The Chelsea chief executive, Ron Gourlay, has spoken to the squad about the reported misbehaviour of first-team players. Gourlay, speaking on behalf of the club’s owner Roman Abramovich, organised the meeting with coach Carlo Ancelotti in response to weeks of lurid headlines involving club captain John Terry and his England team-mate Ashley Cole.
Gourlay reminded the players of their responsibility to protect the image of the club and warned of “severe disciplinary consequences” for any player who steps out of line.
The meeting took place at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground and lasted around 10 minutes. Gourlay’s speech was followed by a talk from Ancelotti, who reminded the squad and the staff of the need to protect the image of the Stamford Bridge club.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the meeting afterwards:
“We had a meeting this week with the players. It was a good meeting. Ron Gourlay was there as well. We spoke to the players and explained to them the behaviour that is required of the players in this club. Now they know very well what they have to do and what behaviour is expected of them when they’re in the Chelsea shirt.”
“We are interested, me and the club, in protecting the image of this club. Not only the players and the manager, all the staff – the people who work in this club – have to protect that image. That is one of the most important things, the image of the club. We want to carry that forward. And I think the players and all the staff know very well what they have to do.”
The confrontation is a clear indication that Abramovich has had enough of his club being in the spotlight for non-football reasons. And if the cases of Mourinho and Mutu are any indication, it’s unlikely that anyone at the club can cross Roman and stay on for too long.