Pete Jenson: Real-politik of Roman mirrors the galactico era

Abramovich's tenure is reminiscent of the worst excesses of Florentino Perez's years at Madrid

Barcelona

Somewhere in the library of Roman Abramovich's moat-encircled fort there must surely be a well-thumbed copy of "How to run a football club" by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

The hiring and firing of coaches, the senseless sacking of successful managers, the concessions to player power and the overspending on big names already in decline – it's all there in black and white. No Premier League owner has ever come as close to emulating the hugely expensive and often unsuccessful Real Madrid model as Abramovich.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers' Association, has lamented Chelsea's embarrassing search for an eighth manager in nine years but that looks like long-termism alongside Perez's efforts from 2003 to 2006 when he hired and fired six in three trophyless years.

Among Perez and Abramovich's managerial victims is the same mixture of the distinguished but disrespected and the desperately out of their depth. Perez sacked wise old owl Vicente del Bosque weeks after he had won the league and one season after he had won the Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti was Abramovich's Del Bosque – relieved of his duties one year after doing the domestic Double.

At Madrid goalkeeping coach Mariano Garcia Remon was promoted to first-team coach for three months in the 2004-05 season and youth team boss Juan Lopez Caro lasted six months in the 2005-06 campaign. Neither man was carried by the dressing room in quite the same way as the equally under-prepared Avram Grant was in 2008 and Roberto Di Matteo will hope to be now.

Neither is there any continuity in managerial style at either club. Just as Chelsea have lurched from the conservative Ancelotti to new-age Andre Villas-Boas so Perez skipped from the sergeant major-style Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho to the laid-back Brazilian Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

What the coaches do have in common is that none of them has been more important than the players. Abramovich delivering an interpreter-assisted rollicking at Cobham after sacking Villas-Boas was reminiscent of Perez's rant after he quit as president in 2006, when he admitted to have been let down by the players he had indulged like "spoiled children".

Chelsea's transfer policy has also mirrored Madrid's. Abramovich's purchase of Fernando Torres was every bit a Perez-style whim. Never mind if when the deal is finally in place the player has long since ceased to be worth the money being asked for him.

Targeting out-of-reach managers is another parallel. Perez has twice attempted to persuade Arsène Wenger to take over at the Bernabeu – the Frenchman known for his patient development of young teams courted by the president famed for demanding success yesterday.

Abramovich's pursuit of Pep Guardiola smacks of Perez trying to tempt Wenger. The Barcelona manager is in the last year of his contract and would not cost the £13.3m Chelsea paid to Porto to get Villas-Boas last summer.

But he would need the kind of time Abramovich was unprepared to give his outgoing £4.5m-a-year manager.

What if the studious Guardiola, with neither his core of star players nor his reserve of well-schooled youth teamers, struggled to instantly adapt that wonderful Barcelona passing style to the Premier League and also slipped to 10 defeats in his first 40 games as Villas Boas did? And would there be a Michael Emenalo lurking in the background ready to tell tales on him? It took Jose Mourinho a year to get rid of Jorge Valdano – a far better-qualified interferer, but an interferer all the same.

Mourinho, of course, could be the final link between Perez and Abramovich. With so many of the same symptoms he might have decided that he needs to take the same medicine. Perez has given Mourinho complete power at Real Madrid and is reaping the rewards. Will Abramovich, as he so often does, follow suit?

News
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
news

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game