Football: Porterfield sacked as Chelsea turn to Webb

FREE-FALLING out of championship contention and overshadowed by their London rivals in both knock-out competitions, Chelsea yesterday sacked their manager, Ian Porterfield, and turned to David Webb, a famous name from the days when they last had a prize- winning team, in yet another attempt to renew acquaintance with the major honours.

Webb, the former Southend manager whose headed goal took the FA Cup to Stamford Bridge in 1970, was welcomed 'home' with a three-month contract and told to show he was worthy of a long- term arrangement by the Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, who, in characteristic style, announced his managerial change to surprised callers on the club's telephone information service.

Only 10 weeks ago Chelsea were fourth in the table and threatening to intrude on the title designs of Manchester United and Aston Villa. Yet Porterfield, 47 last week and himself an FA Cup winner for Sunderland in 1973, appeared incapable of arresting the decline which, in a catastrophic eight-day spell last month, saw them removed from both the Coca-Cola Cup and the FA Cup.

Yet again, long before the season's end, Bates had to swallow the unpalatable truth that the silverware was destined for somebody else's sideboard, and that could only spell trouble for Porterfield. Successful in securing the club's future at their London home, Bates could afford to spend more time on team matters and, never one to fiddle around while hopes burned, he decided Saturday's defeat by Aston Villa, the 12th game they had failed to win in a miserable sequence was one too far.

'We have reviewed the results and the fact is we lost as many as we have won over the last two seasons,' Bates said. 'That's not in keeping with our aspirations.'

Unaware of developments, Porterfield took the usual training session yesterday morning before learning he would be the first Premier League manager to lose his job. 'We have parted on amicable terms and wished each other all the best,' Bates added.

'We were looking at the situation all the time and I decided over the weekend that it was time to make a change. We have been plagued with injuries and we have not had the rub of the green. By making changes at this time it gives us a chance to get things straight for next season. David Webb was very successful at Southend and is Chelsea through and through.'

It was Porterfield's second spell at the club, he enjoyed a successful partnership with Bobby Campbell before moving to Reading in November 1989 for his fourth spell in management, having already served at Rotherham, Sheffield United and Aberdeen.

He was sacked by Reading 17 months later and returned to Chelsea in June 1991. He spent pounds 6m in a glory quest which was rich in potential but thin on substance. Last season's FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Sunderland typified their ability to foul up on the big occasion.

After 230 League appearances for the Blues, Webb moved on to Queen's Park Rangers, Leicester and Derby. As a manager he guided Bournemouth to promotion from the Fourth Division and, after a spell with Torquay, led Southend to successive promotions before falling out with the chairman, Vic Jobson, last season.

Of his new challenge, Webb said: 'Chelsea and their supporters haven't had a great deal to cheer about in the last 20 years and it is up to me to do my best and give them back some success.

'Ian Porterfield is a good friend of mine and I'm sorry to see him go in such circumstances, but the door to success is the same distance away as the door to failure.'

Porterfield was joined in the search for a new job by Alan Murray, who was dismissed by Hartlepool, of the Second Division, just six weeks after he led them to a memorable FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace. Earlier this season, his side stood second in the table, their highest position in 72 years, but since the Palace defeat on 2 January they have gone nine games without so much as a goal.

Viv Busby, out of work since he was sacked as Sunderland coach 14 months ago, takes up his first managerial appointment as Murray's replacement.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor