Well, no suprise to me anyway. The Special One, Jose Mourinho, as he calls himself, has been pensioned off by the Chelsea FC board. The announcement was made about 1.00.am after a late night board meeting, and by 8.00 am it was announced that Avram Grant,a board member, director of football and former national team and club coach in Israel was a 'permament replacement.' All this season Grant had been sitting directly behind Mourinho on the Chelsea bench, and showing up at training.
For those not aquainted with the history of the Blues, for many years they were a joke to other teams supporters and hadn't won the league for 50 years. They were and still are nicknamed The Pensioners, after the residents of the nearby Royal Chelsea Hospital. They are retired British servicemen who are pensioned off and wear splendid bright red long coats and navy tricorne hats and pants around town and who are welcome guests at many events including EPL soccer at Stamford Bridge. Since 1689 when King Charles II started offering pensions to retired soldiers. The lucky ones have surrendered their pensions, get a free room, meals, clothes and medical assistance.
When Ken Bates had built up the stadium, with hotels, restaurants and club shop, he was approached by billionaire Roman Abramovich, sold out and bought a major stake in Leeds United and left town. The new owner has been disappointed at the style of soccer played under the Portuguese coach, despite winning the UEFA Cup and Champions League at Porto FC and 2 EPL championships, one FA Cup and two League Cups in London. Going through a mid-life crisis, a very expensive divorce and buying yet another mega yacht, he was clearly unhappy. He wanted Champions League success. The clash had been coming for over a year and when very expensive players such as Andriy Shevchenko(Ukraine and ex AC Milan), and Michael Ballack(Germany and ex FC Bayern) were bought despite the coach not wanting them, it was just a matter of time.
On Tuesday night The Blues had to come from behind to tie Rosenberg of Norway 1-1 with a rare outing and goal for Shevchenko,and only 24,000 fans showed up at The Bridge, despite discounted prices. The next day The Emirates Stadium, home of rivals Arsenal was full with 60,000 as the Gunners put 3 past a decent FC Sevilla team.
The latest is that The Special One is demanding $50 million or more to be 'pensioned off'. This coming weekend Chelsea they face an ever improving Manchester United at Old Trafford, where. despite arguments with his board, Sir Alex Ferguson has been in charge, in no uncertain matter, for two decades. No owner or board member has dared to usurp his authority, and tell him who to sign or play. Abramovich has demanded 2 Champions League trophies before the decade is out, but an unsettled team and a YES SIR coach and highly paid prima donnas don't look like they can do it.
Don't forget, on Saturday USA vs the ever -improving England in the FIFA Women's World Cup Quarter Final from China. Germany vs North Korea, Brazil vs Australia, and China vs Norway are the other matches.