I remember distinctly waking up at some ungodly hour in September as the text message sound on my mobile phone went off. “Jose Mourinho sacked!” read the message. When it was later announced that Avram Grant was the man to replace him, I couldn’t quite believe our luck. Chelsea were nothing without Mourinho.
However, Grant had a few surprises in store for us, including beating us at Stamford Bridge, taking the Premiership title race to the final day of the season, and pushing us to sudden death in the penalty shoot out during the European Cup final. How much of that success could be directly attributed to him? I wouldn’t like to say.
Towards the end of the season, questions were being asked over Grant’s long term future at the club, but Peter Kenyon assured the manager that he had nothing to worry about.
“The club is developing under Avram,” Kenyon said at the end of April. “We are not doing badly on the pitch and aren’t going to jump to conclusions because of occasional losses. The manager has a long-term contract with the club and we hope he will see it through to the end. Grant took over in September and signed a four-year deal. There is no reason to talk about his possible departure.”
However, we know first hand the lies Peter “lifelong Manchester United fan” Kenyon is capable of spinning, so it came as no surprise when a month later Grant was sacked.
We might have thought that the images of Grant cradling a suicidal John Terry would be the last time we saw anything from him, but today, he has given an interview fighting Chelsea’s corner.
“In the last few months, there have been big changes at Chelsea,” said Grant. “I think they are now better than Manchester United or Arsenal. Scolari is a good coach and can bring success to Chelsea. Chelsea have a good chance of winning the Premier League.”