Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Galaxy's ex takes on Russian job
By Scott French
Dutch legend Ruud Gullit, whose spotty bench resume features short tenures in charge at Chelsea, Newcastle United, Feyenoord and, of course, the Galaxy, is returning to coaching. In Russia.
Terek Grozny has reached agreement on an 18-month contract with Gullit, the Chechen club announced Tuesday on its website. The team finished 12th last season in the Russian Premier League, and club president Ramzan Kadyrov -- also Chechnya's president -- has asked Gullit for a finish among the top eight next season.
Gullit, an iconic midfielder who starred for Holland's national team and several top clubs, most notably AC Milan, was center of one of the Galaxy's most misguided maneuvers. The club gave David Beckham's management team the reins to replace Frank Yallop, bypassing general manager Alexi Lalas to bring in Gullit as coach following the 2007 season for a league-record $2 million per.
Gullit seemed out of his depth from the start. He struggled with Major League Soccer's roster rules, clashed with players (who claimed he didn't respect them), showed no feel whatsoever for detail (nor defense) and too often seemed distracted. He resigned in August 2008, with a 6-8-5 record -- L.A. had surrendered multiple goals in 14 of the 19 games -- and Bruce Arena took charge soon after. We know how that's worked out.
Gullit was superb as an analyst (alongside Lalas, also outstanding) during ESPN/ABC's coverage of last summer's World Cup in South Africa, and he's been lauded for his TV work in England and Holland. That seems the better world for his talents. He's lasted more than a year in charge of just one club -- Chelsea, with which he won the English F.A. Cup in 1997 -- and has never come close to fulfilling a coaching contract.