GUUS HIDDINK – THE ONLY LOGICAL OPTION

By Simon Poge
Feb 13th, 2009

It’s been quite an eventful week, even by our standards but I’m feeling pleased with the outcome.

As much as I’d of loved for Scolari to be a success I don’t think it was ever going to happen and I certainly think we’re in safer hands now than we would have been if things had continued.

From what I’ve seen and heard this is a manager that will defiantly sort out the trouble makers and will get to work quickly on cleaning up the problems that are ruining our season and bring back the enjoyment of watching Chelsea scoring goals and winning football matches.

Whether he is the right man in the long term, or even wants to stay on after the season is finished remains to be seen.

I don’t think we could have expected to get any long term manager in now, not even one that is unattached.

Hiddink almost has a win win situation on his hands with Chelsea.

Right now most of us will just be happy to secure a top 4 spot, let alone start winning European cups and league titles.

Should he achieve this slightly modest target (especially by Chelsea’s own high standards) then he can claim a job well done. If he fails to deliver even this, then he’ll continue in his international job and claim it was too much of a task and nobody could have done things better than him.

You’d be hard pushed to prove him wrong I’m sure.

A management target that is currently employed i.e. Ancelotti or Zola (for arguments sake) would simply not leave their position at this stage of the season. Their respective clubs would definitely block any attempt and the individuals wouldn’t give it a second fault, not to mention the cost.

Targeting the right man in the summer will be a breeze in comparison. There would be funds and opportunities to bring in new players (even if generated by sales or free transfers) and they would also have the chance to work with the players for a large period of time before any competitive action takes place.

In the case of the unattached manager I’ll use Frank Rikard as the example. This is a man who carries a good reputation from his days at Barcelona, having worked at a massive club, with huge expectations and big name players he managed to deliver titles, both domestically and in Europe with a wonderful style of play.

I personally don’t like the guy but my point is why would he want to the take the job now? For all the confidence he might have in his ability it could go very wrong, very quickly. If we failed to make the top 4 would he get the blame and could he stay after such a failure? What about money to spend on the players he and the club would so desperately need.

Hiddink can go into the club and sort out so many underlying issues we have. Whether this is in preparation for himself (as a permanent boss) or for any new manager in the summer it will certainly be a more attractive proposition. Provided he realises quickly that Ray Wilkins is a very weak link in the Chelsea setup and makes the necessary changes then I have total confidence it will work out. I’ll watch that particular situation with interest.

I’ve recently pushed for the appointment of Clarke and Zola in the summer and still believe this to be a great option for us. However, my concern is very much with the fact that the current culture of Chelsea means that too much pressure would be placed on them to succeed quickly and this is where the inexperience element could come in.

Many fans would love to see the return of Jose Mourinho but this is highly unlikely and I can only see this happening if we were to be bought out in the summer and the new owners made it an impressive ‘at all costs’ objective. He might quite fancy that but I still have my doubts.

This leaves me to offer my own humble opinion on the situation. Should Hiddink decide to leave Chelsea at the end of the season having successfully guided us to at least a top 4 spot then I would move for Roberto Mancini. He’s young, English speaking and his management CV is pretty impressive domestically having won a number of honours including 3 consecutive league titles with Inter before his bizarre sacking. A great player who promotes a rather impressive style of football, I believe he would provide that long term stability we are so desperate for. Perhaps the inclusion of a certain Roberto Di Matteo as assistant could also be on the cards?

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