John Obi Mikel details telltale sign that Roman Abramovich was about to sack a Chelsea manager
EPL

John Obi Mikel details telltale sign that Roman Abramovich was about to sack a Chelsea manager

Nov 11, 2023

John Obi Mikel has revealed how he and his Chelsea teammates could sense owner Roman Abramovich was about to sack a manager.

The Russian oligarch’s arrival at the Blues in 2003 was a catalyst for the club’s immense success over the last two decades.

Chelsea were hugely successful under Abramovich despite the constant change

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Chelsea were hugely successful under Abramovich despite the constant changeCredit: Getty

Chelsea won five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues under his reign as well as an abundance of other honours.

A winning culture was firmly established but even if managers came narrowly close to success, Abramovich wasn’t shy to dismiss them.

During his 19 years in charge, 11 different managers took charge on a permanent basis and there were six spells with an interim boss.

Mikel was no stranger to the hiring and firing of bosses, and revealed to talkSPORT how he knew a sacking was about to take place.

READ MORE ON JOHN OBI MIKEL

Speaking on White and Jordan, he said: “Amazing owner and football man as well. A lot of people thought he was going to be this owner who just threw money at the club and wasn’t involved in the day-to-day activities.

“He wasn’t at the club every day, but boy, he knew what was going on every day. Every game he was always coming into the dressing room, some games he comes, especially the big games like the Champions League games, he always comes after the game.

“Whether we win or lose he was always there. He would just say, ‘Sorry I know you guys did your best, but next time we have to win.’ He always wanted to win games. For him, it was about winning games, great owner.

“The only thing with him is that when you see the helicopters flying around the training ground, you know that the manager is going to be sacked, so that’s how we knew. I was there for almost 11 years, we had our downsides when we weren’t performing well and then the managers got sacked.

Mikel played under 12 different bosses at the Blues

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Mikel played under 12 different bosses at the Blues
Abramovich was desperate for success during his Chelsea tenure

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Abramovich was desperate for success during his Chelsea tenureCredit: AFP

“But we always knew when it was going to happen, once we see Roman’s helicopter arriving at the training ground in the morning, we knew the manager was getting fired.”

Mikel also spoke on he and his Chelsea teammates didn’t accept Rafa Benitez as ‘one of us’ during his interim spell in the 2012/13 season.

The Spaniard was the ninth different permanent or interim boss he played under at the Blues, but lasted just six months in charge.

Abramovich relinquished control of Chelsea last year, with Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital completing their acquisition of the club.

He was forced to give up his stewardship of the side after the UK government imposed sanctions on him and other oligarchs amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Thomas Tuchel was appointed under the previous regime but lasted just four months and was replaced by Graham Potter.

However, he too didn’t last long as he was sacked in April, with Bruno Saltor and Frank Lampard both taking charge in interim spells.

Mauricio Pochettino is now at the helm, with fans yet to see if the club’s history of repeatedly hiring new managers will continue.


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