The first piece of what is expected to be a puzzle of very familiar faces at Chelsea is now in place, after Petr Cech was confirmed as the club’s new “technical and performance advisor” on Friday.
That title might lack the word “director”, at least for now, and Chelsea’s official description left plenty of room for interpretation, but the way Cech talks about it, it will still entail plenty of responsibilities. It will give him the chance to influence things in the right way across multiple departments — including player recruitment, which Chelsea did not mention at all in the announcement but is the task most closely associated with a technical or sporting director.
“I feel really happy and privileged to have this opportunity to come back and especially in the role I have, which is a role with a lot of responsibility and this is something I am really looking forward to [...] because I like to have the opportunity to influence things and to make things work.”
“I will be closely working with everybody at Cobham, every department — performance, recruitment, the team. [...] I would like to create a high-level performance environment — which is already in place but I would like to push it even further.”
The 37-year-old who retired from his legendary playing career just last month assures that his appointment isn’t just a feel-good exercise in nostalgia and fan engagement.
He can see things from a player’s perspective and bring that viewpoint into discussions — an actual “football man” behind the scenes, if you will — while also being able to take the best of what he’s experienced at two clubs with very different approaches to the business of winning in Chelsea and Arsenal.
“I have had 20 years of a professional career and 15 years in England with top teams. I have gained a lot of experience over the course of those years. When you are a player you always see things in slightly different ways and you think why can’t things work this way. I can use that to my advantage because I know how a player feels or what they prefer or what they want to feel prepared to perform and to be at their best every day.”
“It was a very valuable experience for me to go to Arsenal and see how things are run there, how different the environment was. At Chelsea we were the club that lived with a lot of changes, manager changes, and Arsenal was the club where there were no changes for so many years so it adds to the experience and you see things differently. Then everything changed at Arsenal so new people came in place last season, a new manager, so this was interesting to see how that evolution works and you can take ideas, what works and doesn’t work and what might work better.”
“I know [...] Chelsea very well. I know the majority of people who are still at the club, I have worked with them, and so I am not stepping into something that is completely unknown to me. I have a very good idea how the club is run and the club has had amazing success over the past 15 years and we would like to carry on with that and continue with the same success, and even better success in the forthcoming years.”
-Petr Cech; source: Chelsea FC
As Cech says, it is of course much easier to say these things than put them into action and reap the expected rewards from it, but our intentions look to be in the right place. Now we have to plan properly and execute flawlessly. Simple, right?
Reflecting on his playing career, Cech says that one of his guiding principles is “winners win”. (And losers lose, goes the corollary.) It’s the idea that success is a result of expectation, belief, and taking personal responsibility. It’s that attitude that defined a generation of Chelsea teams and now Cech wants to help recreate that level at the club once again, and perhaps even raise it.
As far as mission statements go, that’s pretty pretty pretty ... pretty good.