Is Chelsea’s Roman empire crumbling?

by Michael Wade

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The Roman Empire at Chelsea has been defined by its emperor’s decisions since it began in 2003. Seven years on nothing has changed.

The ruthless and wanton ‘hire em fire em’ tactics employed by Roman Abramovich have not been in the best interests of the club – in fact you could argue that some of his decisions have held them back or severely stunted its progress on the path towards becoming a superpower in football.

The decision to oust Jose Mourinho from the hotseat was a bad one and has been shown as such subsequently. Likewise the appointment of Phil Scolari was ill advised, something that came to the fore quickly.

Now, though, Abramovich is at a crossroads in his management of Chelsea. Believed to be unhappy with the current incumbent of the job, Carlo Ancelotti, after three defeats in four games, the Russian would be best advised to sit on his hands rather than give another public thumbs down.

Losing another manager at such a crucial and vulnerable crossroads in Chelsea’s history would go down as his worst decision yet. In fact merely unsettling the Italian as Abramovich already has done makes very bad business sense.

The strides Chelsea have made under Ancelotti in a short period of time have been remarkable. Winning a Premier League and F.A Cup double in your first season in a brand new league in a brand new country is a notable enough achievement but to do so while producing the kind of exhilarating and entertaining football that none of your predecessors have been capable of adds another dimension entirely.

Ancelotti’s side broke the record for goals scored in a Premier League season with 103 and posted a goal difference of +71. They also scored more than seven goals on four occasions – a stunning display of brutal superiority but this was only the start of the Italian’s rejuvenation of the west Londoners.

This summer he agreed to the sales of first-teamers Michael Ballack, Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, Juliano Belletti and Joe Cole as the club made a conscious attempt to cut the mammoth wage bill and give a chance to an exciting crop of academy graduates who had been expensively produced.

Other managers concerned only with the here and now would not have the foresight or the balls to risk their livelihood in the short-term for the club’s long-term gain. Ancelotti’s decision to go for it showed a vision, that if the youngsters are as good as they are perceived to be, will set Chelsea’s first-team backbone  up for the next decade.

Most newsworthy of late is the club’s controversial decision to axe Ancelotti’s assistant Ray Wilkins in another bout of cost-cutting.  This latest act has rocked the boat in a big way with poor results leaving the club reeling and Ancelotti believed to be considering his future.

Ancelotti has thus-far ticked every box in terms of suitability and fulfilled all the required criteria. Abramovich might believe that by dictating orders to him and leaving him in no doubt as to who is the true ruler of the club he has rendered the manager’s role as a dispensable and readily replaceable one but make no mistake – Ancelotti leaving Stamford Bridge would set Chelsea back years.

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  • Liam

    Getting rid of Mounrinho was the best decision ever made by Roman.
    He was great when he arrived but then the football got stale and was
    very defensive,where the fullbacks never crossed the halfway line.
    He kept bringing the club into disrepute and we were hated by everyone in football.Jose and his antics got so boring and it was a
    relief,speaking as a season ticket holder when he departed.
    The football has been fantastic under Carlo,where top of the league
    in England and in our Champions League group,with our top player’s on their way back.Your article is just a load of nonsence.

  • Mystical Mike

    I still believe Chelsea are the best side in England by a country mile.

    They are having a bad run, all teams have it. The whole Wilkins episode didn’t help, but it will be over soon and they will still be top of the league

  • Charlotte

    I agree that getting rid of Mourinho was a bad decision, especially as Abramovich had no idea who he was going to replace him with in the long term, resulting in chelsea chopping and changing their managers Fair enough we did keep winning, but it saw a very hectic time for Chelsea. In my opinion, speaking also as a season ticket holder, Jose was the best manager Chelsea have had and will ever have. His “antics” were displayed well as he took the pressure off the players and put it on himself, which I think worked well. Great article, keep up the good work!

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