The life expectancy of a Chelsea manager is not very long. It’s often measured in months, rather than years. That’s not necessarily all that unique in the world of modern football — and Watford have certainly taken it to a whole new level — but it’s often drawn into focus thanks to our continuing habit of winning trophies despite (or perhaps precisely because of) all the chopping and changing.
With Thomas Tuchel completing the first 364 days of his tenure, he’s now already the fifth-longest serving manager in the Roman Abramovich Era, after José Mourinho (twice), Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte, and Frank Lampard. Sixth if you count Mourinho’s stints separately. Only one of those names ever made it to a third year.
It feels like a lifetime ago that Tuchel arrived on a cold dreary January night, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, sweeping in almost undercover and with barely any fanfare, conducting one training session and then taking his first game in charge already. It was a whirlwind sequence of events, with barely time to breathe let alone pack things and move properly (that would have to wait until the summer). Assistant coach Zsolt Low would later reveal that they, as a trio with the other assistant, Arno Michels, were not expecting to take another job until the following season, but the Chelsea opportunity was too tempting to pass up.
And indeed, they’ve been making the most of said opportunity. There’s obviously the historic Champions League triumph, the second in club history, but we’ve also made every possible cup final so far. We lost the FA Cup final, which was disappointing, but we’re just one win away from adding the League Cup, two wins away from adding our first ever Club World Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup is already there. A whole host of individual awards have been won as well, including coaching awards from UEFA and FIFA. The league will have to wait until next year once again, but there’s plenty left to fight for this season.
It seems almost redundant to look beyond that timeframe. If we keep winning, Tuchel will surely stay. (His current 60% win rate, 40 of 67, is right about average for the last 20 years). And we don’t have to look too far to see what sort of success a synergistic combination of head coach and front office can build, with proper foundations, long-term planning, and excellent execution — Manchester City and Liverpool are shining examples, and our resources are closer to the former than the latter. We seem to be just at the start of a new cycle, and perhaps Tuchel can be that guy to mold that into a dynasty.
But again, that’s perhaps too bold of a vision. History repeats and time is a flat circle. Let us simply celebrate, acknowledge, and appreciate Thomas Tuchel’s first year in charge. Here’s to many more!
? It's been some year on & off the pitch with Thomas Tuchel! pic.twitter.com/hsnXtFPkDD— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) January 26, 2022
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