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Chelsea – What The Actual ….?!?
The situation at Chelsea is the most insane of all the insanity that has gone on this season, and there is a hell of a lot of crazy this year. So many managers coming and going, so many transfers, that made no sense, including Nottingham Forest buying an entire squad and a few extras. But nothing has quite come near to the lunacy at the west Londoners. From the moment Russia invaded the Ukraine and sanctions were brought against Russian oligarchs like Roman Abramovich, forcing him to sell the club, the club has been degenerating into a mess. In fact, right now it is probably in enough of a state to be called a laughing stock of the kind to bring out the old jokes about OXO being their next shirt sponsor.
Everything has been such a shambles since the moment it was put up for sale. There was the whole bidding process itself, with Ratcliffe’s INEOS making a late bid, just late enough to get the publicity for himself but too late to be considered to actually buy the club. All while he was wittering on in the media spotlight about being a Chelsea season ticket holder. Now of course he is busy whoring himself in the media about being a lifelong Manchester United fan, all while making a bid for that club which is completely unpalatable to anyone who is a genuine Man Utd fan.
Back to Chelsea and they ended up in the hands of a consortium with little to no idea of running a football club. They did get lucky in one respect, the rats deserted the sinking ship as all the technical staff left. While that might not have been lucky in the short term, in the long term it has meant that that group of people that have been failing badly for years, and dragging Chelsea backwards, will all be replaced. Though there does seem a bit of overkill in terms of the number of sporting/technical directors that have been brought in, all of them seem a major upgrade on the previous incumbents.
The problem is that, while all this was being sorted out, the face of the new consortium Todd Boehly decided he would take charge of everything, despite clearly knowing absolutely nothing about the sport of soccerball that he was now involved in. Actually while we are on the subject of Boehly, how on earth did he end up as the lead of this group anyway? Had anyone even heard of him beforehand? And what made him seem like a good choice to head up a bid of this magnitude? We are talking about billions of pounds being played with here and they have put it in the hands of a man that seems to throwing millions around like they are old pennies.
The recruitment, both in the summer and January window, were an utter joke. Even if some of the players turn out to be greats, there is no way they should have been paying that much for players that were not fixing the actual problems of the team. And there are a lot of problems there, particularly in terms of goalscoring, which stems back to the decisions made by Frank Lampard in his first spell in charge. A little bit of nous would have seen them sort out the whole team with the money they splurged, instead it actually made the team worse, if anything. And they never got rid of any of the problem children already in the squad, leaving it the usual entitled brats failing to put the effort in whenever they decide they can’t be bothered.
How can you possibly spend £600m on players and end up with a squad so poor? It is not like we are talking about a team that has just come up from the Championship and so needs to replace a Championship squad. This is a top 4/6 team that has been added to, not some lower league group that have jumped up the ranks. It is like Boehly had random footballer’s name pinned on a board and threw darts at it to pick who to sign. And the prices paid just beggar belief. Surely a man that wealthy makes so much by knowing what to splash out on and when to be tightfisted? Instead it feels like he just decided to pay whatever it took to buy the ones that his darts hit, no matter how much better value there was available in the market that would have made more sense.
But nothing compares to the ludicrous, to be kind, way that Boehly has dealt with the managerial situation at the club. I understood the removal of Tuchel, he was taking the club backwards and his track record shows that things would have continued to go downhill under him until he left. It was what came afterwards that is so bizarre. Hiring Graham Potter with a statement about a long term plan, but then to not give him any chance to make the team his and chuck that plan in the bin as soon as it got a little tough is just idiotic. These players have constantly let down manager after manager, this was a chance to have a big clearout and break player power at the club. Even if Potter ended up failing, the club needed to stand by him. It needed to show that the long term plan was a reality and players would come and go if needed. Instead their bottle crashed, like Arsenal facing Manchester City this season, and player power was solidified.
Worse was to come though. With the atmosphere around the club completely toxic and fans turning on the team it seems like Boehly panicked. That can be the only explanation for the return of one of the worst coaches in Premier League history, a man that failed miserably at Derby County (no matter how the media spin it that team should have strolled the Championship), after an initial bright season then failed more miserably at Chelsea and then went to Everton and turned miserable failure into an art form. Somehow he has managed to be even worse back at Chelsea. Even if you tried deliberately to get it wrong, you could not come close to doing as badly as he is doing. It is special just how poorly he is managing to get those players playing. It does highlight just how unprofessional the squad is though. At Bayern Munich, when the players felt the training was not good enough under Carlo Ancelotti, they all came together in a local park after training to train themselves. Not a chance of Chelsea players doing something similar. Far more chance of them meeting up for a meal in the local McDonalds with Eden Hazard than putting in a bit of extra work for the vast majority of them.
So what can they do? Well, for starters, Boehly can remove himself from the decision-making process of anything related to football itself before he ends up hiring snake oil salesmen like Rick Parry and Damien Comolli. Secondly they need to forget about Mauricio Pochettino. This is a club under the thumb of player power, the last thing they need is a manager who is weak and lacks discipline, which is very much Pochettino. Add to that his past managing bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur and he is already starting off on the back foot, fighting to get fans onside. The problem is that I am not sure there is a manager out there who can unite the fanbase behind him, other than maybe a return for Ancelotti. But again that leaves the issue of a manager who lacks discipline with the players. Could it be that the only real option out there is a certain Jose Mourinho? He is someone who will unite the majority of the fanbase and not buckle down to player power.
Written by Tris Burke May 03 2023 08:11:34