CFCnet’s new marquee summer signing has arrived, as former centre-back David Lee has kindly agreed to share his views on all things Chelsea each month as the season progresses. Bristol-born Lee made almost 200 appearances for the Blues in ten years at the club from the late 1980’s to the late 1990’s, scoring 13 goals in the process. Despite it being just over a decade after he left the club, Lee remains a firm fans’ favourite, and he is a regular feature in the Chelsea Old Boys side. He has recently joined Bristol City’s coaching staff as a development coach as well as becoming a regular columnist for CFCnet.

DAVID LEE ON…DAVID LEE…

I’m a development coach at Bristol City which means that I look after all of the youngsters at the club apart from those who are in the academy.

I oversee the professionals which include the under-21’s, and my role is to educate them a little both on and off the pitch and use my experience with them to hopefully develop them as players and people. If they apply themselves properly then they can have a career in football, but ultimately it’s up to them.

I did my coaching badges a few years ago and I always thought that it was the only thing I could do after my playing career ended. I worked at Swindon Town under Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet, and then I worked for a football agency based in Spain for a year. I enjoyed it but at the end of the day I would much rather do what I am doing now.

Bristol City’s youth team played Chelsea’s youth team and there were a few decent players on show. I think it’s hard to break through at Chelsea now, with JT the last guy to make it.

But the reason I went to Chelsea when I was a kid was because they always gave youth a chance. It is tough now and we may get the odd one, but I think that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough basically.

…ON CARLO ANCELOTTI…

I wasn’t surprised with Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival, Chelsea seem to have gone down that foreign route for quite a while now. I believe that he did very well at AC Milan, he’s very well respected in world football, he speaks very well and I think that he is a very deep thinker of the game.

I can’t see Ancelotti going the same way as Luis Felipe Scolari unless he has an absolute shocker! You look at the squad and with all due respect, most managers would love to work with them. Last year under ‘Big Phil’ they started well against Portsmouth, winning 4-0 on the opening day of the season, and then bang, everything started to go a little bit wrong.

Obviously Ancelotti will be judged at the end of the season as you tend to get judged on what you win these days, and unfortunately you don’t get the time that you want in management any more.

He’s taking over from Guus Hiddink and when he was at Chelsea, I couldn’t really fault anything. For what he did and what the fans say about him, I think there were a lot of disappointed people when he left after the cup final at Wembley. Some may have thought that he could have been swayed and that he would change his mind about leaving, but the man has honoured his word to Russia and gone back there.

I do not think that Ancelotti would have been in the frame had Hiddink made himself available.

…ON THE SUMMER TRANSFER MARKET…

Chelsea have been quiet in the transfer market this season haven’t they?

I think Manchester City have blown everyone else out of the water when it comes to the money side of it, whereas Chelsea have said that they aren’t prepared to spend hundreds of millions of pounds this year.

The fact that Joe Cole should be fit very soon means that they almost have a new player in him, a new signing, because I do think that they have missed him and he’s a fantastic lad.

I’m not sure that some of the players who have gone to Manchester City would be good enough for Chelsea, but that’s my own personal opinion. Carlos Tevez was linked with Chelsea but I’m not sure he would necessarily get into Chelsea’s side.

Mark Hughes is an ex-teammate of mine and I have got the utmost respect for him as well as the rest of the coaching staff, many of whom are friends of mine as well, but I just think that when you build a team it comes back to the old saying, ‘you build from the back,’ and Hughes seems to have gone the other way.

It will be interesting. They could have a start where they win six on the bounce and everyone says, ‘bloody hell!’ It could get to January and they’re top, where they can again go out and spend another £100m. Normally I am a believer that good players can play with anyone and if they do gel very quickly the other top sides will have to be very careful.

We’re only in the middle of August now so maybe Chelsea have another signing lined up. We shall see.

…ON THE JOHN TERRY SAGA…

John Terry has done nothing wrong and I just knew deep down that he would never leave.

In this country the newspapers and the media have a big say on what goes on. John has spoken, according to some a little later than he should have, but why should he have to speak out? He’s contracted to the club.

I just think the media made more and more of it and at the end of the day JT said that he was flattered but that he wanted to stay at Chelsea.

If Chelsea had accepted a bid for him then it would have been hard for JT to stay though. If a club accepts a bid like that then they are saying that, ‘we don’t want you here anymore,’ for whatever reason. But all parties conducted themselves properly during the whole situation, and Terry is still contracted to Chelsea.

I would have done the same if I was in JT’s situation, I would have stayed. Now Sparky has moved on to his next target.

…ON SQUAD STRENGTH…

Chelsea haven’t lost anyone. They haven’t lost people who are important to the club and I know they weren’t far away last year but I think that this season, Chelsea will be a lot closer to winning the league.

Stability is a big thing. You look at Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson has been there for over 20 years. They don’t panic. But I think that losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Tevez, two players who contributed massively to the side, will really affect them.

I think Xabi Alonso was Liverpool’s best player last season, and Arsenal have lost two of their more experienced players in Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor. It’s going to affect them.

United are usually slow starters and If Chelsea can get off to a good start themselves, and maybe open up a six, seven or eight point lead at the top by Christmas, then it could be enough.

Frank Lampard is very important for Chelsea, as is Didier Drogba if his head is right. Chelsea will probably lose out more than their rivals during the African Cup of Nations, with the likes of Salomon Kalou, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and Drogba away for the tournament, so it could be interesting.

I think it will be very tight and I wouldn’t like to call it. Obviously I hope Chelsea win it! I think that if you finish above Manchester United, you win the league.

…ON ICONHORSERACING…

Iconhorseracing have developed a plan which allows Chelsea fans to own shares in racehorses alongside ex-Chelsea players, including myself, Kerry Dixon and Ken Monkou.

It’s nice for fans to have a day out at the races and meet some players too. You do get some good days out racing and get to meet some very interesting people as well.

If any fans get the opportunity they should definitely join up.

Details can be found at http://iconhorseracing.com/index2.htm

David Lee was speaking to Rowan Farnham-Long.