Chelsea Football Club & manager Jose Mourinho part under mutual consent
I came across the unconfirmed headline last night on ITV Teletext that Mourinho had left Stamford Bridge for good. It was later confirmed this morning around quarter to two via a small statement by the club that simply said they and Mourinho had agreed under mutual consent to his departure.
Chelsea managed to draw against Rosenberg in the Champions League group start on Tuesday where the home crowd for the Blues was just under 25,000, which was said to contribute further to owner Roman Abramovich's disgruntlement as well as the Chelsea fans jeering of their team at full time.
Other factors that appeared to have led to a breakdown in relationship between manager and owner include the playing of Andriy Shevchenko, who was said to be considered by Mourinho as not fit and sharp enough in contrast to the opinion of Abramovich. The possible signing of Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder and World Player Ronaldinho where Abramovich was allegedly keen whereas Mourinho was not.
The appointment of Avram Grant as sporting director with authority to include himself in coaching, signing players and their recruitment. Mourinho heard of the proposal to bring Grant in from Portsmouth Football Club in January and threatened to leave the club then. Abramovich was familiarised with Grant via big football agent Pini Zahavi, when Grant was the coach of Israel's national football team. Also, Grant has become acquainted with Frank Arnesen, who oversees scouting and the development of the youth players at The Bridge.
Reports have also detailed that Abramovich has not come accustomed to the authority of Mourinho throughout the club, preferring to spread such powers and decisions amongst several key positions within the club hierarchy. Mourinho is said to prefer absolute control on who he signs and when, who he plays and how with little or no influence in such matters from anyone outside of the management team.
Mourinho's departure comes after his arrival in June 2004 after leading former club Porto to the Champions League final victory, where he led Chelsea to their first title win in fifty years, only to repeat the feat in the following season. He also won the League Cup in his first season, and last season in a double with the FA Cup. Now reports are rife that additionally, with what was considered a lame beginning in this season's European Cup campaign on Tuesday, Chelsea would be pushing difficultly not only in their football but in attracting numbers at The Bridge.
But crucially from Mourinho's point-of-view, there has been too much interference in the pipelines in his day-to-day management of developing the squad. To mention the names of Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho shows Chelsea have employed managers with character, European flavour and flair, have made themselves one with the fans, have brought along success, yet have discovered such character has not satisfied wholeheartedly in other sectors of the club.
Another name with European flavour and experience linked to replace Mourinho is that of former France captain, Chelsea player and Juventus coach Didier Deschamps. The current Russia coach Guus Hiddink is another potentially linked to the role, but for me Deschamps can command the respect and impression left by Mourinho, he is that open with his players, and having led Juventus back into Serie A in one season he is far suited to take over at Stamford Bridge.
In the interim, the very person who Mourinho was apprehensive about when he came to Stamford Bridge, Avram Grant, is said to taking over supervising the players for the forthcoming fixtures. Timing of the news comes as Chelsea face an away trip to Old Trafford on Sunday. Ironically, Mourinho and the players attended a local cinema last night to view a DVD premiere on Chelsea's success under Mourinho, which was also to hail the expectations for the coming seasons.