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Ray Wilkins Replaced, Alex Returns, and more!

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  • Chelsea have named Ray Wilkins' replacement. Head opposition scout Michael Emelano becomes Carlo Ancelotti's assistant manager, where he will sit on the sidelines looking mildly entertained and occasionally whispering to his boss. Emelano, who was briefly a Nigerian international, enjoyed a distinguished playing career, featuring for a number of famed teams including the San Jose Clash, Molenbeek, and Notts County as a no-nonsense defender. Paul Clement had been expected by many to get the job after filling in during Saturday's match, so this is a bit of a curveball from the club. Chelsea say that the appointment is in "recognition of [Emelano's] efforts," which is a bit of a weird way to hire coaches, but ok. I'll get worried about assistant managers when someone tells me what an assistant manager actually does to help football teams win.
  • We also have some stories about the circumstances regarding Wilkins' dismissal. He had, after all, been a Chelsea player for many years, got along famously with Carlo Ancelotti, and been generally well-regarded up until a week ago, when he was fired. According to the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle, unnamed 'Chelsea sources' report that there was a disagreement between Wilkins and the owners during a meeting:
    Wilkins is understood to have turned to Abramovich and chief executive Ron Gourlay and said: "Well, if you’d ever played the game you’d know otherwise..."

    -Dan Levene. Source: Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle

    Helpful hint: Never, ever say anything like that to your boss.
  • Alex, who was supposed to be out of action for several weeks following exploratory knee surgery, has elected to postpone the operation until a later date in order to help save Chelsea from a defensive crisis. He will start against Birmingham City this weekend, which means we're very unlikely to see Paulo Ferreira with his centreback hat on, which is certainly something to celebrate. It's also an indication that John Terry might be back earlier than anticipated, since it seems like Alex is delaying things in order to cover until the captain can return to active duty. It's good news in terms of team strength, but I have to emphasise the dangers of playing while injured - if Alex is carrying around an injury and is delaying surgery to play, there's a non-insignificant chance that he does some real damage to it, which would be even worse news than seeing Ferreira as a central defender.

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