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Roman, Lay Foundations - Part 1

Roman, Lay Foundations - Part 1

There is a myth or a so called saying that the sackings over the years has led Chelsea to rack up more trophies than Manchester United during Abramovich's era. In other words, rotating the managerial hot seat have left us winning trophies. The pundits and fans alike believe this and they cite Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid as examples. However, I beg to seriously differ from this school of thought and this season and last season is proving such myths to be wrong.

I will attribute our success over the years to the foundations laid by Ranieri and Jose Mourinho whom essentially built the core of this team. That core being Cech, Makalele, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Drogba, and lately, Ivanovic and Mikel (starting DM in both Carlo Ancelotti and RDM's trophy winning year no matter how sick it makes some fans feel). A significant portion, if not, 90% of the players were recruited under the guidance of 2 managers with significant coaching experience and lasted over a season or more at Chelsea - Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho. Not only were a core built, but a tactical system was employed over the years that made us successful.

There is saying in the Bible as follows:

'They are like a person building a house, who dug a deep hole to lay the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the floodwaters pushed against that house but couldn't shake it, because it had been founded on the rock.'

Regardless of whatever manager hired, Chelsea was successful in terms of winning trophies and securing a top 4 position because a solid foundation had been built. However, that foundation had been laid by competent architects - coaches with the managerial experience and football knowledge of recruiting core players under a period of STABILITY. Any tinkering with that foundation led to disappointing results and eventually sackings of managers e.g. Scolari and AVB. The managers who ended up resorting to the regular starting XI endured success and in some cases trophies.

Champions League success which is the yard stick any Chelsea manager is measured with was secured by RDM and almost tasted by Avram Grant. These managers are not tactically astute, geniuses or whatever you want to call it, but the foundation was strong enough to see them through to winning it and almost winning it. An important ingredient was their ability to motivate the players and make them believe in themselves. You may call it luck or whatever, but I believe the core of the players were much more responsible for winning it than the coaches hired and fired like the pundits and Chelsea fans resort to.

The core of a team is supposed to last about 5 to 6 seasons and in some cases 8 seasons. The first core have served their purpose and on their way out of Chelsea with Drogba being the first to leave with Cole and Lampard following this summer. Where there is a problem is in the recruitment of the 2nd core (or laying of another foundation) and this is where the sackings and hirings like Zara changes clothes according to seasons has led me to believe changing the managerial hot seat isn't responsible for the success but the foundation laid.

When Mourinho and Claudio were recruiting players, they was a specific purpose and tactical system in mind that the next manager could just change or add things and follow up on the system the previous manager was trying to implement. In that case, it was almost irrelevant what manager we have at the top. However, this recruitment only came with the possibility of the manager knowing some sort of stability was guaranteed.

Since Mourinho has been sacked, we don't even know who exactly recruits our players. It is Piet De Visser today, Emenalo tomorrow, our new coach today, Gourlay next week and Pini Zahavi next year. No one bothers to ask how this player will be utilized within the new coach's system. In addition to that, the new coaches are denied whatever players they request hence their failures. Latest casualties being AVB and RDM.

Take our current team for example. Which coach actually recruited Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, and Torres? I didn't say under which coach were they recruited, but which coach recruited them? AVB wanted Willian, Falcao and Moutinho. RDM wanted Falcao and Moses. Of that 5, we only got Moses. Herein lies in the problem.

Most coaches choose to either control possession or control the space. The coaches that are able to control both are superb teams and almost unbeatable - Barcelona, Dortmund in their double winning season, and Juventus. This current Chelsea team is neither because we are broken team with players who fit one or the either system, but not both. In Rafa's press conference, he said the following:

'The kind of players we have need to be in possession because they cannot compete physically with strong opponents like West Ham. The balance needs to be better.'

There is a saying that most games are lost in the midfield. How are we a possession team and we don't possess central midfielders who do the basic things of a possession team - KEEP POSSESSION.

Mikel and Ramires can't keep possession enough. Hazard, Mata and Oscar do not have the physical attributes or the mindset to close spaces against opposition and has led to a broken team, hence our poor run. Including Lampard, Terry in the starting lineup or hiring Pep doesn't cure this issue.

The game against West Ham was reminiscent of Juventus, Shakthar, Atletico Madrid, and West Brom. As it turned out, Chelsea were fine in the first half because West Ham WERE SO BAD not because we were excellent. Sam Allardyce made JUST ONE CHANGE - Introduced Diame who did a Marschisio and Fernandinho on our central midfielders. RDM was called an imbecile since he wasn't able to deal with such intensive central midfielders.

So I ask another question - how come the allegedly tactically astute Rafa Benitez couldn't deal with it? This is where clamours for Pep drives me nuts because they are weaknesses in the squad you can't correct no matter how tactically astute you are. This is one of the examples. One could have argued he should switch to a 4-3-3 with Oscar, Ramires and Mikel in the middle to do the pressing and contain Diame. However, we still don't know how to press intelligently and lack the numbers in central midfield to deploy a 4-3-3.

Ray Wilkins said:

'He is running out of options. If #Guardiola was to come in and got sacked, where do you go?'

I agree and disagree with this statement. Roman has run out of options for hiring established and celebrated coaches. However, he hasn't ran out of coaching options. The Italians and Spanish are churning out coaches as much as they are churning out young upcoming players. However, this isn't the route he will go. And unfortunately for him, he has got to start all over again and regardless of what happens, Pep Guardiola or Mourinho or the next coach cannot get sacked in less than a year.

We are in a period of rebuilding with no particular identity and we must allow the next coach rebuild this team with an identified tactical system in mind aka laying the important foundation that will last us for another 5-6 seasons and in some cases, 8 seasons. The gulf between Chelsea and the PL title has remained high single digits to double digits for the past 2 seasons and that appears to be the case this season. It is high time management and the board allow competent Coaches rebuild this team as they see fit.

You could argue that other clubs have top management executing the player transfers to fit the club's philosophy. You can point towards Barcelona, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich as examples. However, those clubs do not have a former Manchester United Executive, an old lawyer and a former U-15 girl's coach handling player transfer decisions. What do these 3 know about a football philosophy?

I will continue with a lay a foundation series Part 2 focusing on Michael Emenalo, Bruce Buck and Ron Gourlay and why Chelsea fans have to turn some of that angst from Benitez to Bruce and Ron Gourlay.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday December 3 2012
Time: 4:51PM


...I will attribute our success over the years to the foundations laid by Ranieri and Jose Mourinho whom essentially built the core of this team....some1 remind me, with who's money was this 'foundation' lain??
03/12/2012 17:21:00
0 is a myth or a so called saying that the sackings over the years has led Chelsea to rack up more trophies than Manchester United during Abramovich's era....the proof is in the numbers, which are undeniable. While ManUre has won 10 Cups to our 9, 1 of those Cups ManUre won came from them beating us on penalties in the Champs League final
03/12/2012 17:23:00
Otherwise a very insightful article ;)
03/12/2012 17:24:00
@Mq Terry and Lampard the 2 most important players under Abramovich era came before him.
03/12/2012 17:28:00
I agree totally, I have been saying this for months. Roman was fortunate when he bought the club, as Ranieri had the ability to know what players were required. The problem was, he tinkered so much that he couldn`t make it work. Jose did that and by adding a few extra powerful additions in the right places, we became the team that accumulated more points in a single season and conceding less goals than any other team ever in the top flight and walked to back to back titles. At that stage a little more creativity was the only missing ingredient, but it never came to pass, Roman tightened the purse strings and Jose was sacked. The truth is, that we have been getting less and less professional as each season goes by, as Jose`s team was slowly diluted. But now it is crunch time, if Roman honestly believes that the unqualified individuals that surround him, are going to supply a similar blueprint for the future, I`m afraid that it is going to end in tears. Prepare yourselves for 11 cherry picked individuals, that will not be able to perform as a team. The writing is on the wall, sadly I can`t see anything that is going to change that in the immediate future. Unless Roman gets assistance from someone with football experience, who knows how to construct a team, someone who can understand the value of players that are over 30 and what they add to the squad, as well as being not frightened in not being just be another one of Romans puppets. Gus Hiddink should be installed as Technical Director immediately, who would be a step in the right direction and a stabilising choice.
03/12/2012 17:38:00
I wouldn't call them the most important LAKU but I get your point :)
03/12/2012 17:41:00
Looking forward to the next article.Great read.
03/12/2012 17:44:00
Good stuff, KAKU. @Mq...yes it WAS Roman who 'laid' the foundations with his money...but he has been putting in some rotten materials and pulling out bricks/blocks out of that foundation, creating a very shaky structure. :()
03/12/2012 18:00:00
Money is NOT an issue. The Arabs and Qataris are spending money like it doesn't exist. The ability to deploy those funds are more important than money itself. If throwing money was the case, how come Roman hasn't been able to assemble a great team without coaches who know the business? How many times have Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Man U, and co bought expensive flops? Roman has blown close 100mm pounds on flops. So again, money IS NOT the ISSUE.
03/12/2012 18:07:00
@Mq, if I am correct, the players who were bought by Jose and Ranieri were the ones who took us to the penalty shoot outs? You think Avram Grant was the one who orchestrated it? Really? Avram Grant who relegated Portsmouth and West Ham back to back.
03/12/2012 18:09:00
something i've always argued... would grant have been a hero had jt not slipped and scored that penalty. he prob would have been. but of course we all know he went on to prove beyond all doubt at west ham and portsmouth that he was one of the worst managers out there. thin line!
03/12/2012 18:40:00
@KAKUfrank nice article. This foundations won't have been possible without Roman. The Arabs are not as passionate as Roman. With all talents Man City got and hasn't be able to get them out of CL group stage once and still they allowed Mancini to stay @ the job shows they are happy with their set targets.Arsenal are happy with a top finish. Chelsea board have the rights to set a higher, ambitious targets.
jollyheart Torres
03/12/2012 18:50:00
@trueblue u just confirmed RDM was very lucky to have gotten the Chelsea job and the CL victory doesn't make him a super manager . So why all the tears about RDM been sacked?
jollyheart Torres
03/12/2012 18:56:00
Romans money has transformed the club that is a fact.we must now which is the tough bit get him to gather some football men round him ,someone mentioned hiddink which is good or we could have got harry redknapp in , but we definately need a good director of for a manager what about martinez any opinions?
03/12/2012 19:01:00
Well said kaku,STABILITY is important in any given organization.
03/12/2012 19:06:00
Great read Kaku, Roman, Buck and Gourlay are all at fault here equally! Roman for playing football manager with cfc, and Buck/ Gourlay for being yes man! That is what i was trying to say in my article a few weeks back, we aren't building for the future but are just doing short term solutions to work NOW, which aren't working at all! Having Pep or Jose won't solve anything if Roman will sign who he wants when he wants! JM left because of the Sheva debacle! and Pep surely won't come in either if Roman will control the signings!!! Essentially that is exactly why 'Txiki' Begiristain (this spelling omfg lol) didn't come to cfc but instead went to city were he knows he can build a great club over time with funds backing him!!! CFC are a dysfunctional and a broken club at board level, and Roman isn't helping with his decisions!!! The sooner we start running like a normal club, the better it will be for everyone!
03/12/2012 19:12:00
Great article and i agree with what you have written. Seriously it is time RA gets back to basics and admit he got it wrong these past few years. The squad is so unbalanced and has no direction. One minute the players think they are now adopting a new style of play then out of nowhere the manager gets sacked and we bring in a manager whose philosophy is to be compact and disciplined! the players looked lost and i think RA and the board are confused in what they are doing. At the moment it is a horrible mess and for now the club and fans need to pull together to achieve top 4 finish. Bring in Guus as technical director with Emanalo head of scouting and establish what direction the club want to go in and find a ideal manager who understands the philosophy. More importantly RA needs to take a back seat and let things happen.
03/12/2012 19:42:00
Nice article @kaku,i really enjoyed the read but i think that our club is an anormally of a club succesful via instability
03/12/2012 21:08:00
Can Roman stop himself from being the Puppet Master?
03/12/2012 21:28:00
Spot on can't argue with the points raised its the reason we've had so many square pegs in round holes for the past 3 years because they are not letting real football people do the running of the club in terms of player recruitment i.e AVB knew nothing about KDB or Lukaku. You feel during transfers we just buy the next shiniest thing as opposed to assessing whether the player fits in with the current system.
03/12/2012 23:00:00
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