Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk daily email newsletter for TV schedules, news and more »

WED, 2:45PM ET
WED, 2:45PM ET

Why Abramovich May Really Have Sacked Scolari

martin oneill Why Abramovich May Really Have Sacked Scolari

I can sum up in two words why Roman Abramovich may have sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari: Aston Villa.

Seeing Aston Villa in third place, two points ahead of Chelsea, must have been eating Abramovich up. Here’s this Russian oil tycoon who has spent hundreds of millions of pounds to try to build the world’s biggest football team, and he’s being made to look like a fool by Martin O’Neill’s team who not only are further ahead but are playing a brand of football that’s more appealing to the eye and more exciting than Chelski.

If you were a businessman like Roman Abramovich and you saw one of your “lesser” competition beating you in the business world, what would you do? Would you try to buy that company out or hire a headhunter to steal away their talent? While Chelsea won’t be able to buy Aston Villa, of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if Abramovich had Peter Kenyon and his staff put some feelers out to see if O’Neill would be interested in becoming the next Chelsea manager.

O’Neill is in a different league as a manager and isn’t used to working with some of the biggest superstars in world football. Plus, he’s very much from the Brian Clough school of management where you can take a team of underachievers and you make sound purchases to fill in the weak spots, and then work on your man management skills to get the most out of your other players.

But, if O’Neill can work his magic at Aston Villa (as he did previously at Celtic and Leicester City), why not give him an opportunity with Chelsea? The challenge for the Blues and a reason why they would avoid the Northern Irishman is that Chelsea is running out of time. They can’t afford to bring in O’Neill and give him time to meld a team together and get them purring by the summertime. Chelsea needs a world-class manager who can hit the ground running.

My prediction: Roberto Mancini. But if O’Neill gets the job, remember where you heard it first.

One more thought: It’s nice to see a Big Four side squirm. Aston Villa are mounting a true challenge to the Big Four monopoly and in doing so, they’re helping heads roll. If Villa weren’t as good this season as they are now, Chelsea would be in third place and within distance of making a run for the title. Right now, they’re floundering. Was it the correct decision to get rid of Scolari? In my opinion, yes. But only if you have a replacement who’s available to step in as quickly as possible to get the ship back in order. If not, it’s poor timing and poor planning by Chelsea FC.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →