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Chelsea brass hoping Mourinho will stay for the next decade

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Mike Hewitt

There's a somewhat interesting interview with Ron Gourlay in today's Evening Standard, in which the Chelsea CEO espouses our fantastic handling of FFP and claims that Chelsea are much more respected nowadays than even just a few years ago.  Judging by the numerous voices in the popular media decrying our use of the loan system or even unearthing and mulling over that old Abramovich moral nugget, perhaps Gourlay is just playing a bit of media PR game.  Just compare coverage of Liverpool's holy quest to win a Premier League title vs. the coverage of Chelsea's attempts at killing football, etc.  Of course, the media -- any real or perceived bias aside -- will mostly print whatever sells the most.

But back to Gourlay's words.  The most important line as far as we should be concerned is buried in the middle of it all.

"[My hope is that Mourinho will] stay 10 years. Having the security of Jose is great for me - he knows the club, knows me. Last time he was here, I was chief ­operating officer and we worked well together."

"Jose can deal with the media in a different way from some of the other managers we've had. He takes the pressure not only away from the players but also from the club. He's very good at that and allows us to manage and me in particular to drive the club forward."

-Ron Gourlay; source: Evening Standard

Ten years.  Stability.  Just like Mourinho has been saying since last summer.  Ten years!

Just to put that into perspective, in our entire 100+ year history (or is that a bad word?), we've had exactly two managers stay for at least ten years, and one of those, Billy Birrell spent half of his tenure shut down due to World War II.  So really, it's just David Calderhead who can say that he was in charge for at least 10 full seasons, from 1907 to 1933 (also interrupted for a few years by a World War).  Ted Drake fell just short when he was sacked a few games into his 10th season in 1961.

Four games shy of 250, Mourinho's already seventh all-time in terms of games in charge of Chelsea.  Should he stay for the full 10 years in this second stint as Gourlay and the rest of the Chelsea brass hope, he should easily eclipse Drake's tally of 424.  He would have to stay for at least another half decade to have any hope even getting near Calderhead's 966.

But as that old sports cliche goes, let's just take it one game at a time.  (For the next ten years, please.)