CHELSEA FANS - ARE WE LIVING IN THE PAST?
It's a question that has come about because of the situation with Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole's contracts. Rafa Benitez spoke i...
It's a question that has come about because of the situation with Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole's contracts. Rafa Benitez spoke in his pre match press conference yesterday after being asked about Lampard and reported "interest" from Manchester United.
“Everyone knows the legends who have been here at Chelsea and it is always easy to talk about the fantastic things they have achieved.
But you have to have new players coming in — English or foreign, it doesn’t matter — and carry on winning games. It’s part of life.
The good thing about football in this country is you have good memories and you respect people who achieve something for a club. That’s very positive. But, at the same time, you have to think about the future. You cannot be waiting.
You have to move forward, bring in new players and at the same time use the experience of the players you already have. I cannot talk about what has happened at Chelsea in the past but I can see the club is now changing things for the future and thinking about being successful again.
You can’t just think, ‘That’s it, we’ve won now’. You have to keep winning as much as you can. You have to keep evolving and that means you must keep bringing in good new players.
Every year you have to bring in someone else. This time we have Eden Hazard, Oscar, Lucas Piazon and Marko Marin — and maybe in the next couple of years we will be talking about them as fantastic players.
Twenty years ago, you journalists had just a pen and a notebook, now you have laptops. You have to adapt and try to create something special.
When I was a coach at the Real Madrid academy, I was always asking my players, ‘Can you go to the first team? You have legends there but do you have the ambition to take their place’? That’s the way it has to be. If you want to have the winning mentality, you need the new generation pushing you.
The problem at Chelsea is that everyone can see the players who have been so successful and that makes it difficult to see new ones coming through and maybe winning in the future.
I won’t say the club is moving away from English players because local players are important to any team in the Premier League. In the Champions League you need four home-grown, English players.
At Liverpool, I was criticised for some of the decisions I made but it was because we needed to sign English players. Here, it is the same situation.
We are trying to find solutions but these are managerial decisions and sometimes it’s not easy for the fans to understand.
My position is I have to use the best players I have under contract.I don’t advise the club on who to sign or release. I give my opinion but the club know the situation.”He has a point doesn't he (although it pains me to give him credit in any way)? For years we have looked at younger players and have shaken our heads in frustration as another one was either loaned out or sold whereas we believed that given the chance, they could have made some sort of impact here.
We think of Josh McEachran who has fantastic ability and in my view should have already had a season in the first team under his belt. Scott Sinclair - we all know how well he has done before the move to Manchester seems to have stalled his progress. Miroslav Stoch who is doing well in Turkey and has just been voted as "Goal of the year" for a fantastic volley from a corner, outside the box, straight into the top corner. Jeffrey Bruma is another, Franco Di Santo, Jack Cork etc..
The problem Chelsea have had with the youngsters has come about because of the signings the club has made. Whether we like to admit it or not, we tend to "throw money at the problem" as a quick fix and for the most part it has worked.
Look at Carlo Ancelotti's season after winning the double for example. In that Summer, Ballack, Joe Cole, Deco, Belletti and Ricardo Carvalho left the club and were replaced by Ramires and youngsters brought into the squad.
What happened? With injuries and suspensions, Ancelotti was literally left with the bare bones of a squad and to put it bluntly, the youngsters were found out and left wanting.
As a result, Chelsea went out and spent around £70m on Fernando Torres and David Luiz to solve their problems.
Expectation at Chelsea is now so high that if we are struggling in the League, the manager is disposed of. A new man comes in and relies upon the experience within the squad to pull people together and to try and sort things out.
There is a saying in football that you can't buy experience and you will always hear managers talk about it in teams that are struggling or ahead of big games. The problem is, how will youngsters or new players that come to Chelsea get that experience if they aren't given enough chances?
It's hard to let go though isn't it. The heartbeat, foundation and core of the Chelsea side that has taken us through the most successful period in our history has almost come to an end and it hurts. It's like losing a loved one. We have lived with these players and loved them all for 9 years and to say goodbye isn't something we have ever had to contemplate.
Think about it. Look how we remembered and remember the legends of our club before this group of players pulled on a Chelsea shirt. Imagine what it is going to be like for all of us in a couple of years time looking back and speaking of the golden era of Terry, Lampard and Drogba and what turned out to be our greatest ever season last term!
No one player is bigger than the football club. People come and go as seasons go by but the football club and supporters remain.
Even though we don't like it, it hurts and is something we thought we wouldn't have to consider for a long time, it seems that we have no choice but to look forward and follow the club as it moves on.
The question I am asking all of you based on the quote from Rafa and my post is:
As Chelsea fans, are we living in the past and is it time to move on?
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Carefree & KTBFFH!