Oh, you thought this was all over, did you? Well, so did I. In fact, I’d already tallied the votes and started printing dartboard-sized pictures of the winners when it struck me – even a rudderless ship needs a captain, even though he might just hasten the sinking of the vessel. With that in mind, we decided to dig a little deeper and come up with a list of candidates who could do a fine job mismanaging our Worst XI.
So, for one final time (pinky swear), here are your nominees for the Chelsea Worst XI manager.
Luiz Felipe Scolari (36 Matches | 56% Wins)
Scolari was a World Cup winner with Brazil and a European Championship finalist with Portugal, but he lasted a mere seven months at Chelsea. Big Phil arrived with a reputation for being a disciplinarian and a hard taskmaster, but he made some very questionable and downright baffling decisions during his time in charge of the Blues. He almost drove Drogba out of the club but his plans were scuppered by a failed pursuit of the Brazilian party animal, Adriano. Oh, and he also got Mineiro a nice contract at the club; you might remember him as a Worst XI nominee. The samba beat stopped when he was sacked in early February of 2009, with most fans relieved at Big Fail’s departure.
Avram Grant (54 Matches | 67% Wins)
Don’t be fooled by the win percentage; Grant was an unmitigated disaster as Chelsea boss. His appointment as Director of Football caused friction with the manager, Jose Mourinho, who saw it as interference from the owner. So imagine the mood amongst the supporters when he took over as manager after Jose was sacked. Grant had no formal coaching certifications, no top-level coaching experience and got the job solely by virtue of being friends with the right people, i.e. the owner. Inevitably, the team put itself on auto-pilot for the rest of the season while Grant concentrated on delivering monotone and monosyllabic press conferences. The Blues reached the League Cup and Champions League finals, but lost both the games. Grant was dismissed a few days after the CL final, which wouldn’t have helped his sour demeanour.
Andre Villas-Boas (40 Matches | 48% Wins)
The former opposition-scout-turned-manager and Europa League winner with Porto returned to Chelsea as a young prodigy, a fresh-faced manager with a lot to offer; the next Mourinho, if you will. His Chelsea project didn’t go according to plan, as he discovered first-hand, the perils of playing John Terry in a high line. His problems were compounded by him having less experience than the players he was supposed to manage, who didn’t really see him as a leader. His press conferences produced at least three new words every time, causing some people to refer to AVB as Annoyingly Verbose Bastard. After benching three first-team stalwarts in a crucial Champions League game, it was clear Villas-Boas had lost the dressing room along with the match. His P45 was swiftly delivered and the project came to an end.
Rafael Benitez (48 Matches | 58% Wins)
Although his tenure wasn’t a disaster like the others on this list, Benitez finds himself in here because, well, he is Rafael Benitez. Hell hath no fury like a fanbase scorned, as Benitez found out upon his appointment as interim manager of Chelsea. It brought out the worst amongst the fans, with A4 sheets and bed sheets dotting the stadium seats and fans divided about whether to come at him with pitchforks or just let him do his job for a few months. It also produced some genuinely hilarious/cringeworthy stuff such as ‘The Interim One’ and ‘We’re Not That Interim’. Rafa is the only one on this list who wasn’t sacked, who actually won a major trophy at Chelsea and yet, never got the gig full-time.
And there it is, folks. You know what to do, so get your votes in. Now!