Everything’s going as per the plan. Boas never left us in any doubt. He told us what he wants to do. He’s going exactly as per his checklist. I don’t think he’s in any hurry and looks like he can’t be hurried too.
In his first weeks, he’s already done a number of things some managers take months to do and some managers are too afraid to do. He’s come in and stamped his authority so very well that his lack of experience of his young age are no longer being debated as much as they were a few weeks back. He’s come in and taken decisions and he’s delivered certain things already.
I had written a blog on the official Chelsea FC website last week on the impact Boas has created in the initial few weeks. In my opinion, these are some impressive things he’s done so far.
Sorting the backroom: He’s made it quite clear that he wants his men and the backroom staff would be his appointments. He’s got rid of a couple of them and also replaced with his men. His view seems to be ‘I have a philosophy and objective. In order to deliver my objectives through my philosophy, I need my team and hence I’d hand-pick them’. Sounds about right!
Messages to players: Boas cancelled the first friendly because he wants to meet the players before getting on to the pitch. How cool is that! He has said that there won’t be any activity in the transfer market until he meets every single player in person. He’s also conveyed through the press what he expects of his players. He even went to the extent of saying ‘John Terry will continue to be captain as long as he continues to fight for his place’. He’s given very clear messages that he’s a strong manager and also a considerate one. He’s created quite an impression before he could even shake hands with the players.
Playing to the media: Boas has been very careful with the media. He’s carefully avoided comparisons with Jose Mourinho. He has clearly stated what it takes to be a Chelsea manager and the expectations and the consequences. He’s not said anything controversial yet (apart from the ‘social role models’ which is okay). And, going by the reports so far, the media seems to like him. Of course, we all know that when he’s winning, he’s ‘a young manager’ and when he’s losing, he’s ‘an inexperienced manager’. That’s media for you.
I’m ‘the Boas’: The one thing he has done very cleverly, subtly and sometimes explicitly is displaying his authority. He’s made us believe that he has full control over his support staff, the transfer market and also who plays and how Chelsea would play. Make no mistake, he looks like a very strong manager. He knows where he wants to be. And he also knows how to get there.
Basically, he comes across as a man who knows what he wants and also has the courage to say that and the ways to get it. His display of authority has been quite impressive – getting his men, cancelling a friendly, stalling the transfer efforts and media management.
I know we’re getting a bit restless about not signing any new players or not relieving any of our players. I thought Boas made it very clear. He wants to meet the players first before he makes any decisions on players. So far he’s had only about three days with the players. He needs to talk to the players, understand what their expectations are and see if they have any desire or ability to fit his requirements.
I know most of us had written off certain players as at the end of last season – Anelka, Malouda, Bosingwa, Ferreira to name a few. Looks like we expect these to be shipped off and be replaced with new players. This is of course a presumption. In his assessment of and discussion with the players, Boas could come to a conclusion that some of these players do have a role to play for us in the next season. As soon as Boas said that he’d meet the players before we involve in the market, I’ve come to terms that anything could happen now. Anelka, Malouda etc could all play for another season, might play different roles, might play less or more frequently, might have their contract revised – anything.
We’ve seen this many times. A new manager comes in and revives some of the under-performing players. In his short managerial experience, that’s what Boas is known to have done with the Porto players. So I think he’d like to think that he can do that with some of the Chelsea players too and hence he might want to give himself a chance. Also, it’s only mid-July now. We have time. Yes Madrid have done great business so far. But Jose has managed a season there and he knows what he wants and as soon as the season got over he got going. Same with Fergie too. They must have been waiting for the season to end so they can upgrade their squad.
Whereas we are waiting for the manager’s nod. You know, this is such a positive thing and I think we should be happy. On one side, we want more power be handed over to the manager and on the other side we are in a hurry to jump into the market when the manager is not ready. I must say I’m quite happy that we are hastily concluding any deals because we get some good players in good prices. That’s now how it should be. Boas should assess the squad situation with his philosophy and the club’s ambition and come to a conclusion of who he needs.
If that takes time, I’m willing to wait. Remember, there’s a Copa America that’s going on now. Some of the finest ball players are involved in the Copa. Many talks and negotiations are pending for the Copa to finish. And we may not know if something’s happening in the background without the knowledge of the media. Of late, we have snatched some deals where the media learnt about them quite late, including the appointment of Villas-Boas. So I’m happy to wait. We now have a manager that wants to ‘manage’ than just ‘coach’. We also seem to have developed a desire to empower him and facilitate his plans. Last thing I want to see now is a signing that we debate if that’s a Boas signing or Roman signing. Summary: let’s wait.
The squad has started training with the new manager and the new support staff. And we also have the customary pictures with players and staff with smiles and laughs all around. What still nags me is that we are yet to hear from John Terry about Boas’ appointment. I don’t know why we haven’t seen anything in the club website yet. Doesn’t the club think it’s important enough to report? A new manager has come in and we definitely need to hear from the captain. It could just be the diplomatic nonsense but still let there be some nonsense which is better than silence.
In other news, Essien has injured himself again. And looks like it could be a long lay off. I feel really sorry for him. Last season he was so poor that I badly wanted him to back all guns blazing this season. Bad start. He’s just 28. For the role we might want him to play, his best could still be ahead of him, provided the injury is fully taken care of. As tweeted, I’m keen to see how Boas responds to this. Are we getting a new midfielder to temporarily replace Essien or will Josh McE get some serious playing time?
Oh and Emenalo is our new technical director! Basically, I don’t think Boas was too excited about having Emenalo in his back room. So Emenalo becomes our technical director. The man uttered probably his first words since he joined Chelsea. And I must say, he sounded quite reasonable. But the way he described his role, he kinda made it clear that he is a ‘technical director’ and not a ‘football director’. These terms are used interchangeably these days but the way I see it, football director is about strategy and vision while technical director is more micro type of role.
Copa America is on and Lionel Messi is setting the stage on fire by showing what he can do without his Barca colleagues. Meanwhile, our folks haven’t found too much joy but there’s lot more to go. I’d be supporting Brazil no doubt, which is like our second national team after England. We have a lot of Brazilian/Portuguese flavour in our team already and I have a feeling that it would only increase.
Next weekend we will play our first friendly of the pre-season. That should give us a good introduction to Boas’ style and method. I’d be watching all those matches on Chelsea TV. I’ll be here to report on Boas’ first match for Chelsea. See you!
P.S: This is my first post from my new iPad. I’m loving it!