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Chelsea Facing Their Biggest Loss?


I didn’t have a lot to say on the subject of Guus Hiddink when he arrived at Stamford Bridge. Of course I was glad to see the back of Scolari before he could drag us out of the top four completely, but knowing from the outset that Hiddink wouldn’t even be around as long as the two part-timers before him, didn’t inspire me to form any kind of attachment really. I mean, he was only going to be around five minutes so his appointment was neither here nor there really, right? Wrong!

It’s not that I didn’t know he was regarded as a top manager before his arrival, of course I did, I just didn’t see how he could do much more than keep us in the top four given he’d only be in the job for 3 months. And yet I was way off the mark because, as his departure gets ever closer, I genuinely believe Chelsea are about to lose the best manager they’ve ever had,

From the minute he arrived, Hiddink was clear he had a job to do – making sure we qualified for next season’s Champions League – and he’s done the job that was asked of him. More than that though, he’s done it with the sort of professionalism and integrity that if we’re honest, we’re not really used to at Chelsea. He hasn’t put himself or his players on a pedestal, he’s been realistic about the resources at his disposal and he’s used them as effectively as any top manager could, and more than the rest would even dream of.

Despite him being at Chelsea for such a ridiculously short period of time, I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for him. He’s never once shied away from the press, no matter what questions they’ve thrown at him – or how his players have behaved! Not once has he got stroppy defending either himself, the club or his players. He’s just epitomised professionalism in the way he’s gone about the job.

As he prepares to leave us, his integrity remains as unchallenged as the day he arrived and when questioned yet again as to whether he’d ever have considered staying, says “I speak frequently to Roman. Roman knows the situation in Chelsea, in the Russian federation, in the academy in Russia. He knows what is going on in all three segments. I love working here but at the same time I know that my job in Russia is not done yet. I had that feeling that you’re saying but I don’t have any regrets whatsoever to go where I am going to go in June. I came here to restore what was more or less, at the time, difficult – the fight for qualification for Champions League. That was my main aim, my target. I was not coming here to make friends. I am proud to have worked here. This is a big club and I am happy that I could give my contribution. I always admire the clubs that have the standard of quality, not just in performances, but also how they cope with the fans and how they show themselves to the world of football and outside.”

Let’s be clear about it, we were a bloody mess when he took over from Scolari. The Brazilian had dragged us away from any potential title race, we were in the Champions League by the skin of our teeth, and we’d gone out of the Carling Cup to Burnley. In spite of the mess he inherited, Hiddink still managed to pull off a couple of amazing games against Liverpool to get us into the Champions League semis, and would almost certainly have got us past Barcelona and into the final if it hadn’t been for the ref. Hiddink knows that too, which is why, with his usual good grace, Guus turned down the invitation to attend the final as a pundit because he wouldn’t feel right about being there.

Not only did he sort us out in the Champions League though but he somehow managed to keep us close enough to United in the league (until the last few weeks anyway), and got us past Arsenal into the FA Cup final. And it’ll be after the FA Cup final he got us to that Guus Hiddink will stick by his promise to return to Russia.

He’ll be a huge loss.



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


May 2009
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