Chelsea defend managerial merry-go-round

BANGKOK - Chelsea have defended the club's rapid turnover of managers in recent years with the chief executive saying it was results that mattered and a new team boss could be named within a week.

Ron Gourlay told Reuters in an interview that the Premier League club's hire-and-fire approach to managers - after going through four in as many years - had delivered the goods in terms of the number of trophies won.

"Continuity is very important but so is performance and results," said Gourlay, who was pictured in Bangkok on Thursday to promote the club's pre-season Asian tour.

"Our model may not be the model others agree with but at the end of the day, we've taken the decisions we felt we needed to take to develop Chelsea Football Club... and we've won 10 major trophies in the last six years."

Gourlay declined to comment on whether Turkey's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, was being lined up to replace sacked Italian Carlo Ancelotti but said several candidates had been looked at.

"The process of getting a new coach is going very, very well. I'd expect a new coach to hopefully be in place within the next week, maybe two weeks, but maybe even earlier," he said.


Gourlay also said the club planned to tighten their belt and generate fresh revenue to comply with new UEFA finance rules.

He said Chelsea would have no problem adhering to new financial fair play regulations devised by European football's governing body aimed at stopping clubs from borrowing vast sums to buy success and spending more than their income.

Chelsea posted a loss of "71 million n June last year and spent an equivalent amount in January on Spain striker Fernando Torres and Brazil defender David Luiz that was Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger said was "logic-defying."

Gourlay said the struggling Torres was a "fantastic signing" but Chelsea, like most clubs, must in future control spending and balance the books by nurturing more home-grown talent and generating new revenue sources without raising ticket prices.

UEFA's new financial regulations will be applied from the reporting period starting at the end of next year.

"Performances on the field help drive a lot of the revenue off the field so you have to get the balance right, look at the costs, control wages going forward," he said.

"Squads may not be as big as in the past and we have to get the youngsters through the academy and, when that happens, it takes a bit of the pressure off."


Part of the remedy was to expand Chelsea's global footprint with Asia seen as a key market with huge growth potential.

The club was working hard to lure more Asian sponsors, raise Chelsea's profile by launching more "Blue Pitch" development programmes, offering up the expertise of its coaches and sending youth and first-team squads to play in Asia.

He said the club was already active in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong and planned to expand into Japan, South Korea and China, Gourlay added.

Hourlay described Chelsea's failure to win a trophy last season after finishing nine points adrift of champions Manchester United as a huge disappointment, adding that the squad would be "freshened up" before the start of the new campaign though he would not be drawn on potential signings.

"Unfortunately, we just left ourselves at the end with too much to do," he said of the title race.

"The expectation was so high after winning the double (in 2010), our most successful year, so it was a disappointing season but we need to remain very, very confident, the club must continue to develop, we must not change our strategy."

Chelsea will play pre-season matches in Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia in late July.