Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

A question worth pondering; if something is indeed rotten behind the scenes at Chelsea as most of us believe to be the case, irrespective of whether one is pro or anti Carlo, then maybe that’s where we should start?

It happened in Ranieri’s last season. And Mourinho’s. Underhand briefings to the press, behind the scenes manouvering by all and sundry, sackings and/or appointments made above the head of the manager (or first team coach as is probably a more appropriate title) and so forth.

Hey, we all know the drill by now. And the rumours about who is being targeted as Carlo’s replacement have already started.

In the past, the finger of blame has been pointed at Kenyon, at Arnesen and obviously Grant or whoever else was the hate figure at the time. But the very simple fact is that there is one constant in all of this.

And it doesn’t take a genius to work out who it is.

If Carlo gets kicked out in the summer, it will be pretty clear that the running of the football side of the club will have virtually nothing to do with who is appointed as manager or first team coach. Pick the players you’re given in conjunction with the staff you get whether you want them or not and get on with it.

Win and we’ll all be happy. Lose and you’ll be out on your arse inside of two years. With a big wedge of cash for your troubles. Cash that might have been invested in, you know, talent.

At least when Kenyon was here, there was someone who understood the workings of a football club near the top of the organisation. Now we have the rather underwhelming Gourlay plus Roman and his retinue. Not good, in my humble opinion.

We’ve got away with the hirings and firings over the last few years because we have (or at least had) an exceptional group of players either at or approaching their peak.

Now we have a number of key payers from the last five years approaching the end of their careers, albeit with some promising talent in or on the fringes of the first team squad and the apparent will to spend money again. How long this lasts is anyone’s guess.

Surely not a good thing if you’re trying to build something long lasting?

But really – whether you’re for or against Carlo – if the owner doesn’t back a manager who he pursued like a horny teenager for two years as the right man, who delivered the double in his first season with some exceptional football, who he indulged to the tune of £75m in January, what exactly does the future hold for the club and anyone crazy enough to take up the managerial hot seat?

To lose Mourinho, maybe Ancelotti and – to an extent – Hiddink in the space of four years; doesn’t that smack of biblical, suicidal stupidity? Doesn’t anyone feel that questions should be asked of those pulling the strings?

I have increasingly mixed feelings about the Roman era. Some magnificent times – success and silverware of the like I never thought I’d see at the Bridge, great players and great managers. But nagging away at the back of my mind is the feeling that we could have had more – more titles, maybe the big European pot – who knows? – had there been a little more stability.

It would all be very Chelsea for things to fall apart over the next few years. Mercenaries like Scolari and Sven happy to take the £6m a year and the inevitable pay-off when the trapdoor opens. Players like Josh and Bruma fucking off because they want to succeed in their careers.

Unduly pessimistic? Bipolar? Well, maybe there are some things in the DNA of a football club and those who support it that simply can’t be erased.

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  1. DayTripper

    . I don’t think we’ll get this under Abramovic. He’s not a lifelong supporter, who sipped his Bovril in the Shed in the sixties and endured a couple of spells in the 2nd division. This club is like one of his yachts – an expensive toy. And when it doesn’t please him in the way that he hopes, he kicks it around bad-temperedly until he finds someone to come and fix it so that he can play with it again. Here’s a quote from the Wikipedia entry on him:

    “…Due to his business acumen, within a few years his wealth spread from oil conglomerates to pig farms and he also started investing in other businesses.[11] Abramovich set up and liquidated at least 20 companies during the early 1990s, in sectors as diverse as tire retreading and bodyguard recruitment…”

    Does that sound like someone who is going to assist the patient rebuilding of a team that is coming to the end of its current cycle? He is a fixer who feels the need to act decisively when something has gone wrong. Given his fortune, this has served him well throughout his business career so why would he change now? The problem is that running a football club, especially Chelsea, is not like other businesses?

  2. Anonymous

    Just got back from Belgium. Missed the game on Saturday and read this on the way back on the boat.

    Agree with every word. I too would rather Roman moved on now. Thanks for the memories etc. He’s to inconsistent (in many respects he may be the most bi-polar out of all of us). He seems to have surrounded himself with a bunch of “yes men” (who made their money on the back of his other ventures and so are unlikely to go against him on what they see as his hobby) who know next to nothing about football, agents and Bobby Campbell (WTF), not an ideal combination in any respect.

  3. Anonymous

    As ever, completely agree with my honourable blog colleague JD.

    Long term stability is the key. Regardless of current form, Carlo’s track record at AC should be enough to indicate it won’t he under him. He’ll keep the same players for a good while, probably to the detriment of the kids.

    Jose’s too ‘immediate success’ driven. Hope that makes sense – clearly not a bad thing, but I don’t see him as the Wenger type to nurture the youngsters through for a few seasons. I have no names to offer forward (Hiddink aside) but I do know that if we embark on a season or two of blooding tge youngsters, we need to tell tge World that’s exactly what we’re doing.

    This season has already ended. It’s been an unmitigated disaster and our CL participation will be over soon. Yet we’re fighting for forth so can’t even risk the kids now. Josh hasnt appeared for us since running the show for England U21’s in Italy. How, I don’t know. The midfield are probably our biggest weakness now.

    But for stability, a whole strategy rethink would be required. A restructure of personnel at all levels of club hierarchy would also be necessary. Trigger-happy Roman doesn’t seem the type, does he?

  4. Blue West

    Despite managing AC Milan, in his 15 years as a manager Ancelotti only won the league once before he came to us. Of course he won the CL and the Double in his first year here but the jury’s out on whether or not he had much to do with it. I met him once. He’s a bore and I can see why the team lacks drive and motivation.

  5. Ringo

    I’m not buying it.
    Where does it say in the rule book that you have to have managerial stability?
    Players are mercenaries ,why shouldn’t managers/coaches be too?
    How’s that whole stability thing working out for Arsenal anyway?
    If every team came out today and said they were all sticking with their manager for the next ten years what would happen? Would someone still finish last/get relegated/win the league?

    The head coach (and that’s what he is,now) is just a hired gun. Give him the squad and tell him to get on with it. Win and you stay for a year, or two ,lose and you’re gone.

  6. Der_Kaiser

    Given the rather corrupt state of Serie A in the 90’s-2000’s, I’m not sure whether winning it once or ten times should be seen as either praise or damnation of a particular manager’s record.

  7. Nick Benfield

    I’m not advocating sacking Carlo. I’m certainly not in favour of Roman selling the club (crazy talk). I would just like to see an end to the current hierarchy’s short-termism (bloody management speak – shoot me).But, as DayTripper points out above, Roman doesn’t seem (or definitely isn’t) the type to show patience and let a manager rebuild over the course of a couple of seasons (and there is the debate about whether Carlo is the man to do that anyway…). It’s all about the NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! I WANT TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! HERE’S A £50M STRIKER TO HELP YOU DO THAT.

    The answer: Let’s just accept that we support a club that’s as mad, bipolar and capricious as many of us are, okay? Good. I feel better already. (I don’t, not really.)

    • Anonymous

      Never mind, Nick. Thanks to the official website’s clip from Chelsea TV’s Blues News today I now know that Florent Malouda is sporting a new haircut [looks like a first stage crop towards a silly Kalou-like Mohican to me].

      Who am I to say he might have better spent the time on some extra practice on the training field on tricky stuff like passing accurately, running faster than a snail and shooting at goal?

      • Nick Benfield

        The type of story that makes me despair of the majority of news channels and outlets these days and gets me swearing at the TV or computer monitor. It’s the reason why I don’t have the Chelsea NewsNow page always open in a browser tab anymore. Who gives a crap about a player’s haircut? Not me. Yeah, I’m getting increasingly cynical and grumpy as I get older. It’s like local news channels down here on the south coast. Down here it’s “Scouts clear church path of bindweed” and “Health centre gets much needed new mini-roundabout” (exaggeration of course, but you get the picture – well, you don’t actually…). Pointless shit like that. At least in London it’s all murder and All Bran and rape (okay, not All Bran, though the first person who gets the reference goes straight to the top of the league – and I bet London news is just as bad these days).

        I can’t believe I typed all that to moan about a news item about Malouda’s new hair cut. Jesus… I need a drink.

  8. Anonymous

    A slight aside but hey, who cares?

    So last night we found out that:

    “Hamburg have confirmed Frank Arnesen will become their director of football in the summer when, as planned, he leaves Chelsea at the end of his contract. The Premier League club’s chief scout Lee Congerton is to accompany the Dane to the Bundesliga club as technical director. Hans Gillhaus is leaving to join the Dutch team Feyenoord as its technical director and the French scout Guy Hillion is to become the sporting director at Nantes. Chelsea is to implement a radical overhaul of its scouting department.”

    So Roman obviously has some big plans for our scouting and Director of Football Department. A number of names have been brought up (Guus, Txiki Begiristain, the Arsenal bloke…) but why has no-one called for Uncle Claudio.

    As a manager he’s pretty hopeless but as a talent spotter he’s one of the best around. The likes of Cech, Gallas, Makelele, Robben, Duff, Lampard, Joe Cole….and probably a few more were all found by him and even though he wasted a lot of Roman’s cash in that first season, after he left he defended himself by saying that he never asked for Veron or Mutu and instead had asked for and spotted the talent in those unknown youngsters Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Claudio has a brilliant eye for talent and is the kind of friendly, low key figure who’d never want to stab a coach in the back (Avram, Emenalo and well Guus who depsite being very nice would be way too high profile).

    There we go, random thought over. I return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

  9. Nick Benfield

    Oh, and while I’m in full-on pessimist grump mode – you just know Torres will tear a hamstring tomorrow night, don’t you? You heard it here first.

    I think I just out-Fiftee’d Fiftee.

  10. Anonymous

    Fascinating link BBD, thanks for that. As usual everyone’s favourite Scottish punk midget is dead right. The real test is going to come next season, after the slow-motion car crash of this spring finally comes to rest in its terminal wreckage of twisted metal and mangled flesh. I thought it was interesting too that Carlo gave a straight answer when asked the other day who apart from Cech was playing to their expected standard. “Ivanovic … Er, maybe JT … That’s it.” We can all see it, so it’s nice not to have any official bullshit for a change.

    I absolutely agree with JD too. Carlo’s proven that he can do a good job, so what on earth would be the point of kicking him out and replacing him with someone else until they too preside over a nasty slump? But it looks as if English footy is going the way of the major US sports, where the same bunch of coaches swap around jobs every couple of years almost as a matter of routine. (The NHL is quite bizarre in this respect.)

    I still think we’ll finish fourth, not that my predictions ever bear any relation at all to eventual outcomes. I can’t see this bunch of players being so consistently below par for another couple of months.

  11. Anonymous


    I’m going to surprise you (and the blog) now. We’ll win tomorrow night, and do so comfortably.

    We’ve been so utterly shit for ages, a surprise performance is due. Copenhagen simply aren’t great, it’ll be a shock to us all.

    We’ll go back to being crap for our next game but Torres will open his account tomorrow.

  12. Jon

    Talk of Roman leaving is ridiculous, he’s the best thing that ever happend to chelsea and I for one will be eternally grateful to him. I may not have supported CFC for as long as some on this blog, my days in blue began with players like Sinclair, Newton and Wise. Those days were good and the occasional cup run was a fantastic.

    But then came RA and everything changed. Top players, media attention and holding my head up high going into work and telling all the Arsenal fans that their time as london’s top club were over. Then once Ranieri left and we brought in Jose, we started winning things. What a feeling … PL champions, FA cup and the micky mouse cup!! Even the Charity shield is in our cabinet. It’s all down to RA so talk of wishing him to leave is insane. The man changed our club forever and for the best, he is welcome round my gaffe anytime for a cup of tea and a chat about how Russia should win the world cup.

    Do I agree with how he runs the club?? perhaps not. Should he have sacked Jose .. hell no. But he’s the boss and can run it as he likes. He just dropped 70 mill on 2 top players and every indication is that he is going to spunk even more money in the summer. He’s invested heavily in our academy, training grounds and backroom staff. I think he loves Chelsea, its not just a toy for him and he wants to see his team win things. Whats wrong with that? He’s only made 2 real mistakes, Jose and Wilkins. He deserves our support and gratitude.

    I for one do not wish a return to mediocrity or the painful transition in owners seen at ManU and the Pool. It’s just more fun when you have a real chance of winning silverware each season.

    Long Live Roman’s Blue Army

  13. Ososdeoro

    Any of you familiar with the Oakland Raiders? A team built up by its owner into a championship team, but then after two well chosen coaches left (one because he’s afraid of flying and got tired of driving all over and the other who was fired after a couple unsatisfactory seasons following a championship) head coach has become a revolving door. No one reputable will even touch the position anymore (there was one decent resurgance in the early 00s), and if we had relegation they’d have dropped long ago. I think firing managers for good reason is tolerated, but eventually the good ones catch on and blacklist the offending club.

    That said, I’m with fiftee and am excited about tomorrow. Surely there is football enjoyment to be had beyond watching Arsenal shoot itself in the foot every so often.

  14. Anonymous

    It’s quite scary to consider ‘what if’ isn’t it.

    I’ve spent a few moments considering how broken we’d be if we don’t finish top 4 this season. Not just the departure of star names (we’ll find some star names from somewhere to flog) but how difficult it would be to attract the best talent when we’re not in the CL. For sure, we’d see extended outings by the kids but that’s not really how we should have planned their integration to the first team.

    I’m scaring myself now. I’m close to tears. We can’t ‘really’ finish below forth, can we?

    • Jon

      Not Qualifying for CL next season would be a disaster for many reasons, however the biggest being the lack of funds and it’s impact with the new UEFA regs. I believe the board/ RA have planned for CL revenue in order to meet this requirement.

      Therefore I would be happy to go out against Copenhagen if it means an easier schedule for us in PL and therefore a better chance of claiming 4th spot. I think this season is probably the least likely for us to win the CL with the way the team is playing currently anyway.

  15. Dylbo Baggins

    I think this was a better goal from Jesper

    I remember being in my bedroom having just returned from 2 years living in Chelsea working in a little pub. It was on about 7am Aussie time. I just remember screaming and my mum coming in to see if everything was ok…

    Good times.

  16. bluebayou

    Denmark,! A quote from the well known play! The chance that it could all go very very wrong!

    How will we cope? How do we find Happiness in all this?

    There’s only one answer.

    That’s topical We all felt like that after Saturday’s free kick.

    This one shows what Tony was doing while that free kick was being taken on Saturday

    This is a classic

    There’s loads on this.


    • Anonymous

      The last one reminds me of my Father, Dear Father* ^^

      *A Patrick Cargill joke that will only appeal to those of a……ahem….certain vintage

      ^^Also there is no truth that his character in Father Dear Father, as the hassled father of two teenage daughters was based on any future projection of my good self

  17. Anonymous

    4-4-2 with Ramires as our right-winger?

    Fuck. Right. Off.

    And the Drogs is apparently sulking. Tempted to watch Lyon v Real instead…

  18. Anonymous

    Was just going with what Sky insisted was our formation. I really should know better…

    Cheers to Jesper and their keeper for the goal (what was the keeper doing?). Torres looks fit and hungry, Lamps looks Sunday League. Reserves. When the team is a man short. Shocking so far.

    Malouda really can’t take corners, can he?

  19. Anonymous

    Dear Carlo,

    My half time instructions are as follows :

    -Remove Lampard. Replace him if you want, but he’s been Frank(ly) shit for 46 minutes. But given Copenhagen the ball a lot.

    -Tell Nico he’s not to drop deeper than Torres. There’s no need. All it does is congest a nice little 3 yard square with him, Essien, Lamps, Ramires and, on occasions, Malouda. Like watching kids football, all chasing the round white thing.

    -We’re crying out for some creativity in the middle. If only we had a dynamite whipper-snapper to appear and show no fear. You don’t need to look too far…..

    – Stop overplaying it. Sometimes we’re putting JT and Branko under unnecessary pressure. Get more industrial and give it the big ‘un when needed. Don’t run up blind alleys in dangerous positions. That’s why you’re going to bring Kalou on, isn’t it?

  20. Anonymous

    Decent, unspectacular performance.

    Should be job done. Copenhagen offered little threat, and won’t he any more dangerous in the return leg.

    We picked up some fucking ridiculously stupid yellow cards. They’ll come back to haunt us.

    Lamps, Malouda and Bosingwa were, in my opinion, really bad tonight. And for half your midfield to under-perform, that’s scary. Next Tuesday needs to see a marked improvement all round. Drogba looked pretty uninterested as well. Managing him and Torres will test Carlo. Thought Torres looked much better tonight. Little bit if luck and they’ll start flying in.

    Cheers Blackpool, but can’t see it helping us. We’ll not beat Utd without a huge improvement in form and attitude.

  21. Anonymous

    Confusing. I thought Frank looked fairly good tonight. But then I’m watching on an iPod touch so it may have been someone else entirely.

    Nando (or whoever the tallish whitish bloke up front was, or appeared to be — it’s not a very big screen) seemed to be running around a bit and linking up reasonably well too.

    And Spurs are 3-0 down. Funny how quickly things can brighten up.

  22. Nick Benfield

    Managed to watch the whole 90 minutes on my iPhone without my net connection throwing a wobbly. I agree with LTB – Lamps looked pretty good. His reverse pass for Nico’s second was sublime. Torres looked sharp and just needs a goal. Drogba – oh Drogba – reports of typical Drogba behaviour on the sidelines and not really up for it when he came on. I love the guy and always have but the whole Drogba *thing* will taint how fans remember him in years to come. Copenhagen were poor though.

    No complaints from me – 2-0 away win and Blackpool beat Spurs. I’m pretty sure I’ve had worse Tuesday evenings.

  23. Anonymous

    “I’m pretty sure I’ve had worse Tuesday evenings.”

    Yes Nick. Pessimism Fiftee says your Tuesday next week will be horrible.

  24. Anonymous

    What a great win.

    Entertain yourselves for a while before I finish the report…I want to revel in a WIN for a bit yet.

    A sneak peak of the themes:

    4-4-2 was a revelation BUT against Barca we’ll be destroyed. Midfield was a bit square in the second half leaving a lot of space between the lines.
    Torres and Nico looked like a lethal, mobile and complimentary partnership.
    Torres was so nearly back to his best. As Carlo said, his movement was key. His runs, team play and all round contribution was extremely impressive. He just needs some luck to get his first goal.
    Lamps and Essien were nearing their old selves.
    Back 5 (always include Big Pete) were rock solid.


    Didier – An embarrassment. Not bothering to train in the warmup because he was dropped (Ray’s observation) and after he came on he decided to walk aronud for 20 minutes, fail to control the ball on 7 of his 9 touches and then blaze wide from 45 yards out. A disgusting performance.

    There we go…enjoy yourselves for a bit.

  25. bluebayou

    I am in receipt of a horse which has been gifted to me.

    Forgive me if I have no information on his dental condition.

    2-0 away in Europe. That’s all upside as far as I can see.

  26. Jon

    Was a good win and the whole team played better. Not sure that drogba was sulking on the sidelines … he’s professional enough to know about squad rotation and he will surely start against ManU.

    Real question is if Drogs and torres can’t play together because the occupy the same space, did CA only realise this after he bought Nando? Or does this prove it was a RA buy? Or are we giving Nando 1/2 a season to acclimatise to us before we ship DD off in the summer. The third option is what I think the case is.

  27. Anonymous

    Ok you lot, report is in.

    Apologies for the delay but Master and Commander kind of sent me into a coma. Ooops…

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