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
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

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
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing