Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A letter to Roman

Dear Mr. Roman Abramovich,

As a Chelsea fan, I’m very much confused at this point of time. Strange beginning for a letter, isn’t it? I mean I could have begun with loads of admiring and respectful sentences for you, which, leaving every possible doubt aside, are present at their deserved stature. You made Chelsea FC what it is today, no question about it. You made us capable of being a top European powerhouse. No, no, this isn’t a “Thank You” letter. It is just a letter, I hope, that will try to present to you the state of confusion Chelsea fans like me are in right now.

Just to take a glance at Chelsea before you stepped in, we were in dire straights. Financially under a lot of stress, there were huge concerns. But fortunately, the team was performing well. We had a decent manager in Ranieri, who had built up a good team, a team whose foundations had been laid by Viali and Gullit. This team had the potential to challenge for top honours, but faltered due to some reasons or the other. Then came the historic summer of 2003. You bought Chelsea FC. Practically, you gave hope to a million fans across the globe. That season, we saw some fantastic players arrive at Chelsea and that led to a second place finish in the league with a good run to the semi finals in Europe. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for you, so you went ahead and sacked Mr. Ranieri, and we didn’t know how to react. But then you gifted us a talented manager, “The Special One”, Jose Mourinho.

You gave Jose the freedom to spend the cash and he did not disappoint, not one bit. Success followed. Those were some amazing days, a dreamy time to be a Chelsea fan. We loved Mourinho like nothing else, we were on top of the world. We thought, it was the start of a wonderful era. But as the old cliché goes, what goes up, must come down. Well, Chelsea didn’t exactly go down, but your relationship with Mourinho certainly did. Its no hidden secret that Mourinho had a ego as good as yours, so he parted company. Chelsea lost a gem, we lost a hero. Although we thought Mourinho had won those trophies for Chelsea, he perhaps thought he had won them for himself. There are some of us who still believe he loves the club and that he should be back. And there are others too, like me.

Going forward, you replaced Mourinho with a man pretty much unknown, and we were always skeptical about his appointment, albeit as a caretaker. Avram Grant, although being a decent, humble human, was never an astute and winning manager. His short stay was marked by that remarkable march to the Champions League Final in Moscow, which ended rather unremarkably for Chelsea. No surprises then, you sacked him. Considering the situation and the person in the job, we were quite okay with your decision. Again though, there were a very few of us who said Grant should have been given another season. I bet there won’t be anyone of that opinion now.

So, moving on, you made a huge appointment, in Luis Felipe Scolari, which rather turned out to be a big disappointment. The man was confused most of the times, and couldn’t handle the team the way it was expected off him. Six months and some dismal results later, you sacked him. No doubts you had to pay him huge money for compensation, but your love for the club was, and is, bigger than the money. Many of us were again, of the opinion that this should not have happened, he was a decent manager who just needed a little bit of faith and time. And then there were a few like me, who thought you had made the correct decision.

As a caretaker replacement, this time you got the big fish you’d always wanted. Guus Hiddink agreed to steer the ship for six months, and he did that in some style. Had it not been for that infamous semi final against Barcelona (curse you, Ovrebo!), who knows if it would have been a cup double for Chelsea that season. But we, the fans, were more than happy with the FA Cup success after the roller coaster season we had witnessed. The fans wanted Hiddink to stay, the players wanted Hiddink to stay. But he had his objectives clear to him and made his decision to leave. We were left reeling and thinking who would be our next saviour now, who would be your next choice.

And then came this amazing gentleman, the man you had courted for a long long time. Carlo Ancelotti had a tremendous history with the Champions League, which was, and is, the holy-grail for Chelsea and you. Quite naturally, our expectations were sky high. The league was running pretty smoothly, we were winning 6-0s and 7-0s! But the European campaign faltered, and that too at the hands of none other than Mourinho’s Inter. Still, in hindsight, the season was a dream come true. A domestic double! Something that Chelsea FC had never achieved before, and Carlo had done it in his first season incharge! It was an amazing achievement by Carlo and his team, made in blistering style and some delightful football. Carlo did it with the squad that was available, not buying any new players. We were rollicking in the glory, the success and the amazing football we had witnessed by our team. We were struck by the love and passion the team, and Carlo in particular showed for the club.

Carlo’s second season, which is profoundly the reason for me to write this letter to you, has been a very very dismal season. In regards to the trophies, we have none. We are all very sorry at the way our team has played this season, with an ominous lack of passion. Fingers have been raised, and many of them (read Media) have pointed at Carlo. Well, this time, many fans (including me), think you will be making a huge mistake by sacking Carlo. A man who gave us a Double in his first season, has been given a very disrespectful treatment, particularly after the loss at Old Trafford this month. We believe that Carlo deserves the chance to lead the club for another season, a chance to build his own team in the coming two transfer windows. I understand that we are no Arsenal, but another year at the helm is the least Carlo deserves for what he has given to Chelsea FC.

Hence coming back to the state of confusion I referred to at the beginning, this is what I mean. The situation regarding Carlo. We, as fans of the club you love, have endeared Carlo and simply will be devastated if he is sacked. The players have made their opinion clear time and again, the captain himself stating his love for Carlo. Although considering the kind of haste you are in to sack people, we are surprised that you haven’t sacked Carlo yet, but also think the indications are there that you have already made your decision, & its just a matter of time before the man departs. So after all this, I beg you on behalf of all Chelsea fans, please don’t sack Carlo. We have been through enough starts-from-the-beginning seasons in recent years, and desperately want to see a success defining stability at the club. And for that, we believe Carlo is the right man. Give him a good assistant is all we ask, nothing more. Sacking him will do no good at this moment, but it will surely break a million hearts.

Sincerely,
A confused, true Chelsea fan.