In part one, I discussed how Barcelona have come to enjoy magnificent success due to their earlier relationship with Dutch footballing personalities, Chelsea are now enjoying the same relationship with Dutch football, through Piet de Visser and through Roman Abramovich. It was Piet de Visser that was responsible for the transfer of Arjen Robben from PSV to Chelsea, de Visser was also instrumental in planting the idea to build Chelsea’s state-of-the-art training complex in Cobham, Surrey in a bid to mimic the dutch philosophy of investing in youth. Another Dutch icon that is associated with Chelsea, but, with an association dating back before Roman Abramovich, no, not Winston Bogarde, Ruud Gullit.
Ruud Gullit as Chelsea manager attempted to create his own brand of football he called ‘sexy football’ at Chelsea, Ruud Gullit being Dutch and the power we’ve seen that Dutch coaches and players have had outside of their country on the footballing world was well placed to teach the footballing ideas he had learned here, what even makes Ruud Gullit even more interesting as a player is his involvement in another of history’s greatest footballing sides, Arrigo Saachi’s 90’s Milan team.
Arrigo Saachi an Italian was much like most of us reading this, an avid football fan, he wasn’t in the inner circle of the game, he didn’t play professionally, in fact he was a shoe salesman, a shoe salesman who decided at 26 to pack up everything he was doing and try to become a manager. Saachi had his own unique, innovative thought provoking ideas and they proved successful, he navigated his way from a shoe salesman to becoming A.C Milan manager, and it was as Milan manager that he decided he wanted to add a piece of Dutch Total football to his team, which saw him buy a trident of Dutch players that would go on to be the heart of another of the greatest sides in football. The 3 players were Frank Rijkaard, Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit, players that would go on to help Milan win two back to back successive European cups, a side that also included once defensive midfielder Carlo Ancelotti.
Carlo Ancelotti as AC Milan manager was very successful creating a special side with essentially three number 10’s in a narrow 4 man ‘diamond’ midfield, Ancelotti’s team was known for its fantastic style and he had led AC Milan to two European trophies. I think it’s been confused as to how much Roman Abramovich wants to create his own great footballing side, rather than just win the Champions League, if the Champions League was as imperative, surely he would have stuck with José Mourinho, but, as it was reported the football under José Mourinho isn’t in any way comparable with the great sides we have discussed.
In terms of development Chelsea can somewhat compare themselves to a situation Barcelona had been in. When Cruyff returned to Barcelona as a manager, Barcelona would go on to have their most successful period winning a host of trophies in a short period, Cruyff would be Barcelona’s most decorated manager, but, after falling out with chairman Josep Nunez, Cruyff and Barcelona had parted ways, a period of stability and a winning formula had come to an end, similar to Mourinho’s period at Chelsea. Barcelona would go on winning, but, cycled through managers whilst doing so in a more unstable period in terms of managers, similar to Chelsea right now.
Barcelona had become stale, a new Barcelona had been planned by incoming president Laporta, a component of Saachi’s Dutch Trident, Frank Rijkaard was hired as manager for the New Barca, Frank Rijkaard who had just been fired from relegating Sparta Rotterdam in Holland. Will Marco van Basten who had a bad experience at Ajax be hired as well? A major influx of players were brought in including Ronaldinho a Brazilain prodigy who played on the left side of an attacking three, can anyone say Neymar?? La Masia, Cobham. There are so many components to the story, I have talked about Barcelona and PSV without mentioning Bobby Robson, who went on to mentor, José Mourinho and Andre Villas Boas.
The main thing I wanted to illustrate are the foundations being laid under all of the higher level aspects that they want to criticise Chelsea for, currently Chelsea is intertwined with some of the world’s greatest footballing philosophies and it’s sure to bear fruit soon. Roman Abramovich is patient when it comes to that, all this illustrated by the new house he has recently built for himself at Cobham.