Date: 3rd July 2011 at 8:00pm
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With the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea and the continued speculation about players futures, the culmination of the new Chelsea coaching team has slipped somewhat under the radar. However, it has become apparent over recent years the coaching staff at Stamford Bridge play a vital part in the success of the club as shown by the importance of Steve Clarke for throughout the duration of his spell as assistant to Jose Mourinho. But as well as success the number 2’s to Chelsea’s first team coaches have at times brought unwanted controversy and instability to the club, Ray Wilkins’ controversial dismissal last year was one of many reasons for Chelsea’s mid-season slump. The appointment of Roberto Di Matteo however, I feel, is a step in the right direction for Chelsea Football club.

Firstly, Di Matteo, like Clarke and Wilkins before him, has successful history with the club winning 2 FA Cups, a league cup, a European Cup Winners’ cup and a Uefa Super Cup in his 6 year stay and becoming a fans favourite along the way; most memorably for his goal after just 42 seconds in the 1997 FA Cup final. It is reassuring for a Chelsea fan to see playing heroes in the backroom staff, he will have a good idea about the history and traditions of the club as well as what the club means to the fans, Although this is a credential also shared by manager Villas-Boas, who spent time at the club as a scout to Jose Mourinho. It is doubly pleasing to have a managerial team familiar with surroundings at the club and who know the expectations of the fans and the board.

Secondly, the appointment of Di Matteo emphasises Villas-Boas’ claims that he will bring attractive, attacking football to Stamford Bridge. He will look to Di Matteo to assist him in forming an attacking game that the Italian became renowned for at West Bromwich Albion, Villas Boas has stated: “It makes no sense to come to a club like Chelsea and play dreadful football.” …Something predecessor and mentor Jose Mourinho was sometimes guilty of in his reign at Chelsea, although this did achieve success, Villas-Boas continued: “For us it’s not just about winning but winning with flair.”

This will undoubtedly be music to the ears of Chelsea spectators and more importantly Roman Abramovich, who constantly looks for entertainment value for his investment on top of the demands for success. These promises from Villas Boas come gladly to those associated with Chelsea but we will have to hope that he doesn’t neglect the need for a solid defence, often their downfall last season and a quality Di Matteo put second at Albion, which ultimately cost him his job.

The appointment of Di Matteo could also be good for the long term stability of Chelsea. He has already shown his management potential at Milton Keynes Dons and West Brom and is very possibly a future Chelsea manager waiting in the wings, highlighted by some Bookmakers having odds of 8-1 that he will be the Head coach within 3 years. There is arguably no better method of grooming a new manager than having him inside the infrastructure of the club, imbedding himself and getting to know the players before he takes over. This will, however, ideally not be the case and Villas-Boas will have the immediate and long term success he was hired to achieve. Chelsea fans will nonetheless be dreaming of a potential management team including Di Matteo and perhaps Gustavo Poyet or Gianfranco Zola in the future.

Although forming a relatively young management team may be seen as a daring move by the Chelsea hierarchy, it could be said it is that resurgence of young energy and drive that Chelsea need after their below par showing last term and the faith the new staff have been shown could be the motivation they need to springboard Chelsea back to the top of the domestic and European trees.

By Sam Scott for This Is Futbol