Graham Potter took charge of his first training session at Chelsea yesterday (Friday), and we can certainly hope it’s the first of many, many, many more to follow. And that’s not just a blind hope of the reborn optimism at the start of every new appointment.
Chelsea’s new owners have backed the 47-year-old with the biggest managerial contract in club history, £60m over five years, matching the length of José Mourinho’s contract extension in 2005 but at more than double the salary — even factoring in inflation, that’s an impressive commitment.
As reported across the usual Chelsea sources yesterday, the club also want it known that we’re going to try very very hard to avoid any knee-jerk reactions and on-a-whim sackings and actually give the new man in charge that most precious of resources, time. Even a finish outside the top-four wouldn’t necessarily result in Potter getting his marching orders — definitely not this first season, but perhaps in the future as well, as long as it doesn’t become a habit and, most importantly, as long as the long-term plan remains viable and we keep progressing.
We’ve heard similar rhetoric more than a few times over the past two decades, but almost always reverted to the win-now mantra and short-term decision-making. That’s proven a most successful strategy when combined with practically boundless spending, but despite a record outlay this summer, Boehly & Co are unlikely to (be able to or be wanting to) do that every time.
So, we’re all-in on the Potter train, departing from platform 9 and three-quarters. Let’s hope the destination is as magical as we imagine it to be.