Chelsea Football Club - raising the bar year after year
A take on Chelsea's meteoric rise and the way forward.
From what used to be a mid-table club with their fans being happy seeing the team play amongst the elite to actually dream bigger and gun for something big and achieve the same, that has been the story of Chelsea Football Club. The brainchild of Gus Mears is no longer a side looked down upon but a side looked up to.
Chelsea FC look like a shadow of what they were in their previous years, one group of players who were English with a tinge of other nationalities thrown in who played football, the beautiful game, just played. A few trophies here and there and all was well at Stamford Bridge. The coach was happy and so was the owner, well, one was there who did not like to see his team lose.
Gianfranco Zola, a player who is regarded as the best Chelsea have ever had said that it was an honour to be so adored by fans and that playing at the club was a great thing to happen to him. Zola with his indomitable ability of ripping through opposition defences was not adored by the defenders. Greats of the game like Jimmy Greaves, Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood, Dennis Wise, Bobby Tambling, Ron Harris have had their stints in their careers at this club.
Some of them have become managers of clubs like Mark Hughes, Ruud Gullit, Roberto Di Matteo but the club’s concern was in its failure to sustain success even after achieving it. Trophies were there, big ones too, the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Super Cup were no joke after all. But the turmoil period continued with no stability whatsoever and a certain Manchester United in this regard scores huge on this basis of sustenance with the great Sir Alex Ferguson being the magician that he is.
Something was needed for this falling period to stop and success to be sustained. A Russian billionaire, who goes by the name of Roman Abramovich popped up in the box and he was clinical with his finish – finishing of top class quality with the signing of Jose Mourinho as the coach and players like Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti, Nicolas Anelka.
The club under Mourinho won back-to-back English Premier League titles and League Cups, an FA Cups in the second season, enjoying the best period of success for the club after a long time. But the man, that he was Abramovich, was not satisfied. He wanted the big one, the UEFA Champions League.
The success sustenance objective was fulfilled and the excited fans had reasons to celebrate with their team firmly placed amongst the top sides of England and an aura of goodness among the players that followed thereafter. But the flipside was that the managerial merry-go-round continued with every manager failing to deliver and not winning matches being shown the door.
Mourinho went, enter Avram Grant. Exit Avram Grant, enter Luiz Felipe Scolari (a dismal period for the club). Then followed Guus Hiddink with the sad news that he would only manage till the end of that season. Andre Villas-Boas, Di Matteo, came and went with the latter finally giving Abramovich what he wanted. But he was to face the axe as well and Rafael Benitez came in with once again achieving a prized catch.
Needless to say, the merry-go-round was on again and Carlo ‘coolness personified’ Ancelotti was in for the job of a Chelsea manager, that job which was so volatile and unstable that it was once said that “Chelsea managers are like the seasons of the year, they keep changing frequently.”
But then the Special One returned as he felt his home was not with the Cristiano Ronaldos but at Stamford Bridge, where he was loved, respected, admired, adored and worshipped. ‘The Only One’, as he now calls himself with his managerial style has injected a much-needed freshness to a side rocked by such unwanted happenings.
John Terry, a pillar of the Chelsea team in the modern day, has been an influential and an exemplary captain. One of the few players to have played an almost entire career at one club, Terry has been at the heart of it all, overseeing all the struggles and still keeping the team together. Terry’s rock-solid defensive skills have been the cornerstone of many Chelsea successes in recent years.
Again, there is another player who cannot be forgotten in this success sustaining period - the name is Frank Lampard, a club legend who has scored goals which have been spectacular to the wonderful and all other fine adjectives that the mind can think of. These two players have been such icons for this club that it comes as no surprise to see the Bridge decorated with these players.
The current crop of players are world class and they would be vital to the club’s future successes. The brand of football on display has been admirable to its fullest with slick passing, long balls and free kicks taken with relative ease. This has to be maintained with the manager coming in to warn these players vulnerable to complacency and under-performance in the modern day world. There is room for improvement too, with too many touches taken before the ball is played in being a problem.
There is also a sense of a laid-back approach which is detrimental to the team because that invites pressure and enables the other team to take advantage. Another thing, that needs sorting, is the goalkeeper position with both Cech and Courtois being good custodians. Overall, this team is capable of building on the previous successes and achieve more in the future.
A club is judged by its trophies. The more is the silverware, the more are the fans. Chelsea Football Club has a huge fan base in the world. The only thing required is maintenance of this success.
A prospect of overhauling United’s 20 titles might be tantalizing and at the same time daunting, but the dreams are getting bigger by the day. With the ‘Everything is possible’ motto, the team moves forward in its path of winning more and more trophies and be in the same league of legendary clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan. The objective is to be on top every time, delivering a high-quality game with the feet firmly on the ground. Over to the future then!