Le Saux: ‘Avram should be given another go’

By Andrew Pentol, September 4, 2008

Former Chelsea and England defender Graeme Le Saux believes Avram Grant would be right to consider a return to the Premiership after leading Chelsea to the brink of Premiership and Champions League glory during his one season in charge.

Le Saux, who made 140 appearances for the West London club and represented his country 36 times, sympathised with Grant but feels he will benefit from the experience of coping with the harsh treatment of the English media.

"It was always going to be tough filling the boots of Jose Mourinho as the relationship Jose had with British football had been incredibly intense and passionate," he said. "People had not heard of him and were unaware of his background and credentials. He was naturally shy and dour in his manner which gave people the opportunity to be critical of him.

"Avram did extremely well to close the gap on Manchester United and maintain the club's fabulous home record. He did not deserve the constant barrage surrounding his personal background."

As reported, Grant is being lined up as the next manager of Portsmouth. Le Saux said: "I'm sure he would consider a return to England if the circumstances were right."

Le Saux currently helps develop Chelsea's corporate social responsibility programme. He praised the contribution of chairman Roman Abramovich who bought the club five years ago.

"He has put a lot of money into building the club from its foundations," he said. "And for that he obviously has a special relationship with the club and its supporters. As a person I have always found him understated, unassuming and very friendly and always enjoy his company.

"It has not all been about the getting the team to where it is in such a short space of time, but improving the club's infrastructure. The level it is at now in terms of training facilities, ground and academy is absolutely amazing."

Le Saux also sees little to stop the Russian mogul continuing his association with Chelsea for years to come. "I definitely think he is there for the long-haul," he said, "and don't see why he would want to leave having invested the time, effort and money.

"If you see him at a game he is engaged with the match and on the edge of his seat during the nervous
moments."

Graeme Le Saux was part of a panel at the Young Magen David Adom charity event held in North West London.

    Last updated: 4:56pm, March 2 2009