• Wednesday, 14 December 2011

    Careful what you wish for

    Life hasn't been kind to Monaco fans recently. Dumped from Ligue 1 last season after a year-long struggle to do anything other than draw, they now find themselves bottom of Ligue 2 with one win from 18 games. But, lo, is that a light on the horizon in the shape of Russian fertiliser magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev? Well hold on and make sure that it's not a train coming the other way.

    There are plenty of Russian owners around. By contrast to many, Roman Abramovich seems to be one of the best - well, he did right up to the point at which he forced Andriy Shevchenko on Jose Mourinho. It's been a bit of a mess since. Then there's Ramzan Kadyrov at Terek Grozny, the Chechen leader, noted warlord, ballot stuffer and overseer of gross human rights abuses. Still, he got Hilary Swank to go to his 35th birthday, so he can't be all bad, right? Ruslan Chagaev takes the biscuit though. Another Chechen, he took over at Neuchatel Xamax - a solid enough if unspectacular club - and started with a bang, sacking the entire coaching staff a mere month after hiring them to replace the previous lot. Today, reports come in that Neuchatel have had four league points deducted for non-payment of wages. The club's former president, Gilbert Facchinetti, said at the time of Chagaev's takeover of the stricken club "We are not familiar with these people. But we have to be honest with ourselves: we have no other way".

    Rybolovlev may be the saviour that Monaco are looking for as he promises €200m of investment. But for crying out loud, Monagasques, do some due diligence. It'll be worth it in the long run.

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