I thought *I* would get a coaching gig before Gullit, but the story gets better.
Wait. It gets better.
I know what you're thinking. We're a headline and two sentences into a tiny wire service story, and it's already the greatest story of the young year. How could it better, you ask?
If he gives Terek Grozny fans one one-thousandth as much pleasure as this story has given me, Chechnya will be paradise on earth.
I'll save the sports v. politics speech for a later post, because it will be boring and wool-gathering and self-indulgent and such. But even "sports and politics are entirely separate" idealists and absolutists would probably see the distinction between representing a nation facing a questionable regime, and taking money from a questionable regime.
Gullit can't very well say "Look, I'm a pariah right now. No one in the civilized world will touch me. I have to rebuild my shattered reputation somehow."
Which, by the way, isn't true. He could be a commentator, like Matt Millen, and people would eventually forgive and forget Chelsea, Newcastle and Los Angeles. So he's the worst coach in the entire world - he was a superstar player. That's almost a cliche.
But bringing up the 1978 team is crass, not simply because it's a very painful memory for Dutch soccer. Gullit is the guy who bailed out on that same national team in 1994, for reasons that would be dignified by the term "murky." Lectures on sportsmanship from Gullit ring extremely hollow.
He might have warned Upper Deck, at least.
So Gullit hasn't gone completely crazy. At least he didn't add, "The easiest element will be counting all the money I'm going to make."
But Gullit might conceivably have bitten off more than he can chew...especially if he considered Tim Leiweke difficult to handle.
A Google search of Ramzan Kadyrov shows him to be a very misunderstood man trying to do what's best for his people in difficult...no, just kidding, he's a monster:
Oh, the context for that glowing testimonial:
Well, so he made a few compromises as a politician, it's not as if he had a militia named after himself out killing people.
Well, you can't make an omelette without kidnapping, torturing, and summarily executing a few eggs.
I mean, yeah, you may not like how the Revolution are doing, but Robert Kraft isn't getting column-length writeups in ********ing Human Rights Watch.
The perfect coach for the perfect team.
But Kadyrov isn't paying Gullit for his coaching acumen. He's paying for legitimacy. And Gullit is playing his role perfectly. Just an amped-up version of Berlusconi, one imagines Gullit thinking. And you thought the Cosmos were bad.
Hell, if Gullit does a good job, he could really put Grozny on the map. And Kadyrov's Gullit investment might really pay off. Soccer will be big business in that part of the world in about, oh, eight years or so. Will a tamed, unindependent, soccer-friendly Chechnya host a group game or two? Hey, Moscow and St. Pete can't host all the games. (I mean, a World Cup in only two cities? Who would consider such a thing?)
This is part of the reason you can't really separate politics and soccer, but that's a tangent for later. In the meantime, let's salute Gullit's devotion to making Chechnya a better place.
Anyway, it's not as if this is even the five-hundredth sleaziest story in international soccer these days.