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Chelsea: Now It's Serious

Wednesday 7th March 2012
So finally AVB has been shown the door. We may never know how the deed was done or even where, unlike Carlo's rather hasty treatment at Goodison, but what we can see is that the symptoms are the same and the real cure is some way off.

Management at Chelsea (you could say the same for most clubs mind) has been inconsistent at best. Right the way from the 60's onwards, the club has had more than its fair share of  boardroom dramas. Mass suspensions, mass sales, player power, near bankruptcy, infighting at board level, and managers coming and going at a rate of nearly 2 per year during that period. This is not, and never has been, a model of how to run a football club.

Now, however, things are different. Few would argue that our Russian owner has not been good for the club. We have had a period of unparalleled success. But the backwash of having such an owner is the company he brings with him. It appears that there are many who have his ear. Some, such as agents, surely have a conflict of interests. Some of the difficulties have been brought about apparently by his own whim in the purchases of both Shevchenko and Torres,  Some such as the lack of authority of the current Chairman and Chief Executive have in the past appeared all powerful, but in recent times less so.

Their performances at recent Chelsea Pitch Owners meetings have left many of us feeling not only uneasy about the standard of those at the head of the club, but with an uncomfortable feeling about the real intent of our owner.

This, however, may be unfair. They may be doing his bidding, or on the other hand they may not be aware of what he is actually thinking but are reflecting the thoughts of whatever advisor/friend/confident that is the last through the door.

In order to create stability, Chelsea need a change of mindset. Those at the helm need to be given a proper brief and time to implement it. Those not responsible should be shown the door marked exit and told they will no longer have the owners ear to bend. Once those at the helm know that they can appoint a manager who can be given a proper brief without hinderance or the knowledge that they may have an unwanted player thrusted upon them without consultation. They must be able to create proper working relationships with people who can be trusted in their own judgement without recourse to some hidden agenda or requirements.

In hindsight, AVB didn't stand a chance. Brought in too late to implement the changes to break the culture of player power, too late to get replacements, and hindered by the current requirements of Financial Fair Play to enable him to get the targets of his choice.

Like many recent managers, he failed to get the talent from our young, up and coming players preferring experience over any longer term gains. This is excusable when that is the brief, however we probably will never know what that was or what timescales were given.

What is for sure is that with FFP now a reality Chelsea need a miracle worker both in the short term to ensure Champions League Qualification next year and a though change in culture longer term to ensure that this recent period of success is not seen as the last golden period in the clubs long and fine history.
Charles Rose

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