Last night a man who is the stand-in manager for Chelsea Football Club won the biggest prize in sport – the European Champions League Final. Just over two months ago the Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas was sacked following his team’s poor performances, thrusting his assistant, a likeable Italian family man by the name of Roberto Di Matteo, into the spotlight. The club’s owners couldn’t have expected much from this man who had previously only managed minor clubs. They wanted him to hold the fort until they could find another big name from the world of international football management to take the helm….
Roberto, however, had other ideas. He galvernised his team to fight for each other and has guided the same players (who looked like a bunch of losers earlier in the season) to magnificent wins against Barcelona and, last night, in the final, Bayern Munich. Against the odds the rookie manager won the big prize, by employing tactical brilliance and bringing the very best out of his ageing squad of players.
This shows that a big reputation doesn’t count for anything. The assistant can do better than his boss, given the opportunity.