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Thursday should have been one of Israeli soccer's proudest days. Never has an Israeli coach come close to holding a position of the distinction Avraham Grant has just been appointed to at Chelsea. Taking the helm at one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world is the dream of every coach who has ever guided a team - a dream Grant has now realized.
One small, but decisive factor, however, tarnished Grant's appointment and the joy it should have brought to Israeli soccer. The reality that he reached his current position through his schmoozing skills, rather than his coaching credentials, creates far more embarrassment then it does pride.
Grant's resume may be impressive by Israeli standards, but no one is naÃ¯ve enough to think that the titles he claimed at Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa earned him one of the most sought after jobs in world soccer.
Grant's ability to befriend Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is the one and only reason he is in charge at Stamford Bridge. His expertise at making contacts have got him this far. His coaching abilities have only played a minor role in the latest developments in his career.
Just three months ago Grant was surprisingly appointed to the vague position of technical director at Chelsea. It then seemed as though his career had peaked, little did we know Grant had other plans.
It is no secret that the appointment of Grant as director of football was made against the wishes of Jose Mourinho, who was concerned that the new position was created so that Abramovich could keep a more watchful eye over him. As expected, Mourinho's and Abramovich's rocky relationship only worsened with time and Grant was perfectly placed to move in.
Grant begins his new job at the worst possible starting point. Anything short of immediate success will bring on fierce criticism. The Chelsea fans are understandably unhappy with the appointment of the little known Grant and the English media would relish the chance to blame him for the departure of the successful Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager guided the team to two championships, one FA Cup and two Carling Cups in his three seasons at the club, impressive by any standard, except obviously Abramovich's. Despite his friendship with his Russian boss, Grant will have to come up with results from day one. Abramovich isn't known for his patience and Grant has got to convince the entire world he deserves to be Chelsea manager.
No one will remember how Grant reached his current position if he leads the Blues to local and European titles. He now has the chance of a lifetime to position himself as one of the world's premier managers.
Starting Sunday at Old Trafford against Manchester United all eyes will be on Grant. Everyone is expecting him to fail spectacularly, but who knows? Sunday might be the day he starts to once again bring pride to Israeli soccer on the field rather than embarrass it off it.