One clear conclusion that can be drawn from the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari after just over 7 months in charge at Chelsea is that Jose Mourinho’s shadow still looms large over Stamford Bridge.

Both Scolari - and Grant before him - have failed to deliver the success the Special One brought to West London during his glorious three year reign. The pair have fallen on their swords within under a year of each other.

Kenyon et al again find themselves scouring the world for a manager brave enough to pick up the poisoned chalice that the Chelsea job seems to be becoming as another manager is booted out.

As time progresses, it is very hard to see the sacking of Mourinho in September 2007 as anything other than a mistake. No trophies have been won since Mourinho departed for pastures new, and the club has hardly been a model of stability and harmony since.

But the charismatic Portuguese boss is long gone. He is hardly likely to walk back through Chelsea’s revolving managerial door and become the latest protagonist to try his hand at delivering what Roman Abramovich craves: success and style.

Back in the salad days of Scolari’s reign it looked as if he was the man to deliver this. Portsmouth were dispatched 4-0 on the opening day of the season and both Middlesbrough and Sunderland found themselves on the end of five goal demolition jobs.

Pundits and analysts lined up to commend this new Chelsea as they racked up the points and boosted their goal difference. They were considered favourites for the title and tipped to pick up at least a trophy or two come May.

Chelsea, it seemed, were playing sexy football. Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa marauded forward at every opportunity and Deco - an £8 million purchase from Barcelona in the summer - dazzled and wowed the Premier League.

But the visit of Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, October 26th 2008, proved to be a fateful turning point.

Xabi Alonso’s goal may have had a large slice of fortune to it, but Benitez’s men fully deserved to end Chelsea’s 86 match unbeaten home record. One of the hallmarks of Jose Mourinho’s reign was gone. Chelsea winning at home was almost taken as a given - set alongside taxes and death, but this result exposed frailties and brought myriad of problems to the fore.

Matters quickly took a turn for the worse. Burnley won a penalty shootout to knock the Blues out of the Carling Cup, and Arsenal pitched up at Stamford Bridge and won 2-1 thanks to a Robin Van Persie double.

The club’s Champions League campaign also began to stutter. Roma soundly beat Terry & co 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico and Cluj and Bordeaux both managed to hold Chelsea to draws on the road.

The lack of a cutting edge was one of the most galling aspects of Scolari’s reign at Chelsea. As the season progressed and teams began to fathom their tactics, Chelsea’s players found themselves frustrated. The bombing runs of Cole and Bosingwa became increasingly checked and a lack of width became painfully obvious.

This was exacerbated by a key ingredient that was missing from Scolari’s Brazilian blend - the fabled Plan B. If the passing game didn’t work, there weren’t any other options. Mourinho’s Chelsea could mix it up, they were equally adept on the ground as they were in the air. But Scolari was reluctant to play Didier Drogba, and often instead chose to bring him on as a substitute. As a result he has so far only contributed a solitary league goal to Chelsea’s title tilt.

Without his presence on the pitch the long ball was never an option. Instead, his colleagues persisted with a style of play that was blunt against resolute defences.

Scolari’s record against the rest of the ‘Big Four’ hardly made for pleasant reading and no doubt worked against him when the decision on his position was made. In all he faced his closest rivals five times and picked up just one point, that coming in a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United in September. The last two encounters with this group were particularly abject. Against both Manchester United (3-0) and Liverpool (2-0) Chelsea looked a pathetic shadow of their past glories, barely able to muster a shot on target and test the goal keeper, let alone score a goal.

As these problems began to manifest themselves, the unrest in the dressing room grew. John Terry and Frank Lampard flagged up the lack of intensity in training in a meeting with Scolari. Used to the more sedate pace of international management, Scolari seemed unable to keep up with the rigorous pace at club level.

Gradually, the disquiet amongst the fans also grew. Glowing platitudes and eulogies gave way to exasperated tirades at what a once great footballing force had become. Some sections of the Stamford Bridge crowd chanted that Scolari didn’t know what he was doing during last week’s 0-0 against Hull and the final whistle brought a chorus of boos.

However it would be unfair to totally lay the blame at the feet of Scolari. He inherited an ageing squad that was much the same as it was under Mourinho. It needed a youthful shot in the arm. Robinho was widely expected to arrive, but no one saw the drama of last summer’s transfer deadline day coming. If Robinho was currently wearing a darker shade of blue things could be very different.

The Brazilian was also not backed in the January transfer window as he thought he might have been. The credit crunch has hit everyone hard, even Roman Abramovich. As the Russian stock market took a pounding, so did his assets. This had a knock on effect for Scolari. He found his room for manoeuvre severely limited. Ricardo Quaresma was the only major signing last month, and even he only came in on loan until the end of the season.

The worst economic crisis in decades has claimed many revered financial institutions, and it has now played a part (albeit indirectly) in the downfall of one of world football’s most respected figures.

The ruthlessness of the decision will surprise many, and some will lament the lack of time given to managers in the increasingly unforgiving and cut throat world of the Premier League. The Chelsea board clearly feel as if the rot had to be stopped - even if it will take their total severance pay paid to managers since Roman Abramovich took over to around £40 million.

In the end, the So-So One failed both because of factors within and beyond his means of control. He was a dignified and likeable addition to the English game, but crucially he lacked a steel and ruthlessness that characterises the most important and long lasting group of characters in the Premier League: the winners.

The 'Special One' Still Looms Large Over Crisis Ridden Stamford Bridge