Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Mourinho – What We Can Expect

Posted: June 20, 2013 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, England, Guest, mourinho, Preview, Transfers, Youth

José Mourinho is back. Four words that mean the world to (most, if not all) Chelsea fans. He’s back, alive and kicking. Is anybody disappointed by his appointment? I think not. Truly wonderful, delightful news.

Mourinho has already excited us before stepping out into the dugout, even possibly before meeting some of the newer players who weren’t around in his previous stint, just because it’s him. The icing on the cake after his arrival was the Chelsea TV interview that accompanied the news. He is “very happy” to be back. “It was an easy decision to make” for him. “I’m one of you.” And perhaps, the best quote of the lot was when he explained he is ready to “be in a club and stay for a long time.” What is there to not like about all that? He’s certainly saying the right things. Can he put them into practice?

So, what does Mourinho mean to us? Well, I took to Twitter recently to pose that question, a one word summary if you will, and this is what was said:

[José Mourinho is] special, bolshy, resurrected, unbeatable, panache, unique, charismatic, brilliant, mentor, pioneer, class, genius, king, boss, perfect, blue, outspoken, humorous, master, accomplished, matured, outspoken, thorough, unforgettable, sly, absorbing, winner, unrelenting, defining, motivator, homely, Daddy, notRafa (ha), alien (?) and God. That just about covers it all really. (How would you describe him? Let us know below. Thanks to all who participated)

Chelsea Headache are also very privileged to welcome the views of some guest writers today regarding Mourinho’s return:

@ChelseaActivity: It was a fairytale with a sore ending last time around, but Mourinho has returned, making the huge statement that is, “I am one of you”.

Lots have changed since 2007 for both parties – Mourinho has returned a more mature, experienced manager than the fresh-faced, ‘arrogant’ and ‘Special One’ he was before, although I’m sure he’s still special. While the club hasn’t just settled for what they had, Chelsea’s facilities have evolved, the youth team is stronger than ever, producing some of the best talent and they’ve even upgraded their silverware collection in recent years.

Although what hasn’t changed is the world-class ability Mourinho has as a manager, and that is something Chelsea haven’t had (arguably) since the brief days of Carlo Ancelotti.

For this time around to work, Mourinho needs to be given time in order to succeed in abundance. The players need stability and the club needs to afford ‘The Special One’ more time, and not jump to conclusions after a string of bad results.

José is an honest man, and when he makes a statement, he often follows through with it – he nodded and approved bringing through homegrown players. He’s learned a lot in 6 years, and so have the club, which is why I think those asking for players produced by the club to be given more opportunities, will have something to smile about in the future. And those just wanting silverware…I’m pretty sure you’ll have something to smile about, too.

@ChelseaChadder: Brash, confident, cocky, arrogant and special. All words most people would associate with the new Chelsea manager. However, will it be the same the second time round? My feelings are they won’t.
 
I believe Jose Mourinho has matured. He is still as confident as ever although seeks a new challenge. Can he guide the blues back to Premier League glory in the next couple of years? Of course he could with the aid of Roman’s money, but I don’t think that’s his intrinsic motivation. My feeling is that he wants to build a club, a future and a legacy for CFC, one to rival the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson. Surely that has to be the new goal of the ‘Special One’.

@ChelseaAnalysis: Jose Mourinho is the best manager on all levels for the club, the fans and the players. He has instantly unified the club and repaired the broken interindividual bonds/connections that have formed as a result of the suffering the club had gone through over the past half-a-dozen years since his abrupt and sudden departure which left Chelsea in a state of insecurity and managerial instability. His appointment restores the club a sense of security and provides it with a massive morale and confidence boost, from the fans, to the players, to the higher positions in the board. Jose seems to be extremely delighted and genuinely chuffed to be back in a job that was always his, in his opinion at least, and the reasons for that are clear; he’s back home, a place where, above anything else, he is loved and respected. There’s a feeling that this job, and the size and nature of it, is only, and always was, for one man – him. He has an excellent relationship with the fans which he had earned during his first time in charge, as he has with the players. As a result of the past he has with the club, this time he steps into his managerial position not only as a man willing to prove himself and do what he is asked or paid to do, but also, more maturely, as a fan of the club itself which ensures that he will be performing his job with pure passion, devotion and determination as well as the desire for success, with the club’s best interests at heart.

He is a man driven by his winning mentality and valuable experience and will provide his players with the motivation and fighting spirit needed to achieve success. A wise man as himself is fully aware of the new modern approach he has to adopt this time with regards to a young squad and will give each player a specific role in the team and the chance he deserves, nurturing talents and guiding the young stars through progress and development for the future and aiming for long-term sustainability and stability upon which all of that is based. He knows the club perfectly and is tactically astute by nature and has been given all kinds of top resources to proceed with along with the guarantee for more to build a world class complete team. Jose Mourinho is tireless and very demanding of himself, which fits perfectly with the club’s ambition and constant high-standard demands of success; he’s part of the club and will build a dynasty into the future.

@TekkaBooSon: I have to say, in the months leading up to us announcing a new boss, I didn’t want Jose back at Chelsea. At least, not during this forever on-going ‘transitional’ period we seem to have been in since about 2009. I had reserved judgement on whether Jose was the right man for the job, especially as I think our priority now should be bringing through talented youth players like Josh McEachran (who everyone who follows me knows I am a huge fan of), Nathaniel Chalobah and the talented youth we have out on-loan like Courtois, De Bruyne and Lukaku. I also questioned how long he would be in charge for, as the last thing we need is another managerial change in 2 seasons. We need stability; something we haven’t had since Jose was in charge (albeit only for 3 seasons or so..).

Despite all these doubts and reservations, I am absolutely delighted to have Jose Mourinho back as our manager. It feels like it’s Chelsea again and it’s the most optimistic I’ve been about our future since AV-B took charge. I must admit I haven’t been a fan of any of our managers excluding AV-B since Jose left; Ancelotti was a yes man and a pushover, Di Matteo was tactically inept, I didn’t see a future with Scolari and Grant and Hiddink were obviously always going to be short-term appointments. I am looking forward to enjoying wins again, as opposed to under Benitez where I struggled to even watch our games.

Since Jose has taken charge, he has been saying all the right things; he seems to want to develop the young players we already have rather than spending big like he has done previously. I’ve read numerous quotes suggesting he wants to build a legacy here and stay for a long time, though to be honest I’d be very happy with 5 years with Jose at the helm.

To sum up, I cannot wait for next season. I can’t wait to be able to enjoy watching my Chelsea again, and I fully believe this next era at our beloved club will be the best yet.

Mourinho has returned, and Chelsea are back!

I think it’s fair to say, we are all somewhat buzzing about all this Mourinho stuff. The possibilities for development seem unlimited with potential and riddled with success. This time next season, Chelsea will be a somewhat different team.
Thanks to all the guest writers for their time and opinions for this post. For the record, some opinions were written before Mourinho’s interview on 10th June 2013.
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How are you feeling about Mourinho being back? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

It took a while, but now Gary Cahill has been confirmed by Chelsea to have passed a medical and signed a contract in what has been believed to be a transfer fee somewhere in the region of £7m.

Seemingly Cahill passed the medical “with flying colours” on Saturday morning and then proceeded to watch his new teammates defeat Sunderland 1-0.

The stories claiming Cahill was holding out, only for money, were quite possibly false to disrupt the entire transfer.

Cahill had this to say about joining Chelsea:

“Chelsea is a massive club, it is a club that looks to win trophies season in season out and it is a big opportunity for me to be a part of that. Opportunities like this you can’t turn down.”

What’s more, Cahill is eligible to play in the FA Cup as Bolton kept him out of their squad which drew 2-2 against Macclesfield Town in the third round. Bonus.

In September 2011, Gary Cahill scored on his first competitive start for England (3-0 win vs Bulgaria). He is expected to be one of England’s first choice centre backs in the coming years.

Welcome to Chelsea, Gary Cahill.

@GaryCRobertson

Cahill in, Alex out?

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Bolton, Chelsea, Defence, England, English Premier League, Rumours, Transfers

Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed that English defender Gary Cahill is very close to becoming a Chelsea player after passing a recent medical on Saturday:

Gary passed his medical and should be our player soon.

It’s taken awhile but it shouldn’t be too long now folks.

Cahill, who has been capped for England seven times, will cost Chelsea somewhere in the region of £7 million (according to media reports – yeuch) and will be an immediate replacement for the imminently departing Alex. Cahill was due to be out of contract in the coming months with Bolton, so Chelsea took advantage of the situation with a bid – the rest is history (if everything goes through correctly that is).

Onto the subject of Alex. Reports say he could join Queens Park Rangers sooner rather than later. On the other hand, a Chelsea spokesman said: “I can say at this time there is no agreement between the clubs.” Who to believe?

Villas-Boas will be holding out for as high a bid as possible as he is all too aware of Alex’s financial worth: “We know Alex’s market value and we’re just not going to let him go quite easily.” It would also seem that there’s significant interest from foreign clubs meaning QPR may not be where Alex ends up. After all, he has already said he’d prefer to move away from England. Maybe he will link up with Ancelotti at PSG?

Nothing is decided just yet but in the next few days, we can be sure to expect Cahill to arrive, Alex to depart or both.

@GaryCRobertson

Match Facts (Pre-Sunderland)

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, England, English Premier League, facts, pre-match, stats

Here are some stats and facts ahead of our game against Sunderland:

Chelsea have won two of their last six home Premier League games (won 2, drawn 1, lost 3).

Chelsea have won 13 out of the last 14 Premier League clashes against Sunderland (won 13, lost 1).

There have been five 90th minute+ goals in the last six Premier League games between Chelsea and Sunderland.

Chelsea are the only team who have not conceded a goal from a corner this season.

There have been 35 goals scored across the last seven meetings involving Chelsea and Sunderland, with 3+ goals in each of those matches.

Chelsea have lost only one of their last eight Premier League games (won 4, drawn 3, lost 1).

Chelsea have kept one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

Sunderland have earned more points (13) since Martin O’Neill took over in six Premier League games than they managed in the 14 games before he took over this season (11).

Martin O’Neill has only won three Premier League games as a manager against Chelsea (won 3, drawn 6, lost 7).

Referee Phil Dowd has given more penalties away than any other referee in the Premier League this season (7).

@GaryCRobertson

(Opta)

There are shades of Arjen Robben, who scored 15 goals in 67 matches for Chelsea, in the Blues’ new boy Juan Mata. The Spanish 2010 World Cup winner also scored on debut in Chelsea’s 3-1 home win against Norwich. Mata came on in the second half to add some excitement to what was rather a dull first half by Chelsea, bar Jose Bosingwa’s fifth minute goal. There’s no doubt about Mata being a regular at Chelsea after the dream debut, that player is the real No. 10 (I apologise to Yossi Benayoun, who I think is a good player, but just hasn’t done enough at Stamford Bridge). There will be question marks for the next two league games, and some cup matches, as to who has to sit out to accommodate Mata.

Florent Malouda made way against Norwich, but a more permanent replacement needs to be made. But before dwelling on how we fared in our third Premier League match, let me explore a little bit why Mata reminds me of Robben. Yes, they are both left-footed and are very creative. Mata won the World Cup with Spain, and Robben was at Soccer City in South Africa as well playing for the Netherlands, who lost 1-0 after an extra-time goal from Andres Iniesta. Mata scored 10 goals for former club Valencia last season and we all know that Robben was a 10 goals a season kind of player. So, with this we say hello to creativity and have to confront Frank Lampard to say: something is missing Frank. Had it not been for manager Andres Villas-Boas ‘brave’ decision to pull off Malouda for Mata, Chelsea might have been in trouble against Norwich.

Mata is certainly the kind of player we need and it’s even more exciting to learn that he snubbed both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs to sign a five-year contract with Chelsea. Being able to play as a left midfielder or winger, and even just behind the front men, is an added advantage to see us win the Premier League at the end of the season. It’s early days and I for one don’t want to punt him up as the next best thing at Stamford Bridge, but we all have to admit, he looks a sure bet to help us to success.

This is what the coach thinks about our new man, who faces his former teammates in the European Champions League after Chelsea were pitted against Valencia in the group stages.

Villas Boas: I think all the players are creative, they just express themselves in different ways. Mata is different from other players, and found some good spaces today [against Norwich]. For a player with only two training sessions he showed some quickness.

Villas-Boas’ major headache: If we do indeed get Luka Modric in the final hour of the transfer window, picking his midfield players on match day could turn into a nightmare for the manager. But for now let’s say Modric will stay at Spurs. Then Villas-Boas is still left to making a final decision – possibly on the eve of a big match – on who to bench to make space for Mata. He can play where Lampard and Malouda usually operate. And his best days are still to come at Stamford Bridge. But this is good for rotation. With the FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League matches still to be played, we certainly look to have enough depth to get positive results.

There’s also been criticism about playing John Obi Mikel and Ramires in the starting line-up. Although Ramires can make daunting runs and get us in scoring positions, he can be a bit too defensive – then playing the same type of style as Mikel.

Our manager has some tough decisions to make.

As always, it’s a pleasure to hear views from fellow Chelsea fans. Today, we interview Chelsea Blogger, ‘The Chelsea Chat’, as he shares his views on keeping Hilario, using Sturridge, benching McEachran and our right flank.

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Chelsea Headache: Hello The Chelsea Chat. Thank you very much for your time today as we look forward to hearing some of your thoughts and feelings on Chelsea.

First up, what is your view on our transfer dealings (or lack of) so far in this transfer window? Do you think we really need to be going out for a player like Pastore or Modric when they could be costing in excess of £30m?

The Chelsea Chat: I am happy with the current dealings in the transfer market at the moment. Both Courtois and Romeu look like great signings for the future and it’s great to see Villas-Boas focusing on the youth so much. I do think we need a creative player like Pastore or Modric, but whether they would be worth the money is yet to be seen. I would definitely prefer Modric though; a proven performer at Premier league level. Whereas Pastore looks like he could be too small and weak for English football. I also believe Yossi Benayoun should deserve a go, and with the pre season he’s having, maybe we don’t need a creative player bought.

Chelsea Headache: Some people were shocked, and even angered, by Hilario being rewarded with a contract extension recently. Do you think his collection of stunning saves against the Thailand All Stars has justified why Chelsea did such a thing?

The Chelsea Chat: I didn’t actually catch the Thailand All Stars match myself, but I’ve long been an admirer of the way Hilario has stayed at Chelsea for these years, happy to warm the bench, but reliable and calm when he is needed on the pitch. Yes, he made one error against Man City in the 4-2 loss in 2010, but apart from that he’s been solid, and as we know from many an example, 35 is not old for a keeper. Turnbull doesn’t match up to the standard of Hilario, and has always looked nervous when playing for us. I’m happy to have Hilario stay.

Chelsea Headache: Sturridge impressed a lot of people against Kitchee the other day. Andre Villas-Boas will be all too familiar with his situation at Chelsea and what he’s capable of in the long run. Could this season be his chance to shine in the first team?

The Chelsea Chat: Sturridge is clearly a player with immense talent, which has been brought to the public’s eye with the loan spell at Bolton, and the under-21 European Championships. Villas-Boas has looked like he’s going to focus on youth much more than any of the recent Chelsea managers, which should be good for Sturridge. I believe he should get a lot of games in the first team this year, if Villas-Boas rotates the squad correctly. He is being played in the right position of an inside forward on the wings, which is where he flourishes and he should be a star this season, if he gets the right amount of game time.

Chelsea Headache: Everything has a weakness. Where do you believe Chelsea’s to be? Many believe our right flank to be a bit understrength. Do you agree?

The Chelsea Chat: The right flank isn’t weak, but it is just has a lot less width than the left one. With Ashley Cole and Malouda being very much a wing-back and winger combination. On the right we use Ivanovic and Anelka, Kalou or Sturridge, which is a full-back and inside forward relationship which cuts down on the width, hence the less chances created from the right side of the field. The main weakness on the pitch in my opinion is the lack of a genuine playmaker, with Benayoun being inconsistent in recent seasons for Liverpool. I also believe we could use another defensive midfielder due to Essien’s injury, and the doubt in his long term future at the club.

Chelsea Headache: Recent rumours have been linking Scott Dann with a move to the Bridge. Yes, he’s an English player but with the likes of Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz and Alex all challenging at centre back, surely this is just a rumour and nothing else? What’s more Chalobah will be looking to get some first team game time this season after a nice few run-outs in pre-season. What are your thoughts on this rumour?

The Chelsea Chat: True, there is already a lot of competition at centre back at the club, but this competition is reduced with Ivanovic playing at right back, if he does stay on the flank, I think another centre back would be useful, and Dann is a good player, but the young centre half Rajkovic has shown promise, and if he gets his work permit there will be no need to buy Dann. Chalobah has shown promise, but a loan would be the right move for him at the moment, he is still about a year away from the first team.

Chelsea Headache: It’s always nice to see a player coming through the ranks from the system at Chelsea. McEachran has had a good pre-season and will be pushing for first team action. There are mixed views on whether he should be going out on loan for a season or remaining with the Chelsea squad. If you were Andre Villas-Boas, what would you do with the little English maestro?

The Chelsea Chat: If I were Villas-Boas, I would have McEachran on the bench, with Benayoun, or another creative playmaker signing, mentoring him, showing him the way forward, and having him start the odd league cup, midweek fixture and champions league game, this should help him advance and make sure the team is at the right strength next year.

Chelsea Headache: And now to close. Where will Chelsea finish next season?

The Chelsea Chat: Honestly I believe we will win it. Manchester United aren’t as strong as everyone thinks; they benefited from everyone else being fairly poor last season, City are still a bit behind the pace still, and I don’t believe anyone else has the strength to challenge.

Chelsea Headache: Sounds good to me! Thanks again and I think I speak for a lot of Chelsea fans when I say, I hope you’re right.

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You can follow @thechelseachat on Twitter.

Now that Chelsea hero Roberto Di Matteo has been announced as Andre Villas-Boas’ new assistant manager, I’ve decided to take a look at some high profile returning heroes of the past, and whether they worked out or not.

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Kenny Dalglish – Liverpool

It’s a case of so far so good for King (ahem) Kenny. The wily Scotsman re-took the reins at Anfield while the club were languishing in the bottom half of the table after what I can only describe as a thoroughly enjoyable stint in charge by Woy Hodgson. Dalglish, helped by a £50million sale of Fernando Torres, seemed to reinvigorate the club – from the players to the fans. The surged back up the table and finished a very credible 6th position, a real achievement for a club like Liverpool.

Verdict – Success

Mark Hughes – Manchester United

Sparky returned to Old Trafford after spending time with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. After realising that football is indeed a non-contact sport in Europe, Hughes felt it was best for all involved that he returned to United, not least the wounded and mentally scarred centre backs. On his return, Hughes became a vital cog in the United machine which won 2 league titles and set them up for an era of dominance.

Verdict – Success

Kevin Keegan – Newcastle United

Yet another “King” returns. King Kev returned to Newcastle for the 2nd time after a successful stint as a player and previously as a manager. This time circumstances were a little different and after an “iffy” first few games, Newcastle found their feet and began a good run of games. After finishing 12th that season, Keegan spoke out against owner Mike Ashley and his board for not backing him in the transfer market and his time came to an abrupt end at St. James’ Park.

Verdict – Failure

Alan Shearer – Newcastle United

Newcastle sure love their returning heroes. This time, all-time leading goal scorer and demi-God Alan Shearer returned to try steer the Geordies away from the drop zone and to Premier League safety. Of course with no managerial experience (or qualities, seemingly), this was a classic case of an emotional appointment in the hope it would unite the fans and players in a massive whirlwind of black and white coloured victories and even a re-emergence of Biker Grove. It didn’t, Newcastle won one game out of eight and were relegated, Shearer left and hasn’t had a job in management since.

Verdict – Failure

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As Robbie embarks on his second tenure at Stamford Bridge, he will be employed as an assistant manager. Win or lose, the glory or blame won’t be laid firmly at his door but I feel he has an important role to play in any future Chelsea successes. He is Chelsea through and through and has an eye for attractive football. Every manager, no matter how good or bad, needs a sharp mind to bounce ideas off and of course to bring new ideas to the table. Let’s hope Robbie’s return will be deemed a major success.

The Original Villas-Boas?

Posted: June 27, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, England, Guest, Legends, Random

We all know the background behind the new Chelsea Manager, Andre Villas-Boas. He was only a youngster when he knocked on Bobby Robson’s door asking for advice. Since then he has gone on to learn from some of the very best in the game, landing himself one of the highest profile jobs in the world. But is his story original?

Many years ago, when I was just 15 years old, my school friends and I had to do a week and a half of ‘vocational experience’ as part of our school work. The idea was to gain some valuable experience in the workplace in order to get a taste of things to come. We could either let the school arrange our placement, or we could organise it ourselves. Some of my friends went to a local vet, newspaper or their dad’s workplace. However, this wasn’t my sort of thing. When I was 15 I was only interested in one type of career; professional football!

I grew up living on the Sussex coast, and so the easiest option would be to contact Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. Although I love football, BHAFC is not my team. The team I support is Chelsea! Therefore, with my dad’s help, I contacted Chelsea Football in the Community (FITC) to ask if I could help out there. They were more than happy for me to come in and see how the FITC team works. Sadly, my school said that the 120 mile round trip would be too far to travel each day. Too far for who?! Basically, a teacher was meant to come and observe you in your workplace and they weren’t prepared to do that.

After some negotiations it was decided I could go. I was over the moon. I mean, getting the train to Stamford Bridge everyday was hardly a chore! The only downside was the timing of the work experience. I had to do 8 days work in July, so none of the players, etc, were likely to be around. I didn’t mind; I got to wear a Chelsea shirt to work everyday and be around the football club I loved.

On my first day I remember turning up and being asked to make loads of cups of tea and coffee. Pretty standard stuff. Another job I had to do was inflate footballs in the storeroom, which was full of all kinds of Chelsea goodies. It was great to have a little sneak around. I remember finding a load of old Chelsea scratch cards with Glenn Hoddle on the front. They were out of date so I scratched a load off. All I can say is that the club must have made a fortune from this as hardly any of them had any winners!

Anyway, I had two main jobs to do each day. The first was to prepare party food for children’s parties that took place in the Stamford Bridge Press Room. I was given a large set of keys and was allowed to let myself into the tunnel entrance, just next to the East Stand reception. I went on a tour of Stamford Bridge recently and how things have changed! I used to go into the spare changing room and make jam sandwiches, plate up biscuits and crisps, etc, and then set up the press room for the party. Perhaps one of the most fulfilling jobs in my life! Being left alone to work in a Chelsea changing room. Brilliant!!! I could see the old baths, tactics board, but sadly no player shirts.

Another great job was to help with the tours of Stamford Bridge with one of the other FITC staff members. The tour was much different then, especially as it’s only the East Stand that is still standing! I was like a sponge on the first day, soaking up all the information. It was so fascinating.

After the 8 days of a great experience I had to return to school for the last two days of the week and write a presentation on the experience. My presentation involved a prop, which I will tell you about now.

Although I had to return to school for the last two days, I decided that it would be more beneficial to spend the last day back at Chelsea! I took the train as normal and made my way to Stamford Bridge. I made the teas and coffees and was then told that Ruud Gullit may be at the Bridge later. I was so excited by the prospect of meeting him! The FITC office was across the road from the ground, and didn’t have a fax machine. Therefore, a FITC staff member and myself had to go to the East Stand, and head to the 2nd floor to send the fax and pick up the post. I took one of my Chelsea shirts with me and left it with the receptionist to ask Ruud if he would sign it when he comes in.

Later that day I had to set up a birthday party. It was quite a big one and there was loads of rubbish. I searched around to find a bin to put it in but there were none around. I went outside and headed back down the side of the East Stand then saw the then Chairman of Chelsea, Ken Bates. He called me over and asked what I was doing! A little nervous and in awe I just said I was looking for a bin to put this rubbish in. His reply was to throw it over the fence and let it be British Rail’s problem. He was, of course, joking and said carry on. Phew!

After the party was set up I had to get the midday post from the East Stand 2nd floor. On the way down the lift stopped on the 1st floor. Who walked in? The new Chelsea Manager, Ruud Gullit. He was massive, and I was completely overwhelmed. However, I quickly picked up the courage to ask him if he would sign my shirt. He was more than happy to. Imagine that, a Chelsea mad 15 year old meeting a European and World Player of the Year, and now the new manager of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge!

My heart was racing and my mind was thinking a million thoughts. Especially as my dad was coming to meet me a few hours later! I still had to help with a tour of the ground that afternoon. When I got back to the office there was a bit of a panic. The guy who did the tours was running really late and may not make it to Chelsea in time. *A-hem* I could do it? Really? Yeah, I’ve been on loads now and have learnt the script to go with it. Well, maybe then.

Eventually, the guy did turn up and we did the tour together. However, as a special thank you, I was given the keys and told I could give my dad a private tour of Stamford Bridge. WOW!!! When my dad turned up I did exactly that, including telling him the story of meeting Ken Bates and Ruud Gullit earlier!

A bit tongue-in-cheek about me being the original Villas-Boas, but I was young, I have coached football in England, America, Australia and Denmark, and now do a little bit of work for Brighton & Hove Albion. We all have to start somewhere!

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If you liked this then please follow me on Twitter: @ChelseaChadder

With Andre Villas-Boas poised to take the reins at Chelsea, I have decided to look at a number of factors which willdetermine whether he will be a success or not. Of course results and trophies will be the determining factor, but there may well be a few underlying issues that have to go the young prodigy’s way if he is to fill the trophy cabinet and avoid Roman’s wrath.

Coaching Ability

With some of the egos at Chelsea, they may not look too favourably at a 33 year old former scout becoming their new boss. At the end of the day, this guy used to hand out scouting DVD’s to them under Mourinho , he’s the same age as Drogba and Lampard – now he’s their manager. However, I believe that he will be given a chance to win them over and I think within a matter of weeks this will be achieved. By all accounts, Villas-Boas has revolutionary training regimes which will keep the top players motivated and most importantly entertained.

Philosophies

Villas-Boas is an excellent communicator who will get his points across without anything being lost in translation, something that perhaps Ancelotti struggled with after Wilkins got the chop. He will also be an ally to the Brazilian players who are still finding their feet (Luiz and Ramires) and due to the common language will help bring these players on and fulfil their potential. He will have buy-in from all players and they will all understand 100% what is required of them, ensuring a more cohesive and efficient machine on the pitch.

Signings

Chelsea clearly need 2 or 3 signings, regardless of who is going to be manager. Last season with Porto, Villas-Boas played an adapted 4-3-3 formation. Chelsea do not have the players to compliment this formation. Chelsea need to sign a winger (or two) and a creative midfielder to help Villas-Boas replicate his tried and trusted formation. Saying that, I believe this guy has a book of tricks that he can adapt to most situations. He is a student of the game and a real innovator.

Strong Director of Football

This, for me, is perhaps the most important issue. Villas-Boas needs a Director of Football in place who is going to stand side by side with him and buy into his ideas, not another Churchill insurance dog who can’t stop nodding his head when Roman says something… Ooooh yes.

Easier said than done – who will challenge Roman, or more importantly, who does Roman trust and take advice from? All roads seem to point to Guus Hiddink. Now it looks like Hiddink is staying with Turkey but I believe (and hope) he will take over the role after the Euro Qualifiers end in October. He is a strong personality with sway over Roman, and can act as a shield for Villas-Boas should he need him to. Baring in mind that Villas-Boas is still young and effectively learning his trade, Hiddink will be a generous and valuable mentor for the young Portuguese.

At 33 years old and with one full season under his belt, is Villas-Boas a gamble? Well, isn’t every managerial appointment a gamble in some way, nothing is ever certain in this beautiful game…..

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Written by Derek.  You can follow him on Twitter @fattyfoulke

Is The Romance Dead?

Posted: June 16, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in England, English Premier League, Guest, Legends, Money, Random

The mind has time to wander during the close season, and as sick as I am about hearing and talking about “would be” transfers, my thoughts have drifted elsewhere. Just recently I found Paul McGrath on Twitter (@PaulMcGrath5) and it brought back some fond memories. The reason for this story is to compare the modern footballer with the gentlemen of yesteryear.

I cast my mind back about 5 or 6 years to a summer’s day in my native Cork City. Aware that Paul was due to play in a golf tournament in Fota Golf Course, I made my way down in hope to see one of my heroes. Luckily for me I wasn’t disappointed. Seeing Paul across the clubhouse I felt genuine awe for a man who helped put Irish football on the map, a true legend of the game. Seeing Paul was about to leave, I shouted across the clubhouse “Paul, you’re my hero!” Not one of the most suave moments of my life but one I don’t regret nonetheless.

Paul came back in and shook my hand and said he’ll be back shortly and he’ll talk to me. Not expecting him to come back, I was happy just to have shaken the great man’s hand. I sat down with the group I was with for a tea and low and behold, 20 minutes later Paul arrived back in the clubhouse and sat with us for about 15 minutes just shooting the breeze. We got our photos and said our goodbyes and that day remains in my mind forever. It’s not every day you meet a genuine hero. They say you shouldn’t meet a hero as you will be left disappointed, well that couldn’t be further from the truth in this instance.

Paul has had his well-documented demons over the years but his warmth and kindness hasn’t been affected. He is a genuine guy who appreciates the chance he was given and support he was lended by us fans. For what it’s worth, his autobiography is a great read for anyone who’s interested.

Now, the reason I have told this little story is to show the class associated with former players. I have also had the pleasure to meet Peter Osgood and Peter Bonetti, two Chelsea legends and couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating. The same can be said about when I met Kerry Dixon, Jason Cundy and Clive Walker. Exceptions aside, can you imagine many of today’s top players giving you the time of day? No? Me neither.

Is it the money? Is it the increased fame? Is it a security issue? Is it just that people in general have become less friendly and maybe even more arrogant? Whatever it is, it is ruining the romance and the bond between fans and players. Now I know certain players make the extra effort to engage with fans but it will never be the same. I know people who have drank with the Irish squad on international trips; I hear stories of people who’ve done the same with various clubs around the UK. If you tried approached Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard and offered to buy them a drink you would probably be on the receiving end of a tongue lashing for daring to interrupt them (that’s if you even get that far before being tackled by a security guard).

The examples I used may not be representative, maybe they are, and there are of course exceptions to the rule, but what I’m getting at is that people are falling out of love with the game because our heroes have become detached and almost untouchable. I almost feel that the modern day players are robots who are taught to say a bunch of clichés and dare not say anything else which may be controversial or honest. Maybe it’s just me, is it?

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Written by Derek.  You can follow him on Twitter @fattyfoulke