Analysis / Proving Himself, All Over Again

Avram Grant's return to Portsmouth is the perfect time to drop the two-year-old debate here about why Chelsea appointed the Israeli as its coach, not to mention the question why he was fired after eight months.

Both sides of the argument have their theories and proofs. No one will convince his opponents that the reason is not related to high-level politics or connections with owner Roman Abramovich, or alternately an exceptional understanding of soccer, magical influence over his players or tactical ability.

Some say you have to get it right the first time, but Grant is getting a second chance in the Premier League to prove to his detractors that he belongs there. Portsmouth is a soccer team in trouble, with mediocre players and an energetic new owner - who being a Saudi living in Riyadh lends creedence to the assertion that Grant is first and foremost considered a citizen of the world, and only afterward Israeli. It is a team that needs a lot of fixing between now and the January transfer window. In short, Grant has a lot to do.

Some recent reports about various offers to Grant were likely publicity spins or pre-negotiation tactics, but some of them were serious. Grant could have taken on a national team, if he had been prepared to compromise. It is a tempting offer - just ask Israel's Dror Kashtan and his assistant, Moshe Sinai.

When Grant declares he wanted to coach in England, believe him. He's not lacking for time or money - he simply wants to be back in England. His desire is to return and be involved day-to-day in the life of a soccer club, because he needs to prove to himself, Abramovich and all of England that he deserves to be there, again.