Working for a King was always a tough job, the Court Jesters would often get mistreated because of their poor jokes and inadequate routines, and so it goes with Chelsea where the self appointed King of West London lives the life of a Roman Emperor in that his little thumb determines the future of the powerless man he appoints to do his bidding.
Perhaps I mixed my Empires, comparing Mr A to Nero or Henry the Eighth, but off with Andre-Villas Boas’ head anyway when the style the man seeks didn’t materialize in a season.
Sir Alex Ferguson was sanguine as he mused over the young mans demise, talking about patience and wondering what the point was. Chelsea are 5th, catching Arsenal and Spurs despite their own form and heading into a Champions League game that could determine their entire season. Much like Barcelona methinks, who cannot win the league but would consider a Cup and a Champions League win a great season.
Roman Ambramovich wants more, he wants to win with style, but his choice of players (and I’m sure it’s his choice) includes players like David Luiz and Fernando Torres who prove that skill and pace don’t beat tactics and team spirit.
Surely AVB would rather not read about the sex life of Ashley Cole and John Terry or the grumpy Frank Lampard or Didier Drogba but he does. These players undermined their manager yet carry on playing for money, lots of money, while the man charged with building an Empire heads off to Rome. The irony isn’t lost on me.
If Sir Alex was treated the same way he would have gone long before Mark Robins saved his job in that FA Cup game at Nottingham Forest, patience is a virtue and while I didn’t take to the squatting man in a raincoat twirling his arms and talking rubbish, he deserved better than this.
As with all of Roman’s conquests he came with a huge price tag and left shaking his head, humbled by the experience but knowing that if Luiz Felipe Scolari failed then he is in good company with Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho.
One day Roman will know that he is the problem at that club, he will look back at what he did and know that it was an expensive exercise in interference and expectation without hard work. The instant gratification that money brings doesn’t build a team or a history.
When wealth comes fast then so does yachts and expensive apartments but you can’t buy class and you can’t buy success on a football field unless you build a spirit.
Manchester City might laugh at this but they too will see that Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Wayne Bridge and their mates undermine the plan. A dynasty is built on solid foundations, and building on sand is not a good way for anything to last. There may be oil under that sand but it’s still sand.
If Roman or Sheikhs want my advice, and I’m sure they don’t but here goes anyway. Develop a youth system, get home grown talent in the team, agree a style and stick with it and show some patience because you’ll need it.
Of course your money helps, but long term it’s not just money that makes a club a place to be proud of, and frankly which fans are proud of what Chelsea have become?
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve