Chelsea’s history of hiring and firing in short order yielded trophy after trophy. There is a certain standard for the Blues and if it is not being met, a head must roll. Talks of patience and projects mean little to Roman Abramovich when the silverware isn’t flowing. Many fans have asked why a project is needed at all if Chelsea’s history of hiring and firing keeps bringing in trophies.
One that notion fails to acknowledge is circumstances change. The well is drying up but, more than anything else, the reasons why hiring and firing used to work are long gone. What was once sustainable is now the exact opposite and it is only a matter of time before the scale tips fully from one side to the other.
First of all is the actually trophy haul. Chelsea’s last Premier League title came in 2017. This is now one of the longest droughts the Blues have had between titles during the Roman Abramovich era. In fact, the last time the Blues could be considered “in the title race” was surely with the last title.
As far as getting top four goes, it has become an accomplishment for Chelsea simply because of how much of a struggle it is. Chelsea last made top four comfortably, again, with the last title win. Not that it has much mattered overall because the last time Chelsea got past the round of 16 in the Champions League was with Jose Mourinho.
In the intervening years, Chelsea has won the FA Cup and the Europa League. Neither should be dismissed but neither are the Premier League or the Champions League either. Even more, that makes just two trophies since 2017. Better than nothing? Absolutely. To the levels that back hire and fire working? Not really.
But the real reason hire and fired worked is because Chelsea had the structure for it already. Chelsea sacks a manager now and the new one comes into a young squad that, season to season, varies from third best on paper to sixth best. But who did Chelsea have when the trophies were flowing in the door just as quickly as managers were going out it?
Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and a smattering of other players who, if they weren’t the world’s best, they were the league’s best. It was a lot like Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich now. Who is manager doesn’t much matter. The players are so much better than their opposition that they can run the team themselves and still win silverware.
That, more than anything, is the difference from when hire and fire worked to now. This current side can’t sleep walk their way to a title or a cup win. And what used to be a trophy or two a season, which included major ones, has now trickled into the secondary competitions every other season. At this rate, Chelsea will begin to see year after year trophyless as they cycle through manager after manager wondering why the old strategy isn’t working anymore.
This is not a defense of Frank Lampard, merely an antithesis to the notion that hiring and firing still works at Chelsea. It doesn’t and evidence increasingly points to that. Living off strategies 10 years old won’t get Chelsea back where they want to be. Only time and patience will. Only a strategy opposed to the old one will. It is only a matter of whether the board figures that out before they find themselves in a trophyless hole for years.