We’ve seen it before – an owner can only take the club so far. There comes a time when his decisions become repetitive, his style stale, his actions predictable.
Roman Abramovich has done admirably well in taking Chelsea from a 4th place finish (the summer he took over) to …. another 4th place finish by the looks of it. In the process there have three league titles, several domestic cups and plenty of Champions League heartbreak, but it feels that he’s come full circle, with an ageing team that looks desperately in need of fresh leadership (or at least unhindered leadership). When you look back at his tenure, you feel that Chelsea peaked a few years ago. Jose Mourinho figured it out, and left.
You can’t realistically change the whole team in the summer, and you’re unlikely to find a more qualified manager to handle the current Chelsea lot (Andre Villas Boas is the flavour of the month, but to go for Jose Mourinho Part 2 would be one Hail Mary pass too many for the Chelsea owner, who has already tried quite a few of them (his most recent being the 50m spent on one Fernando Torres).
Sidenote: How many goals does 50m buy you, btw? 7m Javier Hernandez has 14 in 22 shots, so that’s nearly 98 goals from 7 Hernandez’s that Abramovich could have gotten if he had spent his money more wisely. Granted that goals don’t scale like that but it didn’t deter critics of another expensive forward, Dimitar Berbatov, to count how much his goals cost in his first two seasons.
The case is incontrovertible. Ancelotti, when left to his devices, won Chelsea the double. When Roman interfered – first by tightening the purse in the summer, and then by loosening it up, putting his pecker in it and jerking it around furiously, Chelsea got nothing to show for it. Ancelotti has previous experience in bowing to a bossy owner’s demands (review his career at Milan under Berlusconi) – he even put it on his CV to help his case last summer (OK, maybe not). But he’s still a very good manager, and if he’s given the right support, he’s the right man to take Chelsea forward.
Roman Abramovich clearly isn’t good enough for Chelsea – he must go now.