I think it’s fair to describe the current climate as a start of a new era, even though we have been largely on top since Roman took over, I believe this is the season of transition!
Since 2003, we have kept our transfer activity in a single season to a minimum, yes there has been the odd big purchase like Fernando Torres but nothing like the business we did back eight years ago.
The players have done very well since Roman took over, but they are now getting old, now is the time to strike a blend between youth and experience. I for one am sure that AVB is the right man to lead us through this transition and it is time to let the new era begin.
So first with the sacking of Carlo – As much as we loved this man, you must admit that the team lacked that spark, that team spirit which epitomizes Chelsea had gone. It could be a case that the players took advantage of Carlo’s calm demeanour and for whatever reason we lacked any urgency and passion.
When I look back last season I believe another reason for our failure to retain the Premiership or FA Cup and once again fell short in the Champions League was that we never had a Plan B. Though the players tried hard, we seemed to give in too easily when it came to tactics – Do you remember when Jose was in charge and if things were not going right he would not be afraid of throwing on three substitutes at one time in an attempt to change the game. Either way, I was not impressed with the way the Italian was sacked but life moves on …
After the sacking the boredom of pre-season kicked in, everyday we were linked with a different manager, in-fact I think almost every manager in the World was mentioned, until the media somehow decided to unite in claiming that Hiddink was man we wanted. Quotes like “My Future is in the past” from Guus further fuelled the speculation that we were about to bring the Dutchman back to the bridge.
All of a sudden we were linked with this young and exciting coach from Portugal – He is a brilliant, bright, energetic and intelligent young manager who likes to play the game in a different way but there is no doubt he has similarities to his old mentor the “Special One”. Roman has done it again, 13.2 million for a manager! Whilst we might not be the one with the young players we are the club for young managers.
Andre Villas-Boas has just 20 months of experience as manager in his resume, and has never managed in the Champions League – It is a bit of gamble by Roman, but one that we all love. I have always believed that when we win the CL, the manager would have also done it for the first time in his career! Now that AVB is on board, we have got that chance.
It’s not just a case of trophies, Roman would have wanted AVB on board for the style of football he gets his teams to play, something that he has always craved for. Porto scored an incredible 145 goals in 58 games last season, he brings much needed fresh energy into the club. In his first press conference, he hardly said a word wrong and always referred to CFC as ‘we’, even when he was describing our past. I got the feeling that won over all the media at the conference, with them describing the latest Chelsea manager as ’class’ – Not a word that media people normally associate with Chelsea.
I must admit that I have been very impressed with AVB in his first week, having removed English (someone who is believed to be responsible for departure of Jose) and Clement plus then he brought in Roberto di Matteo as his No.2 and promoted Holland as first team assistant coach.
Now, that’s intelligence and that’s why I believe he will succeed. As for Roberto here is a legend at Stamford Bridge, fans will instantly take to him just the way they did with Wilkins. Also, Roberto likes to play attacking football (let’s remember West Brom were the only team to get a point at Old Trafford last season) and he has managed in BPL last season which brings AVB much needed experience and a knowledge of teams here. Holland is similar to AVB, he quit football at very young age and took to coaching early. Like his boss and Di Matteo we all know he loves to play attacking football – A huge bonus with his is that he comes with knowledge and details of the club and the youngsters.
I can understand the restlessness among most of us with the lack of transfer activity. AVB pointed out in his interview that he is no dictator, at first he is giving the current players the opportunity to prove themselves. Then along with his coaching staff he will assess the seniors as well as reserves and then decide on the areas that we need to strengthen.
We have 50 days before the transfer window closes, I still feel we need to ship some people out before we can start signing people – and that our overseas quota is full. We have done ourselves no good by extending the contract of Hilario by another year. We have to sign an English player or players who are under-18.
So, First AVB will take his time to analyze who is surplus to requirements at the Bridge, because the club has to free up some slots before the new blood can arrive. I believe the quadruple of Anelka, Malouda, Hilario and Paulo have had their time in a Chelsea shirt and they should move on. Whilst Drogba is getting on, he was our best player towards the end of last season and he still has a year left in him at Chelsea maybe even two.
I would like to have one creative midfielder, one possibly two wingers and a right back in place of the four specified above. Anyway, I will leave the headache on whom to buy and sell to AVB and just wait restlessly to see what transfers take place and wait for the season to start.
I am excited about the youngsters joining the club this year! … Lucas Piazon seems to be a intelligent player, Masek has bundles of talent and Ake seems to be calm at the back plus with rumours of Gael Etock being signed, the future looks bright.
By Venkat MSS