Looking back over the years, during the ownership of Roman Abramovich many Chelsea fans can be proud of what their club has achieved, and rightly they should be. However there has been one issue that has disrupted their game more than any other; not the outrageous wages or telephone-number transfer budgets but the man leading the way, the manager.
When the Russian billionaire took over Claudio Ranieri was in charge. He was popular with the fans and guided Chelsea to second in the Premiership however this wasn’t enough. Out he went and in came the much anticipated Special One.
Jose Mourinho entered Stamford Bridge with a swagger and arrogance that seemed perfectly suited to the new rich boys of English football. The Portuguese master won the League Cup and the League he went onto retain the title, won the Community Shield, he then won the FA Cup, set a new record for unbeaten league matches at home and took the club to various knockout stages of the Champions League.
Abramovich wanted more, and his differences with Mourinho didn’t help matters. Soon after conceding the title to rivals Manchester United and a not-so-exciting start to the season, the Special One decided to leave and walked away from Chelsea by mutual consent.
This left Grant to take over, who lost the League Cup final and went on to be knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnsley then lost in the Champions League final on penalties. Abramovich decided this wasn’t up to his high standards so he too had to go. In came Big Phil Scolari, the man that masterminded Brazil’s most recent World Cup title. He was brought in during the summer to high, high expectations but was sacked by February due to poor results.
That brings us to Guus Hiddink.
It has been announced today by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck that there is no chance of Hiddink staying at Stamford Bridge past the end of this season. The Dutchman has a contract with Russia and has always stated his intention to honour that after the completion of this campaign.
Many are questioning why Hiddink would not want to take up the mantle of leading one of the most powerful teams in the world. However just a quick glance back at the impeccable standard expected from the London club’s management structure would surely give a clear indication as to why Hiddink isn’t jumping over the moon at the offer.
It could be argued that considering the vast amount of money being spent on the team every year that success should rightly be demanded. However Sir Alex Ferguson, didn’t win anything in his first few years as Manchester United manager and is now the most successful boss in English football. People scoffed at Arsene Wenger when he brought in unknown youngster after unknown youngster, yet they grew into a team dubbed the unbeatables. It’s taken Rafa Benitez several years to mount a serious title challenge. Consistent success demands time, time that managers haven’t been given at Stamford Bridge.
Whoever ends up in charge of Chelsea next season has got to do something pretty special, not only win everything, but stay on the merry go round that is the world of the Chelsea manager. It’s probably not going to be Hiddink but whoever takes over can expect a lucrative contract, a heavy severance payment clause and unrealistic expectations by Roman Abramovich.
At least the next Chelsea manager can be assured of one thing – if they don’t do well, the best part of the job might be the day they get fired.