What goes around comes around

Grant was brought in as an interim replacement for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea never had any intention of keeping him beyond the end of the season.

grant smiles 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
grant smiles 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Avraham Grant didn't deserve to be sacked on Saturday, just as he didn't deserve to be hired in the first place eight months ago. Grant was always a pawn for Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, so it should come as little surprise that when he was no longer needed by the Russian he was tossed out of the club, even though he took the team within one penalty of being crowned European Champion just three days earlier. Chelsea's chairman Bruce Buck admitted last month that neither the board nor Abramovich expected Grant to do so well. So, why would the London club hire the Israeli if they didn't think he could achieve the wanted results? There can only be one answer. Grant was brought in as an interim replacement for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea never had any intention of keeping him beyond the end of the season, when the pool of available world class coaches is far bigger than what it was at the time Abramovich decided that he had had enough of Mourinho. Even winning the Champions League would have made no difference. Chelsea never planned for Grant to become a long-term replacement. This only serves to illustrate the ludicrously rich world which Abramovich inhabits. He signed Grant onto a four-year contract earlier in the season, presumably to inject the appearance of stability into the club, knowing that he would quite likely have to pay a severance package of several million pounds a few months later. Grant, however, can only blame himself for what has unfolded. While the allure of such a prestigious job is undeniably great, by pouncing on Abramovich's bizarre decision to give him the position in the first place, Grant also sealed his own fate. Had he progressed through European soccer's coaching ranks in the orthodox manner it would have been very difficult to fire the Israeli, after taking Chelsea to its first Champions League final. Grant chose, however, to cut corners and take a shortcut to the pinnacle of world soccer. Under-qualified and inexperienced at such a level, Grant elected to move up in the world with his schmoozing skills rather than his coaching credentials. "It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them," Mark Twain once said. Grant's time as manager of Chelsea has undoubtedly been of great benefit to him, and he has admitted as much himself. If he is a man after Twain's heart then perhaps he will also acknowledge that in light of the way he got the Chelsea job he can have little complaint about the way he lost it. [email protected]