Last season, AVB, a manager with all of the The Special One's ego, but only a fraction of his ability, was fired, and his number two, RDM, was duly promoted to the top job until the end of the season. Then, due to the dual cup wins, RDM was offered the job full time. At least when a certain ex-Barcelona manager ruled himself out of the picture.
And this, dear readers, is something that is going to come back and haunt us in the coming season. Because, while I have extremely fond memories of RDM as a player; as a manager I find him to be pragmatic at best, and naive and incompetent at worst.
I know, I know, you're going to throw the CL win in my face, and say, 'How can a manager who wins a CL be incompetent?'. To which I will reply: 'Because the Ghost of Mourinho and the will power of the senior players won us the CL, not him'. And that's the truth of it. RVB's greatest skill in the back end of last season was to realize that the best way to turn things around was to feed the senior players' egos by reinstating them into the first 11, and getting them to play the same way they used to play, back when the team wasn't eight shades of sh*t with a ninth on standby. And, against all odds, it worked. Don't ask me how, but it did. Maybe it was nigh on a decade of close-but-no-cigar CL moments that caused the Fates to smile on us? Maybe it was the incredible bad luck (and dodgy refereeing) from all those semi-finals that caused the Universe to flip, end over end, and make our opponents hit the woodwork, time and again, on our way to Champions League glory? Or maybe it was just that the Beast of Drogba refused to go quietly into the dying of the light? But - whatever it was - it certainly wasn't because RDM had done anything beyond show up to training and keep out of the senior players' way.
And therein lies the rub. Because, while it's always better to be lucky than right (and boy is RDM the luckiest manager in world football), I suspect there's not a one of us who believes that luck will stay with us through an entire season.
Oh, I hope I'm wrong. I really do. Nothing would give me greater sporting pleasure than for us to win back the premier league and defend our Champions League title. But let's be honest here, 4 loses on the spin in pre-season under RDM doesn't exactly fill a guy with confidence.
That said, nothing's ever won in August*, so it's all to play for.
*except the Community Shield (which we lost, and lost badly) and the UEFA Super Cup...