Madness, Or Something More Calculated? The Inevitable Early Departure Of Roberto Di Matteo

If there is one aspect of the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo that actually does retain the capacity to startle, it’s the numbers. Di Matteo is the ninth Chelsea manager to have left Stamford Bridge in the nine years to since Roman Abramovich bought the club. This is a higher managerial turnover than the club had in the first seventy years of its existence, a stark figure, even if we factor in the fact that clubs generally have a higher turnover of managers than they used to have and, while it is clear that the club has won more trophies over these last nine years than it did during those first seventy, we could counter-argue that this may have had more to do with with the vast amounts of money that have been lavished on the first team than the clubs appointment policy with regard to its managerial staff has. Still, Roberto Di Matteo had a good run, by modern Chelsea standards. If we take into account his caretaker period, he was the clubs manager for longer than Avram Grant, Andre Villa Boas or Luis Felipe Scolari. His time at the club had a feel of the flight of Icarus about it, ascending to the absolute summit of European football before plummeting back to earth in less than nine months. It has been suggested elsewhere that Abramovichs judgement in...

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