A famous allegation against Chelsea has been that in the Abramovich era, they have changed managers like pairs of socks. To a large extent, however, the allegation is true. The revolving door, starting from Ranieri to Jose, now coming a full circle back to Jose, doesn’t really reflect the will for stability at the club. However, what it does reflect is the club’s ambition and intent. Where you might say the manager wasn’t given enough time to rework things his own way and stamp his foot, there always is the argument that a great manager brings success with him straightaway. From being a club “that was there, but just not there” to being genuine title challengers to being Champions Of Europ(e/a) to being a few country miles behind the Mancunians in the League table, all the credit and the blame has to be dissipated amongst the ten Chelsea managers who have been at the helm.
Instead of just providing an individual account of each manager’s time, effort has also been made to compare their eras with each other. While common sense dictates that the direct comparison will yield a platform to gauge them better, it also has to be kept in mind that the seasons weren’t always the same. Years earlier Man City and Tottenham weren’t factors in the title and Top 4 race respectively. Despite the best efforts that have been done to provide a fair platform to judge the managers’ performances, inadequacies might prevail.
Here, win, loss and draw percentages are compared. I know what you are wondering. Who’s that Ray Wilkins guy with a 100% win record? MY WORD ! If you don’t know Wilko, MY WORD, then you are yet to be introduced to proper Chelsea history, as Wilko has, MY WORD, been an ex-Chelsea player, assistant manager and caretaker manager for one game, more on him later. MY WORD. An insightful look might show that two of the most chastised Chelsea managers have the lowest win %. No points for guessing who. Mr.World Cupper Luiz Felipe Scolari and Chicken-Club savior Andre Villas-Boas. Both took bold moves of dropping the old guard without having adequate replacements, and consequently saw a low win %, leading to a sack. What would Wilkins have to say about this? MY WORD !
Now it’s time to discuss and dissect each manager’s individual performance. Moving in chronological order, here comes…
CLAUDIO RANIERI :
He was at the club before Chelsea became Chelski to the third person. While not being an exceptional manager, he proved himself to be fairly serviceable during his time at Chelsea. He took control of the team in 199 games, winning 107 and losing and drawing 46 each. Not a staggering record by any means, however he did the job given to him in the pre-Roman revolution era. What the 61-year-old is famously known for, is spending £120 million on players in the summer of 2003 alone, a massive splurge and the first of the Roman-era. Key members of today’s team Lampard and Cech were brought in during his period and he gave Terry his first big shot. He also brought in fan favourites Joe Cole and Damien Duff, apart from handshake hero Wayne Bridge and Kop first-teamer Glen Johnson.
Do you love pies? You do? You’re in for a treat tonight, then, my friend.
The biggest reason why Ranieri was fired in the Roman-era was probably that he had never won anything in London. And in Roman’s playground, this is a fair enough complaint against him.
JOSE MOURINHO :
He built such a relationship with all his players that some like Essien and Drogba still call him daddy. He transformed Chelsea into a rock. In fact, he was the rock Chelsea built itself on. Silverware in his first season, the League title that Chelsea had craved for the last 50 years had catapulted him to legendary status. His Chelsea team also broke a few records in English football, including the most points achieved in the Premier League (95) and the fewest goals conceded (15), although the one thing that eluded him at Chelsea was the Champions League trophy. Chelsea are undefeated at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho in League games. He brought in the Portuguese contingent of Riccy Carvalho, Tiago, Paulo Ferreira alongwith King Drogba and Daddy’s boy Essien. His outstanding record remains at 123 games won, 41 drawn and and 21 lost in his 185 games in charge. Having departed under mutual consent, he’s now back at the club where he says his heart belongs.
Wow now that’s some blue pie !
AVRAM GRANT :
I am deliberately not posting any photograph of Mr.Grant as it’d send you into instant depression. Now known to be the go-to man for clubs willing to be relegated, he was once Roman’s trusted aide at Chelsea and after Mourinho’s departure he was subsequently elevated from the position of the Director Of Football to that of a caretaker manager. It is widely believed that during his era, senior players like Drogba, Terry and Lampard run the team and Grant simply gave them the go ahead. He was just a patch of artificial grass and a coat of paint away from being a Champions League winning manager. Out of his 54 games in charge, he went back looking slightly less sad in 36 games, even lesser in 13 and suicidal in 5. The most notable happening in his tenure however was to bring in Ser-Bear Branislav Ivanovic and French mercenary Nicolas Anelka. Also, this gif.
The Sad One’s pie chart looks somewhat like this.
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LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI :
He came and he went in the blink of an eye. World Cup winner with Brazil, Euro finalist with Portugal, his CV said it all. Known as ‘Big Phil’ due to his authoritarian style of management, he ran into deep trouble just a few months into the Chelsea job as, after an impressive start to the season, the side slumped badly. Injuries to key players, Drogba being dropped to the bench despite great form, etc. The writing was on the wall for him. Also, poor transfers in his time saw Jose Bosingwa drafted in for GBP 17M and Deco, who had clearly declined, being brought in. A low win % ensured that he was looking for a new job before the end of the season.
RAY WILKINS :
As said earlier, an ex-Chelsea player, assistant manager and pundit, Wilko also took over for just one single game as the caretaker because terms with Hiddink were not sorted out by then. He led the team to victory in that game, and MY WORD that boosted his Win %, didn’t it? Just look at that blue pie ! MY WORD!
MY WORD ! Stay on yer feet, son !
GUUS HIDDINK :
The Golden Guus, appointed as a caretaker manager after the sacking of Scolari, instantly won over the hearts of the CFC faithful in his short tenure. Coming on the back of a successful EURO campaign with Russia, Abramovic flexed his muscles and dialled a few numbers in the Russian Football body to have Guus packed up and sent to London. He was very likeable as a person and as a manager. His team got Ovrebo’d in the CL Semis against Barca, where half a dozen stonewall decisions were given against Chelsea. He resurrected the teams hopes of silverware that season winning the FA Cup. The fans were so impressed by him that his name was being chanted throughout the last few games, the fans prompting Roman to sign him up on a longer term basis. Also, he had won the support of the old-guard, Terry, Drogba, Lampard and Cech, who had asked him to stay on, however, to no avail. A man of his word, he returned to manage the Russian team.
Not only an affable person, he was also one of the greatest tacticians of his time. His only loss in his Chelsea tenure came at Tottenham, losing 1-0 thanks to a Luka Modric goal. Currently enjoying a spell in Dagestan with Anzhi, he was on every Chelsea fan’s managerial shortlist after Di Matteo was fired.
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CARLO ANCELOTTI :
King Carlo, as he was fondly known amongst the Chelsea faithful, moved to Chelsea from AC Milan, where he had a legendary status associated with him. He brought the famous Ancelotti diamond with him. Chelsea were romping to huge victories early on in the season, but when teams started deciphering the diamond, Chelsea had no answers. That brought the famous winter slump. Ancelotti, though half-heartedly, reverted to the 4-3-3 shape, from where on Drogba, Malouda, Anelka and Lampard had a dream season as Chelsea coasted to the domestic double, winning the FA Cup and the Premier League titles.
Next season, things looked good for Carlo, until the committed one of the biggest transfer blunders of all time. No, it wasn’t signing Ramires or my beloved David Luiz, it was the signing of Fernando Torres for a sum amounting to over GBP 100M over five and a half years including wages. Under pressure to play him and get him firing, Drogba was relegated to the bench. Ramires failed to provide much impetus as well having just been brought in, owing to acclimatization issues. The season never got back on track for the Blues, as they lost out to United for the League title. What shocked the Chelsea fan-base throughout the world was that, Carlo was given the firing order right in the tunnel after the game ! A manager of his status should have been given more respect than that. But by then he had immortal status among the fans as he led the Blues to the domestic double and his eyebrow did amazing things.
During the course of his two year stay, he led Chelsea in 109 games, winning 67, drawing 20 and losing 22. This record was good enough considering he had to bear with a non-firing Torres as a striker. Some suggest he was not the man who could supervise a transition, which was impending. These suggestions surely carry some weight, as the average age of his Milan team shows. But the manner in which he was fired….DISGUSTING !
ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS :
If Ancelotti wasn’t the person to oversee the transition, surely it had to be Villas-Boas. Only in his 30s, leading Porto to an undefeated season including a Europa League triumph, he had to be the man. Roman forked out over GBP 13M for him as compensation to Porto. Suddenly Chelsea had the manager everybody envied. A sexy manager whose touchline antics and usage of made up words in press conferences gave him a larger than life image ! But would the results reflect the outlay on him? Chelsea started off tidily, but as the season progressed, the seniors in the team started to question him and his tactics. He gave Lampard and Drogba the cold shoulder and upon putting in a transfer request, he relegated Anelka and Alex to secluded training.
Had his results backed his methods, things would have been better for him. But under his management the club looked set to lose out on Top 4 and get knocked out in the CL at the hands of Napoli. His record is by far the worst of a Chelsea manager, winning 19, losing 10 and drawing 11 of his 40 games in charge.
Even the pie, which doesn’t have even a pi radian of blue, is a measure of AVB’s poor show.
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ROBERTO DI MATTEO :
LEGEND ! Di Matteo’s appointment and consequent sacking as Chelsea manager is the reason why people like Zola or Poyet shouldn’t agree if Chelsea approach them to be managers. Because, despite your best efforts, you will be fired without anyone considering if you are a club legend or not.
Di Matteo came into the hotseat as an Interim Manager after AVB was given the sack. Much wasn’t expected of the former Albion manager. But he instilled a sense of self confidence in the side and did the minor things correctly. He installed the seniors in their respective places and made them believe. Starting off with a 4-1 win over Napoli to the FA Cup Final to the Champions League Title, the season was one filled with miracles. Robbie could’ve turned water into wine in this spell it seemed. Chelsea were always down, but never out. Chelsea threw all the eggs in one big basket called the Champions League. Consequently, Chelsea managed to finish only 6th in the league.
The next season started brightly as well. However, poor form in the CL saw Chelsea go out in the Group Stages, which was shameful, to say the least. This was enough incentive for the Board to bring out the firing orders and Robbie was fired.
He enjoyed a very good stint. Out of his 42 games in charge, he managed to win 25, losing 9 and drawing 8. Throughout last season, his name was chanted in the 16th minute of every Chelsea game, home or away. Such is the amount of love Chelsea fans have associated to him. A club legend, Robbie shall always be respected.
RAFA BENITEZ (INTERIM MANAGER) :
What could be worse than sacking a Chelsea legend? Replacing him with a Kop legend who once called the Chelsea fans plastic. No offence to Rafa, but he had no [fun]ing business accepting the offer from Chelsea. In Rafa, Chelsea had an [Interim] manager who was no different tactically than the fired RDM. If anything, Rafa had the urge to improve his CV more than the team. His inept ‘Right Back for Right Back’ substitutions have cost Chelsea many points. Chelsea would be holding a slender lead when he would bring on the likes of Yossi Benayoun to see the game slip away.
Rafa, you might have done your best, but you frustrated us a hell lot. Out of the competitions available to him, that were the CWC, Capital One Cup, FA Cup, Europa League and the Premier League(no great hopes there anyway), he chose to prioritize the EL, a trophy which bore no importance to a Chelsea fan. What was unfathomable was the manner Chelsea lost to inferior teams like Corinthians and Swansea in the CWC and COC, respectively. But then, we are grateful that atleast it wasn’t a trophy-less season as a Rafa-inspired Torres led us to the EL triumph. A lacklustre trophy, but a trophy nonetheless.
Towards the end of the season when Chelsea were playing a match every 2-3 days, he did well to rotate the side. Towards the end, he showed improvement and consequently fans’ response got better. But, dear Board, this experiment was not worth it. Thanks Rafa, but good bye.
A return of 27 wins, 10 draws and 10 losses looks better than was expected of him. Under him, even Torres showed some signs of his Liverpool self, albeit not in the League. However, the players were happy playing under him, so who are we to berate him. Thanks Rafa.
So now the stats have been laid bare in front of you to see how each manager performed and what the win % were. All did a good job but what’s disappointing is that there were so many in just 13 years. With Jose coming back home and promising to stick around, we expect to see some stability in the future, but then, no guarantees, as THIS IS CHELSEA !
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