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Avram Grant At His Finest

It’s no secret that the Prince of Darkness, Avram Grant, is not a pleasant man to talk to. He’s a guy who wears all black all the time, and when Chelsea plays during the day, I’m surprised that he even comes out of the dark tunnel to manage. He has no personality whatsoever. None. Zero.

It’s no coincidence that there’s going to be a mass exodus of players from Chelsea during the summer, and that most of them will follow their former manager, the charismatic, articulate José Mourinho, to whichever club he takes charge of. Not only is Mourinho a masterful tactician, something that Grant certainly is not, he’s a joy to play for. His presence attracts the media in hordes and takes the pressure off the players. Mourinho will stand up and answer questions and make jokes while doing so.

Grant, on the other hand? Well, take a look at the following interview from ESPNsoccernet’s Richard Jolly after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory at Everton yesterday:

A deserved win Avram?
Grant said: ‘Yes.’

What particularly pleased you about the performance?
‘I’m pleased.’

What in particular pleased you?
After an eight second delay: ‘I don’t know.’

Is it a relief to win here?

You seem lost for words by the performance. Are you more satisfied with the performance or the victory?

You seem distracted. Do you have a problem?
‘No problem.’

Is there an issue?
‘No. I’m ok. I have nothing to say.’

Do you have a message for the Chelsea fans?
‘You represent the Chelsea fans?’

They must believe you are still in the title race, do you have a message for them?
‘No message.’

Does this result mean you are back in it now?
‘I don’t know.’

How many steps have you climbed to undertake this press conference?
‘I don’t know.’

You seem less voluble than usual. Is it because of Sky TV moving the game to a Thursday?
‘Maybe it’s because of you. I don’t know. I am ok.’

You are saying that you don’t know if you are still in the title race?
‘No.’ Is it easier to say nothing Avram?
‘I don’t what to answer. It is a good question. I don’t know what to answer.’

Is this because of Sky?
‘No. Sky is ok. I enjoy watching them.’

Is it a protest against newspapers?
‘No. Why?’

Why else would you come in and refuse to answer our questions?
‘I answer every question.’

You are two points behind Manchester United and you don’t know if you are still in the title race?

Have you told the players that you don’t know if you are back in the title race?
‘What I tell the players is something else. You want me to tell you what I say to the players?’

We just want you to answer the question really. Are you in the title race?
‘I don’t know.’

Would you not like to gain some positive publicity for the result rather than this bizarre silence?
‘I’m sorry. You can write whatever you want and I can answer what I want.’

Do you feel under pressure to deliver a trophy. Is that the reason for the monosyllabic answers?

Are you upset? Do you feel you have been misrepresented?
‘Maybe I have said because it is a bad season.’

Did Michael Essien faint?
‘He had some problems, but he is ok.’

Michael Ballack?

What’s his problem?
‘Ask the doctor.’

He’s not here Avram.
‘Well call him then.’

Have you ever played the yes/no game Avram?

What an absolute disgrace!! This man is a joke. He’s an embarrassment.

His team just won at Goodison Park, a tough place to play, and kept their slim title hopes alive. Their game against Manchester United next weekend will actually mean something now, and the Red Devils won’t be able to officially clinch the title at Stamford Bridge.

You wouldn’t know it by listening to this interview. Sure, the media have been putting pressure on Grant this season. What else does he expect, walking into the manager’s position at one of England’s most successful clubs in recent history without the proper qualifications? The media is doing their job. Writing stories and criticism is what they’re paid to do, just like Avram Grant is paid to manage Chelsea FC, and hopefully to lead them to trophies.

Just because he hasn’t held up his end of the bargain doesn’t give him a right to give a little hissy-fit like he did to Richard Jolly. This interview makes Grant look like an ignorant, selfish baby.

In comparison, David Moyes, Everton’s manager, was gracious and took the time to man up and talk about his team’s defeat. It’s not as if Everton has nothing to play for either; this is a team who has hit a rough patch recently and could miss out on UEFA Cup qualification if they keep failing to gain points. Moyes didn’t whine and moan that his side lost.

Grant needs to grow up. It’s looking increasingly likely that he won’t be at Chelsea next year, at least not in the capacity of manager, and to be honest, he should appreciate and thank Roman Abramovich for giving him this opportunity to begin with. As I said, Grant doesn’t have the credentials or club experience to be put in such a high-profile position in the first place, and interviews like this just make him look that much worse.

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  1. slipereypete

    July 24, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    “Drogba, Essien, Carvalho, Pizarro, Shevchenko, Ben Haim, Malouda, possibly Lampard, Sidwell, and Wright-Phillips will all leave this summer. I don’t care how long they have left on their contracts, it doesn’t even matter. They’re all leaving.”


  2. avram is genious!!

    May 1, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    at the end of this season some writers will have to throw their pen.
    avram is genious .he already achieve more the the “special”…
    he will not be the journalists freind ..but they will admire him.
    they will ask him to take the national team…

  3. Anonymous

    May 1, 2008 at 8:27 am

    AVram is the man

  4. liran

    April 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Hello from ISRAEL to you all!
    here is a respond from someone who know’s Avram Grant
    just a bit better then you Criticize,smugly knowledgeable,affected by press.
    leading chelsea bravery avram took a great team and keep her steady, and even better with 94% wins since the first day as a boss. (better then jose up until now which means so far so so good )

    these are pure football facts and this is what you need to focus on.
    but apparently football is really not the issue for you.
    Avram Grant wears black routinely.
    so what??
    are we become fashion police?
    Prince of Darkness-well, in rome act as a roman!
    i’m sorry but it seems that you have very strong passion to yellow then football.
    for ending-Avram Grant is a very smart person
    and a brilliant football man.
    he literally proves to you all from game to game,
    but you are so hypnotized so it’s really nearly hopeless.
    So here is my advice- when chelsea win try to be happy for your team not bitter like you got used to.

  5. Michael

    April 19, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Hahaha that’s the fun part Ty, the choices are endless.

  6. BillE Shears

    April 18, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    As I am sure that everyone blogging about Avram has noticed, there are so many amazing pictures of him.

  7. LemmusLemmus

    April 18, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Do you feel under pressure to deliver a trophy. Is that the reason for the monosyllabic answers?

    Pure genious. Should qualify him for the Ernst Happel memorial medal. That Happel bloke, by the way, won two European Cups as a coach.

  8. Michael

    April 18, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Give me a break, Franco!! Two weeks notice was given to the change of this game, not two days.

    Newsflash: It’s not about the supporters who go to games, it’s about TV and money. The sooner you understand that, the better. I don’t agree with it, but that’s how it is.

  9. Franco's Bruvva

    April 18, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Some of the posts here are so off the mark it’s Slipperypete is dead right.

    Grant’s performance in this press conference has endeared him to many of us Chels who were inconvenienced and put out of pocket by the late change of fixture date imposed by greedy Murdoch’s Sky. I have a €160 return flight to Liverpool taking off in 6 hours, but I won’t be on it. Thanks Sky, and well done Avram for giving them a little of what they deserve. They don’t respect our football supporters, why should our manager show them respect?

  10. Ivan

    April 18, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    It was a sky thing he did press conferences after the game that were fine look at chelsea f.c. website. Alex Ferguson doesnt talk to BBC that is a fucking disgrace…. At least Grant turned up.

    Every chelsea fan doesn’t want him, the true neutral thinks he has done an good job under the circumstances. The truth is whoever was coming in players would leave. The only certainty in the list of players that actually matter named by Michael is Drogba…everything else is tabloid talk.

  11. HeMaN

    April 18, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Excellent !

    Love it !!!

    Right up the reporters arse !!!

    Thats what you get if u treat ppl without respect !

  12. Michael

    April 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    First time for everything, mate.

    We’ll talk again come the start of next season.

  13. slipereypete

    April 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Mark your words, an exodus, the likes no-one has seen before WILL happen, yet there is nothing but conjecture and subjectivity to back it up?! The Sun called and wants to know when you can start!

  14. Michael

    April 18, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Slipereypete, mark my words right now:

    Drogba, Essien, Carvalho, Pizarro, Shevchenko, Ben Haim, Malouda, possibly Lampard, Sidwell, and Wright-Phillips will all leave this summer. I don’t care how long they have left on their contracts, it doesn’t even matter. They’re all leaving.

  15. Dan

    April 18, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Grant is a douche! Chelsea goes only 2 points behind ManU and this guy is acting like a fool.

    Maybe his strategy is to keep people from talking about the race and turn their attention to him. But the team deserves better representation from their manager after an incredibly important win.

    Even if he wins something this year no one will like him and will be waiting to criticize him again.

    Total DOUCHE!

  16. slipereypete

    April 18, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Talk about missing the point. He was having a go at Sky and Co. for giving them a Thrusday Night(!?) match when they had just played a Mon. night. Indulge him this once to give a Mourinho-esque deadpan to a reporter. There is a context to everything, your job to find it if you want to be taken seriously. And your mater-of-fact declaration of a clear out is laughable, would love you to find precedent of such a clear out at a club with similar stature? But don’t let the facts or the historical evidence get in the way!

  17. Mike

    April 18, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Did that really happen? Anybody got a link to the video? That’s really odd…I started reading it and thought it was a joke.

    • Arnel

      December 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      NihongoIt’s quite clear that Ballack is not thinking ahead. He is just loknoig at things the way they are. It’s very true that the current dressing room’ does not need too much of a help from the coach. Subtly, he’s even undermined Grant’s role in the current season.As regards the theatrics, I’d point my finger to John Terry. As the captain of the team shouldn’t he have got involved in this thing and calmed them down. Look, it was a very tense match with tempers flying all around but the captain should have stepped in to bring some order. I thought it should be the captain who should decide or should have decided on who takes the free kicks from different distances and angles. 8

  18. Ph0BoLuS

    April 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    He shrugged them off probably because people at the top told him to do it. If you go to and look at the post match interviews he usually knows what he’s talking about, I think it’s just a revenge thing towards skysports for moving the match up 2 days. In my opinion he hasn’t done much wrong except for his little mishaps in the CC final and his team selection on Monday, I dont think it’s enough to get sacked though. If he does get sacked I hope the best for him he’s a good guy from what I’ve seen.

  19. Michael

    April 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I definitely agree with you, Simon, about the ethnic abuse. There’s no place in the game or the world for death threats or racial insults or anything like that; it’s despicable stuff.

    Your direct quote was the team he “inherited”, and that’s exactly my point. He stumbled into a great situation with a team who had won two of the last three league titles and a couple of domestic cup competitions along the way.

    Stats-wise and numerically, his record has been great. But come on, you and I could pick a team and beat Wigan, Sunderland, Blackburn, whatever–mid-table clubs. Grant hasn’t even been great at picking Jose’s team this year, his squad selection has left a lot to be desired for.

    When it comes down to the big, big games though, Grant has been exposed. He lost the Carling Cup final and was tactically outclassed by Ramos, was eliminated from the FA Cup as you said, and hasn’t really been able to come up with the goods against the “Big Four” in the league. You know as well as I do that Benitez is going to expose Grant for a tactical fraud in their Champions League tie, so that’ll be another disappointment for the Blues. If Mourinho couldn’t outsmart Rafa, how can Grant?

    I don’t care how dour teams play; it’s not about style and artistry. It’s about winning the games you need to win. Arsenal is a lovely team to watch, but what do they have to show for it? Mourinho’s teams weren’t the prettiest, but they got the job done.

    Again, yes, I’m sure it has been a long, tough year for Grant. I won’t deny that. But come on. The media does their job, and he’s supposed to do his. Part of that is answering the bell when the media come calling, not shrugging them off because you’re not in the mood to talk. As I said, he fluked into this job and should appreciate being there and having his team within a couple points of the title.

  20. Simon Burke

    April 18, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    He gave a similar interview to BBC Radio 5 that I listened to today. In fairness the interviewer above is a fool and trying to wind him up with stupid questions. I think Grant is sick to death of it all and I feel sorry for him – he has had to put up with a lot this year , the team he inherited has gotten some pretty good results but he is much maligned. The media hate him as he isnt Jose but his record is very good this year. One final, one bad FA CUP exit, nearly champions but not quite and possible CL winners. yet he gets such a slagging off from everyone.
    Maurinho was loved at Chelsea but most of us non Chelsea fans remember how dour their football was to watch, the wingless wonders.
    I cant see Grant surviving and it will probably be a relief for him at the end. He has been very harshly treated and suffered some horrible ethnic abuse too.

  21. Anon

    April 18, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I don’t know, I really like what he was doing there.

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