Chelsea’s recent struggles in the board room are as transparent as ever in the wake of the team’s recent downfall in results. Typically at the West London club, the manager is the first scapegoat when things go wrong, with the players falling somewhere behind. Whilst many fans of the club are astonished at the proceedings on the field, for the first time in the club’s recent history, its, in fact, the board of the club who are attracting a lot of unwanted attention, with their running of this European powerhouse.

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Whilst I could go in and dissect numerous members of the Chelsea board, many of whom the majority wouldn’t have even heard of, and some who are not directly involved with footballing decisions, I’d like to focus on the familiar faces who are making the big decisions that we see resembled on the pitch at Stamford Bridge. Top to bottom, let’s have a look…

Roman Abramovich – Club Owner 

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Roman Abramovich became the owner of the companies that control Chelsea Football club in June 2003, taking over from the respectable Ken Bates. That same summer is when the term “Chelski” in relevance to Roman’s spending within the club, was on full display. Roman spent £121.3 million that summer, bringing in 11 recruits which triggered the transformation of Chelsea into a sporting phenom. Fast forward nearly 16 years later, and Roman’s total spend now falls closer to a figure of £2 billion as the owner of the club, transfer fees and wages culminating a large component of that.

Since Roman took over, the club has won 13 major trophies – The UEFA Champions League, The UEFA Europa League, The Premier League x5, The FA Cup x4, and the League Cup x3. Astonishing. 

One thing that cannot be questioned of Roman, is his dedication and love for the club in the past years. A regular in his suite in the Bridge, until his ban from the UK due to an investor visa issue, a mouth-watering amount of money pumped into the club, he is the prophetical figure and reason why Chelsea is now considered an elite European club and has been for a number of years now. Many fans have noticed the relaxed manner towards his controlling to the club in recent times, allowing his advisor Marina Granovskaia to handle the daily running of the club. Also noticed is Roman’s lack of match attendance, and a somewhat noticeable decrease in spending within transfer windows. Many pose the question, is Roman losing interest? Rumors have circulated in recent months that Abramovich is looking to sell the club. Whilst this has been denied, and nothing difference has come to fruition, it is interesting to think about.

For me, Mr. Abramovich’s loyalty and commitment to this club can never be questioned. Those who are calling for him to sell and leave the club, I believe have a short memory, and seem to think the grass is always greener on the other side, when perhaps it isn’t in this case, ask Manchester United. Verdict – Roman stays. 

Marina Granovskaia – Club Director

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Marina’s relationship with Roman Abramovich began around 18 years back when she began working as Abramovich’s PA at his oil company. Marina’s involvement with Chelsea Football Club began in 2010, where she acted as a representative and support to the board. In 2014, Marina was promoted as Chelsea’s Chief Executive, according to The Times, her promotion made her the “most powerful woman in football,” this role has since been altered. Marina’s predominant involvement came to light in the when former Technical Director Michael Emenalo left the club for AS Monaco in November 2017. Marina has since taken charge of transfer and contractual dealings within the club, also brokering the team’s sponsorship deal with Nike, that will fund £60 per year to the club until 2022.

Whilst Marina is predominantly behind the scenes, you will have seen her posing next to new club signings, and relaying her opinion of the new signing in the club’s corresponding article. Due to this increased exposure, her role in the signing of new players has been questioned further by Chelsea fans, with the signings of Danny Drinkwater, Tiémoué Bakayoko, and Davide Zappacosta all raising eyebrows. Apparent rumors of her reluctance to spend big have also frustrated fans. With this reluctance, and the recent signings through the door at the West London club, is she the correct choice to be leading our transfer dealings? For me, no.

Now, here comes that old argument yet again, we need a Director of Football. I would agree, however, I am unsure if that appointment is in the club’s immediate plans. Until then, we should keep Marina in her role, as for all her faults, she clearly shows promise in financial dealings, which is important in any international business. If/when we hire a DOF, I believe Marina must take a step back in her proceedings, and back into the financial room. Verdict – Marina stays, as a financial figure within the club.

Scott McLachlan – Head of International Scouting

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Scott McLachlan joined Chelsea in 2011 having previously worked at Fulham, as a technical scout, and Southampton, where he was head of performance analysis. McLachlan describes himself as “passionate and enthused by all aspects of scouting and the challenge of merging modern and traditional talent identification models.”

Many fans have questioned Chelsea’s recruitment plans and McLachlan’s expertise in executing those plans. Chelsea grew a reputation in recent years for uncovering future talents, such as Kevin De Bruyne from Genk, and Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht. However, it has been a while since Chelsea have executed this same notion, instead, recently resorting to “panic” buys in the final weeks of recent transfer windows.

Chelsea have a structured formula on who they scout and sign, according to Sports Psychologist Ken Way, who used to work with McLachlan:

“They have a really detailed, specific process that goes as far as how many times a player is watched, the level of scout watching them.

“They have a formula for working out not only the capabilities of the player but how much they’re worth on the market.”

For me, Chelsea may need to make a blockbuster move in signing a new Chief Scout. Someone with an illustrious history of identifying talent, and an ability to adapt to new surroundings effectively when arriving in England. Many have heard of the work Steve Walsh did at Leicester City when he managed to bring and introduce the likes of Riyad Mahrez, and our very own N’Golo Kante into English football. A club like Chelsea, with the lucrative funds and resources available, should be doing better in this department. Verdict – McLauchlin out. 

Honorary Mention: Neil Bath – Head of Youth Development

Chelsea Reserves vs Aston Villa Reserves                     Source – The Youth Radar

Mr. Bath has done a fantastic job in overlooking the illustrious youth academy at Chelsea Football Club, home to an array of top-level talent and future prospects. Unfortunately, and often talked about, is the lack of opportunity in the first-team for these youngsters to showcase their talents on the biggest stage. This highlights a clear discord between the decision-makers at the club, further highlighted below. By the way, Bath in.

Special Mentions – Bruce Buck – Chairman, Guy Lawrence – Chief Executive, Eugene Tenenbaum – Club Director, Club Ambassadors – Carlo Cudicini, Tore André Flo, Paulo Ferriera, Eddie Newton.

On one side of the club, are powerful business people such as Buck, Lawrence, and Tenenbaum. On the other, are former players, footballing people, who are currently employed merely as “ambassadors” with their expertise in the game wasted on trips to Asia and the U.S. spreading the Chelsea brand. For me, this shows a clear discord between the board and footballing personal, one which could potentially be fixed with the hiring of a Director of Football. Someone to mediate between both side of the coin within the football club. My choices? A few of those previously discussed on Twitter by fans alike work for me. Michael Ballack, Petr Cech, Monchi from Roma etc. If I had to choose one, Monchi.

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Chelsea Football Club needs to make big changes in the future. Not only on the field but also off it in the boardroom, in order to spearhead the club into a promising direction.

Written by Dan McCarthy – @maccasport