Grant can’t match Mourinho at the microphone
It’s true I had been up half the night worrying about our half-finished loft conversion during the worst gales of the winter but even so I should not have dropped off to sleep during Chelsea coach Avram Grant’s news conference this week.
Grant is under fire in the Press after Chelsea surrendered both the Cups they held with poor performances against Tottenham Hotspur last month and lower division Barnsley on Saturday.
One might have expected a few fireworks, a bit of tension, emotion — something. My tabloid colleagues tried hard but the Israeli’s expression hardly flickered. It was during another repetition of how disappointed the players were and but how determined nevertheless to win something this season that my elbow slid off the arm-rest and I was jolted awake.
The trouble is Chelsea watchers were spoilt by three seasons of Jose Mourinho. Six months after he and Chelsea parted company we are filled with nostalgia for the apt quote, the off-the-wall metaphor, the acid aside, the humour, the controversy, the fun. There was always a sense of anticipation before the presser and usually a frantic scramble afterwards to try to fit all the good bits into a 500 word story.
No longer. Chelsea are apparently happy that after the Mourinho years the club is, as one insider put it, “under the radar”. I thought, however, that football was an entertainment industry. Whatever he produced on the pitch (winning two championships and three Cups) Mourinho certainly entertained us off it. He must also have done a lot to raise the club’s profile at a time when they were looking for new worldwide markets for the brand. Grant can scarcely be doing that.
Meanwhile Jose, a lot richer after Roman Abramovich’s payoff and well rested after wintering at home in Portugal, is lining up a new job. We can only look enviously to our colleagues in Italy or Spain (assuming the idea of him coming back to Chelsea, raised by Blue Champions, is a non-starter). Wherever he pitches up they will have some good quotes.
PHOTO: Grant is pictured during a news conference in Gelsenkirchen, November 5, 2007. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender