Tag Archives: russian

Christopher Samba in London to seal 12.5m QPR move

Samba in London to seal 12.5m QPR switch as Anzhi manager Hiddink blasts: He didn't even say goodbye

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

14:09 GMT, 30 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 30 January 2013

Nearly there: Samba looks set to join QPR

Nearly there: Samba looks set to join QPR

Christopher Samba is in London to put the finishing touches on his move to QPR after the Premier League strugglers met the 12.5million release clause in his contract.

Samba has been playing for Anzhi Makhachkala but Guus Hiddink, manager of the Russians, has conceded defeat in his bid to hold on to the defender.

Hiddink said: 'He left for England yesterday. I hope that today or tomorrow we'll find out what has really happened.

'It's a shame to talk about this but he didn't even say goodbye, he didn't explain anything to us.

'Whatever happens to you, you should take into account the people with whom you work.

'It's not a great situation for us. He started the pre-season camps with us but then suddenly in the last few days he started to make contact with England, that's despite still being on contract with Anzhi.'

Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes asked manager Harry Redknapp last week if he wanted former Blackburn defender Samba at Loftus Road.

Fernandes is tying up the deal for Rangers and they expect him to be registered in time to make his debut in the must-win Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich this weekend.

Case for the defence: Redknapp needs Samba (left) at Loftus Road

Case for the defence: Redknapp needs Samba (left) at Loftus Road

He was a previous target for Redknapp
when he was Tottenham manager but moved to the Russian side almost a year ago after
being offered a huge financial package. Samba's family still live in England and the 28-year-old has been keen to return.

Rangers are desperate for central defenders as Ryan Nelsen played his final game in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City on Tuesday evening and will move to Toronto this week. Anton Ferdinand has gone to Turkey on loan at Bursaspor.

Meanwhile, QPR have given Alejandro Faurlin permission to speak to Palermo over a loan move.

On the move: Alejandro Faurlin looks set to leave QPR on loan

On the move: Alejandro Faurlin looks set to leave QPR on loan

The 26-year-old is one a handful of survivors from the Hoops side that secured the npower Championship title in 2011.

However, the midfielder could now be off to Serie A side Palermo on loan until the end of the season.

Faurlin has been given permission to speak to the Sicilian outfit, although it is understood the deal is not with a view to a permanent move.

QPR have been one of the most active clubs this month, with Loic Remy, Tal Ben Haim and Yun Suk-young all arriving at Loftus Road.

Several players have also left the club in January, with Anton Ferdinand, Djibril Cisse and Rob Hulse amongst those loaned out.

QPR, who also tried but failed in a bid to sign Portugal defender Bruno Alves from Zenit St Petersburg, are continuing talks over a 6.5m deal for Stoke striker Peter Crouch. Stoke manager Tony Pulis has opted against taking Jamie Mackie as a makeweight.

Samba is swapping a title challenge for a relegation battle…

Russia

Premier

AC Milan reject chance to re-sign David Beckham

AC Milan reject chance to re-sign Beckham after midfielder set his heart on Italian job

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

08:21 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 16 January 2013

David Beckham had set his sights on
ending his glittering career with AC Milan but the Serie A giants turned down the chance to sign the veteran midfielder for a third time.

The 37-year-old had been expected to reveal
his next move on Tuesday amid interest from 12 clubs in England,
Europe, China, Australia and the Middle East.

But Beckham's dream was an Italian swansong and his representatives approached the Rossoneri about a third spell at the San Siro, according to reports in Italy.

Under his hat: David Beckham was not giving anything away in London on Tuesday

Under his hat: David Beckham was not giving anything away in London on Tuesday

Sky Italia claimed on Wednesday Milan had turned down the chance to re-sign Beckham despite Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reporting the Serie A club were still considering the proposal.

Beckham played for Milan on loan from LA Galaxy in 2009 and 2010, taking advantage of the MLS close season from January to June.

The fomrer England captain finished his career in America in June, winning the MLS Cup last year in his final match for the LA Galaxy.

Monaco ended their interest in signing Beckham after the French Second Division side balked at his excessive wage demands.

San hero: Beckham has already enjoyed two successful spells in Milan

San hero: Beckham has already enjoyed two successful spells in Milan

West Ham and QPR had also expressed interest in Beckham and he has moved his family into a 20milllion mansion in south London.

But
he is likely to snub both offers given the clubs' current predicament
in the Premier League and the fact he has said he could never play for
another English team after Manchester United.

Paris
Saint-Germain would be attractive to Beckham given their involvement in
the Champions League and his close links to director Leonardo, whom the
midfielder worked with at AC Milan.

Russian
club Anzhi Makhachkala are also interested in signing the former Real
Madrid man, with other options including big-money moves to China or
Australia, as Didier Drogba and Alessandro Del Piero have done in recent
months.

Fabio Capello booked to address the Cambridge Union

Capello is returning to England… but only to address the Cambridge Union

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

13:08 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:19 GMT, 12 January 2013

Ex-England manager Fabio Capello is probably more used to team talks than public speaking, but he will be making his best attempt when he addresses the Cambridge Union at the end of February.

The Italian is booked to appear at the historical debating society, which has hosted sporting names such as Lord Coe is the past.

Capello will be in good company, with the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Ian McKellen and Clint Eastwood all having made appearances.

Fabio Capello will address the Union at the end of February

Returning: The ex-England manager will address the Union at the end of February

The manager walked away from the England job after John Terry was
stripped of his captaincy by the FA in February last year, and since
then has been working with the Russian national team.

They are currently fighting for qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

England rugby international James Haskell is also set to address the students of Cambridge this month.

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup vows to keep Michu

Laudrup ready to use Michu in Cup clash as Swansea boss bows to keep hot shot

By
Andrew Gwilym, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

23:33 GMT, 5 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 5 January 2013

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has made it clear there is 'no way' Michu will be leaving the Liberty Stadium this month.

The 2million signing from Rayo
Vallecano has been the bargain of the season to date, scoring 14 goals
in 22 appearances for the Swans and taking the Premier League by storm.

Hot shot: Swansea's Michu

Hot shot: Swansea's Michu

The Spaniard's impact, which has brought him to the attentions of national coach Vicente del Bosque, has understandably attracted interest from other clubs.

And Laudrup had previously slapped a 30million price tag on the midfielder's head. In the wake of rumoured interest from Russian clubs Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkhala the Dane has again moved to make his position on Michu's future clear, and wants to avoid being left in the same position as Newcastle following the departure of Demba Ba to Chelsea.

“There is no way he will leave,” said Laudrup. “It is absolutely out of the question.

“One reason is because it is so difficult to get someone in right now, and the second is that he is happy here and doesn't want to leave.

“Newcastle have just lost their top scorer mid-season and that is obviously very bad. especially because it is not easy to find a guy who scores goals like him.”

Swansea face Arsenal on Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup with Laudrup facing a selection conundrum.

The Swans meet Chelsea in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday, and with that game in mind Laudrup could be tempted to make changes, but appears to have no plans to rest Michu ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge.

“Your top scorer, you always want him playing every game,” he said.

“Together with Ashley Williams they are the two players with the most games this season.

“They always want to play. Obviously I am the one who has to decide and see if they are a little tired – or to let them rest or to play them.

“But he is our top scorer and it is important for the team-mates to have him there and it's important with the opposition because they always know they are in danger when he is there.

“If he is fit then he will play.”

Swansea have won their last two meetings with the Gunners, including their 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium last month thanks to a Michu brace.

And Laudrup expects Arsenal to be thirsting for revenge after they were booed off following that defeat.

“It's never nice to have lost at home and they will remember our game – they will want revenge,” he said.

“It looked bad after they played us – they were 10th. For a club like Arsenal, that's a disaster.

“But they won three games consecutively and they are back again.

“They are many years without a trophy and they know the league is not a trophy for them. They have two left so they will come with their best possible line-up and do everything to beat us.”

Christopher Samba attacks Zenit St Petersburg fans who called for non-white and gay players to be ditched

No good racists! Samba attacks Zenit fans who called for non-white and gay players to be ditched

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UPDATED:

14:21 GMT, 19 December 2012

Former Blackburn defender Christopher Samba has described supporters of Russian club Zenit St Petersburg as racists who live in another century.

A group of Zenit fans want non-white and gay players excluded from playing in Russia's national team, but Samba says he is not surprised by the latest issue of racism to blight Russian football.

The Anzhi Makhachkala defender told BBC Radio 5 live: ‘I’m not surprised. Everybody knows Zenit supporters are no good and racist.

‘They are living in another century. It’s a sad day for Russian football.'

Racist: Samba described the Zenit fans who called for black and gay players to be excluded as 'living in another century'

Racist: Samba described the Zenit fans who called for black and gay players to be excluded as 'living in another century'

He added: ‘Black players should fight for the good ones – not the idiots.

‘In this time we have different communities and countries that constitute teams. If they can’t accept that then they are never going to progress.’

Earlier this week Landscrona, the Russian champions’ largest fans’ group, said black players are ‘forced down Zenit’s throat’.

Zenit were the only top-flight team in the country without a black player until they signed Brazil striker Hulk and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel over the summer.

Consequences: The argument could impact on Russia's staging of the 2018 World Cup

Consequences: The argument could impact on Russia's staging of the 2018 World Cup

The club have previously been fined by the Russian Football Union after one of their fans offered a banana to Anzhi Makhachkala left-back Roberto Carlos before a match between the two sides in March 2011.

Black players in the Russian league have been the target of monkey chants and Samba also had a banana thrown at him by a Lokomotiv Moscow fan shortly after his move from Blackburn Rovers.

It is feared that racist fans could cause significant problems and embarrassment for the country as Russia prepare to host the 2018 World Cup.

Zenit St Petersburg fans demand no non-white and gay players

Zenit fan group demands non-white and gay players to be left out of the team

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UPDATED:

19:19 GMT, 17 December 2012

A group of fans of Russian side Zenit St Petersburg are calling for non-white and gay players to be excluded from their team.

This is another sign of the racism which plaguing the country that will host the World Cup in 2018.

Landscrona, the largest Zenit supporters' club, released a manifesto on Monday demanding the club field an all-white, heterosexual team.

It added that 'dark-skinned players are all but forced down Zenit's throat now, which only brings out a negative reaction' and said gay players were 'unworthy of our great city.'

Insult: Hulk (right) is a non-white player who plays for the Russian side

Insult: Hulk (right) is a non-white player who plays for the Russian side

The club quickly sought to distance itself from the fans. Without directly referring to their manifesto, Zenit's Italian head coach, Luciano Spalletti, said on the club's website that 'tolerance for me is most of all the ability to understand and accept differences.'

'Furthermore, being tolerant means that you fight against any kind of stupidity,' he added.

The club, which is owned by state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom, also told the R-Sport news agency it picked players on ability alone, insisting that 'the team's policy is aimed at development and integration into the world soccer community, and holds no archaic views.'

Zenit was the only top-flight Russian team without a black player until this summer, when it acquired Brazilian striker Hulk and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel for 80 million euros.

French midfielder Yann M'Vila declined a move to the club in August after receiving death threats.

'I can personally assure you that I will do everything I can to help those who seek to explain to people what tolerance is, and the need to respect other cultures and traditions,' Spalletti said.

'I think that Zenit has proven through its work that the club understands what tolerance is, and what it means to have tolerant behavior. The team has gathered players from different countries and ethnic groups who work together to achieve a common goal, and work well.'

Against it: Luciano Spalletti spoke out against the fans' demands

Against it: Luciano Spalletti spoke out against the fans' demands

Fans insisted that 'we are not racists and for us the absence of black Zenit players is just an important tradition that underlines the team's identity and nothing more.'

Russia has struggled to deal with racism and violence at its stadiums as it prepares to host the 2018 World Cup.

Black players are frequently the targets of monkey chants and some, including Anzhi Makhachkala's Robert Carlos and Christopher Samba, have had bananas thrown at them by fans.

Officials have at times shown little enthusiasm for targeting racism. When Lokomotiv Moscow fans held up a banner in 2010 thanking an English team for signing their black striker Peter Odemwingie with a picture of a banana, the head of Russia's World Cup bid awkwardly claimed they were referencing a quaint, little-used Russian expression meaning 'to fail an exam.'

Zenit's fans have long been the country's
most problematic. Dick Advocaat, the team's former Dutch manager, once
admitted that 'the fans don't like black players' and that it would be
'impossible' for Zenit to sign one.

History: Wagner Love said Zenit's fans were the most racist in Russia

History: Wagner Love said Zenit's fans were the most racist in Russia

Several black players have also singled out Zenit's fans as particularly racist. Former Russian top scorer Vagner Love told a Brazilian newspaper in April that Zenit was 'the most racist team in Russia' and the only one whose fans had abused him in his seven years playing for CSKA Moscow.

Five years earlier, Krylya Sovetov Samara's former Cameroon international Serge Branco told a local newspaper that Zenit's management were 'the real racists' for not combatting the problem, adding that 'in a civilized country they'd smack them down to the third division for their fans' behavior.'

Zenit's fans have also come under the spotlight recently after one of them threw a firecracker that injured Dinamo Moscow's goalkeeper during a match in November.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, himself a Zenit fan, called for violent spectators to be banned for life from attending matches. Parliament has drafted a bill that would ban hooligans for a year.

F1 news: Max Chilton set to drive for Marussia in 2013

Young Brit Chilton set to join Hamilton, Button and Di Resta on the grid with Marussia drive

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UPDATED:

16:31 GMT, 17 December 2012

Brit special: Max Chilton is line for a drive with Marussia

Brit special: Max Chilton is line for a drive with Marussia

Max Chilton is set to be announced as the fourth Briton on the Formula One grid next season after finalising a deal with Marussia.

Chilton has long been expected to be the replacement for Charles Pic who has moved to rival outfit Caterham.

The Reigate-born driver got his first taste of a Formula One car on a purpose built circuit in Abu Dhabi this year when he took part in Friday testing.

Flamboyant Marussia co-owner Nikolai Fomenko is understood to have confirmed to Russian journalists that Chilton has indeed got the nod to replace Pic and will join Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta in Formula One for the coming campaign.

In addition, BBC Formula One analyst and former team owner, Eddie Jordan, has subsequently stated that Chilton will be taking the step up from GP2, the rung below full-blown grand prix racing.

Practice makes perfect: Chilton tested for Marussia at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Practice makes perfect: Chilton tested for Marussia at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Chilton, 21, is the son of Grahame Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield’s UK holding company who is reportedly worth around 100million.

However, he has previously stated that the estimated 9.5million funding he has secured to realise his Formula One dream does not come from the family coffers.

Roman Abramovich wants Avram Grant to replace Rafael Benitez

EXCLUSIVE: Get me Avram! Abramovich wants former Chelsea boss Grant to replace flailing Benitez… ALREADY

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UPDATED:

22:57 GMT, 2 December 2012

Roman Abramovich is considering a shock move that would see Avram Grant return to Chelsea.

The Russian fears he has made a mistake bringing in Rafa Benitez and sees the re-appointment of Grant as an adviser to the Spaniard as a possible solution.

Benitez has been interim manager for only three games but is yet to win, and fans are fiercely against him.

Under fire: Rafael Benitez has struggled in his first games at Chelsea

Under fire: Rafael Benitez has struggled in his first games at Chelsea

After Saturday's 3-1 defeat at West Ham, Abramovich spoke to senior Chelsea lieutenants about approaching the man he sacked after the 2008 Champions League final. Grant has been out of work since leaving Partizan Belgrade at the end of last season.

The Israeli is understood to have a good relationship with Benitez, which has encouraged Abramovich to think the pair could work in tandem.

The Chelsea owner has met fans and also been warned by his close circle of advisers that the appointment of Benitez could be turning into a disaster. Abramovich was appalled by his team's performance in Benitez's first game, a goalless draw against Manchester City, and made one of his personal visits to the training ground last Tuesday.

It is understood he was also at the training ground to visit Andriy Shevchenko, who was there to study for his coaching qualifications.

But Abramovich was keen to carry out his own investigation before last Wednesday's game against Fulham, another goalless draw that left the Russian livid.

Abramovich refuses to entertain anything other than a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League as he continues his seduction of Pep Guardiola, and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

He is determined to jolt Chelsea back to winning ways and is not opposed to firing Benitez if he believes it is the only course of action to save the season. With Grant installed in a consultancy role, he will have a safe pair of hands ready to take over team affairs if it comes to this.

Disappointed: A number of fans were outraged that Champions League-winning coach Roberto Di Matteo was sacked

Disappointed: A number of fans were outraged that Champions League-winning coach Roberto Di Matteo was sacked

Remember me, Rafa Avram Grant (right) was sacked by Roman Abramovich

Remember me, Rafa Avram Grant (right) was sacked by Roman Abramovich

Fears are also circulating within the camp that players have not reacted well to last month's sacking of Roberto Di Matteo and that there are communication problems with Benitez.

The interim manager insists on two team-talks, speaking English to the English speakers and Spanish to others, which caused confusion in the dressing room at West Ham.

It has also emerged that Abramovich invited seven Chelsea fans into his office at Stamford Bridge before the Manchester City game to discuss Benitez's appointment. The meeting lasted around an hour.

Ruthless: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Ruthless: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

The supporters told Abramovich that they appreciated his backing for the club but would continue to protest against the Spaniard.

Anti-Benitez banners were on display at Upton Park and fans sang: 'Roman Abramovich, is this what you want' after Chelsea went behind. Benitez has told Abramovich the squad needs boosting in January.

He said: 'The players know that if I am here it is because they were not at the level everyone was expecting.'

David Beckham set for Monaco talks and rules out Premier League return

Monaco lead the chase for Beckham after former England captain rules out Premier League return

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UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 29 November 2012

David Beckham has revealed he has numerous offers to continue playing after his Los Angeles Galaxy career ends this weekend, with Monaco leading the chase, but the former England captain does not expect a return to the Barclays Premier League.

The 37-year-old will bring the curtain down on six seasons in Major League Soccer in Saturday's MLS Cup final against Houston, and clubs are already lining up to sign the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star.

French side AS Monaco have emerged as one of the favorites and negotiations are expected to take place after Saturday's cup final.

Plenty to ponder: David Beckham is considering his next move as his time at LA Galaxy draws to an end

Plenty to ponder: David Beckham is considering his next move as his time at LA Galaxy draws to an end

Final farewell: David Beckham will play his last game for LA Galaxy this weekend

Final farewell: David Beckham will play his last game for LA Galaxy this weekend

The 37-year-old is understood to be open to the idea of moving to the principality, but clubs in Russia and Brazil are also keen.

'I'm lucky because at 37 years old, I've been offered some exciting options,' Beckham told Sky Sports News. 'I've got quite a few offers on the table.'

Monaco are in the the second tier of French football, Ligue 2, following their relegation from Ligue 1 in 2010.

Fun in the sun: Beckham could be tempted by a move to Monaco

Fun in the sun: Beckham could be tempted by a move to Monaco

But billionaire Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a majority stake in the club in December 2011, with ambitions to return them to the level they were at in 2004, when they were runners-up in the Champions League.

They are currently top of the league after 15 matches of the season.

But asked if a return to England was on the cards, the childhood United fan was more cautious.

'I've always said I think I would struggle to come back and play in England because I've played for the biggest club in the world, the biggest club in England, Manchester United, and I couldn't see myself playing for any other Premiership team.

Silver lining: Beckham has the chance to win his second MLS Cup

Silver lining: Beckham has the chance to win his second MLS Cup

'But you never know. Like I said, we've got some exciting options on the table. I do think we'll be spending a little more time in England because it's good for the kids to see their grandparents.

'Over the last six years it's been difficult not seeing them as much as we'd like and they'd like, but we definitely won't be leaving LA for good.'

Beckham's reluctance to return to England to play could disappoint new QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who is among those to have been linked with an offer for the midfielder.

Red for life: Beckham says he could not play for another Premier League club having played for Manchester Untied

Red for life: Beckham says he could not play for another Premier League club having played for Manchester Untied

But Beckham said he appreciated all the praise that has come his way from Redknapp and others.

'What I'm really touched about is the fact that I've still got great managers like Harry, like (Paris St Germain coach) Carlo Ancelotti coming out and saying great things about me, not saying they would like to sign me, but saying nice things about me.

'I've spent a couple of months with Harry when I was training at Tottenham. He doesn't have to say the things that he says so it's nice that he talks about me in such a nice way.'

Inside crazy world of Roman Abramovich"s Chelsea: Trophies, turmoil and constant sackings

Trophies, turmoil and constant sackings! Inside the crazy world of Roman's Chelsea

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UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 21 November 2012

Money talks, as they say, but it doesn't always make sense. Roman Abramovich has spent his entire adult life proving the first point and the best part of a decade giving just as much credence to the second.

Publicity-shy Abramovich must have done something right when he turned his entrepreneurial skills to Russia's oil fields and began amassing a personal fortune that topped 8billion at the last count.

Ruthless Rom: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich decided to axe Roberto Di Matteo after defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk on October 23

Ruthless Rom: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich decided to axe Roberto Di Matteo after defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk on October 23

The crazy stats of Roman

Chelsea have spent approximately 86m since 2004 in compensation for managers – more than Everton’s entire net spend since the Premier League began.

Chelsea had eight managers in their first 70 years from 1905 to 1975, they are now going for a ninth in nine years.

Since failing to escape their Champions League group in 2005, Sir Alex Ferguson has won four Premier League titles, one Champions League and three League Cups with United.

Abramovich has now had as many managers in his nine-year reign as United have had since 1937.

Chelsea have sacked seven managers since 2005 and won seven trophies.

The average life span for a manager under Abramovich is eight months. Only Mourinho and Ancelotti lasted more than a year.

It left him with enough spare change to buy Chelsea for 140million in July, 2003, but if there was admiration, however grudging, for his singular approach to succeeding in the business world, approval rating for his football acumen hasn't reached quite the same heights.

Sacking Roberto Di Matteo six months after he delivered the prize Abramovich craved most is like a snapshot of the Russian oil magnate's whole turbulent rollercoaster reign.

As he came face-to-face with Abramovich at the Champions' League final presentation ceremony, high up in the stand at the Allianz Arena, Di Matteo clenched his fists and beamed: 'I've done it.'

Abramovich nodded, with a smile nothing like as radiant as his manager's, and you could almost hear him thinking: 'Yes, you've done it now, all right.'

Di Matteo fell into the job, as assistant promoted to caretaker after Andre Villas-Boas' dismissal last March, but never quite matched the Abramovich identikit of a sharp, incisive coach who could produce a team from the same mould.

Euro king: Di Matteo delivered the prize Abramovich craved... and was still sacked six month later

King for a day: Di Matteo delivered the prize Abramovich craved… and was sacked six months later

He was always on borrowed time, but sacking a Champions' League winning manager might have been deemed excessively harsh, even by Abramovich's standards. There had to be a stay of execution, but the reprieve did not last long. A couple of Barclays Premier League defeats, and a Champions' League setback in Turn, and the latest instalment in the mad world of Chelsea's reclusive but ruthless owner was duly enacted.

Boardroom bosses with a merciless streak are nothing new in football. Fifty years ago, Bob Lord, a local butcher by trade, ruled Burnley with a rod of iron. His antipathy towards television coverage was such that when Match of the Day was launched in 1964, he banned the cameras from Turf Moor for five years.

The BBC's pioneering sports executives weren't the only ones to cross him at their peril. Taking exception to articles he perceived as a personal slight, he banned three newspapers and six individuals from the Turf Moor press box in a dictatorial reign that earned him the nickname 'the Khrushchev of Burnley.'

Down the road at Ewood Park, in the 1990s, legend has it Roy Hodgson's second season in charge of Blackburn came to an abrupt halt after the equally blunt-talking Jack Walker peered at the television screen, after a home defeat, and muttered: 'Bloody 'ell, we're bottom. I'm not 'aving that.'

Close eye: Abramovich oversees a training session by former boss Andre Villas-Boas

Close eye: Abramovich oversees a training session by former boss Andre Villas-Boas

Abramovich may well chuckle at mention
of his fellow-Russian Khrushchev. He might also reflect on how Lord
earned the sobriquet and conclude that this dinosaur from a bygone age
could actually be considered a role model.

There has been more than a touch of the iron fist about his stewardship since he targeted Stamford Bridge and struck a deal with Ken Bates, another to include eccentricity in his approach to running a club after paying 1 for Chelsea in 1982 and subsequently threatening to build electric fences to keep fans off the pitch.

No-one can deny supporting Chelsea is more rewarding these days, even if it has come at a cost to all concerned. The matchday experience at Stamford Bridge takes a hefty chunk out of most weekly pay packets, while Abramovich is estimated to have parted with around 1billion in transfer fees alone.

There are some who may question that sentiment, though, not least some of the players and managers who have passed through during the last nine and a half years. Chelsea had gone precisely 50 years without a League title when Jose Mourinho delivered it in 2004-05.

For good measure, he added another the following season, but it still wasn't enough to save him after Abramovich reinforced the image of Chelsea being a plaything by deciding he wanted success with a bit more style.

Axed: Di Matteo was fired after 'unacceptable run of results'

Axed: Di Matteo was fired after 'unacceptable run of results'

Coaches of similar standing, in Big Phil
Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti, and one from the new breed, in
Villas-Boas, went the same way, while even the most senior players have
had to contend with the incongruous sight of their chairman calling them
together at the training ground for a Monday morning dressing down, if
standards have dropped over the weekend.

And who's to argue This is a self-made multi-billionaire who is impervious to any sort of comeback. He is the world's biggest spender on luxury yachts, with one evidently fitted with an anti-paparazzi photo shield and another claiming to be the longest in existence at 557ft.

Gratifyingly, there is at least one example of the all-powerful oil magnate failing to get his own way. When he attempted to dock the 557-foot long Eclipse in Europe's biggest yachting harbour, Millionaire's Quay on the French Riviera, he found that the only space large enough was already taken by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud.

With the Prince ranked 26th in the world's rich list, with 12.3bn, and Abramovich trailing behind in 53rd place, the disgruntled Chelsea boss could hardly pull rank and had to settle for anchoring several hundred feet out to sea and transferring to shore on a motor boat.

It was, as anyone with Stamford Bridge connections will readily agree, a rare occurrence. One of the more tiresome terrace chants these days focuses on any given player and ends with 'he does what he wants.' They could adopt that in the Chelsea dressing room and direct it at Abramovich. Just not within earshot, though.