A Bridge On Troubled Waters??

by Mystical Mike

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Will Guus turn it around?

The warning signs I feel have certainly begun to show, and there appear to be more cracks forming in the hierarchy than I’ve had hot dinners. Chelsea isn’t the same club that started this season in such prolific form, and not nearly the team of 2-3 years back. I remember this season’s first home game against Pompey. A good side bearing in mind the resources they have, but with Harry (as was) at the helm you knew that it was a gamble to be complacent. 4-0 the final score, fans happy as Scholari’s first tie is positive with the attacking, flowing football that Roman wanted, and goals. Good goals at that, paralleled with another almost expected clean sheet. The future looked bright. Perhaps we peaked too soon, and let’s face it – no-one likes that.

But we are not the team of the “Jose Era” which I know me, and many fans alike, will all look back on and remember dearly. I shall summarise the day he left in the immortal words of Captain Bertarelli from the classic ‘Allo ‘Allo series, “…..what a mistake-a-to-make-a!!”

What I find myself asking many times is why? How much different really is the team now? I’m not convinced it’s anything other than experienced, coherent management and morale. They go together like Tom and Jerry, Saturday Mornings and Soccer A.M! and Ramma lamma lamma ka dingity ding da dong (for those theatrical readers). My honest, yet somewhat humble, opinion is that Scholari had no idea how to communicate with the players and staff. If you’re a manager you need to be assertive, direct and know what you want from your players. I have visions of the whole squad sitting around a wireless laptop in the dressing room trying to run Scholari’s team talk through Bablefish!

However, we have a had a long line of foreign (some player) management at the club, Gullit, Vialli, Ranieri, Mourinho, to name a few – yet on paper you would have to argue that Scholari is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. I truly suspect many of the continental managers would not find it easy to adapt to the Premiership, not only Scholari but Juande Ramos too for example. It’s not just players that need to slide effortlessly unseen into the Premiership, managers do too. This is a ruthless and cut throat league, but because it is the best in the World and everyone wants to be part of it. Chairmen are constantly demanding results and good performances. To a manager a match is 11 men, formations and a tactical program, to a Chairman it’s Excel spreadsheets and balancing figures. It’s a game now truly evolved into a business. I wonder what Darwin would have said?

Do I feel sorry for Scholari? No, not really. I feel sorry for the likes of Paul Ince and Tony Adams who didn’t get a fair crack, when they clearly don’t have the library of experience that Phil had.

Scholari’s history should mean he can settle anywhere and quickly. Compare him (off the field) to Capello and England. Fabio was told, as part of his contract, he needed to learn English in two months, I’m not sure Phil even cracked it in 7! You either want the job or not, and when I read in the paper (true or otherwise, it’s still un-nerving) that when there were rumours he would go if results didn’t improve – I believe he said “it’s ok I can get a job anywhere!”! Careful you can get out of London with that ego Big Phil.

So yet another “new start” for the Blues and this time the weight of responsibility falls firmly and evenly upon the shoulders of a Mr Guus Hiddink. He was introduced to Abramovich in 2004 at a meeting in Eindhoven by former manager Piet de Visser. Hiddink started and finished his playing career for De Graafschap, spanning a total of 15 years. Scoring 70 goals from 470 performances he then began the management ascendency as the assistant in 1984 at PSV Eindhoven. Moving onto Fenerbache and Valencia in 1994 he took charge of the Dutch National Side. Real Madrid in 98 and Betis in 99 saw South Korea follow with Australia and Russia completing the portfolio. No wonder his tan looks so good.

So what can we expect from the Dutch task-master? Well his first 4 premiership games have seen him produce four very vital wins, and not over the so called weaker premiership teams. He has restored a (what must have been) fragile team morale, this all contributing to the fighting attitude that needs to remain to keep the pressure on a prolific Manchester United. A win and a draw in between over Juventus has seen us move to the last 8 of the Champions League, an accolade so incredibly desired by the London club after being so close last season.

From a supporters’ perspective, I have a mixed feeling. I’m enjoying the Guus reign yet wary that this will all go back to the drawing board as he has agreed just the 4 months short term stay. If Roman wants to restore the a little more belief in the Chelsea faithful then he will look at this as a potential bargaining tool, he needs to make a legal, well structured approach for Hiddink. No club, however big, can cope with the amount of changes he has made, and fire-fighting is not the way to do it. Let’s hope he see’s sense, reads this or even gets a visit from the ghost’s of football future.

Going forward it looks like another engaging finale to the season, top and bottom scraping for points and every game is a cup tie.

Time will tell, let’s hope Hiddink remains to be a breath of fresh air, or is that a Guss of wind with changing fortunes???…..

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Woooah, hold on a mo, you’re in the semi finals of the FA Cup, QF of the Champions League, 2nd in the league and ready to pounce if Man United do slip up so what’s the problem? You’ve also got the Leagues best midfielder back and in great form.

    You do need a mass a clear out for sure. Maluda, Ballack, Feferra, Kalou to name but a few….

    As an Arsenal fan i’d rather be in your position at the moment (but with our players obviously)

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