Thoughts on Di Matteo, Clattenburg, and the Tottenham fans attack...

Stamford Bridge

With the sacking of the Chelsea manager and the almost instant appointment of a interim replacement, the clearing of Mark Clattenburg by the FA, and the hooliganism perpetrated against Tottenham supporters by unknown assailants in Rome, this has been a topsy-turvy week to say the least.

Nobody could really have been surprised by the Di Matteo sacking. It appears that Chelsea's owner is prone to act on a whim in these situations, and simply put if the team loses a string of games in a row, it's the manager's fault, and he pays the price.

Forget the fact that the players might also be to blame since they are the trained professionals who are being paid pots of money to win games. However, rather curiously it never happens like that. Managers in the Premier League walk a tightrope every time their team goes out to play a game. The only resilient long term bosses are of course Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes.

When asked to comment on the sacking, the ex-Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas commented that for him 'it was just another day in the office.'

Oh dear, what an attitude - however this might have been precipitated in part at least by the cynical way that Owners/ Directors of clubs treat their managers. It's a merry-go-round of constantly changing faces that doesn't do the team, club, or fans any good, and soon Chelsea will have run out of managers to employ.

Rafael Benitez has taken on a job that is monumental even if it is on an interim basis. I think that the next likely target, Pep Guardiola should think long and hard about taking over there next season - he is a brilliant manager but even this might not be enough to prolong his stay there, and he may also eventually become just another statistic relegated to the ever growing graveyard of former managers.

The Clattenburg affair was embarrassing because a perfectly good referee almost had his career and life ruined. The FA found, after briefing an eminent QC to review the evidence, that the referee had no charges to answer to, but that Ramires had acted in good faith when he made the allegations against him. Well, I did raise my eyebrows on this last finding, but I am quite relieved that the referee can now carry on his career. Hopefully, this sort of incident will not raise its ugly head again.

The attack on Tottenham fans by 'unknown assailants' in Rome yesterday is horrifying. It is horrifying not only for the unfortunate victims who we all hope recover to full health, but also for all English fans going into Europe to support their teams.

Two Roma fans have been charged, and that three of them might have even been 'foreigners', according to reports. This is ominous for obvious reasons but we will have to await the outcome of the police investigation before we can actually comment on who was actually behind such an awful crime.

These three events all have implications on the game itself.

The constant sacking of managers who do little wrong is worrying because it creates a perception that our managers are to a large extent commodities who can be bought and sold at the whim of the management of big clubs even if there is an employment contract in place.

The Clattenburg incident also does nothing to promote the sport. It should never have reached the stage that it did and hopefully players and Clubs will think twice in the future before putting such serious life-changing allegations forward. Racism is present in sport, not only football, and there is no room for it if it is proved.

The trouble with this type of incident is that certain people will still believe that the words were said, no matter what the FA has ruled, and that's bad for the sport as a whole.

The attack in Rome is the most frightening of all as it appeared to be well orchestrated and premeditated. Hopefully all of the perpetrators will shortly be arrested. Whoever they are.

image: © geetarchurchy

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