This way it would improve the national team. Abramovich felt an affinity for Israel, he wanted to do something for them. But Leviev pulled out because football is played on a Saturday, which goes against his strong religious beliefs.'
Instead Grant moved to Portsmouth and then to Stamford Bridge this summer as director of football. Now, though he must seek a dispensation to work without some of the required coaching badges, he is manager. Thirty-five years after beginning his working life running the children's team at Hapoel Petah Tikva, his hometown club with a ground known as The Stable, Grant will send out the Chelsea team in front of 75,000 at Old Trafford today.
Grant, 52, has never played professionally or taken charge of a team outside his native country. He won two league titles at both Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa, earning the latter a place in the Champions League for the first time in 2001.