James Lawton: Big Phil will leave no one in doubt who is in charge

There is one major point to be made in favour of Luiz Felipe Scolari as manager of Chelsea – as there was when he came into the running as England's coach at the fall of Sven Goran Eriksson.

It is that he is not for nothing known as Big Phil.

He is perhaps not the wisest or most self-controlled of football's top echelon coaches – as recently as last September he was eager to punch out a Serbian player after a fractious qualifying game – but the coach of Portugal, and World Cup winner with Brazil, has passed all the tests in the vital matter of controlling a team – and leaving nobody in no doubt who is in charge of all aspects of the operation of a team.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and his chief gofer Peter Kenyon have made free with the pride and the dignity of all three managers in the era of the oligarch.

It was Kenyon, if you remember, who advised the first victim, Claudio Ranieri, that it wouldn't be enough to eventually shoulder the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsène Wenger out of pole position in the Premiership. His team also had to win by scores of 5-0, with at least one of the goals coming ideally, from a distance of around 30 yards.

Hugely entertaining, for anyone who has had any contact at all with Scolari, is a picture of Kenyon, perhaps wearing the medal he so proudly collected in the eyes of a vast audience last month in Moscow, offering the same working instructions to Scolari.

In the end even the Special One, Jose Mourinho, felt the stabbingt knife of humiliation after annexing English football power in his first two years.

And what can we say of the regime of his successor Avram Grant? Only that it could not have been founded in less satisfactory circumstances – or less in sync with the classic running of a successful club. Grant was injected into Mourinho's regime in a way which would not have been countenanced by Ferguson or Wenger for more than the time it takes to say goodbye. When Grant emerged with the prize of Mourinho's office, and proceeded to chase Manchester United to the line in both the Premiership and Champions League, his rewarded was to treated with no more respect than an office boy, a retainer who was required to doff his cap not just to the man who paid his wages but, at times, it seemed, to both the players and the fans.

That kind of situation would be tolerated by Scolari for just as long as it took him to make new arrangements.

This might sound a somewhat peripheral to the effectiveness of Scolari as the new manager of Chelsea but, of course, it is utterly central to his prospects.

He has, you can be sure, made it clear that if he will manage the club in his own way, and with his own reputation in mind, rather than the whims of the executive office. This is how Ferguson started off at Old Trafford, and survived some lean days, and how Wenger has consistently made it clear is the only reason he stays at Arsenal in the face of a hundred options across the football world.

Scolari understands that the strong men win in football and he is perhaps entitled to believe that his credentials in that matter are beyond any critical examination. The most passionate and inflamed football nation in the world, his native Brazil, bayed for his head when he defied their yearnings for the return of the great hero Romario. Scolari said the folk hero simply didn't figure in his plans.

Among the threats and the burning effigies was the threat of a public lynching. Scolari shrugged his shoulders and said he would go his own way. The result was Brazil's first World Cup win in eight years. Whether he has the patience for the day to day operation of a major European Club nearly a decade after he walked away from the domestic Brazilian game is one legitimate question. But while we are finding out that answer, there will not be enquiries about his nerve or his pride. Maybe for the first time in time of Abramovich, Chelsea have a manager who truly walks the walk as well as talks the talk.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride