Chelsea are one of the world’s richest clubs these days, it also has been one of the most successful for the better part of a decade now. One big reason for that was the plucking of “the special one” Jose Mourinho from FC Porto.
He led the Blues to an EPL and League Cup double in his first year in charge in 2005 and got Chelsea on to solid footing in European competition. However, owner Roman Abromovich had a short leash and he was gone after three seasons in West London after winning six trophies.
Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge was an immediate success, with the Blues winning the Premier League crown this past season and poised to be a title contender once again with the majority of the same squad back.
That hasn’t exactly happened though. Instead, Chelsea are languishing in 14th place in the table and are just three points clear of the relegation zone after this past weekend’s results.
All of it has led to a ground swell of speculation over the future of Mourinho at Stamford Bridge with speculation that Mourinho could be living on borrowed time. However, he’s got a backer from an unusual corner — perhaps his greatest managerial rival – Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former 27-year manager of the Red Devils believes the recent slide of four wins and five losses in the last 11 games since Abromovich publicly backed his manager shows things could be heading in a positive direction.
“For José, I think all good leaders will eventually find a solution I think he will get back to normal,” Ferguson said via The Guardian in the UK.
“It is not looking great at the moment but I know the guy and I know the work he has done in football and I can’t see it lasting long. I can’t see it.”
The support from Ferguson also came at an interesting time, as Chelsea hit a new low point in the season with a 1-0 loss to the minnows of the EPL — AFC Bournemouth. When Mourinho began his second stint at Chelsea in 2013, Bournemouth had just been promoted to the Championship from League One, the third tier of English soccer. The newcomers have had some level of success in their first season in the top flight, but beating Chelsea was a new high for the South Coast club.
Goal! Bournemouth score during the confusion following a corner and it's Glen Murra… (Vine by @unlimited473) https://t.co/AjZokcaPLF
— Spencer (@TheRedTsar) December 5, 2015
Having Sir Alex back Mourinho was also interesting given their competitive history, but it also shows the level of respect the two had for the competition they had and the jobs they have held at high-profile clubs. The relationship between the two has even been called “the best of frenemies.”
Still, the fact remains that Chelsea are far closer to the relegation spots than a European place for next season. It’s a fight that even Mourinho himself has acknowledged must be the goal ahead of them — simply qualify for Europe by getting in to the top six.
It’s also crazy to think about under the ownership of Roman Abromovich, as Chelsea have never finished lower than sixth and that happened just once. Chelsea have also qualified (through position or winning the Champions League) for the top European competition every year since Abromovich has been owner.
That’s how perilous and insane the position Chelsea find themselves in, and yet star ex-managers and pundits the world over still see Chelsea turning their season around.
Given results as of late, doing so is going to be an uphill climb to say the least.