Chelsea's sacked coach Grant exits from Britain

London, May 26 : Chelsea's ruthlessly sacked coach Avram Grant has left Britain.

The Israeli, who was axed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after the side's 6-5 defeat to Manchester United in the European Champions League final in Russia last week, cut a lonely figure as he left Heathrow for Tel Aviv. He, however, will get a five million pound pay-off. Grant looked typically gaunt and ashen-faced as he boarded the 3.35 p.m. flight to Tel Aviv and refused to answer questions.

The Sun quoted a senior Premier League source as saying that :"Football's gone mad. The decision to sack Avram after a successful season will send shivers down the spines of other managers."

Friends of Grant said he was "absolutely gutted" by Abramovich's decision.

The Russian billionaire called him to a meeting at his London mansion on Saturday, at which Grant is said to have pleaded for his job.

One pal said: "It was a long meeting, over two hours, and Avram tried to put his case forward about why he should stay in charge. He believes he has done a good job and that Roman, as a friend, would understand. He is very hurt. He thought Roman might stick by him."

Soccer legend and Sun columnist Jimmy Greaves, 68, said last night: "Avram's sacking says everything about football today. But then again, it's never been on the same level of thinking as the rest of world. You have to succeed immediately or you're out."

Abramovich is now tipped to replace him with Barcelona's Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard, who has fallen out of favour with the Spanish club.


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Story first published: Monday, May 26, 2008, 15:39 [IST]
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