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Hiddink Tells Roman Abramovich What Everyone’s Been Saying All Along

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.

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  1. SoccerLimey

    July 31, 2011 at 11:59 am

    The philosophy that Hiddink outlines is of course genuine. Almost any team that has retained it’s manager for any length of time over 6-8 years has had some measure of success, and long may it continue.

    The problem with Chelsea and Abramovich is the definition of the word “success”. Abramovich has a single goal – The Champions League. It’s almost an obsession now. I don’t even think he considers the Premier League title as a meaningful goal except that it offers a somewhat easier road to Europe. The other issue is that he’s failed to build a solid infrastructure at the club. He’s ploughed hundred’s of millions into personnel but done little else to solidify the future. Once he’s gone, I think Chelsea are done as a contender.

    With that said, it’s almost impossible to see the Chelsea job as anything other than a poisoned chalice. The only ray of hope for Stamford Bridge fans is that maybe finally, the Russian has listened and is prepared to give Villas Boas a lengthy shot, but what if Chelsea struggle this year ?

    I’ve always said that I think Abramovich is close to getting his hat, coat and ball and getting the hell out of Dodge, but I guess he’s settled on giving it one last shot.

    Good luck to the Portugese. He’s going to need it.

  2. CTBlues

    July 31, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I think Parcells’ quote doesn’t really need to changed be cause his quote has to do with his belief that the coach should also be the GM so they can get the players they want and not some guy in an office. I think Chelsea is going to let AVB have more say as to who they bring in compared to what they did with Carlo.

  3. oliver

    July 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

    what is the point of stability if you have the wrong man in charge? Would Arsenal be better off if they’d have stuck with Bruce Rioch and not got Arsene Wenger in?

    Would Liverpool be better off if Roy Hodgson were still there?

    If you look at the managers Roman Abramovich has let go, how many were correct decisions?
    Claudio Ranieri – tough one, but correct.
    Jose Mourinho – supposed mutual decision.
    Avram Grant – absolutely correct.
    Phil Scolari – absolutely correct.
    Guus Hiddink – end of contract.
    Carlo Ancelotti – based on being outplayed in the CL when Chelsea came up against anyone good (Inter and Man U) and being thoroughly outplayed by Man U last season in 7 out of 8 halves of football I have to sway on the side of correct.

    The real problem is hiring the wrong person in the first place.

    • brn442

      August 1, 2011 at 11:22 am

      So what’s your point Oliver? Is it that he got it wrong 7 times in 7 years? Not exactly a vote of confidence is it? Your rationale for letting Ancelotti go is rather dubious – “he got outplayed when Chelsea came up against ANYONE GOOD” – so he should have crashed out to crap teams I’m assuming. He only won the double his first year but it’s not good enough for the great Chelsea FC.

      • oliver

        August 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

        My point is that sticking with Ranieri/Grant/Scolari/Ancelotti would have been a mistake when they’re clearly not the right men for the job. Stability is over-rated.

        Not sure what you mean by “he should have crashed out to crap teams I’m assuming” regarding Ancelotti. Clearly, he should have been capable of putting out a team that could compete with Inter Milan and Man Utd. I’m not saying he should have been winning every match possible but at least give them a game.

        When Chelsea had their “bad moment” last season, Ancelotti sat by and did nothing – sticking with the same set of players and tactics game after game. Can you imagine Jose Mourinho looking idly on and doing nothing?

        I honestly don’t think Roman Abramovich expects to win anything and everything. I do, however, think he expects to compete in every competition.

        • brn442

          August 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

          Again – you’re saying Ancelotti was not the right man for the job – based on what? – Just last season? As he had a 60 million pound Spanish brick dropped on his lap in January.

          Was Alex Ferguson the wrong man for the job when his team was surgically taken apart by Barca’s Romario and Stoichkov in ’94, or did he learn from it and become a better manager. Carlo may have been the wrong man for sure but we will never really know would we?

    • HUMZA

      August 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm


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