Coming off the 2007-08 season in which Chelsea FC finished second in the Premier League, League Cup, and Champions League under interim manager Avram Grant, the club was looking to make a statement by bringing in a big name manager. Who better than the man who lead Brazil to a World Cup and had done an excellent job managing a talented Portugal squad? When he agreed to become manager of Chelsea in July of 2008, Luiz Felipe Scolari aka Big Phil became the first manager in the Premier League with a World Cup in his trophy closet. The season started brightly for Scolari and the Blues but it soon became clear that the man who reached the pinnacle of international was not suited to managing a club.
Chelsea’s official statement on the Brazilian’s dismissal here:
“Felipe has brought many positives to the club since he joined and we all feel a sense of sadness that our relationship has ended so soon. Unfortunately the results and performances of the team appeared to be deteriorating at a key time in the season. In order to maintain a challenge for the trophies we are still competing for we felt the only option was to make the change now. The search for a new manager has already started and we hope to have someone in place as soon as possible.”
The word around town was that owner Roman Abramovich had made the decision because he was unhappy with Scolari’s style of management. What was more likely as the cause of his dismissal was Chelsea’s poor record against their top of the table rivals having lost to Liverpool home and away, lost to Arsenal at home, and lost and drew against Manchester United. There were also rumors that Scolari was looking to replace Chelsea legend Didier Drogba with Adriano of Inter Milan, who to be fair to Big Phil, was in fine form for Inter but was never up to snuff for Chelsea.
After Scolari was sacked, Chelsea brought in Guus Hiddink who lead the Blues to an FA Cup triumph over Everton. Hiddink was still the manager of the Russian national team at the time and despite Chelsea’s best efforts he returned to them after the season and the club was again in search of a manager. This opened the door for Carlo Ancelotti to come to West London and lead the Blues to a fine domestic double and a record setting goalscoring pace in the Premier League.
Scolari’s career took a strange turn after his Chelsea dismissal as he went on to manage Bunyodkor, a club in the top flight league of Uzbekistan. After a year in Uzbekistan, Scolari returned to Brazil and became the manager of Palmeiras for another two seasons. He is currently the manager of the Brazilian national team and he hopes to build on the momentum of their Confederations Cup trophy with a World Cup triumph at Rio 2014. All in all, Scolari’s departure from Chelsea proved to be the right move for both parties as they have clearly bounced back from the setback.
Follow us on Twitter at @PrideOLondon
Like us on Facebook at The Pride of London