- Saturday May 24 2008
Chelsea have confirmed that Avram Grant has had his contract as manager terminated following meetings over the last two days.
A statement on the club's official website read: "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."
Despite the Blues' strong end-of-season surge under Grant, the ultimate lack of silverware - as well as his apparent failure to bring the kind of free-flowing, attacking football desired by owner Roman Abramovich - appears to have been his undoing.
The futures of his assistants Steve Clarke and Henk Ten Cate are unclear, with no official word yet given on their positions. Former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard, Inter's Roberto Mancini and Russia's head coach Guus Hiddink have all been linked with the job in recent weeks and each would be expected to bring their own staff.
Grant joined Chelsea as director of football in the summer of 2007 but he moved into the dugout in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho's controversial departure at the start of the season.
He was not afforded much of a honeymoon period in west London and fans soon made their disappointment at the Portuguese's exit - and some of Grant's tactical decisions - heard. But he shrugged off the continued speculation and guided the Blues towards a hard-fought battle for the league title, while also enjoying victory over Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
It was a feat Mourinho failed to achieve in his own time with the Blues and the irony of that statistic was not lost on Grant, who jokingly made his own claims to the title of 'the special one'. But a draw against Bolton on the last day of the domestic season, coupled with a United win meant Chelsea missed out on the title, while defeat in Moscow - with captain John Terry and Nicolas Anelka, the keynote signing of the Grant era, missing spot-kicks - eventually proved to be his final act as Chelsea manager.