JT the player-manager can provide a short-term fix for Chelsea
12:49 GMT, 21 March 2012
John Terry has got himself into enough scrapes in his career for him not to expect to have too many admirers outside of Chelsea.
But if he gets involved with rallying
and organising the team as they try to save their season under a
caretaker manager, so what
The defender has inspired a great
many catcalls since appearing to take charge of the side despite the
presence of Roberto di Matteo.
Calling the shots: John Terry and Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo
That is a result of a lack of transparency – or honesty – in the set-up that is presented to the public.
Half-hearted denials of Terry's role since Andre Villas-Boas's departure have not helped, especially when they fly in the face of pictures showing the opposite.
Yet, on a professional level, there appears to be no problem at all with the way things have gone since the management of Chelsea changed.
They have won all four of their games and, as they prepare to face Manchester City on Wednesday night, are no longer seen as a spent force.
Terry: showing the way
Whether John Terry, a group of senior players or Roberto di Matteo deserve all the credit is another question.
In reality, it is a combination of all three and, as a short-term fix, it has worked for Chelsea before.
Avram Grant likes to claim he took the club to the Champions League final and second place in the Premier League when he was 'in charge' in 2008.
But the players really were running the show then and they did a pretty good job. Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are not the future of Chelsea. However, they have a wealth of experience and knowledge about the game and dealing with the disruption that has been a major part of the club in the Roman Abramovich era.
They are just the figures you want on your side if you are trying to get the team out of a hole over a few weeks and Di Matteo is neither new to the politics of the club or a fool.
The Italian was a long way off Chelsea's first choice stand-in until the end of the season, not even close to being a long-term candidate at the time, and he knew he could not and would not be doing this alone.
That is why he has partially acknowledged Terry's 'input', albeit dressing it up as a player passing on his instructions.
So, it is a marriage of convenience and one that would undoubtedly go wrong if it lasted beyond May, but the objections to the club captain taking on more responsibility short-term can only be on a personal level.
Up for it: Chelsea have won all four games since AVB's departure
The arrogance of the twice-axed England skipper assuming a greater role than anyone has granted him will have provoked a reaction from some.
Others will be uneasy because what is happening at Chelsea has echoes of the situation Terry engineered at the last World Cup with the national team.
His 'input' can also be viewed as undermining the man who actually has the job but, although it may be true, it does not really bother anyone at the club much apart from Di Matteo (who is doing a passable job of hiding it).
If the other players had any huge objection to Terry sticking his oar in, the fight back Chelsea have staged would not have happened.
So, there is an owner who likes to choose the major signings and is no stranger to the training ground or dressing room after games.
There is a captain who gives out instructions on where people should be playing after he has gone off injured, some very powerful senior players and a revolving door to the manager's office.
There is little doubt it is chaotic and over any lengthy period, dysfunctional. It will not be a blueprint for others to follow but in the turbulent world of Chelsea it has brought a hint of calm and the scent of relative success, so there really should be no problem.
Big Sam must remain upbeat
Under pressure: Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce could do with a new, upbeat script that does not have so many holes in it.
The West Ham manager has been complaining about the negativity of the team's fans at home games for most of the season.
He says the pressure that it creates transmits to the players and inhibits their performance, which is a reasonable argument.
But that has not stopped him blaming his many strikers, who have performed well at other clubs, for failing to finish teams off.
Hardly a game goes by without him publicly criticising their failure to convert chances, which is not a world away from the fans booing.
It is an excuse for Allardyce potentially failing to live up to the club's expectation of automatic promotion, though.
So is the way he has it in for the referee whenever West Ham don't manage to get the result they want.
In the absence of the soaraway success the club's owners expect, there is a lot of finger pointing and the pressure is building.
But if Allardyce wants a more positive feeling about Upton Park, he is in a reasonable position to start spreading it.