THE MANAGEMENT MERRY-GO-ROUND
Get on board and buckle in for another exciting spin. It’s all the fun of the fair, here, on your doorstep and at your dearest club. Place your bets and roll the dice on who will be the next boss. The papers carry a different name on a daily basis and, as the list gets shorter, it’s seems only a matter of time before the barrel is well and truly scrapped. Hold on for the likes of Steve McClaren, Paul Jewell and Ronald McDonald to be added to the illustrious hit list.
Only weeks old and already the summer break has had enough surprises to make most of us dizzy. At the start of the season Mourinho was sacked for clashes with his charismatic ego. At the end of the season Grant was fired for a lack of charisma and a fragile ego. It’s fair to say we fans are not sure what the board are after in the new man. We can only watch and hope they get it right. The merry-go-round of managers is still spinning and, I for one, would prefer it stopped for Chelsea before I have to learn over and be sick. After a turbulent season the club needs some stability for a few years, as well as a cunning plan to win Roman the Holy Grail (Champs League). We can applaud the board biding their time to appoint the right coach; it has to be the right choice to take the club forward and make sure we get the big trophies back at the Bridge. But that list is sure getting shorter.
Gus Hiddenk started as favourite, being a mate of Roman’s, but seeing how little difference that made with the last manager he was probably wise to stick to the Russian job. Inter and Mancini looked a none starter at first until he was sacked for winning the league three years on the bounce. As you do. It’s a decision that probably makes sense to our board as well. There was talk of Rijkaard and that seemed a certainty with Hen Cate pronouncing his job was safe. A few days later that remark bite him in the arse and, he too, was handed his P45. The rumoured bust-ups with the big name players and his tough line stance obviously won him few friends in the dressing room. The return of the Special One was unlikely but we still hoped. (What are odds we meet Inter in the European Cup at some stage next year?) Then, in the last few days, Ancelotti has rebuffed an approach and instead joined Jose in declaring an interest in snatching some of our players. Former blues legend Hughsie opted for the precarious position of another blues and joined the similar carnival at City. Hughes might be given bags of money there but it may prove to be mission impossible given the owner’s aims. Likewise, whoever takes the job at the Bridge will be thinking they need to bring home the Premiership title, as a minimum, or join the dole queue.
Ancelotti’s Milan are an efficient outfit, pragmatic yet rarely stylish. What he could have brought to the table at Chelsea is unclear. Aren’t the board focused on bringing entertainment and attacking swagger to the Bridge? Or is that out of the question now and they just want to win again? Because a manager with unsurpassed tactical awareness, extensive organisation, renowned European pedigree and a winning mentality was out there. Until he joined Inter. If it’s entertaining football, played how the football Gods intended, then surely Rijkaard is the man to bring back the sexy football? His Barca played with an attacking freedom much admired and never bettered. He shouldn’t be ruled out with Ten Cate’s dismissal as it was rumoured they no longer got on anyhow. Frank seems perfect for Roman. Not only easy going, and able to bring a brand of attacking football, he was also rumoured to be receptive to the board, allowing he purchase of Henry and a general say in the tactics. On the down side he didn’t seem to have control of the dressing room. He bought too many defenders, rotated to keep them happy, and ended up shipping too many goals. He allowed Ronaldinho to get out of shape, and generally take the piss, by attending nightclubs rather than football matches. The Chelsea dressing room is rumoured to have a big influence as it is and need someone to be tougher than that. For all Barca’s beauty they do lack a plan B at times and it may be that tactics aren’t Frank’s forte.
They are, however, Roberto Mancini’s. The Italian has followed the classic blueprint of a tight defence, hard working midfield, with skill and flair on the flanks to provide the forwards with the goals. He has a proven record in a league with some the best tacticians and a burning desire to win the European Cup, one Roman would love him to fulfil. He knows English football from doing a stint with QPR and he also has the looks to bring back the support of the nation’s housewives. Whether he has the plan to play the beautiful game is another matter. Furthermore he was rumoured to clash with backroom staff, players, the board and anyone who happened to be standing near him. After the fun of Jose the board won’t want to get burned again. If there were someway he could rope in his old mate, Gianfranco Zola, then it would win the fans over in an instant. Either way, Dutch or Italian, it would hark back to the nineties glory days of Gullit and Vialli – mark two.
Both coaches would have the reputation to attract the biggest names in the game. So far it appears the two out of work coaches haven’t had a call yet. With all the delay appointing the new boss this has to be the biggest worry. Normally Chelsea do a good bit of business before major tournaments but this year we’ll have to kick our heels until the seat is filled and hope we don’t miss out on any targets. A big name, one to fill the left flank, should be top of the list. A special player might be the one thing we miss for that final percent, an extra bit of spark, for the big trophies. A Kaka, Messi, Robinho or Ribery would look nice on that left flank. But we need the manager in place before any transfers can happen. Just not McClaren, please Peter Kenyon, just not McClaren.