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
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
people

Tennis star is set to marry his long-term girlfriend, Kim Sears

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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

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
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?