Over the last few weeks, we here on the Paddy Power blog have developed a bit of a man crush on Robert Di Matteo (41). And no, don’t go and tell him we like him. That would be, like, totally embarrassing. We doubt we’re alone in this sentiment and if he leads Chelsea to European glory then there’ll be a rush to join the Di Matteo #mancrush team.
By the end of his tenure at West Bromwich Albion Robert Di Matteo looked like another in the long list of over-hyped up-and-coming young managers. In 2009 he led them to promotion from the Championship in his first year in charge but 18 months later he was on track to lead them right back down again. He was given the push in February 2011 and Roy Hodgson stepped in.
Hodgson is now set to manage at Euro 2012 and Di Matteo is about to manage in a Champions League Final. A mere coincidence? Yes.
Taking a coaching role at Chelsea under the man he would go on to replace, Andre-Villas Boas (34), looked to be an admission of management failure. Particularly having been unsuccessful in applying for the then available Birmingham job. Plus at Stamford Bridge there was less chance of being involved in any of that tarring relegation business.
However, one young Portuguese’s misfortune is another slightly-less young Italian’s fortune. When AVB was given the push in March, Di Matteo was installed as little more than a place-holder. An inexpensive scape-goat should Chelsea’s season get even worse.
Di Matteo has been no scape-goat though. This man has been a mountain-goat. Effortlessly skipping across precipices, avoiding falling rocks by the merest of margins, riding landslides to his point of destination then disembarking unharmed.
Some may call him lucky. Some may call him balding. Some may call him Alessandro because they don’t know who he is but he looks like an Alesandro so they figured they’d take a shot. We call him dreamy.
For the cool manner with which he has steered Chelsea to FA Cup success, a Champions League final and to the brink of a top four finish (depending on tonight’s game against Liverpool), we’re officially declaring our Man Love for the 4/7 favourite to be the next permanent Chelsea manager.
Like a WAG our affections are triggered by success so this man crush may not last forever. For now though Roberto Di Matteo we love you. In a manly way. Because we’re men. In a vague sort of way.