Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughAre Chelsea the new Manchester United? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Are Chelsea the new Manchester United? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Are Chelsea the new Manchester United?

Chelsea have made a decision, whether it is a good one or not remains to be seen, but one thing is perfectly clear, Roman Abramovich buckles to public opinion. When the grumbles start to fly around Stamford Bridge, the P45 is usually heading towards the manager. This is him disguising the fact that Chelsea’s problems are all Mr Abramovich’s fault. The mess they are now in all comes down to his personal falling out with Jose Mourinho and the eventual departure of the self styled ‘special one’ in September 2007.

Villas Boas can only have been appointed manager at Chelsea for one reason, and that must have been to build a new, young squad of his own. There is no other reason to appoint such a young manager. The fact that Abramovich has turned his back on that after a dodgy couple of months is laughable. There is always going  to be a period of transition whilst a new team is formed. Arsenal have been in one for about 6 years now. Liverpool for approaching 25.

People may say ‘What about Man Utd, they don’t seem to have a period of transition?’, but it is Man Utd that I most closely associate Chelsea’s current situation with. Not Manchester United of now, obviously, but Manchester United 1972-1989, a team unable to cope with the pressure of emulating the great team of 1968. A team left to grow old together, instead of gradually being broken up and rebuilt without anyone really noticing. A club where the big names of the past made it almost impossible to succeed.

The problem Chelsea have is that the make up of the current squad still contains 4 senior members of the 2005 -2006 Champions winning squad. A team afforded legendary status by Chelsea fans brought up on Eddie Nzedwiecki, Kevin Wilson and Steve Wicks. These players are untouchable at Stamford Bridge, and have created a situation where they can’t be left out without the manager immediately being under pressure. These players are growing old and their performances are not what they once were.( In fact out of the 4, Frank Lampard (the player most commonly dropped by Villas Boas) is the only one playing anywhere near his original level.) Yet, there are no suitable replacements coming through. The youth system at Chelsea creates next to nothing, and any available top player would probably see other clubs as more forward thinking. What I find most amusing is that certain players seem desperate to see Mourinho back in charge. If he was, Terry, Cech, Drogba and Lampard would be unceremoniously dropped and released. I am certain of that. They would have gone last season if Mourinho was still there.

Chelsea need change if they are to remain at the top. They can’t just hope that another great team comes along because it won’t. Whoever the man is who gets the job, they will need 4 things to help them succeed:

Stability – no great change can be achieved in 9 months. The new man will need at least 2 season to get anywhere.

Cash – Roman had better be prepared to open his wallet. £200 million might enable them to keep sight of the Mancunian rears before they disappear beyond the horizon.

Support – The manager must be backed to the hilt. If he wants John Terry to go he must be allowed to send him on his way. I’m sure JT could do  a job at West Ham for a year or two.

The Mark Robins moment – At some stage, some player will have to stand up and be counted in a crucial game. I wouldn’t back on anyone doing that right now.

Finally, if Chelsea really aren’t going to spend 25 years in the doldrums, they’d better hope they don’t get Fulham at home on the last day of the season. Damian Duff backheel anyone?

Dave Rogers @NoLeftFoot

For more Football Blogs and opinion from football fans around the world