Newton joins Chelsea’s backroom staff
Chelsea announced that Eddie Newton had been appointed to caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo’s backroom staff until the end of the season.
The Blues also confirmed that fitness coach Jose Mario Rocha and chief opposition scout Daniel Sousa had left the club, the pair having been part of Andre Villas-Boas’ coaching team.
Former Chelsea midfielder Newton spent almost a decade at Stamford Bridge and he and Di Matteo scored the goals that won the club the 1997 FA Cup.
The 40-year-old was also part of the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup sides the following year, and after his playing career was ended prematurely due to injury, he returned to Chelsea with a role in the academy.
He went on to become assistant manager under Di Matteo at both MK Dons and West Brom, leaving the Baggies when both were sacked last January.
Chelsea announced that Steve Holland would remain as assistant first-team coach and Christophe Lollichon as goalkeeping coach, while Chris Jones would step up to the role of first-team fitness coach.
Di Matteo and Newton’s first task will be to navigate Tuesday night’s FA Cup fifth-round replay at Birmingham.
Roman Abramovich is searching for his eighth manager after Villas-Boas was given his marching orders yesterday only eight months since his appointment.
The Portuguese’s downfall was strikingly similar to that of Luiz Felipe Scolari, who also lost his job amid reports of a player revolt three years ago.
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are said to be top of Abramovich’s managerial wishlist but Scolari had a stark warning for the man who ultimately replaces Villas-Boas.
"It will be hell for whoever succeeds him," he told a news conference in Brazil, where he now manages Palmeiras.
He added: "This move is strange – although it’s not so strange to me because of what I went through there.
"Some things are known, like the relations with the owner, who has the relationship with some players before the coach.
"Villas-Boas was a champion and he will continue to be.
"He needed to replace at least seven or eight players, even since I was there, but he failed."
League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan was scathing about Chelsea’s latest decision to dispense with a manager.
"What’s for sure is the club, despite unlimited wealth, haven’t yet worked out how to build a successful football club," Bevan told BBC Radio Five Live.
"Looking for what is an eighth manager in nine years is a serious embarrassment to the owner, the club, the fans and the league."
Di Matteo was yesterday put in charge until the end of the season, although there have long been suggestions he is even less popular than Villas-Boas.
Bevan revealed how the Portuguese reacted to his sacking, which came after training yesterday and was delivered in person by Abramovich.
"He was very disappointed, frustrated, saddened, but his thoughts were for the club, the fans and indeed Roberto Di Matteo, wishing him well for the rest of the season," Bevan said.
Bevan claimed the frequent managerial changes at Stamford Bridge did not help Villas-Boas develop a relationship with his players.
"Players need to know that the manager’s strategy and his job is not in question, there’s a clear remit," he said.
"You get success if you get time, and stability will come from that. Otherwise it’s very difficult for a manager like Andre to impose his philosophy and build a team."
Villas-Boas’ side had won just three times in 12 league games and he had the lowest win percentage of any Chelsea manager since Glenn Hoddle.
Bevan added: "That might be the case. After only eight months, you can’t build that sort of success. The club’s still competing in the latter stages of the Champions League, the FA Cup and fighting for a top-four position. If you want success, you must look at the longer term."
Prior to Di Matteo’s appointment, speculation was rife Rafael Benitez had been approached to take charge for the rest of the season.
Reports suggested Benitez wanted a longer deal but his agent, Manuel Garcia Quilon, has told Spanish news agency EFE: "He is open to discuss any important options at the moment. So far there is no offer from Chelsea.
"We’ve heard the rumours but they are not true – we have had no contact."