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Thanks-a-lotti, Carlo (part 2)

Firing Carlo Ancelotti was a knee-jerk reaction to a disappointing Chelsea season.

At the English Premier League level – unless there is obvious locker room strife, or some other glaring incompetence – you’ve  got to give managers a few seasons to implement their system.  Now I love the current Chelsea players.  It is their individual talent and smooth cohesion on the pitch that made me a Chelsea supporter in the first place.  But they had a poor season.  And it wasn’t Ancelotti’s fault (unless he never included shooting practice in training sessions).

When Ancelotti took the helm before the ‘09/10 season, he inherited a very good team.  He orchestrated a couple additions for the 2010/11 season (most notably Ramires), but by and large wasn’t there long enough to implement much of anything.  I haven’t checked Chelsea’s shooting percentage from last season, but it wasn’t pretty, and I’m certain the plethora of missed scoring opportunities caused the second place finish in the league far more than any perceived Ancelotti blunders.

With twenty teams in the Premier League, no one’s club is going to win the title every year.  But you at least want your team to be in the running.  Chelsea was in the running last season.  Should they have done better?  Absolutely!  Was it Carlo’s fault that they didn’t?  I really don’t think so.  Perhaps if next season is similar or worse than last season, you could think about letting Ancelotti go then, but the man should’ve been given another season.

I like and appreciate Abramovich’s cash and all it has brought to Chelsea FC.  I also like the fact that he’s not a media attention hound.  But I don’t like his revolving door approach to managers.  Managers don’t win soccer matches.  Players do.  So, whoever the next manager is, grant him at least three seasons to settle in and see what he can help the players accomplish.

Thanks-a-lotti, Carlo (part 1)

Firing Carlo Ancelotti was a knee-jerk reaction to a disappointing Chelsea season.

It was disappointing to see Carlo Ancelotti let go.  He deserved better than the calloused way he was dumped.  He wasn’t at Chelsea long enough for fans to grow too attached, but he was growing on this fan at least.  And then poof!  Second place finish, with no additional trophies or Champions League final even though you were at the helm for the historic Double just last season?   Sorry, Carlo.  Don’t let the (bus) door hit you on the way out.  At least that’s what it seems the club’s executive attitude was.

Many fans support the modern tendency in major sports to blame the coach and ship him out when championships don’t flow annually.  I’m not a fan of this carousel approach because I don’t think it produces championships.  Teams do.  And how do you develop/maintain good teams?  I’m no teamwork guru, but it seems that solid leadership (via the manager) and stability are key.  You don’t get leadership or stability with the carousel approach.

Apparently the Chelsea FC board disagrees.  Check out Chief Executive Ron Gourlay’s comment in a Reuters interview Thursday:

Continuity is very important but so is performance and results… Our model may not be the model others agree with but at the end of the day, we’ve taken the decisions we felt we needed to take to develop Chelsea Football Club… and we’ve won 10 major trophies in the last six years.

As a fan, you certainly want your club management to be passionate and vigilant about winning, but Chelsea is a club with the kind of stature that demands longevity with a respected manager.  Someone who can mold and maintain the team in a methodical fashion that will yield long-term results.  Was Ancelotti that guy?  I don’t know.  Perhaps.  But we’ll never find that guy by starting over every season or two.