Thursday, 20 January 2011

Gullit takes over at Terek Grozny!

A sniper keeps watch as Terek play Dynamo Moscow.
The Independent asks whether it might be ’the worst football transfer in the world’.  On his blog, ‘I - Kadyrov’, the President of Chechnya has already announced that he expects a top five finish.  Ruud Gullit is certainly taking on a different type of pressure by accepting the manager’s post at Terek Grozny.

Ramzan Kadyrov, whose authority in Chechnya is total, is the president of Terek, as well as the autonomous Russian republic.  There's plenty of back material on the blog dealing with the unpalatable compromise which Moscow reached with this thug, in order to achieve a little stability in the Caucasus.

Gullit will answer to him and, in any clash of egos, the gangster and former guerrilla fighter could be substantially more formidable than Ken Bates.

Terek currently play in the Russian Premier League, bankrolled by Kadyrov.  The club’s most famous achievement was an unlikely victory in 2004, when Grozny, then in the second tier, beat Kryla Sovetov from Samara in the Russian Cup final.

There’s a bit less romance to Gullit’s arrival, which must be oiled by huge amounts of money, but it is equally bemusing.  The former Netherlands captain could accumulate riches in the Middle East or the US, but he has chosen to manage in dangerous, brutally governed, semi-Islamist Chechnya.

The club only returned to play its home games in Grozny in 2007, after winning the cup from a base in neighbouring Stavropol.  Teams from the Russian south also receive a famously hostile reception from supporters in Moscow and other more northerly regions.

For one of the stars of European football, this will be a different experience.  Will he stick with it for more than a few days, or can we expect to see Gullit beat a hasty retreat?

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