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Why Phil and Tony Had To Go
Two big name managers have just been given the chop but in truth neither the sacking of Tony Adams from Portsmouth or Phil Scolari from Chelsea was a surprise. Now, of course, the question is: who will replace them long term?
Tony Cascarino, 25 Feb 2009
It was a shame to see Tony Adams fired the other day, but you could see it coming for weeks. He’s a nice guy, but never really looked the part as a Premier League manager. It’s going to prove very difficult for him to get a top-level managerial job again, because he’s now had two and neither of them have worked out. He was actually quite unfortunate at Pompey, because some of the performances were very spirited, but the results didn’t match. There was all kinds of bad defending going on. You can only stretch it out for so long, and once you’ve gone 10 or 12 games without a win, you’re bound to face the axe. Events might overtake me, but at the time of writing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Avram Grant get the job – he’s a mate of the owner. Whether he’d be a good choice, I’m not so sure. He didn’t set the world alight at Chelsea.
Speaking of Chelsea, Phil Scolari was another sacking waiting to happen. I’ve gone into some detail before about the total lack of organisation from set-pieces, and I think the Hull result sealed his fate. As regards who’s going to replace him, there are a couple of Chelsea old boys who’ve done very well in management, and could be contenders for the vacancy, assuming Ray Wilkins doesn’t get it on a permanent basis. Gianfranco Zola has done brilliantly at West Ham, and Roberto Di Matteo has made a big impact at Milton Keynes. Zola’s made the Hammers very tactically sound, they’re very hard to break down, and his preparation is really detailed. You don’t want to get carried away on the basis of a couple of months, but from everything we’ve seen so far, he’s got what it takes. He’s had an instant, dramatic impact. Also, he has Steve Clarke as his No. 2, who was a big part of Chelsea’s success. He had a great relationship with the squad, and he’d still have a close affinity with several of the players. I know Clarkey, I’ve played with him, and he’s a top bloke who has a great banter with the lads. So Zola-Clarke as a Blues dream team isn’t far-fetched at all. Di Matteo’s done very well too, but at a much lower level, and I think he’ll need to take the Dons up and establish them in the Championship before he gets linked with the top jobs.