Saturday 24th November
Every season, around about this time – but it can be earlier, we have the inevitable sacking of the football managers and the news conference with the new replacement manager smiling and holding up a blue or red or striped shirt for the cameras. And what a week it has been. On Tuesday night Chelsea lost badly to Juventus, and barring a miracle will not qualify for the last 16 knockout stage. And suddenly the hero of six months ago Roberto di Matteo, who himself had been parachuted in to rescue yet another awful Chelsea season was sent packing. Even by Chelsea standards this was a bit much. They are after all still third in the league, and it is only November. But Roman Abramovitch is not one to be messed with, and like the players, managers can be bought and sold to gratify his merest whims. Though why in a million years he thinks that Rafa Benitez will be any better is a mystery that only time (well a few months by normal standards) will tell.
And now we have QPR, who have new owners with lots of money and big ideas about a club that has never exactly set the football world alight and Mark Hughes, who just kept the team up last season and now finds them languishing at the foot of the table, was given his marching orders. To be replaced by….who else than Harry Redknapp, old laughing boy himself, who got kicked out by Spurs at the end of last season because by a quirk of the rules, though he finished a very respectable fourth did not qualify for European Champions league football. Ah so sad. His replacement was one, Andre Villas-Boas, who incidentally was the one that Roberto Di Matteo replaced at Chelsea last year.
Are you keeping up, or have you fallen asleep yet?