Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Is Roman Avramovich the George Steinbrenner of football?

Roman Avramovich is applauding in this photo, but after last night's UEFA Champions League results, he's probably planning on whom to get next for his next manager at Chelski.

In many sports, it’s “win or go home”. But for some club owners, it’s “win or get fired”. Roman Avramovich is the George Steinbrenner of football. In less than 10 years of owning English club Chelsea, he’s already had 10 managers. The peace and stability of the club is as unstable as that of the Middle East.

Let’s see how this compares to the late King George.

George Steinbrenner’s first 10 years after he bought New York Yankees in 1972

Ralph Houk 1972-73
Bill Virdon 1974-75
Billy Martin 1975-78
Dick Howser 1978
Bob Lemon 1978-79
Billy Martin 1979
Dick Howser 1980
Gene Michael 1981
Bob Lemon 1981-82
Gene Michael 1982
Clyde King 1982

New York won two World Series titles and lost two in this span. The won in 1977 and 1978 and lost in 1976 and 1981.

Chelsea’s Avramovich on the other hand has also had a revolving door of managers; something what the League Managers Association in England called, “a serious embarrassment”.

Jose Mourinho 2004-2007
Avram Grant 2007-08
Luiz Felipe Scolari 2008-09
Ray Wilkins 2009
Guus Hiddink 2009
Carlo Ancelotti 2009-2011
Andre Villas-Boas 2011-12
Roberto Di Matteo 2012
Rafael Benitez 2012-present

Chelsea in this time has won three Premier League titles (two under Mourinho and one under Ancelotti), one Football League Cup, two FA Community Shields, three FA Cups, and one Champions League title.

For Steinbrenner, the longest tenured Yankee manager was Joe Torre who was skipper from 1996-2006. Then Joe Girardi has been the manager since. This has been the longest period of stability that New York has known and it has paid off.

Mourinho was actually the longest tenured Chelsea manager. But despite his success, Avramovich would not have someone trying to upstage him in terms of ego. If the Russian does not respect his managers then how will his players respect the manager? Want to bet that Benitez is gone after the year more so after Chelsea became the first defending champion in UCL history not to advance beyond the group stages (even after they clobbered Nordsjaelland, 6-1)? Oh, there's that December chill sweeping through London...

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