As a club manager, it’s vital to have a strong relationship with your chairman and owner. Chelsea is a great example of this. When the team is winning, Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of the Blues, is your best friend, often showering gifts onto coaches as he basks in the positivity a victory run can bring. But when the times get tough, Abramovich is the last person you want near you, becoming more like a petulant child who will not take no for an answer. Many coaches have eventually fallen from grace at Chelsea – Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Ancelotti, Villas Boas – after falling out of favour with Roman. Ultimately this is his club, he owns the ground,employs the players and the staff so if he doesn’t like what he see, he changes it. Roberto Di Matteo has managed to give himself breathing room for the time being and win favour from Abramovich by securing the prize he wanted the most – the Champions League but now into his first full season in charge, he is under pressure to exceed again, not only domestically but in Europe as well. It may be only a matter of time before the wealthy Russian is sharpening his axe once more.
Just down the M4, another Russian is settling into life as a Premiership chairman for the first time. Anton Zingarevich arrived at the Madejski Stadium in May 2012 after purchasing then Championship side Reading from its owner, Sir John Madejski. Using his company, Thames Sport Investment, he bought the club just as it secured a return to the Premiership and promised money to manager Brian McDermott for the forthcoming campaign. He has duly delivered and has forged a strong relationship with McDermott as the two worked closely to secure signings like Russian international striker, Pavel Pogrebnyak from under the noses of Fulham. McDermott praised Zingarevich’s contribution and a friendship blossomed between the two.
However results haven’t been fantastic this season and Reading find themselves 3rd from bottom with only 6 points from the first 10 games which must add strain and pressure to their relationship. Like any good couple, disagreements are common but are often resolved by talking and some time away from things. Asked by TalkSport if he felt his relationship with Zingarevich had been fractured and a rift had emerged between them, he was quick to stomp out the rumours as untrue:
“That’s nonsense. I don’t know where that came from. We went for a drink after the Arsenal game. We talked about players and we talked about football”
“He watched the game. We went to a local pub in west London. I stayed in the hotel with him that night. We had a few drinks with the locals. They all talked about the game the night before. We talked about different players, went back to his hotel, had a drink back there and then went to bed. We woke up the next day, had another chat and that was it”
McDermott may have revealed too much about his relationship with his chairman but it would appear as though the two are still very close. But as the season progresses, Zingarevich will be looking for McDermott to show to him that he is still the right man for him and for Reading or if divorce is on the cards for the two.
To hear the full interview for yourself, click here: http://www.talksport.co.uk/sports-news/football/premier-league/121110/exclusive-%E2%80%93-mcdermott-dismisses-zingarevich-feud-184996