Roberto Di Matteo was expecting he and Andre Villas-Boas would both be sacked after this fixture last season, and certainly did not expect to temporarily take the helm.
Roberto recalls fearing the worst when Roman Abramovich, Eugene Tenenbaum and chief executive Ron Gourlay entered his office at Chelsea´s Cobham training facility. The twist was that he was being promoted to care-taker manager in place of the then manager, AVB.
Who could have expected what would follow? From turning around what looked to be a disaster, to winning the FA Cup and then going on to be crowned champions of Europe in may.
The Italian Maestro confessed: “In my heart, I did think I was going to be sacked, yes.
“Quite frankly, I thought it was going to happen. I more or less thought I was going to be told to leave.
“It’s never nice to hear those words, although it makes you stronger for the future and it was a very emotional day for us even before I was told what they wanted me to do.”
The manager was then asked of any friction between him and West Brom, where he earned promotion to the Premier League and then was sacked, somewhat surprisingly, and then replaced by Roy Hodgson, and he insisted that he had “no grudges” with the Hawthorns hierarchy.
“In a manager’s career you’re going to get the sack at some point.”
Roberto continued: “Was I surprised when I was sacked? That’s football. That’s life. Look at where I’m sitting now, so I’m not so sure it was a bad thing.”
So lets all thank the West Bromwich Albion hierarchy, for sacking Roberto at the time, and big thanks go out to Roman Abramovich, who had he not promoted the Italian at the time, we would probably not have had anything to celebrate last season. My final thanks goes to RDM himself, who led the team to those great triumphs last season. Now lets really get behind our team today, and help them put their current lack of form behind them.