Sacking managers & instant success – it’s a Chelsea thing and it works

By this point, we all know about Roman Abramovich’s revolving door policy at Chelsea.

Any manager could win any amount of trophies, but a few weeks of underwhelming performances will see their head roll. Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Luiz Felipe Scolari…the list of victims goes on and on and on.

No owner in England rules with such ferocity and ruthlessness, and yet no owner in England has celebrated more trophy wins since his arrival in 2003.

To some, it’s the most atrocious way to run a football club, but regardless of how you feel about it, you can’t argue with the results. Abramovich causes chaos and it works.

If you look back at Chelsea‘s run of success, you can follow the perilous story of carnage and glory almost perfectly.

Mourinho arrived in 2004, won two Premier League titles, then finished second and was gone six games into his fourth season. Avram Grant came in and brought Chelsea to the Champions League final in 2007/08, only to be sacked three days after coming out on the losing end.

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In came Scolari, who managed seven months before being jettisoned and replaced by Guus Hiddink, who not only steadied the ship but added the FA Cup for good measure.

Ancelotti replaced the Dutchman and won a league/cup double in his debut season in 2009/10, only to be sacked after finishing second.

Andre Villas-Boas was supposed to restore the glory but flopped horribly in 2011/12, allowing Roberto Di Matteo to swoop in and win the Champions League…six months before being sacked himself.

Roberto Di MatteoRoberto Di Matteo
Even the Champions League couldn’t save Di Matteo | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Next up was Rafa Benitez, who won the Europa League immediately before passing the reins back to Mourinho, who delivered another title and another brutal sacking in 2015/16. Antonio Conte replaced him and won the title, before his struggles allowed Maurizio Sarri to come in and win the Europa League.

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Abramovich appeared to grow tired of this trend in 2019 when he drafted in club legend Frank Lampard to take charge of a team who needed as much time to develop their skills as he did. The long-term project was there and all looked good, but a miserable run of form saw Abramovich resort to his old ways by bidding goodbye to Lampard.

Four months later, he had a Champions League trophy to show for it.

Thomas TuchelThomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel brought the Champions League back | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Chelsea tried so hard to stop being so cut-throat but couldn’t stop themselves, and they were rewarded with the biggest prize available in club football. If Abramovich hadn’t have pulled the trigger on Lampard, Chelsea wouldn’t be celebrating this trophy. It’s as simple as that.

It’s not always pretty to watch, but just look at all those trophies. Abramovich is not prepared to see his team go backwards or even stand still. If you’re not taking Chelsea forward, you are of no use to him anymore.

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To discard Lampard was undoubtedly his most controversial decision since doing away with Di Matteo eight years earlier, but the reason Chelsea fans tolerate it is not only because it brings success, but because you can see Abramovich’s intentions are pure. He wants trophies because he is a fan of the club, not because he wants the money it brings.

Roman Abramovich, Cesar AzpilicuetaRoman Abramovich, Cesar Azpilicueta
Abramovich is responsible for Chelsea’s success | Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

As any rival fan will tell you, an owner who truly cares is worth its weight in gold these days, and a chief who knows the recipe for success is just as valuable.

Abramovich has found his method to win trophies, and he’s sticking to it.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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