This summer will prove to be the most important in the history of Roman Abramovich’s reign as Chelsea owner.
The club has, despite the success, stagnated since our Champions League success, with no clear direction or philosophy.
Changes will be needed not just in the squad, but in the coaching staff and the boardroom.
Michael Emenalo’s sudden departure from his Technical Director role has left the club without any professional football knowledge in the boardroom.
Antonio Conte has seemed an even more isolated figure since his departure, with no communication line from the dug-out to the boardroom.
This is probably one of the key reason’s why they never sacked him earlier (and the small matter of a £9m payout)
We need a Director of Football to oversee the footballing matters, to explain to the head-coach how we expect our teams to play.
To organise a transfer policy with serious input from the head coach in order to achieve the overall vision of the club.
Simply asking a manager to paint the Sistine Chapel with a toothbrush isn’t going to work, especially with the depth of top teams competing for the title.
When Roman took over we broke up the Manchester United and Arsenal power axis, this year we need to not just match but better another 4 teams on top of that.
To do this we need all parts of the cog to be working in tune.
We’ve recently employed the successful Guy Lawrence as Chief Executive, meaning the business side of the club is in safe hands, but what’s more important is having the footballing side in even safer hands.
Champions League football chances are slim, so lets take a year to set ourselves up. Let the new Director of Football set up his agenda and get all the pieces in place. Maybe appoint some ex-players like Michael Ballack or Juliano Belletti to work under him so we have succession planning in place.
While we do this, lets ask a former manager to take the reigns for a season. Carlo Ancelotti is currently out of work, and has been quite a regular visitor to the Bridge this season.
Promote Jody Morris to his Assistant Coach and begin to implement the ideas of the Director of Football of how this club should play football.
Again setting up some succession planning for Morris to potentially take over and lead the team hopefully back in the Champions League and into the future.
It takes 21 days to change a habit, but a heck of a lot longer to change a culture. Giving the new Director of Football a season (and two transfer windows) to start to shape the squad in the new image will give our next permanent manager a blank canvas.
We change managers on average every 1.5 seasons, so by allowing the Director of Football to control our ‘identity’ will allow us to have some continuity running through the club.
Personally I would like to see Neil Bath moved up from the academy and allowed to replicate the success of the youngsters into the senior team. This would, I believe, create a better pathway for the youngsters to the senior team.
For the past 15 years we’ve always gone for a ‘big name’ and without Champions League football next year I fear that we will need a big name to help attract players to the club and keep some of the current players here.
But whoever is appointed in that role, they need to be given the freedom and the backing of Abramovich to bring their strategy to fruition.
If we don’t, we’ll be having the same conversations again in a couple of years time as we go round in circles time and time again.
Abramovich may want this club to be the biggest in the world, but without the correct foundations in place, it will all crumble and the rebuilding work will have to start again.
Let’s take our time, get the foundations in place, and build a team that is capable of challenging in Europe.
Once the new stadium is built we will have every other aspect in place to be the biggest club in the world, it’s just on the pitch that we’re missing.