Managing Chelsea – Where Angels Fear To Tread…

For we fans, the possibility of Carlo Ancelotti’s departure as Chelsea manager has been the equivalent of a steady drip, drip, drip of tepid water down the back of our necks from a tiny crack in the ceiling.

Now the ceiling has fallen in on us, we’re up to our ankles in water and plaster and we’re scrambling around looking for the telephone number for a plumber. The question is, is the plumber already on call?

Carlo Ancelotti has given two years of dignified, classy service to Chelsea Football Club. What a pity that he was despatched in completely the opposite manner. Could the CFC hierarchy not have waited until the team got back to London, at least?

Could we not have had a couple of days of tranquillity before being plunged into the whirling maelstrom in which we now find ourselves? Grubby. That’s the word that springs most readily to mind. Given that a week ago we were all laughing at Wet Spam and the heartless (and similar) manner in which Uncle Avi was handed his P45 it’s ironic that we now find ourselves in exactly the same position.

We now appear to have a situation in which anything else but delivery of silverware of the very highest calibre is not acceptable. And continued failure to win what appears to be Roman’s Holy Grail, the Champions League, is an elephant in the boardroom.

It’s a pity that the hierarchy don’t listen to the fans, because most of us, and certainly for those of us who have supported the club for longer than, say, 10 years, winning the CL isn’t an issue at all. Most of us would prefer to win the league. Those of us of a certain age still find ourselves content to avoid relegation, anything else being a bonus.

As I wrote just three weeks ago in “The Mourinho Issue”, I have no wish to see Jose back, but according to one hack (who I won’t name here, but everyone knows who he is and he appears to have access to highly placed sources within CFC), this isn’t going to happen, and the succession has already been decided.

At some point shortly after 4th June, following Turkey’s last Euro 2012 qualify, it will be announced that Guus Hiddink will be returning to Chelsea as Director of Football, with Marco van Basten installed as first team coach.

This seems perfectly feasible, other than I’m concerned about van Basten’s lack of a track record – he certainly didn’t pull up any trees at Ajax. And why am I so sure that said hack has the inside track? Because on 20th March, after the win against Man City, he wrote “I have it on the highest authority that Carlo Ancelotti will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season regardless”.

Graeme Le Saux appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning and spoke most impressively about the turnover of managers at Chelsea and the lack of continuity – he sounded exactly like a sensible fan, which is what he is these days I suppose.

Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Scolari, Hiddink, Ancelotti. What a ribbon of names. Four of them world class managers. One a World Cup winner. And with the exception of Hiddink, whose sweet, brief honeymoon we all enjoyed, all are deemed by the senior management at Chelsea to have failed.

I haven’t got a crystal ball, but what happens if the new “dream team” fail, or are perceived to have failed, come the end of next season? We are now starting to run out of viable candidates to manage the club.

The role of manager at Chelsea would now appear to be one where angels fear to tread. And fools rush in…

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