On the 7th October 1967, Chelsea went to Elland Road, Leeds and were 0-4 down by half time, eventually losing the game by 7 goals to nothing. This result completed the singularly worst week in my up-to-then 4 year Chelsea fan career … I was devastated! … Only days earlier, my 1st managerial hero had stepped down as manager of Chelsea Football Club! … The ‘Doc’ had been appointed in February, 1961 taking over from Ted Drake as Chelsea manager from his role as player-coach while Chelsea looked in danger of relegation. Tommy Docherty was not able to halt the slide into Division 2 but then brought his youthful Chelsea team straight back up the following season. In 1964 Docherty introduced Chelsea’s current all-blue strip, a new badge and a new, optimistic and European style at Stamford Bridge. He is now therefore consequently and pretty universally accepted as the manager who had the guiding hand on the rudder at the beginning of the revolution that eventually produced the modern-day Chelsea.
Since that 1st disappointing departure and over the past 50 years, Chelsea Football Club have appointed a total of 25 first-time head coaches and managers, that’s an average of a new manager/coach every 2 years. The list of managers I have been sad to see go is proverbially as long as my arm and of course the seemingly unnecessary departure of a true Chelsea boy – Robbie Di Matteo has finally taken many Chelsea fans to the very brink.
While these Chelsea fans it seems are not prepared even to listen to reasons why Roman Abramovich might have decided to make the most recent change one has to consider that in view of the success Roman has achieved through his style of ownership you might say, well why wouldnt he? Its the pattern he has set and each time he has made a similar change it seems to have worked out.
The general view of this repetitive turnover of coaches/managers is that this is not a good thing. That it is detrimental to the development of the club and the team and that it would be preferable for the players to be coached in a more strategic, systematic and balanced way but there is another view on this that I would like to present and that is based on the concept or idea that actually Chelsea have adopted this pattern now over a very long period of time and that this is indeed the very basis of their success over the past 50 years.
Rather than Chelsea’s fans and supporters consistently regretting the supposed profligacy that might necessitate the appointment of managers/coaches at such an apparent and alarmingly high average of exchange. Rather than bemoaning the supposed lack of stability and continuity at our club, a view proposed constantly by Newspaper journos, maybe Chelsea fans should after all now accept that this is actually our unique tradition and was our tradition long before Roman Abramovich and his much chronicled trigger-happy finger arrived.
If Chelsea fans were able to accept that this state of affairs is common to our aims and not detrimental then we could maybe replace the idea that our hallmark is shallow and lacking in history with the more lateral and modern view which embraces the success of Chelsea’s results and trophies, set alongside our growing managerial list. Real Madrid, for example who have the largest Trophy Cabinet of all, have appointed a whopping 34 managers in the past 50 years, they lead us by a staggering 9!
Sir Alex Ferguson runs the show at Old Trafford in a certain, specific way while Roman Abramovich runs the show at Stamford Bridge in his own very different but no less certain way???!!! Chelsea’s longer list of Trophies gained over any other Premier League team ~ including Man United, since Roman took over might suggest Roman’s way is achieving better performance than even Sir Alex himself, food for thought?
The debate will continue but consequently Chelsea fans must weigh up whether they would rather have the continuity of managership at a club like Arsenal for instance or the unrivalled success that Mr Abramovich has brought to our club.
LIST OF ALL.TIME CHELSEA MANAGERS