Not even victory over Fulham in today’s West London derby will wash away the events of the past month. A complicated month traditionally for the Blues in the build up to Christmas is not an unfamiliar predicament and this year has been no different, with invariable results and performances replicated on the pitch.
The twist of the knife however for those acquainted with a trialling November, fall at the decisions of the hierarchy of the club, purporting to be the most contentious and controversial period at Stamford Bridge since Roman Abramovich took ownership.
The cloth has been stained by ruthlessness and inconsiderate actions from the Mark Clattenburg allegations and the eventual sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, prompting the appointment of the unfavourable Rafa Benitez under a makeshift managerial role. Even the on-going contract negotiations with both Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have arguably destabilised the dressing room.
It is above all the decision to include Benitez within the Chelsea ranks that caused outright animosity for those flocking the stadium, and as expected was vocally adhered to throughout Sunday’s match against Manchester City.
Opinions expressed on Sunday had a unanimous support from every face in the stands and though the anger vented was directed at the former Liverpool manager, an underlining frustration also lies with the board and key decision makers.
Without doubt, the exclusive right and final decision is kept by Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, but equally obvious is the succumbing lenience to those who influence and have a hand in the decision making process, the likes of Chairman Bruce Buck, technical director Michael Emenalo and Chief Executive Ron Gourlay.
The hiring of Rafa Benitez is questionable to say the least, as well as the way the reporting of Mark Clattenburg was managed and even the contract disputes of the players, but what is mostly dissatisfying is the timing of decisions being made and how they are managed.
Ever since Roman Abramovich took control of Chelsea there have been clear indications of long term success and reaching out to every corner of the globe as a leading football brand. The key factor to measure of successes obviously stems from the performances on the pitch, which has been largely interrupted by the constant changes in managers.
Di Matteo’s sacking is an example of the inconsistency and impatience with the lords that be. Forget the Champion’s league and FA cup victories; Di Matteo was sacked after three and a half months into the season, losing five games including the Charity Shield and Super Cup, and leaving us in the Champions league places in the league.
The disconcerting reality of Di Matteo’s departure were the assuring reports prior to and the immediate aftermath of the Champions League defeat to Juventus which decidedly announced his inevitable exit before official club statements corroborated.
Only a quarter of the way into a season and Chelsea has parted with a manager. This is a running theme nobody is unaccustomed to, even Andre Villas Boas, drafted in for the long haul and long term plan, and suffered the same fate last season.
Whether its Mourinho, Ancellotti or Avram Grant, whether the manager is favourable or not, the board need to start acting with greater measure and judgement, as consistency with managers will correlate with the targets of global success in the long run.
Rumours of managers walking off the plank after a handful of defeats can only be detrimental towards the club and the performances of the pitch. How can any football club gain credibility if professionals within the football world are distrustful towards a club’s hasty and ill-judged decision making.
One only hopes Pep Guardiola accepts the position in the summer to avoid looking increasingly desperate. That said with the trigger happy mentality of the board needing a makeover, who knows how long he’d reign for were he to take the job.
Only time will tell, but least there is mayhem to the madness.