It was in 2006 when player power was introduced to Chelsea; Jose Mourinho announced his list of ‘untouchables’, what Mourinho had said that no matter what happened to them, they would always be in his first team. For all the success the ‘Special One’ brought to Chelsea, this comment sparked a chain reaction that would do more damage to the club that anyone could have imagined.
When Mourinho was sacked, Avram Grant took over and employed Henk Ten Cate as his assistant manager, the man dubbed ‘The Volcano’. The day before Chelsea played Tottenham in the Carling Cup Final, captain John Terry and Cate had a training ground bust up with the two men having to be separated by players. Speaking about the incident, Cate said:
“John wanted to have even more intensity in training but I didn’t agree as we were just one day before the match. That was all. John and I get on well. John won’t disagree.”
The first sentence is most important here, the captain was trying to dictate what happened in training, and surely this is the job of the manager and his coaching team? Needless to say, Cate and Grant didn’t survive and was replaced by a world cup winning coach in Scolari, he lasted just eight months at Chelsea before he was sacked, and he was less than complimentary about the Chelsea squad:
“The real owners of football at the moment are the players. The coach, in most European clubs, has no strength to contradict them.
“The people sacked are always the coaches. The main players already know this.
“That was my problem at Chelsea. Drogba, Ballack and Cech did not accept my training methods or my demands.”
It probably didn’t take long to work out that those three players were on the ‘untouchable’ list. The manager has to be the key-figure at the football club and the person who calls the shots, not a bunch of over paid prima donnas who don’t like the way a certain manager trains.
There’s been much more controversy too, John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy twice, Ashley Cole shot a work experience student and Didier Drogba disgraced the club with his actions after the final whistle in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the 2010 Champions League semi-final, yet all of them have escaped punishment by the club and remain as untouchable today, as they was back in 2006.
At Manchester United, when Sir Alex Ferguson feels a player is becoming to big for his boots, he sells them no matter how important they are too the team. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam and David Beckham are just three players that Sir Alex has moved on for the benefit of his team, while Chelsea still have many of their ‘untouchables’ still at the club.
More recently, Villas-Boas’ former employer has claimed Chelsea players who have reportedly been texting Mourinho, “He needs time to mould his own team and he can’t do that as long as there are players, as I’ve heard, who exchange text messages with Mourinho, have undermined the 34-year-old And Roman Abramovich knows this.”
The so called ‘untouchables’ have been ever present while four different managers have come and gone at Stamford Bridge, as age is catching up with those six players that remain however, they are no longer are ‘untouchable’ as Lampard’s situation has shown. Villas-Boas’ should have total authority at the club and Roman should seek his advice, more than those who have their own agenda’s to promote.
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