The article in question is in the Daily Telegraph, written on January 14th by Jeremy Wilson, and is primarily about the fact that Jose M is being allowed to decide for himself the future of the so called 'Old Guard', namely John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.
Interesting enough in itself, it's perhaps the wider implication behind it that will be of particular interest to the Chelsea faithful. If our greatest stroke of luck was to have a billionaire invest in Chelsea in the first place, our biggest bugbear since RA took over has been the management merry go round since, one which has seen 10 coaches in 11 years. Over the last decade the career span for a Chelsea Coach has gone from less than three years(not good anyway) to barely six months(pretty awful really). At one point I recall Pat Nevin saying in a radio interview shortly after the latest sacking (AVB's), that the whole 'process', if you could call it that, was now the accepted 'model', the way Chelsea( read RA) liked to do business.
You could see his point too, after all we won trophies, lots of 'em, and the 'model' seemed to be working fine after a certain fashion. But despite the success fans were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of any kind of stability, the opportunity to grow a dynasty under just one coach instead of about thirty.
Plus being a laughing stock and, more importantly, failing to compete for the league title was starting to get really annoying frankly, so when the prodigal son in the shape of Mou returned, he was welcomed back by most with open arms.
Pleased as most of us were however, the shadow remained, the thought that, however successful we were under Mou, it wouldn't be long before the merry go round started up again, and we'd be back where we started, still searching for that elusive sense of stability. After all, its no secret Roman really wanted Guardiola, and Mourinho himself has always been something of a Gadfly, never settling too long in one place.
Subsequently of course Mou has made clear his desire to stay for the long haul, as has been written about previously, but whilst that's made the majority of us breathe a hefty sigh of relief it guarantees nothing, least of all the attitude of he who ultimately rules, our Roman.
which brings us back then to the paragraphs in question, and why they (may) be so significant. The first reads as follows:
'In a shift in club policy from the tenures of Rafael Benítez and Roberto di Matteo, Abramovich is placing full trust in his manager to oversee the transition of the squad and make football judgments about the future of key players. '
So far so good, but the second paragraph is the clincher.
' The attitude of the club's board is that Mourinho will remain manager in the long term and that their role, within the financial constraints of meeting UEFA's new financial fair-play guidelines, is to back his decsions.
This very issue was highlighted originally as a major stumbling block to Mourinho's return, the idea that he wouldn't be allowed the kind of control he craved, and that Roman would still be making the major purchases and decisions via Michael Emanolo. Recent events as well as the above paragraphs tend thankfully to contradict this view however, the proof being provided via a change in playing style and the purchase of Matic, both moves which have Mou's stamp firmly on them.
A few paragraphs in a newspaper has limited value of course, and we could be jumping the gun a bit. Still, based on past experience if nothing else, RA should be craving that much vaunted stability as much as the rest of us by now, or maybe the fair play rules have changed things in a way nothing else could.
Rival fans and the media have always been quick to scoff at the idea that RA, and Chelsea, would ever change their ways. But signs that the willingness of all parties to build something solid and sustainable, rather than chasing instant success, are there for all to see.
So has the leopard finally changed its spots, or are we doomed to repeat the cycle of boom and bust, under a series of coaches with steadily decreasing pedigree? Time will tell, but I believe we may at last have the platform we craved to launch consistent challenges on all fronts, and that this, more than any individual signing or result, should give Chelsea fans good cause for comfort during the coming years.