Tag Archives: caretaker

Swindon appoint Kevin MacDonald as manager

Swindon announce former Aston Villa caretaker MacDonald as Di Canio replacement

By
Jonathan Veal, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:35 GMT, 28 February 2013

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UPDATED:

20:35 GMT, 28 February 2013

Maiden voyage: MacDonald becomes a permanent manager for the first time

Maiden voyage: MacDonald becomes a permanent manager for the first time

Swindon have appointed former Republic of Ireland assistant Kevin MacDonald as their new manager.

The 52-year-old, who was caretaker manager at Aston Villa in 2010, has been handed the reigns at the County Ground after Paolo Di Canio resigned last week.

MacDonald inherits a Swindon side who are fourth in npower League One and just three points behind leaders Doncaster and will be in charge of Saturday's trip to Coventry.

'This is a hugely important appointment at a significant moment in Swindon's recent history and we are delighted to appoint a football man of Kevin's calibre as our new manager,' said chairman Jed McCrory, who took over the Wiltshire club this month.

'This is a clear message that the new board is determined to drive on for promotion this season and continue to try and bring success to Swindon.

'Kevin has fantastic football credentials as a double-winner with Liverpool during his playing days and he is an excellent coach.

Stuttering: Swindon were beaten by lowly Bury in midweek and have picked up just one point from their last two games

Stuttering: Swindon were beaten at home by lowly Bury in midweek and have picked up just one point from their last two games

'He has great connections with top players and he is a proper football man. We have every faith for Kevin now to lead Swindon from the front at a pivotal moment in the campaign.

'It is a new start for Kevin and for our new board of Directors and we move forward together with every confidence.'

MacDonald, a midfielder in his playing days, was a member of the 1986 double-winning side at Liverpool, while he was involved with the Ireland set-up during Steve Staunton's reign.

Paul Ince lands Blackpool manager job – and chance to be son Tom"s boss!

EXCLUSIVE: Ince lands Blackpool job… and the chance to manage his son Tom!

– present

Gordon Strachan and Gavin Strachan
Coventry – 1997-2001

Ince was the latest in a long line to
have talks with Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston and will be unveiled as
the new Bloomfield Road boss.

The 45-year old former MK Dons,
Blackburn and Notts County manager has been out of work since April
2011.

However, he impressed Oyston with his knowledge of Blackpool’s strengths
and weaknesses after watching every one of their games this season.

Father
of Blackpool's star forward Tom Ince, the ex-Manchester United and
Liverpool midfielder has agreed to retain assistant manager Steve
Thompson, who has served as caretaker in recent weeks, as his No 2.

Paul was in the crowd last week to see 21-year-old Tom score for England Under 21s in their 4-0 win over Sweden.

Back in the game: Ince's last job in management ended with the sack from Notts County in April 2011

Back in the game: Ince's last job in management ended with the sack from Notts County in April 2011

Lionheart: Ince had a top class career as a player with England, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan

Lionheart: Ince had a top class career as a player with England, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan

But Ince Snr was spotted getting a clip round the ear from wife Claire
for sitting in silent appreciation of his son's goal on the rebound late
in the first half as though he'd seen him score for England a
million times before.

Claire, by contrast, was right on her feet and jumping about in
celebration – before whacking her husband to encourage him to liven up!

Bright future: England U21 star Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading, among others

Bright future: England U21 star Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading, among others

Bright future: Young Lion Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading among others

Bright future: Young Lion Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading among others

VIDEO Watch Paul Ince get a clip round the ear from his missus – for not celebrating son Tom's goal!

Barnsley 2 Leeds 0 – match report: Chris Dagnall scores twice

Barnsley 2 Leeds 0: Dagnall double provides dream end to nightmare week

By
Wayne Gardiner, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 12 January 2013

Barnsley's week to forget ended on a high as Chris Dagnall's brace earned the managerless Tykes a 2-0 derby win over Leeds.

Both Terry Butcher and Sean O'Driscoll have turned the vacant job down in the last seven days, but the man currently holding the fort, Dave Flitcroft, is making a more than fair case for getting it himself.

This was his second win in succession and his side deserved to score more than the two given to them by Dagnall's first league goals of the season and his first since the opening day.

In fact, it was the 38-year-old Flitcroft and not 64-year-old Neil Warnock in the opposition dugout who appeared the shrewder boss. Midway through the second half, in the midst of a third defeat in a row at Oakwell, the Leeds fans sang 'Warnock, time to go'.

Brace: Dagnall celebrates with caretaker manager Flitcroft

Brace: Dagnall celebrates with caretaker manager Flitcroft

MATCH FACTS

Barnsley: Steele, Stones, Cranie, McNulty, Kennedy, O'Brien (Mellis 33), Dawson, Perkins, Golbourne, Dagnall (Noble-Lazarus 90), Harewood, Mellis (Rose 88).

Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Hassell, Foster, Etuhu.

Goals: Dagnall 63 pen, 66.

Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Tate, Peltier, Barkley, Austin, Norris (McCormack 46), Tonge, Becchio, Diouf (Green 51).

Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Lees, Varney, White, Somma.

Booked: Becchio.

Att: 13,999

Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

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There was no obvious sign of the
turbulence to have affected Barnsley this week throughout as they
started well and carried it on until the end.

They tested Paddy Kenny after just 80
seconds when Jim O'Brien's deflected effort sent the goalkeeper flying
away to his left, while Stephen Dawson had legitimate claims for a
penalty turned down when he appeared to be felled by Luciano Becchio.

O'Brien then shot over and Dawson was
denied by Kenny as the Tykes mounted some pressure which nearly
culminated in a goal as Marlon Harewood, almost in slow motion, drifted
in from the left and cracked a shot against the foot of Kenny's
right-hand post.

Flitcroft's anguish at his side's
near misses was evident and his mood did not improve as Jim McNulty's
header was cleared on the line by Rodolph Austin.

Quick: Dagnall struck twice in three minutes to see off Leeds

Quick: Dagnall struck twice in three minutes to see off Leeds

Even the loss of O'Brien to a
nasty-looking injury following a collision with Lee Peltier did not
affect the home side, with Dagnall twice going close at the end of a
first half that was completely one-sided.

Leeds' first effort on 48 minutes
drew ironic cheers from their fans as debutant Ross Barkley dragged a
25-yarder just wide, with the Everton teenager then going closer as he
spun onto Becchio's knockdown and crashed a shot against the bar from
six yards.

United's presence as an attacking
force was a fleeting one, though, and as the clock ticked into the 63rd
minute, Barnsley got the goal they deserved.

Happy: Caretaker boss Flitcroft salutes the fans at Oakwell

Happy: Caretaker boss Flitcroft salutes the fans at Oakwell

Dagnall ran at Sam Byram and turned
inside out on the right-hand side of the area. Byram kicked him and once
Dagnall had wrestled the ball from Dawson and Harewood he sent Kenny
the wrong way.

Even 1-0 was harsh on Barnsley and
they put that right just three minutes later, with Byram again given a
torrid time by Dagnall. The former Rochdale striker stripped down his
inside after Harewood's touch and duly put a shot across Kenny into the
bottom corner.

Barkley offered Leeds' best response
with a cute curling effort which went just over but it was Barnsley's
day and they would have ended it with a third goal had Harewood shown
better accuracy after sprinting past Jason Pearce.

Michael Appleton new Blackburn Rovers manager

Appleton is Blackburn's third manager this season… and they are his third club of campaign!

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

18:31 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:37 GMT, 11 January 2013

Blackburn have confirmed the appointment of Michael Appleton as their new manager.

Appleton becomes Rovers' third boss this season despite only taking over at Championship rivals Blackpool two months ago.

The 37-year-old former Manchester United and Preston midfielder, who began the season in charge of League One Portsmouth, has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal at Ewood Park.

Third time lucky Appleton succeeds Steve Kean and Henning Berg

Third time lucky Appleton succeeds Steve Kean and Henning Berg

Ashley Westwood, first-team coach under Appleton at both of his previous two clubs, will join him as assistant.

In a statement released by Blackburn, Appleton said: 'I am delighted to
be joining such an historic club. This is a fantastic opportunity for me
and I am excited about the challenge we have ahead of us.

'I can't wait to start working with what is a very talented group of players.

'I'd like to thank everyone at Blackpool for their efforts during my
time there and the chairman for allowing me to come here. I wish them
all the best for the future.'

On a roll: Blackburn have won three on the spin under caretaker Gary Bowyer

On a roll: Blackburn have won three on the spin under caretaker Gary Bowyer

Rovers' managing director Derek Shaw said: 'We are delighted to welcome both Michael and Ashley to the football club.

'They are both highly regarded within the game and we are confident that
they have the drive and ambition to take this club forward.

'We will do everything in our powers to support them in our quest to make an instant return to the Premier League.'

Neil Redfearn could replace Keith Hill at Barnsley

Redfearn could return to old club Barnsley to replace sacked Hill as manager

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 30 December 2012

Former Barnsley winger Neil Redfearn is among contenders to replace Keith Hill as the Championship club's manager.

Redfearn, 47, is currently coaching at Leeds.

Former assistant David Flitcroft, 38, has been put in caretaker charge following Hill's dismissal on Saturday.

Wanted man: Neil Redfearn could return to Barnsley to replace Keith Hill

Wanted man: Neil Redfearn could return to Barnsley to replace Keith Hill

Hill left the club after recording a home defeat against Blackburn.

Josh King, Ruben Rochina and Jordan Rhodes secure the win to cancel out Stephen Dawson's 76th-minute goal.

Caretaker: David Flitcroft (left) has taken the reins at Barnsley after Hill was dismissed on Saturday

Caretaker: David Flitcroft (left) has taken the reins at Barnsley after Hill was dismissed on Saturday

Barnsley 1 Blackburn 3 – match report: Keith Hill sacked

Barnsley 1 Blackburn 3: Hill sacked as Tykes slip to foot of the table

PUBLISHED:

18:01 GMT, 29 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:06 GMT, 29 December 2012

Managerless Blackburn put two days of off-field turmoil behind them to record a first win in seven matches against npower Championship strugglers Barnsley – whose manager Keith Hill was sacked after the game.

Henning Berg was dismissed as Rovers manager on Thursday following one win in 10 games at the helm.

Rovers' senior coaching staff were also shown the door and, under the caretaker control of reserve-team boss Gary Bowyer, it was the only signing of Berg's 57-day reign that opened the scoring at Oakwell.

Three and easy: Rovers recorded their first win in seven games

Three and easy: Rovers recorded their first win in seven games

Match facts

Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman (Stones 46), Foster, McNulty, Golbourne, O'Brien, Dawson, Perkins, Done (Noble-Lazarus 46), Tudgay, Davies (Sinclair 70).

Subs Not Used: Lidakevicius, Hassell, Harewood, Greening.

Booked: McNulty.

Goals: Dawson 76.

Blackburn: Kean, Henley, Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson, Rochina (Markus Olsson 67), Murphy, Lowe, Vukcevic (Kazim-Richards 46), Rhodes, King (Nuno Gomes 90).

Subs Not Used: Usai, Henrique, Morris, Rosado.

Booked: King, Vukcevic.

Goals: King 29, Rochina 44, Rhodes 90.

Attendance: 9,153

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).

Click here for the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

On-loan Manchester United forward
Josh King's bundled home before the half hour and a sublime individual
effort on the stroke of half-time from Ruben Rochina gave Blackburn
breathing space.

Stephen Dawson reduced the arrears
during a lacklustre second half, the closing stages of which were marred
by the sight of Barnsley forward Marcus Tudgay receiving lengthy
treatment following a collision with Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean and
leaving the field on a stretcher.

That reduced Hill's side to 10
men having used all their substitutions and, in the eighth of nine
additional minutes, Jordan Rhodes muscled his way on to Jason Lowe's
long ball to seal Blackburn's triumph and send Barnsley to the foot of
the table.

Stephen Foster returned to the heart
of the Barnsley defence after suspension ruled him out of the Boxing Day
defeat to Birmingham, while Scott Wiseman, Matty Done and Craig Davies
were restored to Hill's starting line-up.

Bowyer tweaked Blackburn's attack by selecting Rochina and Simon Vukcevic in support of top scorer Jordan Rhodes.

Colin Kazim-Richards and Diogo Rosado
dropped to the bench while David Dunn, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Gael
Givet and Dickson Etuhu were among a host of senior players absent from
the squad.

Barnsley almost took the lead in the
ninth minute when Scott Dann's botched clearance presented Davies with
an opportunity but Rovers managed to scramble clear.

More slack defending, this time a
poor backpass from Martin Olsson, presented Dawson with a shooting
opportunity but Grant Hanley was in place to head clear.

Hotshot: Jordan Rhodes settled the game in the dying embers

Hotshot: Jordan Rhodes settled the game in the dying embers

Davies had the ball in the net with
17 minutes played but the whistle had gone for a foul on Adam Henley and
Blackburn then began to make most of the running.

Rhodes uncharacteristically skied
over after Rochina released Henley in the 23rd minute and Barnsley could
not claim the opening goal was not on the cards when it arrived.

Straight from a Kean clearance, King
raced clear of the Tykes backline and, although Luke Steele save his
initial effort, the rebound struck him and bobbled into the net.

Rovers remained on the front foot and were rewarded in style by Rochina.
Wiseman backed off the advancing former Barcelona B playmaker, who
stormed into the penalty area and lashed past Steele at his near post.

Kean saved well from Tudgay on the
stroke of half-time but that did not persuade Hill against making a
double substitution at the break as Reuben Noble-Lazarus and John Stones
replaced Done and Wiseman.

Kazim-Richards was also on at the
interval for the injured Vukcevic and almost extended Blackburn's lead
in the 54th minute, seeing a shot deflected behind.

That opportunity was inventively
set-up by Rochina and Blackburn let the initiative slip after he limped
off midway through the half.

Barnsley sensed the opportunity and, with 14 minutes to go, Dawson lashed home emphatically from 20 yards.

The host's charge for an equaliser
was concluded without Tudgay – leading to the huge allocation of injury
time that Rhodes crowned with his 12 Blackburn goal in 21 starts.

West Ham and QPR lead chase as Anelka begins talks to cancel Shanghai Shenhua contract

West Ham and QPR lead chase as Anelka begins talks to cancel Shanghai Shenhua contract

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UPDATED:

11:44 GMT, 17 December 2012

Queens Park Rangers and West Ham are waiting to speak to Nicola Anelka as he seeks to cancel his contract with Shanghai Shenhua.

The Chinese club confirmed today that negotiations are underway with the Frenchman keen to return to England.

Anelka, 33, joined Shanghai from Chelsea
in the last January transfer window but has struggled to settle despite
even enduring a spell as caretaker coach.

On the move Anelka's spell in China looks to be coming to a premature end

On the move Anelka's spell in China looks to be coming to a premature end

On the move Anelka's spell in China looks to be coming to a premature end

The talks to cancel his contract have encouraged QPR and West Ham but have also alerted other Premier League suitors who were initially wary that Shanghai would demand a fee for Anelka in January.

Reports are suggesting he is willing to give up the final year of his contract, reputedly worth around 7million, on the proviso that Shanghai grant him a free transfer.

Hammer time: West Ham and QPR are waiting tot speak to Anelka - who joined Shenhua in January, six months before Didier Drogba

Hammer time: West Ham and QPR are waiting tot speak to Anelka – who joined Shenhua in January, six months before Didier Drogba

Hammer time: West Ham and QPR are waiting tot speak to Anelka - who joined Shenhua in January, six months before Didier Drogba

Anelka was joined in the Far East by former team-mate Didier Drogba after the Ivorian decided to leave Stamford Bridge, however Shanghai could only finish ninth in the league.

Shanghai spokesman Ma Yue said: 'The discussion is between the club and himself, I don't know about the specific details. But so far we haven't got the final result.'

Cut your losses: Reports suggest Anelka is willing to forfeit the last year of his contract

Cut your losses: Reports suggest Anelka is willing to forfeit the last year of his contract

Bobby Campbell who sits with Roman Abramovich at Chelsea talks to Sportsmail

'If I told you any more, I would have to kill you…': Inside Roman's inner circle, Sportsmail speaks to Bobby Campbell, the former Chelsea boss who sits next to Abramovich at every home game

|

UPDATED:

14:16 GMT, 3 December 2012

Bobby Campbell got on the bus from his home on the King’s Road this morning and made his way to the luxurious health club at Stamford Bridge.

The former Chelsea manager, 75, is there most days, working out and spending time talking to staff at the fitness suite as part of his daily routine.

On matchdays he has another routine, spending time with owner Roman Abramovich and his close associates before home games.

In the box: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (right) in the stands with Bobby Campbell on his left

In the box: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (right) in the stands with Bobby Campbell on his left

Friends: Campbell (left) described Abramovich as a 'wonderful' man

Friends: Campbell (left) described Abramovich as a 'wonderful' man

WHO IS BOBBY CAMPBELL

Assistant to manager John Hollins, Bobby Campbell took over as caretaker manager at the club at the back-end of the 1987-88 season when the boss was sacked.

Although he could not help in the remaining eight games as the club were relegated he helped them fly back up to the top flight the following season.

Then he led them to fifth place – a record high for the Blues at the time.

After finishing 11th in 1991 he was moved on as manager and appointed personal assistant to Ken Bates.

Campbell's record as Chelsea manager:

P163 W77 D44 L42

‘Roman is a wonderful man and I have a very good relationship with him,’ revealed Campbell just as he stepped off a big red London bus outside Stamford Bridge this morning.

‘He is a good man, but you have to remember he is Russian and there is a big cultural difference which people don’t want to accept in this country.

‘I accept him because I know the man and I respect him and like him. I have been invited to watch games with him for seven or eight years and I have learned a lot from him.

‘They are a decent bunch of lads, there is no doubt about it. They really are good people with Chelsea’s best intentions at heart.

‘I can’t tell you much more about my relationship with Roman, other than to say if I did, I would have to kill you.’

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Asked if he was part of the decision-making process behind the decision to sack Roberto Di Matteo and hire Rafael Benitez, Campbell said: ‘I’d best take the fifth amendment on that.’

Campbell has been back at Chelsea for seven or eight years, part of the inner circle of confidantes that Abramovich relies on for advice and guidance.

They met after he was introduced to Abramovich’s right-hand man Eugene Tenenbaum at the fitness centre built at the back of Stamford Bridge ‘around seven or eight years ago’.

Since then he has been a regular presence at Stamford Bridge, watching teams assembled under Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo from the comfort of Abramovich’s box.

Bobby Campbell

Bobby Campbell with Dave Beasant

Welcome to Chelsea: Bobby Campbell, pictured as manager of the Blues, with his signing Dave Beasant

Bobby Campbell with Dave Beasant

Campbell, who led Chelsea to promotion from the old Second Division under Ken Bates in the late Eighties, insists everyone is getting it wrong about their Russian owner.

He added: ‘He wants the best for Chelsea and he has invested a lot of money in the team and the club. They are very committed and they are good men.’

It is clear that Campbell, now 75, has Abramovich’s ear after spending a lifetime in the game.

He spent the early part of his playing career with Liverpool and Portsmouth before he eventually went on to manage at Fratton Park.

He went on to manage Chelsea but Campbell couldn’t save them from relegation in 1988 when he was appointed manager.

They lost their First Division status in the play-offs during a game marred by hooliganism against Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on May 28 1988.

A year later he won promotion back to the top flight, but eventually moved upstairs to work with Bates after he the club’s former owner brought in Ian Porterfield.

Campbell is embedded in the club’s history and first met Abramovich when he returned to England after a spell living in Florida.

He added: ‘I went to live in Florida because my son is a professional tennis player, but when I returned to England I went back to live on the King’s Road.

‘I’ve been there ever since and when I started going to the fitness centre I was introduced to Eugene Tenenbaum.

King's Road: Campbell lives in Fulham and regularly goes to the gym at Chelsea

King's Road: Campbell lives in Fulham and regularly goes to the gym at Chelsea

‘He is a lovely man and we used to talk all the time. I like them because I respect them and they respect me.

‘I know Chelsea are hated – they were hated when I was manager there. Everyone hated us.

‘I brought in a wonderful man called Dennis Signy (a brilliant journalist who passed away in June 2012) to work unpaid at Chelsea as my advisor.

‘Not much has changed since – no-one like them now, but they have the wrong impression.’

Harry Redknapp"s opening games

How about that for starters A look at Redknapp's historical opening games

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UPDATED:

23:46 GMT, 26 November 2012

With Harry Redknapp urgently needing to get QPR firing as quickly as possible, Sportsmail took a look at some of his previous introductory games.

BOURNEMOUTH 2-1 Oxford United, October 22, 1983

Harry’s first full game in charge of Bournemouth was a home win at Dean Court. It was better than his first match in charge as Cherries caretaker boss a year earlier — he lost that 9-0 at Lincoln City.

Starting off: Harry Redknapp as AFC Bournemouth manager

Starting off: Harry Redknapp as AFC Bournemouth manager

Swap: Redknapp replaced Billy Bond as West Ham manager

Swap: Redknapp replaced Billy Bond as West Ham manager

WEST HAM 0-0 Leeds United, August 20, 1994

After working as his assistant, Redknapp replaced Billy Bonds as West Ham boss in the summer of 1994 and drew his first game. It took him until September 17 to get a first victory.

Preston 2-0 PORTSMOUTH, March 30, 2002

Redknapp was director of football at Portsmouth before taking over as manager from Graham Rix. Bulgarian striker Svetoslav Todorov was sent off as Harry’s first spell in charge of Pompey began with an away defeat at Deepdale.

SOUTHAMPTON 2-2 Middlesbrough, December 11, 2004

He quit Portsmouth in November 2004 and moved to south coast rivals Southampton. His side were 2-0 up thanks to Kevin Phillips and Peter Crouch, but two goals in the last two minutes meant Redknapp’s reign at St Mary’s began with a draw.

Tottenham 3-1 PORTSMOUTH, December 12, 2005

Redknapp’s return to Portsmouth began with a defeat by future employers Tottenham. Lomana LuaLua gave Pompey the lead with a spectacular 30-yard strike, but second-half goals from Ledley King, Mido and Jermain Defoe gave Spurs the win.

Fired home: Mido struck as Redknapp went down to the team he later managed

Fired home: Mido struck as Redknapp went down to the team he later managed

TOTTENHAM 2-0 Bolton, October 26, 2008

Joined Spurs with the club bottom of the table with just two points from eight games. Harry won his first match in charge thanks to goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and a Darren Bent penalty, a result that started a remarkable run of nine wins in 12 games.

Redknapp v O'Neill

They are two of the most experienced managers in the Premier League but in the head-to-head battle, Redknapp clearly has the upper hand. He has lost just once against an O’Neill side — a 2-1 away defeat for West Ham against Leicester in October 1997.

P18 W10 D7 L1.

Good stuff: Redknapp has the edge on Martin O'Neill

Good stuff: Redknapp has the edge on Martin O'Neill

Redknapp at the Stadium of Light

Despite his superior record over O’Neill, Redknapp does not have a good record at Sunderland. The new QPR boss has won just one of his seven games at the Stadium of Light — a 2-1 win with Tottenham in February 2011.

P7 W1 D 3 L3.

Rafa Benitez knows place in Roman Abramovich"s Chelsea empire – Martin Samuel

Rafa the 'interim' knows his place in Roman's Chelsea empire

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UPDATED:

08:11 GMT, 26 November 2012

We once visited a house that had an orangery. It was very nice, except it seemed quite like a conservatory. What was the difference At a certain price, we assumed, your conservatory became an orangery.

Managing Chelsea is a little like that.

At most other clubs, Rafa Benitez would be a caretaker. At Chelsea, he is an interim. Spend money at the rate of Roman Abramovich and that's what you get: an interim.

There in black and white: Benitez grimaces during yesterday's game, as the teamsheet shows he is indeed interim boss (below)

There in black and white: Benitez grimaces during Sunday's game, as the teamsheet shows he
is indeed interim boss (below)

There in black and white: Benitez grimaces during yesterday's game, as the teamsheet shows he is indeed interim boss (below)

More from Martin Samuel …

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25/11/12

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21/11/12

Juventus 3 Chelsea 0: On the way out… humiliated holders facing new Champions League low as Di Matteo heads for the exit
20/11/12

Martin Samuel: Pietersen's 'reintegration' is complete… but now England need to see the destructive, swashbuckling KP of old
13/11/12

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1: Suarez rescues point for Reds after goalscorer Terry is crocked on return
11/11/12

Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2: Moses works a miracle as Di Matteo's luck holds
07/11/12

Manchester City 2 Ajax 2: It's all gone De Jong as Euro exit looms for Mancini misfits
06/11/12

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3: Crazy red card for Torres and Hernandez offside goal hand United victory at Stamford Bridge
28/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

And interims are perfect because they
have even less power than the usual Chelsea manager. A full-time
employee would at least hope to have some input into policy, even if his
wishes were largely ignored. An interim appointment has as much of a
say in club matters as the work experience.

A fact Benitez let slip on his first day in charge when he announced the termination of Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Benitez made it plain that this was not his decision. He didn't say he agreed with it but he didn't disagree with it, either. His thoughts were of no relevance either way.

This was merely something he had gleaned, not from his first training session but from his first meeting with Roman Abramovich. The boss had no use for either man after this season. It wouldn't stop Benitez calling on them until that point but beyond they were gone.

Much like Didier Drogba. Chelsea ditched the striker who won them the Champions League and now they will lose their best full back and one of the finest midfield players this country has produced.

Teams evolve, we know that. Yet there seems to be something almost spiteful about the process at Chelsea because it is not being driven by the coach.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been ruthless at Manchester United on occasions. He dumped Phil Neville, who has gone on to have an outstanding lease of life with Everton. Yet Ferguson's actions never felt vindictive. They were his judgments, his calls and he was professionally expert and entitled to make them.

What jars at Chelsea is that a succession of managers – Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and now Benitez – appear to be under instruction to hurry out the old guard, whether or not they believe that this is wise.

Moving on: Cole is poised to leave Chelsea at the end of the season

Moving on: Cole is poised to leave Chelsea at the end of the season

Abramovich clearly hated it that Di Matteo preferred Drogba to Fernando Torres so gave him no choice in the matter. He would not have appreciated Di Matteo's view that Cole was worthy of a new contract, either.

Villas-Boas was clearly expected to build a new Chelsea and Benitez has already been given his orders.

There was no question that bramovich might seek the counsel of his interim appointment, having given him time to work with the squad and provide an educated assessment.

Benitez could find Cole without peer in English football; he might believe the edge Lampard gives Chelsea in the matches he plays is worth another year. Abramovich is not mindful of Benitez's opinion.

Calling the shots: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches his side take on City yesterday

Calling the shots: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches his side take on City yesterday

Calling the shots: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches his side take on City yesterday

Would he be mindful of those of Pep Guardiola At first, maybe. Of the Premier League and Champions League games played by Lampard this season, Chelsea have lost one, away to Shakhtar Donetsk, and he went off injured in that after 18 minutes. Cole is closing in on his 100th cap for England and Leighton Baines, in outstanding form for Everton, is still not in danger of usurping him.

Carlo Ancelotti will try to take Cole to Paris Saint-Germain in January. Ferguson has discussed his potential for Manchester United, too. Lampard is 34, Cole 32 next month. Injuries are occurring more frequently, the relentless workload of an English season is beginning to tell.

It is not unusual for a club to evaluate the worth of a new contract at this stage in a player's career. It was four years ago, at a press conference at the Club World Cup, that Ferguson spoke of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville being phased out.

Don't tell Sir Alex what to do: Gill or a Glazer brother does not presume to tell Ferguson when Giggs's time is up

Don't tell Sir Alex what to do: Gill or a Glazer brother does not presume to tell Ferguson when Giggs's time is up

Giggs's presence has remained constant, Neville retired, so did Scholes and then thought better of it. In each case, though, the call came from the manager.

David Gill or a Glazer brother does not presume to tell Ferguson when Giggs's time is up. And there is the difference. In being so candid, Benitez confirmed the only view that mattered at Stamford Bridge. It wasn't his. He is just the interim. Sounds posh, like orangery. In reality, it's just words.

Sportsmanship leads to gamesmanship and then we all lose out

The controversial goal by Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano against Nordsjaelland of Denmark last week should have been a moment of realisation for football. Instead, no doubt as part of its one-rotten-idea-a-day quota, it has brought a disciplinary charge from UEFA.

Here's what happened. Nordsjaelland's Morten Nordstrand was barged over by Fernandinho near the centre circle. With Nordsjaelland in possession, referee Anthony Gautier, of France, stopped the game. Restarting with an uncontested drop ball, Willian, of Shakhtar Donetsk, kicked it down field to return possession to the Danes. On doing so, Adriano collected the loose ball, rounded goalkeeper Jesper Hansen and scored an equalising goal.

Nordsjaelland protested furiously then
and again moments later when what they thought was permission to score,
unchallenged, from the kick-off as a means of restoring their lead was
halted by Shakhtar defender Taras Stepanenko. From there, Shakhtar
played on.

What did I do Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano sparked a furious reaction from FC Nordsjaelland players after he raced onto an uncontested bounce ball back pass to score in their Champions League match

What did I do Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano sparked a furious reaction from FC Nordsjaelland players after he raced onto an uncontested bounce ball back pass to score in their Champions League match

A few observations. First, why did Gautier stop the play It wasn't a foul and Nordstrand did not appear to be in agony or unconscious. As his team had the ball, were his team-mates concerned for his well-being, they could have kicked it out, allowing him to receive medical attention.

Second, when Willian struck the ball forward, the obvious recipient was a Nordsjaelland defender, Jores Okore. Adriano's run appeared initially intended to close him down but instead Okore ambled in the wake of the ball, meaning Adriano sped past him to take possession.

This raises another issue, in what has now become a counter-productive grey area for football. The ball having been returned, at which point can the opposition start to play Was Adriano to stand still, while Okore shuffled about before deciding that, yes, he was now happy to receive the ball in 30 yards of clear space

In the 2006 FA Cup final, Steven Gerrard's late equalising goal to send the game into extra time was scored after the ball had been kicked out of play to allow treatment to be administered to a Liverpool player.

On target: Gerrard's late equaliser against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final came after the ball was kicked out following an injury to a Liverpool player

On target: Gerrard's late equaliser against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final came after the ball was kicked out following an injury to a Liverpool player

Liverpool were instructed to throw it to the nearest opponent, West Ham United full back Lionel Scaloni, but then immediately began closing him down. Struggling to control the bouncing ball, his panicked clearance went straight to a red shirt, and Liverpool scored from the second phase of that play. Some felt the pressure on Scaloni was unsporting on Liverpool's part but what were they to do How long were West Ham to be allowed to play unchallenged These are unnecessary complications.

At the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, a Real Madrid player went down and his team-mates played on. Then they lost possession to Manchester City and began screaming at their opponents to do the right thing and kick the ball out of play.

As so often happens in football, sportsmanship becomes gamesmanship. This never used to happen and nobody died. If a player is seriously injured, the referee can still suspend play and restart the old-fashioned way, a contested drop ball.

What happened in Denmark on Tuesday is all part of the modern fad of game management, in which a referee sees himself also as mediator, facilitator and part of the show. The old way was better. Play on until otherwise instructed. What could have been simpler

And while we're at it…

Jose Mourinho knew he was being unkind at a difficult time but that did not make his observation less true. It was fortunate that it was Manchester City's manager who had disappointed again in Europe, he said, because, had he failed to get Real Madrid out of their Champions League group, he would have been sacked. And he certainly would have. Had Mourinho wanted job security, he could have stayed at Porto for life.

Pressure: The Real Madrid manager doesn't shirk from working under the most intense stress

Pressure: The Real Madrid manager doesn't shirk from working under the most intense stress

'Beautiful blue chair, the Champions League trophy, God, and, after God, me,' as he put it. He is mocked for wanting to work only for the moneyed elite but every job he has taken has carried an enormous level of expectation.

The number of hirings and firings at Chelsea show what a feat he did to stay in Roman Abramovich's employ for three years, the same with Inter Milan – the club he left wanting more – and now Real Madrid, who go through managers the way Lewis Hamilton uses petrol.

Say what you like about Mourinho but he doesn't shirk from working under the most intense stress.

Rory's taking the Nike

It won't have pleased his new sponsors, Nike, but Rory McIlroy's comment on switching from Titleist equipment was priceless.

Couple: McIlroy poses with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki after winning the DP World Tour Championship

Couple: McIlroy poses with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki after winning the DP World Tour Championship

'I don't think it will make any difference,' he said. 'A hockey stick and an orange serves me all right.'

Jaffa would appear to have missed a trick here. Not to mention the Man from Del Monte.

Ref justice for Long and Co

If referees do not know what a foul looks like, they really have to lay off the cautions for diving. Mike Dean is the latest to appear foolish, booking Shane Long of West Bromwich Albion for what was plainly a trip by John O'Shea of Sunderland.

O'Shea appeared to think he had received his second yellow card of the match and was about to head to the dressing room without complaint. To his surprise, it was Long who received Dean's caution. Following on from equally horrendous decisions given against Fernando Torres, of Chelsea, by Mark Clattenburg and Danny Rose, of Sunderland, by Lee Mason, it would appear English football is now giving the benefit of the doubt to the cloggers. Another step forward.

Old Trafford support

There was a fantastic turn-out for the unveiling of a giant bronze statue in Manchester. But who knew Edward Woodward (below left) was so popular at Old Trafford

Edward Woodward

Sir Alex Ferguson

Everybody ignore Chris

So now England's rugby players know how to react to penalties. Consult captain Chris Robshaw, listen keenly to what he has to say, do the opposite.

Satire is dead

'I'm too intelligent to be a footballer,' says Joey Barton. I've checked its pulse but, officially, it would now appear that satire is dead.

Baggies dare to dream

Steve Clarke, rightly, wasn't getting carried away.

'It doesn't mean too much,' he said after West Bromwich Albion went third with a 4-2 win at Sunderland. 'We just need to stay grounded, focused and not get ahead of ourselves.'

We all know the reality is that, if West Bromwich are still holding a Champions League position at the end of the season, Clarke will be a contender for manager of the century.

Flying high: West Brom are up to third in the Barclays Premier League table

Flying high: West Brom are up to third in the Barclays Premier League table

Yet, at the same time, his striker, Peter Odemwingie, dared to dream. He recalled that his Lille team did not even have Champions League bonuses written into their contracts because the possibility was not considered, yet they finished second behind Lyon to qualify.

That's the spirit. There are enough factors holding back small clubs in the Premier League without adding dour fatalism. Don't get carried away but never believe it can't happen.

The enthusiasm for the straitjacket of financial fair play among the elite clubs tells us only one thing: deep down, they are frightened they are not good enough, too.

FIFA slow on the uptake

A mere six years after the Carlos Tevez affair threatened to tear English football apart, FIFA have resolved to take action over third-party ownership of players. Really sprung into action there, didn't they

Scott won't be missed

Michael Scott, who masterminded the Great Britain swimming team at the Olympics – of which the best that can be said is nobody drowned – has quit as performance director. Moving from his base in Australia was apparently the deal breaker for him. He won't be missed, except by Qantas.

Thistle better than Barca

Using the traditional Scottish logic that beating England in 1967 made them world champions, does this now mean that Inverness Caledonian Thistle are better than Barcelona