One of the defining features of Chelsea Football Club the past two decades had been the rather short leash (usually) afforded each new manager coming through Roman Abramovich’s revolving door. It was not a universally loved policy — even if it really wasn’t all that unique — but it was at least a begrudgingly accepted one, as it served to accomplish the owner’s singular aim of winning, of winning now, and of winning at any cost. Chelsea won more trophies than any other Premier League team during those 19 seasons.
Despite those shiny results, we had often pined for a bit more stability at the managerial position, theorizing that it would allow us to win even more, win even more consistently, and perhaps win even more sustainably.
Well, with Abramovich gone, we now have a chance to see what said stability might lead us to. While the new owners have already sacked a manager, their choice of replacement is quite categorically here for the long haul. We’ve heard that messaging from day one of Potter’s time in charge, and Potter himself has now received more unambiguous assurances of the same — evidently needed after the team’s poor form heading into the World Cup break.
“I’m even more confident, even more aware of the support I have now than I was three months ago when I took the job. So that tells you something. It’s a credit to them (the owners) and their support and how they have communicated with me — it’s been fantastic. We all know the pressure and the demands at this club but we have also got enough people who can see the perspective and where we are at to be able to say, ‘this is where we are, how can we improve?’
“When I was in California I met up with Behdad and had a good chat with him. Fantastic support. I’m really looking forward to the weeks and the months and the years ahead. We understand where we’re at at the moment and we understand the challenges ahead, but that’s where we are in the journey at the moment.
“I would like to have gone up and down California with a couple of wins but it wasn’t to be. So you have to reflect, take the pain and frustration and work out how can we go forward and make this situation better? That’s the job, that’s what I’ve been spending my time doing.”
Another, more recent defining theme at Chelsea had been our attempts to close the (not-so-)proverbial gap to Manchester City and Liverpool — before the latter fell back down over to our side of the gap this season. But the former are still up there, and even if Arsenal have made a stellar start to the current campaign, City remain the gold standard we should be all be aspiring to match, and then overtake.
In keeping with the new paradigm however, we’ve redefined this mission as well, and are approaching it more holistically. It’s a bold bet, to be sure, especially in an
industry sport that demands instant results and quick fixes, but it could certainly work, in theory.
The only trouble is, you won’t know if it worked until
weeks months years down the line...
“It is going to be hard to bridge the gap, but the focus for us is on our performance, how we function and how we are playing. That’s where we are at. If you don’t control that, if you don’t do better there, then you can talk all you want about the gap or what the others do, it doesn’t matter.
“We know that we can take the experience that we have, we can take all that learning, all those challenging periods that we had, and use them to say, ‘ok, how can we go forward, how can we play better?’ So that’s our focus.”
-Graham Potter; source: Guardian
Trust the process, whatever that process may be.