Monday, 28 November 2011

Why Chelsea's plight is bad for football



Stop laughing at the back. Yes you, giggling away to yourself at the thought of Chelsea making a dogs dinner of their latest managerial appointment.

I agree it's amusing that a club with a revolving door recruitment policy resembling King Henry the eighth's selection of wives are at it again. Finger poised on the trigger.

But this could get serious and not just for those Stamford Bridge luvvies who flocked to the ground exuding passion for a club they ignored during the dull old days of mediocrity.

Andre Villas-Boas' current plight is not just bad for the Blues, but could be a death knell for the competitiveness of the Premier League.

There was a time, a very recent time, when the Blues of west London ruled the manor. Not anymore. It's a slightly lighter shade of Blue who is top dog now.

Hard as it would have been for Chelsea fans to imagine a few years ago, but that mob from Manchester are now capable of blowing them out of the water.

That's the beauty of big business - and make no mistake football is a business. No-one ever sits at the top of the hill for too long.

Think Microsoft's decline in the face of Google's rise. In football terms remember Liverpool's decade of dominance coming to end when Manchester United finally managed to draw on their resources to become champions.

Chelsea have had their time and what happens next is going to be crucial for the Premier League. Does Abramovich decide to plough on, plough in more money and battle with City in as far as Uefa's new financial rules allow.

Or does he just walk away. Wash his hands of football and retire to a yacht the size of a small country and entertain the whole cast of a Lynx advert.

If that happens Chelsea are in the cart because even though the world is full of rich bankers capable of taking on the debt, the age of the sugar daddy is over.

Under Michel Plantini's new rules, men with oversized wallets and even bigger egos can't enter the game anymore, up the ante and pummel the rest into submission through the sheer weight of their bank balance.

The problem is not just Chelsea's though. For if the Blues fall out of the elite zone there will be no-one to replace them. Without building bigger stadiums Liverpool and Spurs do not generate enough income to pay the wages needed to battle at the top of table.

We'll be left with the status quo. Say goodbye to the old days of four or five teams fighting for the title forever and say hello, with a yawn, to the English equivalent of the Scottish Premier League.

So come on Roman. Cut to the chase. We all know you want your old buddy Guus Hiddink back in charge at Chelsea.

So you've spent £15m bringing that Portuguese school-boy back to fiddle through for a few months.

And it might cost you another £15m to move him on, but deep down you know what you want to do. Re-ignite that love affair with Hiddink.

He only won the FA Cup in 2009 before having to rush back to Russia but he still sets your heart a flutter.

And now you really need him because Villas-Boas is making a pig's ear of the all the hard work you have put in at Stamford Bridge.

If he carries on, it's going to be a long time before you toast another title with vodka again.

You need international rescue and parachuting Hiddink in now that he's clear of his duties with Turkey is the answer. He is the perfect man to answer your SOS - Save our season.

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