So, the votes are in – two thirds of CFCnet readers want Carlo Ancelotti to remain as manager next season.  These are preliminary results, indeed the polls are still open, and it would be good for us to gauge whether the wider Chelsea-supporting community also wants Carlo to stay.  You can vote directly by clicking here or by visiting our Chelsea Forum.

Currently, throughout the vote, the support for Ancelotti has hovered around the 66% mark.  It’s wavered only slightly and has remained there or thereabouts with two thirds of readers wanting our Reggiolo-born coach to remain at the helm for Season 2011/2012.

Privately, amongst the staff at CFCnet, we’re delighted at the show of support for our manager.  He clearly has the support of the players, is well liked by the media and many neutral fans, and has the eye for a good signing or two (Luiz and Ramires being two standout buys).  We also can’t forget that Carlo was the first manager in our history to win the Double with a record goal-scoring haul of 103 goals.

Yes, we’ll readily admit this season has been a disappointment with our mid-season collapse costing us the title.  We’ve lost many of our big games and in a few matches we’ve failed to turn up until we’ve conceded two easy goals (Man Utd away is agonisingly fresh in our memories). However, despite this, we feel that Carlo deserves the opportunity to see his contract through to the very end.

That’s not to say we don’t have any criticisms of Carlo’s management.  One national newspaper described his team tactics and selections as ‘uninspired’ and a single Google search of the phrase ‘Carlo Ancelotti uninspired’ will show that many others share the same view.  Indeed, CFCnet still remains unconvinced that Carlo knows how to change a game with his substitutions.  When he does manage the feat we often take the view that it was luck rather than shrewd management.  One thing is clear – Mourinho was the master at changing a game and once you’ve seen the best tactician in the game at close quarters, other managers are shown up by their failings.

Whilst there are some solid excuses for this season’s poor performances – Wilkins leaving, Drogba’s malaria, Lampard’s hernia operation to name but three – our mid-season collapse would have seen many managers in other teams being sacked.  We’re grateful that the Club showed patience in the face of a media barrage and we’re pleased that Carlo justified the Club’s faith by turning around our season in February, March and April.

Not everyone shares our view, in fact our poll shows that one third of CFCnet reader’s want Carlo to sling his hook back to Italy. Perhaps the most insightful anti-Ancelotti article we’ve published is from staunch Maltese fan (and Chelsea author) Richard Micallef.  He makes the telling point that “for all the stability at Arsenal, they have been without a trophy since their lucky FA Cup win in 2005. Their stability in the meantime has brought in zero trophies while our instability has brought us eight major trophies (ten if you count the Community Shield).”

Micallef also points out that in six knock out Champions League games under Carlo’s stewardship we have lost four, drawn one and won just one (failing to even score in any of our knock-out home games).  Has this one statistic sealed Carlo’s fate?  We don’t know but time will soon tell.