Manager WANTED — Chelsea FC (Competitive Salary / Start Date: June 2009)
OK, Guus, we get the message. You won’t be Chelsea manager next season. After a seemingly infinite amount of questions about his future, interim Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has remained unwavering in his decision that he will only stay on at the club until the end of the current season. Therefore we now get to play the annual game that the nation has taken to its heart that I like to call — ‘Guess the next Chelsea boss’.
Chelsea have been playing this game for a while, and chances are pretty good that this won’t be the last time Roman Abramovich picks a new successor to the Chelsea thrown. But for argument’s sake, let’s take a look at some of the names that will most likely top the Chelsea wishlist.
The possibility of having Rijkaard’s coaching services has, apparently, interested Chelsea for a while. There were plenty of stories linking the Dutchman to the vacant Stamford Bridge post after he had parted from Barcelona last summer. However, with the appointment Luiz Felipe Scolari, he didn’t get the gig and has been unemployed since. His potential appointment would therefore be a cheaper option, but that’s never really been an issue for Roman Abramovich. He also has a pretty good CV. He guided Barca to La Liga glory twice during his time at Camp Nou, with his side, that included superstars like, Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Deco and Xavi, playing football that had fans and pundits in awe. His finest hour came when he led the Catalan giants to the Champions League crown (for only the second time) in 2006, winning 2-1 against Arsenal, thanks to a Henrik Larsson inspired comeback. Things turned slightly sour in his last two seasons in charge, and after high profile dressing room bust ups, fan protests and no further trophies, club president Joan Laporta announced Rijkaard would leave at the end of 07/08 season.
AC Milan boss, Ancelotti, is the longest serving manager in Serie A and has not one, but two Champions League successes under his rather large belt. An obvious black mark on his CV is Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat of Milan in 2005, having been 3 goals behind at half time. Whilst it was a Roy of the Rovers final, the fact is, he was making the decisions as his side unthinkably surrendered their lead, and ultimately the game. Having said that, Ancelotti made amends two years later when Milan gained revenge over Liverpool in Athens. Like Rijkaard, he has interested Chelsea before, recently claiming “In the summer I met Roman Abramovich but didn’t want to leave AC Milan”. Ancelotti clearly has pedigree, but has arguably led Milan backwards rather than forwards of late. Milan won’t win the Scudetto this season, and didn’t even make the Champions League places last season.
Despite winning the Scudetto last season with Inter, Mancini was given the bullet by the oil rich owner, Massimo Moratti. That ordeal may prove an invaluable learning experience where he to be appointed by Chelsea. Mancini probably brought about his own departure. He declared he would stand down at the end of last season, this coming after Inter were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool, only to withdraw his comments later. His failure to guide Nerazzurri anywhere close to a Champions League triumph ultimately cost him his job, and with European domination at the top of Abramovich’s wish list, that would surely count against him on his application.
Jose Mourinho back at Chelsea. This would be the most outrageous comeback since Bobby Ewing defied death and strode proudly out of the shower, back into Dallas. It wouldn’t happen, would it? Well no, I don’t think so. A West London second coming would involve either, a huge climb-down from Roman Abramovich, or a huge contract from Fulham chairman Mohamed al-Fayed, neither of which is likely. The Portuguese also has a lucrative 3 year deal with Mancini’s old club Inter, looking set to guide them to another Serie A crown. The fact remains however, Mourinho is the most successful Chelsea manager ever, and has never ruled out a return.
Gianfranco Zola and/or Roberto Di Matteo
As Chelsea played out there final match under the stewardship of LF Scolari, a drab 0-0 home draw against Hull, a home-made banner was unfurled by one Blues fan. It read – “Scolari out – Zola/Di Matteo, Chelsea legends“. This kind of appointment would clearly be more about sentiment than managerial achievement. Zola has done OK at West Ham, and Di Matteo is at the helm of (cough) the MK Dons. I’m sure for a lot of Chelsea fans, Zola as manager would be a great fantasy, as the tiny Italian is held in such high esteem. Would that be heart ruling head? They may well be Chelsea legends, but I doubt either have the experience to take over the machine installed at Chelsea…yet.
I had to throw in a curveball. Smart dresser Löw, or Jogi as his friends enjoy calling him, is the head coach of Germany, and is credited as the tactical brains behind their attractive brand of football showcased at World Cup 06 and Euro 08. He would certainly be a surprise choice, but not necessarily a bad one. At World Cup 06, Germany were knocked out by eventual winners Italy at the semi-final stage, but had wowed crowds with some thrilling performances, albeit on home soil. Whilst it was actually Jürgen Klinsmann in charge and Löw as assistant for that tournament, many sources close to the German camp suggested it was indeed Löw who was the tactical driving force. After his promotion to head coach, he steered Germany to the Euro 08 final in Austria, losing out to Spain.
Best of Rest
Sven Goran Eriksson — Was once caught in a hotel with Peter Keyon (he’ll shag anything), but his managerial stock has seriously declined since then. He certainly doesn’t need the money.
Fabio Capello — Great CV, but surely he will be take all the FA’s cash until at least South Africa 2010.
Avram Grant — Lets be honest, he didn’t do bad for Chelsea. But his boring, monotone style isn’t what Chelsea want.
Arsene Wenger — Arsenal is pretty much his club and he will probably finish his career with them. He also seems to hate spending money, which is not ideal for a prospective Chelsea boss
Martin O’Neill — O’Neill is a good manager, but no more.
David Moyes — See above
Pep Guardiola — He’s presiding over a Messi inspired Barcelona side that is playing football from out of this world. Therefore they wont let him go, and why would he want to?
There you have it, the next Chelsea manager is one of these candidates. Or he might not be. To be honest, I reckon it’ll be Hiddink. What?