ESPN Soccernet is reporting that Turkish National team manager and former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has told Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich what everyone else has been saying all along: Stability is the key to winning.
Abramovich, who has hired and fired seven different managers in his seven years of ownership of the club recently hired former FC Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas after firing Carlo Ancelotti earlier this year. Hiddink took over Chelsea’s managerial duties in 2009 and led the team to the FA Cup in his four month stay.
“If you look at Manchester United, they are the example that clubs need stability. This is what Chelsea need as well. I have told Roman that and I think they are convinced as well now,” remarked Hiddink.
Hiddink also commented on the firing of Ancelotti with a subtle, yet dead on opinion on the firing of a manager who brought the club the somewhat elusive double and then found himself out of a job.
“Look at the record of Carlo, he won the double. Of course, if you win the double and you go it is harsh. Carlo did well for the last two years but, hopefully, this decision will bring success as well,” said Hiddink about the former Chelsea manager.
It’s probably the most obvious statement in the universe that Hiddink is dead on with his comments about stability, but it still needed to be said. Chelsea is a club that has a lot of tools at their disposal, one important one being the gigantic amount of cash on hand. Abramovich has been a bit of a double edged sword for the club in that his passion for the team has also been their undoing as well. It’s admirable to see an owner actually care about his team winning everything, all the time but impatience will only lead to many stops and starts in building that dynasty that Abramovich wants.
Chelsea is in a unique position that must be handled carefully for them to continue on being in the position they are in. They did right in hiring Villas Boas, a young manager who mentored under some great football minds. As much as Hiddink would be a great hire, he’s 64 and under contract to someone else. Hiddink would have been a short term solution while Villas Boas is a long term solution.
As far as the team itself goes, they seem to be moving towards getting what they can out of their older players right now, while keeping an eye on signing players that will keep the team in the hunt for silverware. There’s a lot if “ifs” in the equation (IF Torres goes back to being Torres, IF McEachran continues to develop, IF they can accurately predict how many years Lampard and Terry have left, etc.) but everyone knows that only a few of those things need to fall right to keep momentum.
But back to the manager situation. A U.S. football manager by the name of Bill Parcells once said a statement at a press conference that can be midfield to apply to the case of Chelsea and their revolving door of managers: “ If you’re going to prepare the meal, you should be able to buy the groceries.” It’s a great metaphor about the relationship between managers and owners, and for Chelsea’s situation it should be amended to read as follows: If you’re going to prepare a meal, it should be given the proper time to cook. Villas Boas is a great signing for the future, but unless he’s given the proper time to nurture the team, no one will be happy with what they’re being served.