Leo's London: Roman Abramovich's big personality is sucking the identity out of Chelsea

25 May 2011 12:07
ShareRoman Abramovich has made it very clear that Chelsea is his toy and he will do what he likes with it.

But it would be nice if he limited the level to which he messes around with the club just a little.

Changing managers every couple of years is one thing, letting it kill off any sense of identity or direction is another.

Time for change: Roman Abramovich (left) decided Carlo Ancelotti's reign as Chelsea boss had to end

The tenacious Chelsea of old may still be there, in the fans, their songs, the history books and Stamford Bridge.

That character - whether you liked it or not - might even still be there in their captain and former academy product John Terry.

But the modern club, Abramovich's club, the one who sacked Carlo Ancelotti at the foot of a stairwell at Goodison Park, has no real personality or set of values beyond the latest whim of the owner.

The trophies have come at a considerable cost because the modern Chelsea stand for nothing in a way that is incomparable with most other clubs.

Manchester United have a style of play and mental strength, Arsenal have flair and pretty football, Tottenham love to attack.

Hell, even Manchester City were hurt by the public reaction to their sacking of Mark Hughes a couple of years ago.

No silver lining: Captain John Terry and Chelsea signed off for the season without a trophy

Abramovich just doesn't seem to care. We have heard in the past of his dislike at the way Jose Mourinho upset the authorities; of how the Russian would love his club to have an image like Barcelona's.

  More from Leo Spall. Leo's London: Capital clubs should be worried as Manchester City march on18/05/11 Leo's London: Would the real Neil Warnock please stand up?12/05/11 Leo's London: Sullivan's stay away was latest in a long line of blunders04/05/11 Leo's London: Arsenal cannot even contemplate letting Fabregas leave28/04/11 Leo's London: Nasri should put Gallas row in the past for sake of title push20/04/11 Leo's London: Spurs can keep the feelgood factor if they go down in glory13/04/11 Leo's London: It's time for the real Torres to stand up and deliver 06/04/11 Leo's London: Harry knew Van der Vaart's sulk was on the way.23/03/11 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE  However, Johan Cruyff, as manager, created Barca's and most people will tell you that finding the right boss, sticking with him and backing him is the best way to establish a culture and legacy with longevity.

With trigger-happy Abramovich that is clearly not going to happen at Chelsea.

So is there another way? What about a structure beneath or around the revolving door into the manager's office?

This may not be to the liking of new managers, but anyone taking charge at Stamford Bridge will have to compromise more than he would like.

It is not a million miles away from what Chelsea have attempted either, albeit unsuccessfully.

There was Frank Arnesen and Ray Wilkins, the sporting director and assistant manager, but both have now left.

There is still Paul Clement, a decent coach, and Michael Emenalo, who is cast as Abramovich's eyes and ears.

But what Chelsea need is someone the fans and general public can identify with, someone like Gianfranco Zola, who is a genuine Chelsea man, to assist the new manager.

They also need a dependable figure behind the scenes to work the transfer market and oversee the academy that has cost so much and produced so little.

It would not be a cure for all of Chelsea's ills, far from it, but it would be a start, a workable compromise.

Let's face it, even if Guus Hiddink takes up the managerial reins - and he is just the sort of man who could give Chelsea an identity - he will not last.

Setting the standard: Abramovich wants Chelsea to be more like La Liga giants Barcelona

His friendship with Abramovich has been largely long distance and lasting long term at close quarters is another matter.

Meanwhile, the team needs reinvigorating and new UEFA financial rules are coming in to put a fence around the billionaires' playground.

It would be a good time to establish a crumb of continuity at Chelsea - and give them an identity that doesn't change with the wind.

DO ENGLAND NEED THE RUB OF THE GREEN?Is Robert Green an England goalkeeper or not?

Never mind his quality or dependability, he doesn't seem to be able to make up his mind whether he is available or not.

An interestingly timed operation had already kept him out of the picture since the World Cup and then we heard he did not want to be considered to face Switzerland after being overlooked for a runout in the Ghana friendly in March.

High-profile howler: Robert Green lets Clint Dempsey's shot in during the World Cup draw with America

That fact that he had just become a dad and West Ham had been relegated were also factors, apparently.

But then Fulham's second-choice goalkeeper David Stockdale was ruled out because he is about to get married and Green agreed to join the squad.

Being No 2 to Joe Hart is not the most prestigious England goalkeeping role by definition but it could still be important - and should still be an honour.

Green once scoffed at being rated as England's No 6 and now No 2 seems to be below him.

 One last pint, then goodbye. Carlo pays for trying to please AbramovichVillas-Boas is committed! Porto president issues hands-off warningGreen on hand as wedded bliss means a Swiss miss for Fulham's Stockdale

 Explore more:People: Gianfranco Zola, Robert Green, Joe Hart, Frank Arnesen, Mark Hughes, Johan Cruyff, Roman Abramovich, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Barcelona, United Kingdom, Ghana, Switzerland

Source: Daily_Mail