Some Chelsea players and staff were already back last week (and some of the younger kids were already training and playing friendlies in Austria), but today marks the official start of the 2016-17 preseason, which includes most senior players reporting back from their summer vacations — including Terry, Ivanovic, Matic, Oscar, Costa — as well as the first official day for new head coach Antonio Conte.
Thanks to the new boss's impressive outing at Euro 2016 with Italy, everyone's eager to get things started and start putting right all the wrongs of last season. But unlike Mourinho at Manchester United or Guardiola at Manchester City, Chelsea are not planning on any fancy welcome party or any such major production for Conte's first day.
UPDATE 7.12: The first press conference will now be on Thursday (July 14)!
From Chelsea FC: media conference 2pm, Thursday 14th July 2016. To unveil: Antonio Conte. Stamford Bridge (accredited media only).— Dan Levene (@danlevene) July 12, 2016
In fact, his first press conference as Chelsea head coach won't even be until after Saturday's first pre-season friendly against Rapid Vienna.
@MarkyTreadwell Brief one, post match Sat in Vienna. Unless plans change.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) July 10, 2016
Chelsea will be flying out to Austria on Friday for a week-long training camp, and it is only for after that first match on Saturday that Chelsea have scheduled a press conference. Already flying under the radar, just as we hope to do during this season's quest for the Top 4 (while everybody concentrates on Mourinho vs. Guardiola vs. Klopp up north) — though I'm sure there will be brief interviews and features up on Chelsea TV during the course of the week and the rest of pre-season.
Conte's first few days in charge should also shed some light on the coaching setup, and any expected or unexpected changes that may be happening, including what could possibly be a new (coaching?) role for Chelsea hero and ambassador Carlo Cudicini.
Tomorrow starts a new challenge... Blue is the colour! @ChelseaFC— Carlo Cudicini (@Capitancarloc) July 10, 2016
The season starts in five weeks. Time to get to work.