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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:04 UK

Grant sacked as Chelsea manager

Avram Grant
The writing was on the wall for Grant after defeat in Moscow

Chelsea have sacked manager Avram Grant after just eight months in charge.

The decision followed two days of talks between Grant, 53, and the club's owner and chief executive Peter Kenyon.

The Israeli coach's position had been subject to intense speculation after Chelsea finished runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

Russia coach Guus Hiddink, fellow Dutchman Frank Rijkaard and Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson are among the early favourites to replace Grant.

Chelsea said in a statement on their website that the search for a new coach would now begin and that the club will make no further comment.

The statement said: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Avram Grant has had his contract as manager terminated today. This follows meetings over the last two days.

"Everybody at Chelsea FC would like to thank Avram for his contribution since taking over as manager last September.

"We will now be concentrating all our efforts on identifying a new manager for Chelsea and there will be no further comment until that appointment is made."

BBC Radio 5 Live football correspondent Jonathan Legard said Grant had faced a nigh impossible task in taking over from Jose Mourinho.

"He was little more than a stop gap," Legard told BBC Radio 5 Live. "He never really had the CV, never really had the experience, never really had the clout to fill the boots of Jose Mourinho.

"Have Chelsea got someone lined up? I don't think they have. They may have a few ideas but whether they will be able to pursue them is another matter."

The future of Chelsea assistants Steve Clarke and Henk Ten Cate is unclear and no official word has yet been given on their positions.

Grant, a close friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, took over on 20 September 2007 after Mourinho was sacked.

606: DEBATE

Rijkaard, Eriksson and, most recently, Brian Laudrup and Roberto Mancini have all been linked with a possible move to Chelsea with the likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Mark Hughes in the running.

Despite losing just two Premier League games while in charge, Grant attracted criticism from fans who claimed his team lacked style.

He was also criticised for losing February's League Cup final against Tottenham.

Grant joined Chelsea last summer from Portsmouth as director of football, a decision which apparently did not please Mourinho.

Mourinho was later dismissed after their 1-1 draw with Rosenborg at Stamford Bridge in their opening Champions League game.

Grant and Mourinho
Grant and Mourinho did not always see eye-to-eye

Grant, who had never managed a club in England, was asked to take over and on 13 December 2007 signed a four-year contract.

Both Kenyon and chairman Bruce Buck paved the way for change by insisting that Chelsea's performance this season was simply "not good enough".

Buck said: "We have very high expectations at Chelsea and a couple of second place finishes is just not good enough for us. "So although we never would have thought in September when Jose Mourinho left that we would be able to make it into a Champions League final as we did - and that is fantastic - Chelsea are here to win trophies.

"So although it was an excellent season, we are still disappointed."

A series of discussions finally resolved Grant's future and it is understood the Israeli said his farewells to the players on Friday - telling them it had been a 'privilege' to manage the team.

Ironically, Mourinho has yet to take up a new job since his dismissal by Chelsea but he said only this week that he expects to be back in football in June.

His odds for a dramatic and unexpected return to Chelsea were cut from 20/1 down to 8/1 by English bookmakers late on Saturday.




see also
Grant gossip
25 May 08 |  Gossip
Grant's Chelsea tenure in photos
24 May 08 |  Chelsea
Grant deserves sympathy
24 May 08 |  Chelsea
Pat Nevin on Grant's departure
24 May 08 |  Hull City
Chelsea and Drogba set for talks
24 May 08 |  Chelsea
Grant can hold his head high
22 May 08 |  Europe
Grant gracious after title blow
11 May 08 |  Premier League
How the title was won
12 May 08 |  Premier League
Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
24 Feb 08 |  Football


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