Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday April 4 2006
With Ranieri linked to Villa, I thought I'd ask Merlin at the Vital Chelsea site what he thought of all the idea of the tinkerman moving to Villa!
1) So, Ranieri has been linked to sleeping giant Aston Villa. Could he wake us up?
Difficult question that one. Ranieri came to Chelsea soon after we'd just won five trophies in two seasons under Gullit and Vialli. He wasn't received very well at first but after we'd gone a couple of season's without winning anything he suddenly found himself to be well liked. He has a good pedigree of turning around small clubs, not that I'm calling Villa small, but the success tends to come after he's left. Both Valencia and ourselves went on to win top flight titles. His methods are certainly interesting but he could be the one to stir Villa into life, there again he could mirror another ex-Chelsea manager, Gullit, who was a major failure at a second English club, Newcastle.
2) Would the original 'tinkerman' be able to cope with having a squad so small that there was nothing to tinker with?
It was only in his last season that he had a large squad. In the season leading up to the takeover by Abramovich Chelsea had no money to spend and a squad that was stretched due to injury and old age. His only signing was a free signing in the form of Quique De Lucas who hardly set the world alight. The tinkering only came when he'd spent wildly in that final season, some likened him to a kid in a sweet shop unable to resist anything.
3) How do you think he would get on with Herbert Douglas Ellis? No one else has ever managed to last long, what would Claudio bring to the party to suggest he could last?
If he survived for three / four years with Ken Bates he could, using his good nature, last with Ellis. You have to remember that Bates is a chairman who promised both Gullit and Vialli jobs for life after they'd ended our barren run only to sack them shortly after. He's a genuinely nice guy who, after a sticky start, worked well with the media.
4) Should Ranieri have been given more of a chance at Chelsea?
Difficult! He finished second in his final season and got to the Champions League semi-finals. At most clubs that would have guaranteed him at least another three season's. However, it has to be remembered that he was always living on borrowed time, his biography entitled Dead Man Walking is testament to that. New owners like their own people in charge.
5) Could we not have Mourinho instead please!?
Someone will get him, why not you? Despite the announcements that he is staying at Chelsea there is this wave of rumour that suggests otherwise. Personally, I hope he does stay for another ten years. He's that good despite the current press campaign to slur him.
6) With your knowledge of Ranieri, what is your opinion, would he succeed or fail at Villa?
Let's just say you wouldn't be looking anxiously over your shoulders at West Brom and Birmingham thankful that you're ten points ahead of them. Who knows, the UEFA Cup may be a viable target next year.
For the magic of Merlin, visit the Chelsea site! Click Here
Date:Tuesday April 4 2006
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