Avram Grant

Avram Grant

Infobox Football biography
playername = Avram Grant
אברם גרנט

fullname = Avraham Grant
dateofbirth = Birth date and age|1955|5|4
cityofbirth = Petah Tikva
countryofbirth = Israel
nickname = Avram, The Toad
currentclub =
manageryears = 1986–1991
managerclubs = Hapoel Petah Tikva
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Hapoel Haifa
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Maccabi Haifa

Avraam Grant ( _he. אברהם "אברם" גרנט; born Avraham Granat on 4 May 1955 in Petah Tikva, Israel) is an Israeli association football manager, most recently at Chelsea Football Club. 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 national team for a time.

Grant moved to England in 2006 to become Technical Director of Portsmouth F.C. before being appointed Director of Football at Chelsea F.C. 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7418774.stm Grant sacked as Chelsea manager] "BBC Sport" Retrieved 2008-05-24]



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 Sharf'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".cite news
title = A history of matches between Hapoel Petah Tikva and Maccabi Haifa
url = http://www.hpt.co.il/?article=6
publisher = The Hapoel Petah Tikva museum (Hebrew)
accessdate = 2007-09-23
] 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 the Ligat ha'Al 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 Ligat ha'Al 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 Ligat ha'Al 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 FC. ["Liverpool opponents expelled": http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/champions_league/1471169.stm]

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 FIFA 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 in Petah Tikva, Avi Nimni and Itzik Zohar in 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".cite news
title = Berkovic: Grant won Chelsea job in disgusting, disrespectful way
url = http://www.tribalfootball.com/article.php?id=58138
publisher = Tribalfootball.com
date = 2007-09-24
accessdate = 2007-10-04
] Another known critic of Grant in Israel is Shlomo Sharf, 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.cite news
title = Poor view of Wayne Rooney
url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/09/23/sfnwee123.xml
publisher = The Telegraph
date = 2007-09-23
accessdate = 2007-10-04
] cite news
title = Why Avraham Grant is the right man to succeed Mourinho
url = http://www.sportingo.com/football/why_avraham_grant_is_right/1001,4985
publisher = Sportingo.com
date = 2007-09-20
accessdate = 2007-10-04

Congolese forward Lomana LuaLua, presently of Olympiakos, 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 F.C. during LuaLua's stint at the club.


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.


A personal friend of Roman Abramovich, on 8 July 2007 Avram Grant was appointed Director of Football at Chelsea FC.cite news
title = Grant given position at Chelsea
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/6246796.stm
publisher = BBC Sport
date = 2007-07-08
accessdate = 2007-09-20
] After the departure of José Mourinho from Chelsea on September 20 2007, Grant was assigned the manager's role, with Steve Clarke, and later Henk ten Cate (on October 11, 2007) as his assistants, and becoming the first Israeli to manage an English football club. cite news
title = Chelsea name Grant as new manager
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7004083.stm
publisher = BBC Sport
date = 2007-09-20
accessdate = 2007-09-20
] cite news
title = Ten Cate completes Chelsea switch
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7040270.stm
publisher = BBC Sport
date = 2007-10-11
accessdate = 2007-10-11

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. [cite web
title=Chelsea 0-0 Fulham
work=BBC Sport
] Chelsea FC have 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." . [cite web
title=Chelsea angry at Grant barracking
work=BBC Sport
] 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. [cite web
title=Chelsea players: Grant 'not good enough'
work=The Guardian

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. [cite web
title=Valencia 1 Chelsea 2
work=The Sun
] 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. [cite web
title=Chelsea extend Grant's contract

In January 2008, Nicolas Anelka from Bolton Wanderers F.C., Branislav Ivanovic from Lokomotiv Moscow, and Franco Di Santo from Audax Italiano were added to Grant's team.

In February, Chelsea reached the 2008 League Cup final, its first competition final under Grant's management. They lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on February 24, with an extra time winner from centre-back Jonathan Woodgate. On March 8, at Barnsley FC, Chelsea were eliminated from the F.A Cup 1-0. On March 23, 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 FC 2-1. On April 26, Grant got his second big win when Chelsea beat Manchester United 2-1, to pull Chelsea into a tie at the top of the Premier League 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 FA 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 F.C. 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 unluckily lose out on the UEFA Champions League trophy in a penalty shootout which United won 6-5. Chelsea had the opportunity to win the trophy but John Terry slipped on his team's fifth penalty clipping the ball off the post and wide.

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. [cite web|url=http://www.chelseafc.com/xxchelsea180706/index.html#/page/Homepage/article_1318728|title=Grant Leaves Chelsea|publisher=chelseafc.com|accessdate=May 24|accessyear=2008] Grant later revealed that he turned down the opportunity to return to the club in his former role as director of football. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7421741.stm|title=Grant turned down old Chelsea job|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2008-05-27|accessdate=2008-05-27] 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.

Personal life

Grant is married to Israeli television personality Tzofit Grant. They have a son and a daughter.cite news
title = The weird one: Wife of new Chelsea boss is a Wag like no other
url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=483489&in_page_id=1879
publisher = Daily Mail
accessdate = 2007-09-25

Grant's father, Meir Granat, was born in Mława, Poland and deported with his family by the Soviet secret police to KolymaFact|date=June 2008, Siberia during the Second World War. After War was over he left Poland, escaping postwar anti-Jewish pogroms in Poland [ [http://www.thejc.com/Home.aspx?ParentId=m12s114&AId=57975&ATypeId=1&secid=14&prev=true The Jewish Chronicle - Avram Grant’s father and a sad Polish tale ] ] . His mother, Aliza Nisan, is an Iraqi Jewish immigrant who met Meir in Petach Tikvah [ [http://www.thejc.com/home.aspx?ParentId=m11&SecId=11&AId=57319&ATypeId=1 The Jewish Chronicle] ] . Most of his father's family were murdered during the Holocaust.cite news
title = I didn't stab Jose Mourinho in the back, says Avram Grant
url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/chelsea/article2512323.ece
publisher = The Sunday Times
accessdate = 2007-09-23
] .

Days before the 2008 League Cup final, it was Grant's father's 80th birthday, and Avram bought tickets for Meir to go to Wembley to watch his son's first final as a manager.Fact|date=March 2008 Grant said that Meir is his biggest idol because he is so optimistic even at 80, and even after surviving the Holocaust.
On February 20 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, and one of the notes said that Grant would "die a very slow and painful death". [cite news
title = Chelsea boss gets death threats
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7254547.stm
publisher = BBC
accessdate = 2008-02-20
] There were also threats of a sexual nature outlined against Grant's wife.



* With Hapoel Petah Tikva:
** Toto Cup (2): 1989/90; 1990/91
* With Maccabi Tel Aviv:
** Ligat ha'Al (Premier League) Championship (2): 1991/92; 1994/95
** Israel State Cup: 1993/94
** Toto Cup (2): 1992/93; 1998/99
* With Maccabi Haifa:
** Ligat ha'Al (Premier League) Championship (2): 2000/01; 2001/02
** Toto Cup: 2001/02


External links

* [http://www.goal.com/en-us/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=420328 Avram Grant, Goal.com profile]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/7004279.stm Avram Grant, BBC Sport profile]
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/09/20/ufnagrant.xml Avram Grant, Telegraph profile]

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