Run, Luis Enrique! Run!
The Pride of London`s George Perry is my brother-from-another-mother. The nicer brother, of course.
His piece today, 'Chelsea want world-class managers willing to work under tin-pot conditions`, beautifully, deliciously articulates what most true Blues are thinking.
It`s too perfect not to reprint large chunks here:
"Imagine writing the job posting for Chelsea FC`s first team head coach on Indeed or Linkedin. Qualifications: Minimum five-years management ina "big five" league and/or top 25 national team. Multiple domestic league titles and cups, Champions League title preferred. Experience working with players nominated for FIFA Player of the Year or Ballon D`Or, as well as developing in-house youth talent. Impeccable media savvy and charisma."
Fair enough. A pretty concise summary of what CFC look for in a manager. But Perry goes on:
"Then you get to the job`s conditions and expectations: Minimal, non-binding input in transfer decisions. Must win at least one trophy in second year, no credit given for anything won in first year. Club management will side with players in disputes. Hostile press."
Despite this, Perry actually goes on to give CFC upper management far more credit than I do (I told you he`s the nicer brother).
He says that Chelsea do not recognize this conflict. I disagree. They know exactly what they're doing.
This is great, though: Perry says that Chelsea"want to hire coaches that would otherwise work for Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG, while treating them like the latest sap waiting to be replaced by Sam Allardyce."
LOL - because it`s so true!
George then goes on to make the key point that Chelsea are so arrogant that they believe they have the pick of the world`s best managers, but they don't want to hire those men as managers!
They want to hire coaches with zero influence beyond the pitch - don't forget, until Mourinho threw him out, Roman Abramovich was a fixture in the dressing room! (Of course, shortly afterwards, Mr A threw Mourinho out.)
"World-class managers are not relegation-zone escape artists. They do not earn their reputations by quickly installing off-the-shelf methods to stem a decline and win selective points. They are world-class because they have a vision beyond this next run of games…"
"They recognize immense potential in anonymous young talent, and shepherd those players along until they break out on the world`s stage. They look at their academy and academies around the world and can describe what a Champions League-winning team will look like in five years. Then they explain how they will ensure that they are that Champions League team in five years, building off the victory last year."
"These descriptions say as much about the club as about the man. Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, Marcello Lippi and Sir Alex Ferguson are who they are because Milan, Bayern, Barca, Juve and Man United are who they are."
Like me and most true Blues, George Perry believes that Antonio Conte has the talent and the drive to do all these things, "But not if Chelsea have their say in it."
"Chelsea want world-class managers while doing none of the things necessary to cultivate world-class managers."
Perry believes that Chelsea aren't even doing the necessary to attract the Enriques and Tuchels of this world who can find much better jobs than the one at Stamford Bridge.
I`m not sure Abramovich has no chance in hiring them. I think Perry underestimates the draw of the rouble and the pig-headed arrogance of top Alpha-males who believe nothing can stop them achieving what they wish.
I believe that Abramovich has maybe one more go - tops - at getting the top manager he wants - which will be followed by the inevitable Groundhog Day routine of optimism-success-bewilderment at being undermined-failure-firing.
The one important element that I believe George Perry misses is why?!
Why are Chelsea coaches treated in this bizarrely unique fashion? Why are they expected to be coaches rather than managers?
Few have gone over this time and time again as I have. To the point where there is only one answer that fits or makes sense.
The reason that a Chelsea manager can only be a coach, is because Chelsea already have a manager.
His name is Roman Abramovich. It`s his club, his toy, and he enjoys playing with it.
Anybody who believes that he doesn`t have Hazard, Fabregas, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz and Courtios on speed-dial and vice versa is beyond naïve. (Any journo like the Telegraph's Matt Law, who writes that players don't have contact with Abramovich is at the very least a very bad, naïve reporter or spreading CFC board PR.) That`s why what always kills the manager in the end is "losing the dressing room" aka one of the above pet players calling the real boss, Mr A, and whining that the training is getting a bit brutal/I`m not getting enough playing time/we don't need this new top signing - every single bit of which renders Conte`s job totally and utterly impossible.
Just one of those areas is enough to illustrate how impossible is the manager`s job at CFC: Conte has wanted four or five top players since he`s been here; instead he`s gotten two, Kante and Morata.
On top of that he has had foisted on him seven or eight second-tier players, additions at which he himself confesses befuddlement.
What this means in games like Bournemouth and Watford and Burnley and Palace is that, not only does he not have the right players, but the players he does have know there is going to be no real competition for their places so they needn`t bust a gut.
It`s toxic, it`s disgusting, it`s no way to treat world-class human beings.
Run, Luis Enrique, run!