Carlo Ancelotti's number two has left Chelsea FC, with the club's board of directors declining to renew his contract, deeming him surplus to requirements. I always thought Wilkins was decent enough at what he did, but considering I'm not really that sure what that was it's hard to have a strong opinion one way or another. I'll miss him, though, if nothing else but for his uncanny resemblance to an evil goblin.
The move does seem very sudden - nothing seemed amiss as recently as yesterday - so I imagine there's a story waiting to be told here.
"On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to thank Ray for everything he has done for Chelsea Football Club. We all wish him well for the future."
He had been the assistant manager since the start of the 2008/09 campaign, when he was brought in to help assist new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's transition to the English game. One possible reason being put forward for his dismissal was that Ancelotti is now so adapted to England and the Premier League that Wilkins' usefulness as a helper has rather diminished this season, which might have caused the club to look towards someone with more influence in tactical matters.
Several names have been mentioned with regards to the newly vacated position, the most exciting of which (from a Chelsea fan's perspective) is undoubtedly Gianfranco Zola. While many are shocked with the swiftness of Wilkins' axing, there would be absolutely no complaints from the fans if he were to be replaced by a club legend.
The next step for Wilkins is unknown. Presumably Chelsea have done well enough that he may be looking to go into management or secure another prestigious assistant coaching job, but it's not at all clear what sort of position he'd want. No matter what he chooses to pursue, Ray's been an excellent servant to the club both as a player and with the staff, and I hope that his future ventures go well.