Chelsea TV got off to a sluggish start this preseason, just like the rest of the team, with a distinct lack of content this summer followed up by the unwelcome return of 30-second snippets instead of proper videos. Meanwhile, the club were (and are) pushing the new official app (the 5th Stand) and releasing exclusive videos on it, like the Zola and Jorginho interviews. The App may be decent, but that method of distribution is a relic of the (recent) past. We’ve figured out a long time ago as a species that dedicated apps for each and every single little thing is not the right way to go about our smartphone futures.
But there’s hope on the horizon. The season’s first tunnel cam is out, and while it’s not a 10-minute monster, it’s a nice little taste of behind the scenes match action from Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Inter.
Sarri is ostensibly the focus of the video, and he certainly provides the funniest moment when he calls out Victor Moses’s name for the penalty kick shootout without recognizing Moses who’s standing right next to him (good luck on your playing time this season, Victor!), but the real question is who are all these coaches and assistants around him?
So far, only Gianfranco Zola has been confirmed as an assistant, with the assumption that Carlo Cudicini continues in that role as well. Chelsea recently updated the official website’s first-team management section, which is decent confirmation that the only person to survive the Conte cull is fitness coach Paolo Bertelli (Chris Jones is now fully with Lampard at Derby). Meanwhile, Henrique Hilario continues as “assistant” goalkeeper coach, but whom he reports to remains unclear.
But there are several initialed and non-initialed shirts standing, walking, talking in the video who are true mysteries, not fitting any names who had ever been connected with a potential job for Sarri at Chelsea (e.g. Marco Ianni, Davide Losi, Davide Ranzato, Luigi Nocentini).
Here are the initials I’ve managed to spot, ignoring the obvious Zola, Cudicini, Hilario, the eternal Gary Staker sightings.
- SH — seen handing out waters at the start and carrying bottles in at half. Probably physio Steve Hughes.
- PB — Paolo Bertelli; big man, glasses, white hair & beard
- blank shirt, no initials, holding clipboard in second-half (1:42-mark, for example) — Luca Gotti; reportedly agreed to join two weeks ago
- GP — seen talking to Moses, Piazon, many others. Could he be Gianni Picchioni, Napoli’s observer/opposition scout, who was rumored to be joining Sarri at one point?
- MN — very blurry, seen standing behind Hilario at the 3:15-mark. Massimo Nenci, older, stern-looking, white hair, goalkeeper coach?
- BM & MR & JC — ??? all three seen among the group of staff standing next to Fabregas during Azpi’s winning penalty.
Thoughts? Guesses? Corrections? Anyone? Sherlock? Bueller?