Thursday, 1 May 2008


So is now the time to proclaim Avram Grant as a great manager, on the strength of leading Chelsea to the Champions League final? Not just yet, I think. BBC 5 Live has been buzzing with debate over Grant's status compared to that of Jose Mourinho, but while Grant has certainly done a good job it has to be placed in the context of his inheritance. The majority of Grant's players went to Stamford Bridge for two reasons: Roman's money and Jose's personality. Only Anelka has been added to the squad bequeathed by Mourinho.

Avram may well go on to earn universal acclaim, but for now he is in the same bracket as Tony Barton, who won the European Cup for Aston Villa with Ron Saunders' team, and Joe Fagan, who did the same for Liverpool with Bob Paisley's. The acid test is whether he can emulate Bob Paisley himself. Bob inherited a fine squad from Bill Shankly and made it not only better, but continued to renew it and handed it on in better shape again.

Meanwhile it was surprising to hear Liverpool radio station CityTalk running a clip with Manchester United chief executive David Gill in the top story of their news bulletins, the morning after Liverpool's Champions League exit. Gill's musings on the importance of United fans obtaining visas for the final in Moscow must have gone down a treat with CityTalk's target audience!

No comments: