Now that we've given our lovely new manager Andre Villas-Boas a proper welcome to Stamford Bridge, I thought it would be a good idea to lay down some reasonable expectations for him. However, after going through his interview a few more times, I realised that would be a bit silly. Villas-Boas goal is to create a strong group dynamic involving the entirety of the team - he says it's not about any one man, after all - and in that vein it's probably best to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing over the next year.
To Andre Villas-Boas
Win. I recognise that's a tricky proposition - you will, after all, be up against plenty of good teams and the squad you have right now is beginning to show its age. To be fair, I'm not demanding trophies. Only a lunatic thinks that you can win every competition you enter no matter how good the team is, and you're no lunatic. I think you know, however, that you have the team to be competitive in every game you play, and therefore I would quite like it if you were realistically competitive elsewhere. None of this relying on a miracle at Old Trafford to make up for three months of earning no points business, please.
You don't need me to tell you to be a good tactician and a good man-manager. You're both of those things. Please do keep your ego in check, however. I know you have one, and frankly I'd be worried if you didn't, but on the whole I think everyone could learn a lot from our previous manager in terms of self-conduct. You've made a good impression, but there are times when you'll want to snap. Don't. Also, please play the kids, but only if they deserve it.
So, basically, I'm asking you to win a lot and be a combination of the best parts of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. No pressure, right?
To The Technical Staff
I'm sorry I don't know all of your names. Some of you will be new to Chelsea, but the rest of you are very old hands. You know how this goes. Give the manager and the team your utmost support. Remember that he's been where yo are now, and he worked his bottom off for Jose Mourinho. Please do the same for him.
To Roman Abramovich
The media like to portray you as some sort of buffoon who happens to have a lot of money. This is clearly a rather silly caricature, because it's quite hard to make said money if you're irredeemably stupid and impulsive. So, on the assumption that you are not, in fact, a fool, you'll be aware that you've just hired a man who could well be the long-term answer to our problems.
Please don't jeopardise the possibility of it working out in the long run by being impatient. I don't think you will, to be honest. The only other appointment in your tenure that's been remotely comparable was Jose Mourinho, and just because he won and wasn't fired doesn't mean he would have been fired had he not started winning everything as early as he did. But just in case you were expecting an instant success, tone it down a little, ok?
To The Veterans
You may be inclined to try to assert your authority over the new manager. In a way, that's understandable. Most of you are highly accomplished and used to getting what you want. Please do continue to fight for what you think is right, or what you happen to believe in. That's more than fine. but do so respectfully, as Andre Villas-Boas is deserving of your respect. He has worked just as hard at being a manager as you have at being a footballer, and that makes him more than capable of being your manager now.
Listen to him at training and execute his ideas. Follow his instructions on the pitch. You will disagree from time to time. That's ok, as long as it's done behind closed doors. The power some of you wield is immense, but also very dangerous. Please don't abuse it because you're having a strop. Villas-Boas is attempting to forge a new team spirit, and he so far seems to be all about the 'we'. Don't make it about the you.
Oh, and please win. You're the ones playing, after all.
To The Younger Players
Listen. Listen to the manager, of course - he's a lot smarter than you are - but listen to everyone around you (don't listen to the fans or media though, on account of we're stupid). The older players have been exactly where you are before, and if you looked up to them while you were younger remember that they're more than aware that you're being forged as their successors. And they want Chelsea to keep winning after they're retired.
Don't fret when you don't get playing time. You're at Chelsea Football Club, one of the top sides in the world, and that'll make your eventually first team football that much more rewarding. Failing is good, because it teaches you things. If you're learning from it, enough failure will make you a star.
To David Luiz
Hi there sexy!
Lots of Love,
To The Fans
Keep your expectations reasonable. Andre Villas-Boas is a top manager and Chelsea are a top club, but that doesn't guarantee us the Champions League trophy we want. In fact, it doesn't guarantee us any trophies at all, so while we can certainly hope for silverware expecting it to arrive is silly. It's not our birthright to win every competition under the sun every year.
So what might be a more reasonable set of expectations? Well, expect a) pretty football and b) competitiveness. Don't be overly concerned by losing games (it happens, you know). Do be concerned by the team playing consistently badly. Also, don't give the manager or team your blind support - we love them to pieces, every single one, but that doesn't mean we can't speak up when we disagree.
One last request, if I may: KTBFFH.