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Good BYE MR NICE GUY!!!!!!!

PLUCKER2010-05-02 10:33:36 +0000 #1
When he lay staring at the ceiling of his prison cell, Graham Rix longed to be back in the open spaces of Chelsea's Harlington training ground. It was where he was happiest, where he worked best, where he felt needed and acclaimed.

Yesterday, Rix was in that favoured haunt but found himself almost as isolated as he had become in Wandsworth Jail. Claudio Ranieri had detonated another seismic change in his troubled life.

Ah, the vicissitudes of football. Only a few days ago Rix had been installed as the man who would replace, temporarily at least, Gianluca Vialli - sacked in last week's Stamford Bridge revolution.

Yet, yesterday we witnessed the other face of fame; the cruel rejection that happens when a new manager brings in his own coaching staff. Master tactician and superb organiser though he is, Rix yesterday became ostensibly redundant as the new Chelsea boss took training for the first time without appearing to consult him once.

First, Rix and coaching assistant Ray Wilkins watched as Ranieri's new assistant, Salvatore Antenucci, warmed up the players and put them through set routines. Later, when Ranieri held a seven-a-side match, Rix was again isolated.

At least Wilkins was summoned from time to time to act, it seemed, as an interpreter. But for Rix there was no involvement. Normally during training, the 42-year-old would be in the thick of the action. There would be banter and horseplay. But, under the watchful eye of the Italian and his new chief coach, the players appeared tense and serious.

Rix was not alone. Goal-keeping coach Eddie Niedzwiecki also stood and observed as Ranieri's new specialist Giorgio Pellizzano put the keepers through their paces. For Rix, however, such rejection must have turned his stomach. Chelsea stood by him stubbornly when he was imprisoned for offences against a minor last year.

But there was no safety net for him yesterday and it was impossible not to have an ounce of sympathy. At times, in frustration, he turned his back to watch the reserves on another pitch. There was a look of despair about him.

Ironically, Chelsea had indicated at the weekend that their current staff would not be threatened by the arrival of Ranieri and his team. Yesterday highlighted the transparency of that claim.

Ranieri has his own methods, tactics, training ideas and the men to make them work. His lack of English also makes it virtually impossible for him to talk football with Rix. The Italian has indicated he has some 'sorting out to do'. A two- hour team meeting on Monday and a look at the reserves has given him some idea of the task ahead.

At least Rix did not have to share his embarrassment with as many people as had booed Chelsea off the pitch on Sunday. Ranieri's arrival at the training complex had attracted a procession of curious fans, yet nobody was allowed in. Clearly, Chelsea were sensitive to prying eyes.

When work for the day was all over, there wasn't even a friendly arm placed around Rix's shoulder, just a slow walk back to the changing rooms. It was the other side of this glamorous game; the one where people get hurt and where heartbreak is only a result away.

zOla2010-05-02 10:36:20 +0000 #2
interesting... bud I doubt it was that bad



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