Sam Wallace: Hart would be right to query Avram's real goal - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

Sam Wallace: Hart would be right to query Avram's real goal

Grant will always believe that he was one penalty kick from greatness in Moscow last year

When Avram Grant was dismissed as the manager of Chelsea in May last year, he was offered the job of director of football on a higher salary by Roman Abramovich. He turned it down on the basis that what he really aspired to be was a manager.

Today Paul Hart would be entitled to ask Grant the question: what has changed? Grant wants to be a manager and it is hard to believe that he will not get his wish at Fratton Park at some point this season. He has taken this new role because, so far, he has been unable to parlay his eight months at Chelsea into a manager's job anywhere else in the world.

In the weeks and months that followed his departure from Chelsea, there was a marked drop-off in the standing of the jobs Grant's name was linked with – starting with Tottenham in October and descending from there via a few less-celebrated vacancies to the day he almost became coach of the Bulgaria national team.

Grant will always believe that he was one penalty kick from greatness in Moscow last year. Some of us prefer to see it a different way. Grant got the Chelsea job by ingratiating himself with Abramovich rather than proving himself as a manager and Chelsea's progress to the Champions League final was a result of the players' effort rather than the manager's ability.

While Jose Mourinho was not beyond reproach himself, he was undone in part at Chelsea by a man who had nothing like his track record as a manager and on that basis did not deserve the job. Appointed the club's director of football in the summer of 2007, it took some front for Grant to sit in the Chelsea dugout behind Mourinho as the pressure grew on the Portuguese in the early part of the season.

But front is one commodity that has never been in short supply when it comes to Grant. Hart should be asking himself whether a man who was prepared to step into the shoes of Mourinho would really think twice about elbowing out of the way a Portsmouth manager who has won only one of his last eight league games.

Grant's ability to talk his way into big jobs with wealthy football club owners is not restricted to Abramovich or Portsmouth's new owner Ali al-Faraj. In 1996, he persuaded Maccabi Tel Aviv's owner, Loni Herzikowitz, to reappoint him manager despite the fact that then manager Dror Kashtan had just won a league and cup double.

There is no evidence that Grant could actually do the director of football job he is being asked to do. But then while Grant may not be the greatest coach he does have some powerful friends. Abramovich had his uses but few have done more for Grant's career than the agent Pini Zahavi, who is understood to be behind this latest appointment.

The press conference at which Chelsea announced the appointment of Grant remains one of the greatest afternoons of farce in recent football history. The club had to explain why they had appointed a man unknown outside his native Israel and nowhere near the list of elite coaches Chelsea would typically have been expected to consider.

Now Portsmouth have appointed Grant to a role for which he has shown little signs of suitability and another decent, hard-working manager is looking over his shoulder. The only surprise is that is has taken Grant so long to make a comeback.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week