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
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
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

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world