The Special One is becoming a necessary return for many Chelsea fans, not the possible return they loath.
It was the 24th April 2012 and Pep Guardiola sat in Barcelona’s press room announcing that he would not renew his rolling contract and take a year sabbatical in New York. His justifications for his sabbatical were personal and just, stating that ‘four years at Barca, was more like an eternity’ and that tiredness and fatigue had taken its toll. Nobody in the room or in the footballing world could argue that managing the best club in the world will eventually take its toll. That was the day that Mr Roman Abramovic of Chelsea was put on red alert. His holy grail of (the Champions League crown) had been achieved by Roberto Di Matteo but now he had a new obsession; more Champions League crowns. In his eyes the only man that could achieve this in the foreseeable future would be Pep Guardiola, himself. This was the man that won Barcelona the big-eared trophy twice in 4 years and also reaching the semi-finals.
There were two major problems in Abramovic’s pursuit of the ex-Barca man, which was that he had taken a sabbatical and had promised not to talk about his future until January 2013. The other major problem was that he had hired Roberto Di Matteo. In the world of Mr Abramovic that would be a simple problem to fix; get the axe out and replace a club hero with a club villain temporarily. Ever since Rafa Benitez replaced Di Matteo, the press have highlighted him as the man keeping the Chelsea managerial hot seat warm for Guardiola and they haven’t been wrong. The sacred time of year for Abramovic came, where Guardiola would truly think about his future.
December 2012 and rumours swirled the footballing media that Guardiola had already agreed to take charge of Chelsea on a whopping £15m a year contract that would run for 3 years. Then more rumours surfaced in which the tables had turned and Guardiola saying that he would not want to manage such an unstable club such as Chelsea. Another twist to the story took place just a day before he made his decision. He attended a LMA conference in England and was judged to have said that he would love an opportunity to manage in England. Chelsea and Abramovic on alert again! So, as news reached the ears of Abramovic today that Mr Guardiola had agreed a 3 year deal at Bayern Munich to replace the retiring Jupp Heynckes, surely Abramovic will have to actually sit down and discuss their next manager with depth. A Shakespearean play has got nothing on this.
The 14 titles that Guardiola won with Barcelona will have any team scrapping in dog-fights for him! What now for Abramovic? 90% of true Chelsea fans will say no Benitez; no with a vengeance. So be it the scenario where Rafa takes over full-time at Stamford Bridge, the fans will revolt and ultimately boycott. Abramovic has done everything in his power for Chelsea to become one of the greatest football clubs, not team, but club in the world. The £1bn he has spent on talent has not gone unnoticed with 3 Premier League titles (4 time runners-up), 4 FA cups, 2 League Cups and the one prestigious European Cup. This success is craved at many clubs such as Arsenal who have not seen silverware for 8 years. For many Chelsea fans the Abramovic era has made them itch for success even when they never knew what it ultimately felt like. But ironically they languish for stability. However, the fans will never forget the crisis saver and success yearning Abramovic has bought to the Chelsea fans.
The two recent home losses to Swansea City and QPR were overshadowed by boos from the home supporters towards the manager and the previously heavily-supported Fernando Torres. What we didn’t get to see was the reception Mr Bruce Buck (Chairman) got during the pre-game lap of honour, honouring Petr Cech’s 400th appearance for the club during the Swansea City game. The boos were rightly aimed at all three men with respective duties and responsibilities. Torres, once again put in a shockingly horrific performance with the Chelsea fans patience finally running out. Benitez’s tactics were all wrong by not playing the majestic and arguably Chelsea’s player of the season, Juan Mata. The latter concerns Buck’s treatment of the highly regarded heroes that are Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole with respect to contracts, as well as hiring the devil himself as interim coach. With the latter, it falls down to the Chairman, Owner and Chief Executive Ron Gourlay, who apparently had an earful from a passionate fan regarding Lampard’s contract situation. Unearthing from the boos and whistles was the familiar chant “Jose Mourinho, Jose Mourinho, Jose Mourinho!”
I recently wrote about Mourinho’s situation. It’s simple for Abramovic, hire him and you will indefinitely avoid any crisis that tarnishes the club. Not only is the man a coaching god but an exceptionally exquisite manager. If he was to return to Chelsea, Abramovic will have to listen to the terms he would have to accept in order for Mourinho to install stability and success to Chelsea. Those are normal terms such as, full control over first team happenings, control over transfers and no external interference in contract dealings. Not at Chelsea and doesn’t Mourinho know it. His situation at Real Madrid is becoming increasingly sour and the only way back for the man is England. For Chelsea’s fans will be treated with the same dismissive regard as many of the ex-managers. The problem lies within the hierarchy and revolting against Abramovic is not wise but revolt against his trusted Chairman and Chief Executive is. These two men have a bigger say than the fans and that is not right. When Mourinho was manager at the club he always praised the fans. From the travelling supporters that followed his team to the ever vocal home fans, he never forgot who truly had the club in their veins. The passion shown from John Terry and Frank Lampard made them deservingly heroes in the eyes of Mourinho.
Mourinho, along with then-Chief Executive Peter Kenyon, knew how to run the club on a daily basis and treating the heroes of Chelsea (fans and select players) with the utmost respect. Mourinho loves England and craves the attention and love he gets from fans, media and opposition fans alike. He is treated like a messiah in England and don’t we love him. Chelsea’s desire to have him back at the club is bigger than his own desire to return to England. Mourinho will also be heavily fought for, just like Guardiola was. With Manchester City’s big bucks and Manchester United’s legacy it will be very difficult to persuade him back to the Bridge. It will be a fascinating dog fight for his sacred signature.
Jurgen Klopp, Joachim Low, Diego Simeone and even Avram Grant are still within contention of taking over at Chelsea. What Chelsea fans can take heart from, is that Jose Mourinho is favourite to take over but also that his relationship with Abramovic is, understandably, much better. The cries for the Special One will grow louder, for however long the impromptu stay of Benitez continues.The fans will continue to pray but the only way out of this torrid mess, that is tarnishing the club, is the return of the Special One.
- Serie A clubs vote in favour of season restart by mid-June
- Premier League aiming for a restart in early June
- Manchester United to resist bids for highly-rated English goalkeeper: report
- Two Chelsea players who could head through the exit door this summer
- Arsenal become first Premier League side to confirm voluntary player pay-cuts