With the new man starting his reign tomorrow, the Guus hiddink chapter comes to a close. So here’s a final summary and thanks to the Dutchman.
With a record that speaks for itself, Guus Hiddink must be able to take an enormous amount of pride in his achievements in the Stamford Bridge dugout. With just one loss, five draws (Four of which in the Champions League) and the rest wins, Guus performed exceptionally well.
When the Dutchman came to the club, there was some dressing room unrest and we weren’t where we wanted to be in terms of results or league positioning, I’m not going to blow it out of proportion like the tabloids have, we weren’t in turmoil. Yes, we’d slipped to fourth, dropped 16 points at home by the start of February and despite eight consecutive away wins, results at Anfield and Old Trafford when it really mattered were the difference, they helped our rivals gain valuable points over us. Lying in fourth wasn’t good enough.
When Guus arrived, we weren’t out of the title race, but we knew it largely out of our hands. His tenure got off to a great start when we beat Villa away, in the league we lost one and drew one, dropping just five points in total out of 39. Had we have got maximum points, we still wouldn’t have won the league.
So was there anyone better for the job? Simply put, no there wasn’t. No manager would have dropped less points then five, if I was being extremely generous, I’d say that the best any manager could have realistically done was drawn at least two, dropping four points, but that is being very generous. We finished the season top of both the home and away form guides, our last twelve results were the best in the league. No manager would have conceded fewer points then Guus, I am sure of that, although we mathematically still had a chance of winning the league early February, Man United’s form ensured that it ended up being out of our hands.
In Europe we knocked out Juventus, had two extremely memorable matches against Liverpool, and our campaign was unjustly ended in heartbreaking fashion from Europe.
I love when we sing and really get behind the team and managers, and special moments where we pay tribute to someone are what makes me proud to be Chelsea. We all knew Ranieri was going, as did he, and his tearful farewell will live with me forever, when we all sung his name. When there was reported unrest between the boardroom and José, we showed our backing for The Special One by singing José Mourinho repeatedly, followed by Stand Up For The Special One, and a round of applause, another moment that I’ll never forget. Even Avram Grant got a decent send off.
Singing There’s Only One Guus Hiddink was no different, after ignoring the song for some time, Guus decided that the only way to stop detracting from the football was to acknowledge us by standing up and by bowing to the four stands. This was followed by We Want You To Stay chants, that got louder and louder. We were all in agreement, Hiddink was the right man, he had done an outstanding job and turned our season around. And that is another moment that will live with me forever, the chants were repeated over and over, showing just how highly we all thought of Guus’s job at the helm.
So for everything that happened in his time with us I am extremely grateful to Guus Hiddink, bringing the team back together, stopping the potentially catastrophic league campaign and turning results around, being good enough to get to the Champions League Final but then being robbed of a trip to Rome by one of the most unbelievable exits from Europe, and finally landing the F.A Cup.
Unlike with previous managers, we haven’t seen the last of Guus at Stamford Bridge, with his new role as Technical Advisor being agreed, we will again be given the chance next season to show Guus our thanks for what was an outstanding job and memorable last three months of the season. Thanks Guus, you’ll always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.
Games Guus Hiddink will be remembered for
Aston Villa 0 – 1 Chelsea
First game in charge, losing to a Villa team in third place thus battling us for a Champions League spot would have damaged our chances, at least psychologically, but for the first time in a decade we beat them at Villa Park.
Liverpool 1 – 3 Chelsea
Mourinho played Liverpool three times away in the Champions League without a goal, Grant did once and thanks to John Arne Riise’s generosity we got the away goal. Hiddink’s side managed three, setting us up nicely for the return leg, or so we thought at the time.
Chelsea 4 – 4 Liverpool
A disastrous first half saw us go two down and left the players needing to be fired up and to come out fighting in the second half, Liverpool going three nil up would have meant we needed to attack more in order to find the goal to bring it to Extra Time, this would have left the possibility of being exposed at the back, we knew how crucial that next goal was, and we got the next three. When it went to 4-3 to Liverpool, again we knew we were a goal away from going out, but Lampard’s equaliser set up a tie with Barcelona.
Barcelona 0 – 0 Chelsea
We all know the stats, Barca had scored in every match so far that season, their front three had 90 goals between them, but we went there and frustrated them.
Chelsea 1 – 1 Barcelona
A belter of an early goal courtesy of the Bison’s weaker foot, and other chances to add to our lead. In our previous controversial semi final heartache, Liverpool’s ‘phantom’ goal in 04/05 wasn’t over the line, but Cech would have been sent off, Liverpool would have had a penalty. This game, there wasn’t another side to argue, whilst Lamps *may* have missed one penalty, he wouldn’t have missed two. Awful refereeing and an agonisingly late goal saw us exit Europe.
Arsenal 1 – 4 Chelsea
Chelsea 2 – 1 Everton
Capped off a great three and a half months at the helm by landing the F.A Cup, the celebrations in the dressing room with the cigar were superb to watch. I’d add the semi final too, but this is already about a third of his matches.
(yes, the list is obvious, if it wasn’t we wouldn’t remember him for them would we?)