Chelsea XI – Roman Abramovich and his 10 managers
With Maurizio Sarri preparing to take on one of the most demanding jobs in football, we had a look at the brave souls that came before him.
On Friday, Antonio Conte became the 10th permanent or interim manager to leave Chelsea since Roman Abramovich took the reins in West London, bringing an end to one of the club’s more bizarre managerial sagas.
With Maurizio Sarri preparing to sit on one of the hottest seats in football, we had a look at the brave souls that came before him, how they performed and why they were eventually ousted.
Claudio Ranieri (2003 – 04)
The manager inherited by Abramovich, the ‘Tinkerman’ lasted 59 games, winning 36 of those for a winning percentage of 61.02%. Despite finishing second in the Premier League, he was controversially removed after the 2003/04 season.
Jose Mourinho (2004-07)
Fresh off a Champions League triumph with Porto, Mourinho arrived with the promise of being ‘The Special One’. In his three seasons he won 124 of 185 games (67.03%) in all competitions, and five major trophies, including the Blues’ first top-flight title since 1955. He was sacked abruptly in 2007 after a poor run, but this wasn’t the last Chelsea fans would see of him.
Avram Grant (2007-08)
A friend of Abramovich, Grant had been Director of Football. His lone season in charge saw Chelsea finish runners-up in the Premier League, League Cup and Champions League. Not even a 66.67% winning percentage could save him from the wrath of Roman.
Luis Felipe Scolari (2008-09)
Chelsea’s third boss in a year, the Brazilian World Cup-winner fared even worse than his predecessors. Winning ‘only’ 20 of his 36 games in charge (55.56%) the writing was on the wall as an aging Chelsea squad failed to maintain any kind of title challenge. By the time February had rolled around, Scolari was gone.
Guus Hiddink (2008)
The first of two interim spells for the Dutchman, Hiddink was tasked with steering the ship for the remainder of the 08/09 season. He won 16 of his 22 games (72.73%), and the FA Cup, but calls for him to get the job permanently went unheeded.
Carlo Ancelotti (2009-11 )
The Italian won a league and cup double in his first season, with his team netting a record 103 league goals. However, in his second campaign the Blues dropped down to second, and he was promptly sacked on the last day of 2010/2011 after a defeat to Everton.
Andre Villas-Boas (2011-12)
A protege of Mourinho fresh off an astounding year at Porto, Villas-Boas’ Chelsea spell was woeful. Butting heads with the old guard, who had remained in place for half a decade, the Portuguese was removed in a matter of months after winning only 19 of his 40 games (47.5%).
Roberto Di Matteo (2012)
Villas-Boas’ assistant, the fan-favourite took the reins with the club in turmoil. However, he somehow contrived to win the Blues their first (and so far only) Champions League title. Being appointed to the role permanently in June, he naturally didn’t last very long, being sacked five months later after a 3-0 defeat to Juventus in the same competition. Departed with a win ratio of 57.14%.
Rafa Benitez (2012-13)
A controversial interim appointment following comments made about the club whilst in charge of Liverpool, Benitez nonetheless gained the club another European trophy, this time in the Europa League. Ending his tenure with a 58.33% winning percentage, fans were not displeased to see the back of him.
Jose Mourinho (2013-15)
The prodigal son returned to much fanfare, returning the club to the top of the Premier League in 2014-15. However, after picking up just 11 points in the first 12 games of the following season, with the club seemingly imploding and stuck in 16th, Mourinho was given his marching orders (again).
Guus Hiddink (2015-16)
The resident firefighter returned on an interim basis, but was unable to steady the ship as Chelsea finished the season in 10th. A 37.04% winning percentage does not tell the full tale however, as he tried to guide a squad completely disillusioned by Mourinho.
Antonio Conte (2016-18)
A disciple of three-at-the-back, Conte’s first season was a revelation, winning the Premier League with a then-record number of wins (30). However, he also suffered from second season syndrome as his side finished last year in fifth. Despite 69 wins out of 106 games (65.09%), he was sacked in July.