What if we miss out on the champions league spots? We’ve now got to the stage we really need to ponder over this. Everyday we are being reminded on why a champions league spot is important for us – the TV money, the gate receipts, the other income from champions league, signing of top players/managers and prestige of the club. To keep us financially afloat and to sign big names, we need champions league football. To pay the fat salaries, we need champions league football. So I was wondering why don’t we think about the life without champions league? As we get closer to the end of the season and start staring at the fifth place more than the fourth, it makes sense to see if there are any benefits at all, in missing out on champions league spots!
This is not about grapes being sour. I’d love to see us stay in the champions league spots and continue to compete at the highest level in Europe. Who doesn’t want their club to be playing champions league football? But I’m only trying to look on the brighter side of things, if we were to drop down to the fifth or sixth. The positives of playing in the champions league needs no further discussion. But I’m curious to explore the benefits of missing out on the champions league. Okay, here we go!
Much needed wake up call: What we see now is the culmination of our approach and philosophy over several years. Buying players instead of making them. Relying too much on the core group. Trying to extend the shelf life of the core group. Not phasing out the old to make way for the new. So if we miss out on champions league, it’s only a gradual decline and should not be a surprise. And it says something about how well we have operated as a club and does force the club to realise and accept mistakes. The club administration should take a fair amount of responsibility for where we are now. And hence this should also mean some changes at the board level. On the whole, it would be loud, clear and confirmed that there was something fundamentally wrong in our approach. I think this realisation is very important and should be sooner than later. No better way to drive this home than not being eligible for champions league football for the first time in Roman’s era.
Revamp will be certain, imminent and wholesale: If we miss out on the champions league, I think the revamp of the squad will be imminent. Chelsea would need more efficient and effective players who may not sell shirts but produce the goods on the pitch. In short, we would need full value and more for money. Firstly we need to shrink to ensure that our player salaries are corresponding to that of a team that does not have the privilege of the champions league money. The over the hill players will be given the golden handshake. No transition. No phasing out. Just the golden handshake. After all, that would be then the players paying the price for what was a poor season. So I think a revamp would be certain and imminent. What would we be waiting for? Giving another last chance to the core group to pull us back in? Nah.
Reduced media attention: Media has this love for the top four. They are obsessed with the top four. If Chelsea drops out, initially a lot will be written about it. I’m sure they will say things like players wanting to leave, players unwilling to join, managers not keen to take up the Chelsea job and heck, Roman losing interest in football and selling Chelsea off. They’d write all this. But in a while, they will stop. They have some serious distractions in the form of Euro 2012 and Olympics in London. And as time goes by, the obsession with the then top four would catch up and they will start reporting the nightouts of Newcastle stars and whorehouse visits of the Spurs players. Chelsea can stay off the media radar and concentrate on the hard work that we have on hand.
And there’s even a downside to staying in the top four. If we manage to stay in the top four we could be lulled into the false sense of security and continue with our current personnel and methods. I think that’s what happened with Carlo’s double. As much as I enjoyed that season, I’d say it is that season that extended the contracts and responsibilities of these core group. So sometimes it is the short term success that blinds from the long term realities.
Many of the Arsenal supporters will tell you why they want Arsenal to drop out of the top four. Because as long as they are in top four, Wenger and his unambitious approach will remain. Wenger will continue to say that they are successful because they keep playing champions league football. But the club needs to win and they need to have a blueprint for consistent success. And these Arsenal supporters want their club to get a rude shock. They want a change. For that purpose they might even be happy to drop out of the top four. A short term loss for the long term gain.
It’s widely reported that Roman is obsessed with champions league success. If that’s true there’s no bigger wake up call for him thanChelsea not even getting an opportunity to compete in the champions league. I’m all game for a reorganisation and consolidation in our pursuit of success. If missing out on champions league is what’s going to turn us around from a club management point of view, so be it.
Disappointment? Yes. Disaster? No.