An open letter to Roman Abramovich

Thu, Nov 22, 2012, 00:00

Dear Mr Abramovich,

Or, as those of us who are linguistically gifted say to all our Russian oil tycoons pals: “Preevyet!”

Before moving on to formally apply to fill the managerial vacancy at Stamford Bridge after you sack Rafa ‘interim’ Benitez, congratulations on your bold move to get rid of Roberto Di Matteo. Frankly, the time had come.

In his 262 days in charge at the club, apart from winning the Champions League and FA Cup, what did he achieve?

Exactly: Nada.

Best of luck to Roberto, of course, but he was evidently, sadly, out of his depth at Chelsea. Hopefully – because he’s a good football man – he’ll get another (less demanding) opportunity at a smaller mid-table club, where the fans’ expectations are lower. Like Stoke. Or Liverpool.

Some, needless to say, are calling you trigger-happy when it comes to firing gaffers, mentioning the fact that four of your appointments have lasted less than a year in the job. If you had a pound for every time someone thought they were the first to quip yesterday that you’ve had more managers than Zsa Zsa Gabor has had husbands – which isn’t true: she’s had nine, you only had eight (before hiring Rafa) – you could afford another blip like Fernando Torres.

But a change, as we know, is as good as a rest. So, Chelsea Football Club is very well rested for the challenges ahead.

There was, though, some anger yesterday evening among the Chelsea faithful about your choice of Rafa to fill Roberto’s boots.

“He’s detested by Chelsea fans, he’s one of football’s more grotesque whingers,” David Mellor told Sky News, and David Mellor, a lifelong Chelsea supporter after he gave up on Fulham, knows a grotesque whinger when he sees one – usually in the mirror.

Because of his tendency to play seven in midfield and none up front, Rafa was naturally tempting for you, bearing in mind you have an excess of world class midfielders (and Frank Lampard) at the club and no strikers – if you exclude Torres and Daniel Sturridge, which most Chelsea fans do.

And Rafa’s cure for insomnia could prove as lucrative for you as the oil business, so he could yet make you even wealthier than you already are, perhaps even putting you in a position to challenge Manchester City in the transfer market next summer. No flies on you, then.

What Mellor doesn’t understand is that Rafa knows how to get the best out of Torres – ie by selling him back to Liverpool after they flog Luis Suarez to City in January for €136.1 million – and that he’ll take one look at David Luiz and laugh. Not at his hair, at his defensive abilities.

He will, then, steady the ship, but, come the end of the season, you’ll be looking for a permanent manager in the hope of waking from their slumber Chelsea fans comatose from watching Rafa’s team.

Some have assumed Pep Guardiola will be your man, but that’s unlikely. You’re a wise man, Roman, so you know that without Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Puyol, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Busquets, Pedro and the like, Pep would never have been heard of. The stray cat in the back garden could have achieved managerial glory with that lot. So, we’ll strike him off the list.

Others say ’Arry Redknapp will be your choice.

Stop laughing, you rascal.

After that?

This is where one would humbly request that you consider this job application.

Not since applying for the Manchester United job, penning the letter with a quill under gaslight, just before they inexplicably appointed Alex ‘Sir’ Ferguson, has one taken such a bold move. Roberto lasted 262 days, Alex 26 years – that shower are probably still wearing Bay City Rollers pants, at least you’re moving with the times.

Courageous steps need to be taken at Chelsea, otherwise it’s bye bye baby, baby bye bye.

This, then, is the five point plan:

1 Thank John Terry for his service, retire him, and appoint him as the clubs global cultural diversity ambassador.

2 Buy Manchester City’s squad, apart from Gareth Barry (we already have John Obi Mikel).

3 Hire the Dolly the Sheep people and clone Eden Hazard and Juan Mata – it’d save us a fortune, leaving us enough loot to buy a striker.

4 Be brave: buy a winger.

5 Give your new manager more than a year – as Take That put it, “have a little patience, yeah, oooooh”.

Humbly requesting that you consider this application, Roman.

And if you do, you’ll surpass Zsa Zsa Gabor – in managers, not husbands.

Wishing Rafa well, but it’s time for a change. Another one. And that’s the Pravda. Looking forward to hearing back from you, Blue is the colour.

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