4. The sacking is ludicrous alright, why appoint someone new just til the end of the season again, when RDM did that very thing last season? as an aside it should be interesting to see how rafa gets on. He was crying out for a premier league job when we sacked bruce and would have been my first choice.

  5. That’s so very true Ian, and particularly in this case where there were huge fees with the associated ego and they were failing. I think that RDM did a magnificent job in handling all of that. His reputatation as a manager has been greatly enhanced by the last nine months and his bank balace too I expect.

  6. Its not just the club owner that make the situation tough, its the players too. When you buy a player at an inflated price, you get an inflated ego as well.
    A couple of bad apples in the dressing room, and bingo, the manager is halfway out the door before long.
    It takes an exceptional manager to handle those egos as well as all the other stuff.

  7. That was most certainly a “gripping” read Phil in more ways than one. Certainly portrays a very view of the human condition, that’s for sure.

    I must confess to having never been able to quite understand the mind of the average Russian. Abramovic is more that just “average” to boot.

    Back to the manager. Di Matteo has only been a manager since July 2008 since which time he lost a play off game which cost him promotion at MKD. He got WBA promoted at his first attempt and was harshly treated by the board when he was sacked. As a caretaker he won the FA Cup and Champions League. Most people would consider his achievements as a manager somewhere between exceptional and phenomenal yet he finds himself in the most peculiar situation. His CV as a manager now reflects that his still fledgling career shows that the only job from which he was not dismissed prematurely was Milton Keynes Dons.

    I was hoping that he would have been the man for SAFC before O’Neill was appointed.

    There really is no rationale for Abramovic. RDM turned around a team that was stinking the place out under Villas Boas into a side that was conquering anything. Astonishing news from a really dislikeable club and even more contemptible owner.

  8. Russians, outside of Russia, are a strange breed.

    I lived with a Russian girl for two years who, at face value was beautiful, charming and possessed all of the attributes that most would deem desirable.

    However, when I “really” got to know her, I discovered that she detested the British and (as the daughter of a Red Army General, who had married a British spy) was always prepared to insult our way of life.

    Something stupid that sticks in my brain was the way she attested that a 2 kilo joint of beef was “pathetic” as her family would never cook less than half a cow.

    Anyway, moving on, she (for obvious reasons) could not return to her homeland because she would have been held responsible for her marriage BUT she then showed another side of what, she considered, “normal” Russian family life.

    On one occasion I walked into the bedroom of her 10 year old son (without knocking) and witnessed her masturbating him.

    I, obviously, left as quickly as I had entered but (when questioned) she just said “is normal”.

    The relationship, as you can imagine, was terminated very swiftly!

    The point of this revelation is to question the mindset of Abramovich because, he (like her) would be unlikely to be welcomed back in his “motherland” and, therefore, seems to feel the need to display a level of behaviour that most would deem to be unacceptable.

    The fact that, in his case, he has an amazing amount of cash just allows him to be even more extreme in his actions!


  9. It does raise the question as to what Abramovich’s motivation is with regards to football. Is it

    the thrill of building a club up from scratch and seeing them scaling the heights, overcoming adversity and triumphing through determination, skill and passion.


    Is it just to say we won that , ticking it off and moving on to the next target.

    Winning at all costs is the maxim of the man, how facile and sad he must be.

  10. Abramowich. The answer to any question about the standard of the FA’s laughable ‘fit and proper person’ test for club Chairman lies in that one name.

  11. Abromovich didn’t want RDM as manager in the first place but would have upset the fans had he not installed him, he has been looking for excuses to get rid for sometime now, it just confirms that Money is running the game

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