Well it is extraordinary that some publications are suggesting Chelsea Football Club do not have any suitable candidates interested in their soon to be vacant managers position anymore. Clearly they have forgotten about a few key factors which will always attract talented managers to Stamford Bridge…
- Top notch managers will always be interested in working with a squad of truly world class international players
- It has been proven that managers can work with Roman Abramovich (see Gus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho for 3 seasons)
- Some but not all top class managers will always be able to be bought to some extent- meaning that money is a great leveler and never underestimate the power of the almighty £ to make a situation much more tolerable
- Many former Chelsea players who loved their time at the club and are highly revered by fans would love to have a chance to manage their old club (anyone remember a certain Roberto Di Matteo even if the club are trying to forget him by inconceivably removing a poster from the West Stand wall featuring the team and him after the Champions League win).
Firstly, consider candidates who feature in the last category like Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola who spent 7 awesome seasons playing for the Blues; Brighton’s classy Uruguayan boss Gus Poyet who spent 4 excellent seasons patrolling Chelsea’s midfield and West Brom’s manager and former Liverpool coach Steve Clarke who not only played for the Blues for 11 brilliant seasons but went on to also be the assistant manager during the trophy laden years under Jose Mourinho. These three men are all superb candidates for the current manager’s position. Clarke left Chelsea of his own volition, choosing to resign early in the 2008-2009 season to join Zola at West Ham and although this affair might have upset our Russian owner at the time you have to believe that if he could get past Rafa Benitez’ history with the club then he should be able to see his way to clear to hiring either Clarke or Zola too. Crucially Brighton’s current boss did not leave Chelsea under negative circumstances, Poyet has recently said that he is flattered to be connected to the Chelsea vacancy and is genuinely honored to be mentioned as a candidate for the position (this must help his case not to mention the style of football he has the seagulls playing and he could well end up in the Premier League even without becoming Chelsea’s manager).
Managers can work with Roman Abramovich as Jose Mourinho and to a lesser extent Guus Hiddink have both proven. Mourinho’s period in charge of the Blues was a resounding success as he oversaw the most successful period in the club’s history and most fans were surprised when he left as any issues between him and the ownership seemed like they could be worked out – most fans would take him back in a heartbeat. Hiddink had a brief but mutually positive period in charge of the club and there was harmony and good vibes coming from all corners when he was at the helm and I don’t know of a reason why he would not take the job again if it was offered to him. Even Carlo Ancelotti worked with Abramovich on a decent level for 1 and a half seasons – hard to argue with winning the Premier League and FA Cup in your first season and the second season went ok until the transfer window and the arrival of Torres after which the team just did not live up to the owner’s lofty expectations. But the point is that hard as it may be to work with and put up with the owner’s interference it is possible.
Thirdly, the likes of former Real and current Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, currently unattached Frank Rijkaard and current USA national team manager Jürgen Klinsmann will always be interested in working at top football clubs where: the players are of the highest calibre; there is a budget to help shape the team in your style; the club is a perennial contender in domestic and European competition; plus you get paid an ok amount of money (Ancelloti was reportedly on £6.5 million a season when he was released from his post!)
It is clear that Chelsea and their owner have done themselves no favors having such an itchy trigger finger but I really do think the Blues will still manage to appoint not only an excellent successor to Rafa Benitez but also a manager who meets with the fans’ approval. As always I am praying the new boss is shown patience and that means more than just 27 games in charge like AVB or the embarrassing few months that RDM got. Patience is a virtue and lets hope that the Blues’ owner shows some as any new manager needs time, belief in his methods and to be backed at the first sign of real adversity since he has been contracted to do the job in the first place.