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Avram Grant
Avram Grant (2008).jpg
Personal information
Full name Avraham Granat
Date of birth 4 May 1955 (1955-05-04) (age 54)
Place of birth Petah Tikva, Israel
Club information
Current club Portsmouth
Teams managed
Years Team
1986–1991 Hapoel Petah Tikva
1991–1995 Maccabi Tel Aviv
1995–1996 Hapoel Haifa
1996–2000 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2000–2002 Maccabi Haifa
2002–2006 Israel
2007–2008 Chelsea
2009– Portsmouth

Avraham "Avram" Grant (Hebrew: אברהם "אברם" גרנט‎; born Avraham Granat[1] on 4 May 1955) is an Israeli association football manager, currently at Portsmouth. Grant has spent the majority of his career coaching and managing in Israel, winning a number of national league and cup victories with different teams, and also managing the Israeli National Team for four years.

Grant moved to England in 2006 to become Technical Director of Portsmouth before being appointed Director of football at Chelsea in July 2007. Two months later, in September 2007, following the departure of José Mourinho, Grant was appointed manager of Chelsea. Despite steering the team into the Champions League final, the League Cup final and contesting the Premier League title to the last day, his contract was terminated at the end of the season.[2]

Grant returned to Portsmouth as Director of football in October 2009, and was made manager the following month.[3]

Contents

Career

Israel

Grant's professional coaching career started at age 18, in 1972, as youth coach of his home-town team, Hapoel Petah Tikva. In 1986, After a 14-year spell in this job, he was promoted to first team coach, leading the club to two Toto Cup victories, in 1990 and 1991, thus bringing Hapoel Petah Tikva back to the top of Israeli football after nearly 25 years. During this era Petah Tikva fought regularly for the championship against Shlomo Scharf's Maccabi Haifa. In his last season in Petah Tikva, Grant lost both the championship and the Israel State Cup within 3 days to Maccabi Haifa, in a chain of events which is commonly known in Israel as "the Double robbery".[4] The next year the club won its first major title in 30 years, by winning its second-ever Israeli Cup.

The following season Grant moved to coach Maccabi Tel Aviv winning Liga Leumit (then the top division) in his first season with them, with a 13-point advantage over the second place team. Maccabi Tel Aviv lost out closely in the final of the Israeli Cup and was thus denied a historic double. The cup was won by Maccabi Tel Aviv under Grant's control, however, in 1994, followed with another championship in 1995.

Following this, Grant moved to Hapoel Haifa for what has been described as a short and unsuccessful spell, finishing fourth in the Israeli championship. Grant returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv between 1997 and 2000, although this period was less successful than his previous one at the club, winning just the Toto Cup in 1999.

Grant moved to Maccabi Haifa in 2000, where he coached until 2002. There, he led the team to great success, winning the Israeli Premier League in 2001 and 2002, as well as the Toto Cup in 2002, whilst narrowly missing out on the Israeli Cup, to miss winning the treble. In 2001 the club participated in the 2nd qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League competition against the Finnish team FC Haka. Despite winning both legs (1-0 and 4-0) with an aggregate score of 5-0 the club did not progress further. The use of Walid Badir as a substitute in the final ten minutes of the second leg while under suspension caused disqualification on the grounds of "culpable negligence" and FC Haka proceeded to the next round against Liverpool.[5]

Israeli national team

After leaving Haifa in 2002, Grant became the youngest team coach of Israel, replacing the former Denmark coach Richard Møller Nielsen. The team participated in Group 1 of the UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying round but finished third and so did not take part in the finals in Portugal.

Although not qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, Israel finished third in their qualifying group behind winners France and runners-up Switzerland. Israel missed on qualification to the finals, despite remaining undefeated in the group with four wins and six draws.

Management style

Grant is known in Israel for giving a chance to young players in almost every club he coached, such as Alon Hazan and goalkeeper Raffi Cohen at Petah Tikva, Avi Nimni and Itzik Zohar at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Gal Alberman in the Israeli team, and many more. Grant famously did not include Israeli star Eyal Berkovic in the national squad during 2005, saying he wanted to create "a younger team", but, nonetheless, retaining 34 year-old Avi Nimni. In 2007, Berkovic described the way Grant became Chelsea's manager as "disgusting" and "disrespectful".[6] Another known critic of Grant in Israel is Shlomo Scharf, who was Israel's coach during most of the nineties.

Grant, as is also the case with another coach from Petah Tikva, current Israel coach Dror Kashtan, is considered one of the most successful Israeli coaches. He has a reputation of a lucky winner in Israel, which caused the invention of the frequently used humorous term 'Hatachat shel Avram'. This means 'Avram's Ass', a reference to the allegedly large amount of luck Grant enjoyed during the 2006 World Cup campaign.[7][8]

Congolese forward Lomana LuaLua, presently of Al-Arabi Sports Club, stated that it was Grant's encouragement and emotional support that kept him from ending his career after the loss of his son Yoshuha to pneumonia. Grant was director of football at Portsmouth during LuaLua's stint at the club.

England

In October 2005, Grant announced that he would step down from the national team as his contract was due to expire in June of the following year. Subsequently, he took up the position of Technical Director at Portsmouth in June 2006, overseeing Harry Redknapp's side.

Chelsea

Grant with Chelsea

A personal friend of Roman Abramovich, on 8 July 2007 Avram Grant was appointed Director of Football at Chelsea FC.[9] After the departure of José Mourinho from Chelsea on 20 September 2007, Grant was assigned the manager's role, with Steve Clarke, and later Henk ten Cate (on 11 October 2007) as his assistants, and becoming the first Israeli to manage an English football club.[10][11]

A number of Chelsea fans did not take well to Grant's appointment. They protested Mourinho's departure, holding banners at games, which read "Mourinho - The Special One", and chanting Mourinho's name.[12] Chelsea stated that some of the protests directed towards Grant constituted abuse of a racist nature. Bruce Buck, chairman of Chelsea, claims they have received points of view which are racist and anti-semitic. Buck stated: "[This] unfairly smears the reputation of the vast majority of the Chelsea fans who rightly do not want to be associated with such activity." .[13] However, many Chelsea fans felt their objections against Grant being appointed as the team's manager are justified, citing his "lack of expertise at the highest levels of football" and Grant's lack of a formal UEFA qualification as manager. Several unnamed Chelsea players have been quoted as saying Grant's methods are "25 years behind the times" and "Chelsea deserve a bigger coach than him. Grant does not have the quality to coach a team like this. When we play big opponents we will suffer because of him." At least one member of Grant's coaching staff told friends that they will consider leaving the club if there is no further change in management.[14]

Grant faced his first game only 3 days after taking up the manager's role, losing 2–0 to Manchester United on 24 September. At his first UEFA Champions League match as a coach (with Chelsea and in general) he led Chelsea to a 2–1 away win over Valencia, replicating one of Mourinho's most celebrated wins.[15] Chelsea went on to register a 16-game unbeaten run under Grant, including beating Manchester City 6-0 in one of Chelsea's biggest wins. Subsequently, Grant was offered and signed a four-year contract with Chelsea in December 2007.[16]

In January 2008, Nicolas Anelka from Bolton Wanderers, Branislav Ivanović from Lokomotiv Moscow, and Franco Di Santo from Audax Italiano were added to Grant's Chelsea squad.

In February, Chelsea reached the 2008 League Cup Final, their first competition final under Grant's management. They lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on 24 February, with an extra time winner from centre-back Jonathan Woodgate. On 8 March, at Barnsley, Chelsea were eliminated from the FA Cup 1-0. On 23 March, Grant secured his first win against one of the other big four clubs when Chelsea came from behind after two substitutions that were ridiculed by Chelsea fans to beat Arsenal 2-1. On 26 April, Grant got his second big win when Chelsea beat Manchester United 2-1, to move Chelsea into second place in the Premier League level on points with first place Manchester United with two games remaining in the season. They eventually finished the season in second place, as the team had done the previous year.

Grant was chosen as Premier League Manager of the Month in April in his first season as Chelsea's manager.

On 30 April 2008, Grant's Chelsea beat Liverpool 3-2 (4-3 on aggregate) to advance to the UEFA Champions League final, something they failed to achieve under former manager José Mourinho. Chelsea drew 1-1 with Manchester United in the final, only to lose out on the European Cup in a penalty shootout which United won 6-5. In the heavy rain, John Terry slipped on his team's fifth penalty, clipping the ball off the post and wide. Had he scored, Chelsea would have won the tournament.[17]

Three days later, at around 6pm on 24 May 2008, Chelsea announced in a statement on its website that Grant's contract had been terminated with immediate effect.[18] Grant later revealed that he turned down the opportunity to return to the club in his former role as director of football.[19] Just as his predecessor José Mourinho had done, Grant completed his period as Chelsea manager without losing a single home game in the Premier League.

Portsmouth

On 7 October 2009, Grant returned to Portsmouth as their new Director of football, following the purchase of the club by Ali al-Faraj.[20] On 26 November 2009, following the release of Paul Hart, Grant was confirmed as the new manager of the club.[21] His first game as manager was a 4–1 defeat at home to Manchester United on 28 November 2009. This was followed by a 4–2 home defeat to Aston Villa in the Carling Cup. His first win with Pompey arrived in the Premier League on 5 December 2009, with a 2–0 win over Burnley[22] Following this he led Portsmouth to a 2–0 win over Liverpool to bring his new side level on points at the foot of the table.

Personal life

Grant is married to Israeli television personality Tzufit Grant. They have a son and a daughter.[23]

Grant's father, Meir Granat, was born in Mława, Poland and deported to Kolyma, Siberia during the Second World War, Grant has said that most of his family died in the Holocaust and that his father had buried his parents, sisters and brothers with his own hands. His mother, Aliza Nisan, is an Iraqi Jewish immigrant who met Meir in Petah Tikva.[24] In October 2009, Grant's father died aged 82 from complications following surgery to remove a kidney stone. Grant had flown to Israel and was by his side.[25]

On 20 February 2008, Chelsea Football Club announced that Grant had received anti-Semitic death threats from unknown sources. One of the packages sent to Grant's home was said to have contained a white powder, that after investigation was proved to be harmless.[26]

On 23 December 2009, The Sun reported that an unnamed Premier League manager had been confronted by its journalists outside an alleged brothel. The newspaper declined to name the manager in the story, citing the risk of a privacy lawsuit.[27] On 4 February 2010, it was reported that Grant was facing police questioning over the incident on 18 December 2009, and that police were investigating the alleged Thai brothel in Horton Heath, Hampshire.[28]

Manager

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Hapoel Petah Tikva Israel 1986 1991 &0000000000000158.000000158 &0000000000000072.00000072 &0000000000000052.00000052 &0000000000000034.00000034 &0000000000000045.57000045.57
Maccabi Tel Aviv Israel 1991 1995
Hapoel Haifa Israel 1995 1996 &0000000000000030.00000030 &0000000000000019.00000019 &0000000000000007.0000007 &0000000000000004.0000004 &0000000000000063.33000063.33
Maccabi Tel Aviv Israel 1996 2000
Maccabi Haifa Israel 2000 2002 &0000000000000071.00000071 &0000000000000046.00000046 &0000000000000019.00000019 &0000000000000006.0000006 &0000000000000064.79000064.79
Israel Israel 2002 2005 &0000000000000033.00000033 &0000000000000014.00000014 &0000000000000013.00000013 &0000000000000006.0000006 &0000000000000042.42000042.42
Chelsea England 2007 2008 &0000000000000054.00000054 &0000000000000036.00000036 &0000000000000012.00000012 &0000000000000006.0000006 &0000000000000066.67000066.67
Portsmouth England 2009 &0000000000000022.00000022 &0000000000000007.0000007 &0000000000000004.0000004 &0000000000000011.00000011 &0000000000000031.82000031.82

Honours

References

  1. ^ "Avram Grant: Out of the blue". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/avram-grant-out-of-the-blue-820382.html. Retrieved December 15th, 2009. 
  2. ^ Grant sacked as Chelsea manager BBC Sport Retrieved 24 May 2008
  3. ^ "Grant to be boss". Portsmouth football club. http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/News/news/Grant-To-Be-Boss.aspx. Retrieved November 26th, 2009. 
  4. ^ "A history of matches between Hapoel Petah Tikva and Maccabi Haifa". The Hapoel Petah Tikva museum (Hebrew). http://www.hpt.co.il/?article=6. Retrieved 23 September 2007. 
  5. ^ Liverpool opponents expelled BBC Sport
  6. ^ "Berkovic: Grant won Chelsea job in disgusting, disrespectful way". Tribalfootball.com. 24 September 2007. http://www.tribalfootball.com/article.php?id=58138. Retrieved 4 October 2007. 
  7. ^ "Poor view of Wayne Rooney". The Daily Telegraph. 23 September 2007. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/09/23/sfnwee123.xml. Retrieved 4 October 2007. 
  8. ^ "Why Avraham Grant is the right man to succeed Mourinho". Sportingo.com. 20 September 2007. http://www.sportingo.com/football/why_avraham_grant_is_right/1001,4985. Retrieved 4 October 2007. 
  9. ^ "Grant given position at Chelsea". BBC Sport. 8 July 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/6246796.stm. Retrieved 20 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "Chelsea name Grant as new manager". BBC Sport. 20 September 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7004083.stm. Retrieved 20 September 2007. 
  11. ^ "Ten Cate completes Chelsea switch". BBC Sport. 11 October 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7040270.stm. Retrieved 11 October 2007. 
  12. ^ "Chelsea 0-0 Fulham". BBC Sport. 29 September 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7008196.stm. Retrieved 30 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "Chelsea angry at Grant barracking". BBC Sport. 30 September 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7020854.stm. Retrieved 30 September 2007. 
  14. ^ "Chelsea players: Grant 'not good enough'". The Guardian. http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,2180213,00.html. Retrieved 30 September 2007. 
  15. ^ "Valencia 1 Chelsea 2". The Sun. http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2002390000-2007460142,00.html. Retrieved 4 October 2007. 
  16. ^ "Chelsea extend Grant's contract". BBC Sport. 13 December 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7143125.stm. Retrieved 14 December 2007. 
  17. ^ "Penalty miss will haunt me forever, says distraught Terry". Reuters. 25 May 2008. http://football.uk.reuters.com/champleague/news/L25590732.php. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  18. ^ "Grant Leaves Chelsea". chelseafc.com. http://www.chelseafc.com/xxchelsea180706/index.html#/page/Homepage/article_1318728. Retrieved 24 May 2008. 
  19. ^ "Grant turned down old Chelsea job". BBC Sport. 27 May 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7421741.stm. Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  20. ^ "Grant seals return to Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 7 October 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/p/portsmouth/8295129.stm. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  21. ^ "Grant to be boss". Portsmouth F.C.. http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/News/Grant-To-Be-Boss.aspx. 
  22. ^ "Portsmouth 2-0 Burnley". BBC Sport. 5 December 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/8390381.stm. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  23. ^ "The weird one: Wife of new Chelsea boss is a Wag like no other". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=483489&in_page_id=1879. Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
  24. ^ "I didn't stab Jose Mourinho in the back, says Avram Grant". London: The Sunday Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/chelsea/article2512323.ece. Retrieved 23 September 2007. 
  25. ^ "Avram Grant's father dies". The Jewish Chronicle. http://www.thejc.com/sport/sport-news/21093/avram-grants-father-dies. Retrieved December 25th, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Chelsea boss gets death threats". BBC. 20 February 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7254547.stm. Retrieved 20 February 2008. 
  27. ^ "Premier League boss caught in a brothel". The Sun. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2782226/Married-Premier-League-boss-caught-in-a-brothel.html. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  28. ^ "Avram Grant: Premier League boss's brothel visit". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/news/7151797/Avram-Grant-Premier-League-bosss-brothel-visit.html. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 

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