Just after Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero completed his hat-trick, a glum Roman Abramovich was texting on his phone. Two thoughts went through my mind — firstly, how different things could have been, had we bought the talented Argentinian.
I know I sound like a spoilt brat, given that the owner has hardly been stingy when getting his wallet out, but to see Aguero go to another Premiership club and almost single-handedly transform them has been a bitter pill to swallow.
Secondly, I thought whoever it was that Abramovich was texting, that even with all Abramovich’s connections and wealth, no-one could help this bunch of charlatans masquerading as footballers.
They simply do not care.
The majority of them are just going through the motions.
There was another thing that the cameras caught — a certain John Terry, in the stands, with his head in his hands.
The incompetence of our defence was being laid bare for all to see, yet Terry, who has proved himself again and again, despite his age, cannot secure a contract.
All the people closest to Abramovich might have good business backgrounds, but they also have very limited football-business experience, and that is specialised.
Some of you may be thinking, ‘well, he seems to have done okay up to now’, and you would be right, but you need to remember that when Abramovich first took over our club, very few others had our financial muscle. Simply going out and buying a plethora of talented players would rocket you up the table. Add to that some decent managers and you begin to win things.
But, then, other clubs started getting rich and acquired generous owners. They, too, started splashing the cash and hoovering up players and managers who could win things. That’s when your board and management come into play. They must understand that you need a working relationship with the manager — he has to be involved in who is bought and who is sold.
They need to understand that, sometimes, there are dips and they have to be ridden-through. They have to understand that the game, now, is more competitive than it’s ever been. Nothing demonstrates that lack of understanding than the way we treated Carlo Ancelotti. The man delivered the club’s first double in history.
We played attractive, successful football.
The man was a gentleman — a real ambassador for the club. And what do we do? We sack him for the heinous crime of finishing second the season after.
Who made that decision? Most would say it’s Abramovich, but he keeps a number of advisors. Surely, they would have had their say, too?
But we have to look at these players, too. They know they cost a manager his job; they have failed to produce since he went. They know that another manager has been appointed and that he is watching them regularly to try and build his plan, and campaign, for next season. Yet, do they bother putting in any sort of effort, at all? Not from where I am standing.
They seem totally fearless of any repercussions of their failure to perform — after all, based on past experiences, what is the worst that can happen? That the club sells them. Bring it on, seems to be their opinion.
Yet, the one who really cares, the one with his head in his hands in the stands, the one who has put his body on the line countless times for this club, the man who has gone to war for us, the one who is desperate not to leave — he has to wait and see if those running the club deem him worthy of a new contract.
We have Tottenham next. John Terry understands what this game means to the supporters and the importance of not losing to Spurs. If Hiddink has anything left about him at all, he will get JT to give the team talk for this one.
Apart from when Mourinho was sacked, this team have been lucky to have had a relatively easy ride from the fans, despite pretty disgraceful performances. Bad results against Bournemouth and Spurs and that will change quickly.
It could irrevocably sever ties between supporters and some players. It is time to stand up or ship out for good.
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