1. A relatively brief period when a new leader is given greater leeway with respect to changes he or she wishes to make.
U.S. Presidents usually get a lot done at the very beginning of their terms, when they have a honeymoon period with Congress.
2. The length of time at the start of something new, particularly a new job, in which mistakes may be overlooked.
He said that, had it not still been my honeymoon period, I would have been fired.
Rejuvenated. Resurgent. Reinvigorated. In the last couple of weeks, these are the words that have either preceeded or followed Chelsea in the media. On the back of four victories, Chelsea under Roberto Di Matteo are, apparently, a different team. Gone is any evidence of Andre Villas Boas’ white shirts. Gone is his desire to replace the old guard. Gone is a sulking Frank Lampard on a bench. The status quo has been restored.
Since Andre Villas Boas’ sacking, the Blues are unbeaten. Four wins and the memories of Andre are being quickly consigned to history.
The Blues spectacularly overturned a two goal deficit in the Champions League to beat Napoli. They have beaten a stubborn Stoke and are progressing the in the FA Cup. Even Fernanado Torres is scoring, albeit against a Championship side, to which twitterers mocked: “He seems to have found his level.”
Roberto Di Matteo being embraced by his players after that unforgettable victory over Napoli attempted to signal togetherness. How long will this current honeymoon last? The fragility of Chelsea’s aging squad was all to apparent in the early part of this season. It will surely rear its ugly head again. Or David Luiz’s.
Di Matteo himself was a cog in the wheel of the old regime that failed so miserably to bring change. He has been commended for, well, changing very little. All that has changed is the removal of a manager not wanted, understood or believed to be talented enough to turn the London club around.
How long before the caretaker manager starts to see those prevalent cracks in his defence? When will Didier Drogba’s infrequent good performances mean he’s not worth his place on the team sheet? Perhaps the answer lies in that Di Matteo is merely a puppet ruler, his strings so expertly being pulled by a certain John Terry? It’s as plausible to believe as believing player power caused the untimely demise of Villas Boas. Terry was seen barking out orders during their victory over Napoli which suggets that his role might be more important than some would think. This relationship will be as temptous as previous at the club. The only saving grace could be in the very nature of Di Matteo’s role – it’s temporary.
However, honeymoon periods at Stamdord Bridge have been part of what Chelsea have been about in the Abramovich era. When will his Messaic powers be suddenly dimissed by consecutive defeats?
The first marriage, and thus the first honeymoon, is always the longest. And, as history tells us, it also contains the best sex. Sex being silverware in this particular metaphor. Two Premier League trophies in successive seasons and a League Cup meant Jose was the toast of the town for a long time. However, the beginning of the end of the honeymoon started with the signings of Andrei Shevchenko and Michael Ballack and the sale of Eidur Gudjohnson to Barcelona. Even as success continued on the field, the cracks in the relationship grew larger. By the beginning of the 2007-08 season the team had lost to Aston Villa as well as a goalless draw with Blackburn. The Honeymoon was over and only a few weeks later the Portugese’s relationship with Chelsea ended.
Baron Silas Greenback (aka Avram Grant)
The Israeli’s appointment as the Chelsea manager was classic friends with benefits (fwb). Grant is – or more likely was – a close friend of the Russian owner and was installed as the Blues boss in September 2007 folloing Jose’s departure. This honeymoon wouldn’t last too long. After just a few weeks in charge, unamed players – who for the sake of anonymity we’ll call Mr T and Mr L – were unhappy at the coach’s outdated training regimes. However, a 16-game unbeaten run would follow that put the club in contention for several major hounours. Winning the League Cup was followed by humiliation in the FA Cup in a 1 – 0 defeat to Barnsley. The honeymoon was over. Quickly it was apparent that only the Premier League title or the Champions League would save his bacon, neither of which he achieved.
Gene Hackman (aka Big Phil Scolari)
Ah Big Phil. You came, you saw, you had a fling. Being a World Cup winning manager might seem like a high lievel of pedigree for the Premier League but the Brazillian’s honeymoon didn’t last too long. Chelsea’s record of 86 matches unbeaten – maintained under Grant – came to an end against Liverpool in October 2008. It was the end of his honeymoon at Stamford Bridge. Defeats to Burnley in the Carling Cup and unfavourable results against the big four led to his ultimate downfall.
More FWB action in February ’09. Roman had bankrolled the Russian Fedearion to secure the Dutchman as their national team boss and the oligarch expected the favour returned following the departure of Luis Felip Scolari. Hiddink took the reigns and was a suitable boss to stabilise the club, finishing the season with some success. Despite the brief nature of his time at the helm, he managed to bring the club the FA Cup trophy, losing only once in his 16 matches. The temporary nature of his time has similarities with Di Matteo’s current stint.
The Italian succeeded Hiddink in June ’09 becoming the fourth manager in 21 months at Stamford Bridge. It wasn’t till September 26th that he lost his first game which came ignominiously at the hands of Wigan in the Premier League. Losing to Blackburn in the League Cup was quickly followed in March when Inter Milan knocked the Blues out of the Champions League. But, he managed to escape the wrath of Abramovich by completing a League and Cup double for the first time in the club’s history. The honeymoon continued and they began the following season with a remakable win that culminated in five comprehansive victories in a row. However, defeat to Newcastle in the League Cup, a 3 – 1 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates and an embarrassing 3 – 0 defeat at home. Despite the successes of the previous season, the honeymoon was over for Ancelotti.
Di Matteo’s honeymoon could last longer than some would think. Does that mean he’d be the right man for the job?