Who do Chelsea really owe their current success to?

Who do Chelsea really owe their current success to?


Scolari reckons that Chelsea’s success is all down to him”, “Scolari insists that Chelsea’s current domination of England is thanks to him” and “I made Chelsea Great!” are ludicrous statements from a number of newspapers recently.

I’m sure many other football supporters, like me, were intrigued by how ridiculous and audacious these claims sound. Everyone who loves controversial/absurd statements like this will be disappointed when they read that Luiz Felipe Scolari was actually just pointing out that he has contributed to the progress of several Chelsea players.

However unfounded the headlines from various newspapers were this morning; they do raise an interesting question. How much, or little, have Chelsea’s previous 6 managers, in the last 7 years, contributed to the current success of the club?

Claudio Ranieri: 2000-2004

Without Ranieri’s team defying the odds and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League in 2003, Abramovich probably wouldn’t have taken over the club and Chelsea wouldn’t have experienced the success that they have done in the last 7 years. Ranieri was also responsible for the signing of Frank Lampard and was the first manager to make John Terry a captain.

Despite this, he was sacked within a year of Abramovich coming to London because he wasted a lot of money, only finished second in the Premier League and only reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. As this information suggests, not many Chelsea supporters wanted him to leave the club.

Contribution to current success: 10%

Jose Mourinho: 2004-2007

Mourinho’s instant impact at Chelsea meant that Ranieri was soon forgotten. Chelsea only lost 1 game in his first season in charge as they stormed to the title with a record number of points. There was more success the next year and then an FA Cup win the year after that. Despite his domestic success, Mourinho was surprisingly sacked after a slow start to the 2007-2008 season, some uninspiring signings, a lack of Champions League success and, most importantly, a scrappy style of football that didn’t suit Abramovich’s taste.

Contribution percentage: 30%

He brought the winning mentality and is not forgotten at the club.

Avram Grant: 2007-2008

Grant never really stood a chance. Not until he begun to lead Chelsea towards a title fight did the Chelsea supporters, who were still mourning the loss of Mourinho, really begin to warm to him. Things could have been so different if John Terry had not slipped in Moscow. Grant may well have still been at Chelsea instead of fighting to keep West Ham in the Premier League.

However well Grant did in his short spell at the club, Abramovich was not convinced by his managerial skills and ruthlessly sacked him.

Contribution percentage: 5%

He took Chelsea to the Champions League final; this could prove a really important experience for the Chelsea players in getting there again this season.

Luiz Felipe Scolari: 2008-2009

He had a fantastic start to life in London but, within 7 months, Scolari was largely considered a liability by the players, supporters and, crucially, Roman Abramovich. He may, as he has claimed, have contributed to the development of a few crucial Chelsea players but he was the worst manager for Chelsea, on this list. The last 2 months of his Chelsea career were a terrible time to be a Chelsea supporter – especially for the humiliating losses at Old Trafford and Anfield.

Contribution percentage: 0%

If anything he took the club backwards. He may be thanked by a few players in 20 or 30 years, but he won’t be just yet.

Guus Hiddink: 2009

Hiddink’s time at Chelsea was short and sweet. His original goal was to ensure that Chelsea qualified for the Chamipns League and he nearly mounted a serious title-challenge. He was also desperately unlucky not to lead Chelsea to a second Champions League final in a year. The players, the supporters and, probably, Abramovich didn’t want Hiddink to leave but he was still the national manager of Russia so there was not much hope of him staying.

Contribution percentage: 5%

He did really well and brought a little bit of belief back to the players after a tough year, or so.

Carlo Ancelotti: 2009-present

Arguably, Ancelotti had the hardest job of all of these managers. He had come at a time where the supporter-confidence in the appointments of Abramovich was at an all-time low. There was a lot of worry that Ancelotti could emulate Scolari so it took a long while for Chelsea fans to truly believe in Ancelotti. As it transpired, Ancelotti, like Mourinho, led Chelsea to victory in his first year; unlike Mourinho, he did it in a style which suited Abramovich’s taste.

Ancelotti was, and is, exactly the type of manager that Chelsea need. He is a good manager who has brought the best out of Chelsea and he deflects the controversy that the English media are so keen to dig-up at Chelsea.

Contribution percentage: 50%

He really has done well. It was all set-up for him to falter like Scolari did, but he has actually put Chelsea into a better position than ever before. He is getting the best out of all of his players, he is gradually bringing younger players through the system and he is making Chelsea a better and more admirable team.

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  1. Hey, Scolari, considering your incredible achievements you are now a front runner for the Real Madrid job along with Allardyce and Sven…

  2. It all started with Hoddle and Vialli… but massive credit has to go to Hiddink for rescueing us and keeping the foundations for Ancelotti to take over

  3. Mourinho deserves the majority of the credit. He brought the winning mentality to the club and inspired the likes of Cech, Drogba, Terry and Lampard to become winners and drive the club forward. He also provided the tactical model that all managers have since followed. Granted Ancelotti has made Chelsea far more expansive, but he has done so on the basis of the foundations layed a long time ago by the special one. Without Mourinho’s influence I fear Chelsea would be a far more brittle team akin to Ancelotti’s AC Milan. Could you imagine this side throwing away a 3-0 leads in a Champions League final or a 4-1 first leg league as Milan did against Deportivo? I think Carlo is the perfect manager for Chelsea now and deserves all the plaudits he gets, but I’m sure he’d be the first to acknowledge that he was fortunate to inherit such a professional, determined and close-knit group which was shaped by Mourinho. Hiddink did a fantastic job of steadying the club and getting them pointing in the right direction again so deserves a degree of credit, but acheived it by reverting the players back to the Mourinho approach and undoing the mess caused by the previous manager. As far Ranieri, Grant and Scolari they acheived very little in terms of developing the club on or off the field.

  4. Also it was Mourinho who made Terry the captain, Desailly was always the permenant captain under Ranieri.

    • Terry was, for a long while, the on-pitch captain under Ranieri. I think that without that experience then the captaincy would have gone to someone else… Probably Lampard as he was a bit older. Mourinho made him official captain but Ranieri saw the Terry’s capability and let it grow.

  5. No love for Jesper Gronkjaer or the mystical chopper pilot? Jesper’s goal was perhaps the defining moment in making us a great club, who knows whether Roman would have bought us if we were playing UEFA Cup football (although considering he was willing to buy the Yids i’m sure he would have). Also the chopper pilot who decided to take a different route to White Hart Lane via Stamford Bridge.

    Lets face it we’d probably not have had Mourinho and Ancelotti these days with the super squads we’ve assembled over the past few seasons if it weren’t for these two.

    Jesper and mystery man I salute you!

    • I did consider adding Gronkjaer but then the article would get very long and complicated. I’d then have to include Ken Bates, Gianluca Vialli, Gianfranco Zola, the supporters… the list would go on almost infinitely and impossibly.

  6. Was it not desailly who get the equaliser in a game that we needed only to draw? Anyway if we are expanding this beyond managers then many of the current squad deserve far more credit than that car crash of a winger.

  7. the renaissance started with Zola, you can all heap false praise on the managers but at the end of the day its the players on the field who do the business. When Mourinho was sacked Chelsea were languishing in 6th place and he lost the dressing room.

    • If it is the players on the pitch that do the business then why did Chelsea not do as well under Scolari? His squad was not very different, just a few years younger, than Ancelotti’s current squad and, yet, they were a poor team hoping to finish 4th and Ancelotti’s team won the title.

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