Twice interim manager Guus Hiddink “popped-in” to Cobham on Thursday — the pop-in! — to “catch up with some old friends” and chat with Antonio Conte. Innocent enough, right?
There was a familiar face at Cobham earlier today... https://t.co/Ly6T7PHIhf— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 3, 2016
A return to Cobham for a coffee with Conte today for Guus Hiddink! #CFC pic.twitter.com/IbBsv2ANLE— Breathe Chelsea (@BreatheChels) November 3, 2016
The Mail of course think it’s somehow related to the job vacancy at Inter Milan, who recently sacked Frank de Boer. I don’t quite follow that logic (what’s Conte got to do with Inter?) but whatever, it’s certainly not the most sinister interpretation.
Abramovich sent Hiddink to the training ground today. Just a gentle reminder for Conte. #oldschool #mafiaways #iendedjose #iendedscolari— Dean Mears (@DeanMears) November 3, 2016
With everyone rather tight-lipped about the whole thing — not that it’s any of our business, in fairness — we were left to our own devices to figure out what they may have been talking about.
And so, the jokes ensued, with Hiddink probably wondering which dark corner of Cobham a certain Mikel John Obi was hiding in.
@ChelseaFC I bet @mikel_john_obi was excited!— Philip Nice (@PhilipN1ce) November 3, 2016
@Chalobahed "Why don't you play Mikel & Matic together in midfield?"— ️ (@HazardEdition) November 3, 2016
@Chalobahed Wtf Antonio, Mikel is world class.— danish (@Khan77Danish) November 3, 2016
Unconfirmed reports that I definitely didn’t just make up claim that Hiddink made at least seven mentions of saving Chelsea from relegation last season, lest we forget, before leaving in a cloud of burnt rubber on his blue Vespa, which is no way was discarded five minutes after sitting on it awkwardly on stage that one time.
@Chalobahed "i was there when Pato scored"— Josh Dixon (@JADixon94) November 3, 2016
But for the real jokes, let’s see what the hooligans over in The Daily Hilario came up with.
Already heard that one, SoNoGo!
In all seriousness, despite being a semi-peripheral figure to last season’s train-wreck, Mother Guus will no doubt always be welcomed back at Chelsea. Hiddink’s few months of calm after the turmoil of Mourinho’s final days weren’t spectacular by any means, but it was perhaps a decent outcome in what looked to be quickly devolving into an impossible situation.
He didn’t quite manage to be the fixer that he was back in 2009, but by all accounts he has been and no doubt remains a trusted advisor and friend to Abramovich & Co — though his supposed involvement in the youth program at Chelsea hasn’t yet come to fruition, possibly because it would appear that he hasn’t actually retired yet.
In any case, good luck in whatever the future holds, Guus Hiddink!