As featured on NewsNow: Football news

It won't work! Why Boehly ignoring the laws of football only offers Chelsea fans grind and toil

COMMENT: It's going to be a grind. For the team. The club. The fans. If the planning of Chelsea's ownership is to succeed, there's going to be months and months of genuine toil...

That's football. That's how it works. Chelsea cannot buy a completely new XI. Install a new manager and staff. And expect it all to simply click overnight. The general thread through the headlines after Saturday's bore draw at Liverpool was that it was an example of two battling mid-table teams. But for Chelsea. For Graham Potter. The descriptor is simply untrue.

What was witnessed at Anfield was a team thrown together. A team that lacked understanding. Cohesion. Playing to a system that has not been bedded down. Nor, crucially, one that even suits some of the personnel who wore the Blue shirt that day.

The performance was disjointed. Laborious. And was only lit up by the impact of Mykhaylo Mudryk from off the bench. But the buzz around the Ukranian wasn't generated by combinations or connections. Instead, it was his individual qualities: pace; dribbling ability. All of which can break a tedious game open. But it isn't going to give you 90 successful minutes.

But that's what lies ahead for Chelsea fans. The play will be disjointed. Cumbersome. With victories earned by individual quality. As we say, these are the laws of football. A successful team is built on partnerships. Some of which take months to develop. You don't throw players together at this level expecting free-flowing football.

Why this approach, only the owners can answer. And it's been a question this column has been asking since the closure of the summer market. What it does smack of is the launch of a new franchise. A new sporting club built from scratch. It's not something experienced by English fans - particularly at this level. But you do see this in the 'States. Where the league agrees to create a new club out of nothing in an attempt to tap a particular market. A playing staff is pulled together from across the country and around the world. Attracted by huge salaries. Or a final shot at the big time. It's almost always ad hoc. Chaotic. And sometimes successful. But never attractive nor, beyond results, entertaining.

This Chelsea of Todd Boehly and co offers such an impression. They're discarding everything that went before them and starting again. But this isn't baseball. This isn't the LA Dodgers. Mudryk's success is dependent on his teammates. On how he combines with them. And that can only develop with time.

It would be difficult enough if the €100m man had arrived 18 months ago. Joining a settled dressing room. With an established hierarchy. And an entrenched manager and staff. But today's Chelsea is in flux - from top to bottom. And there'll be victims of this environment. Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke... some will fall away. We're already seeing Raheem Sterling struggling to settle in. Kalidou Koulibaly looks a shadow of the colossus he was with Napoli. They've been through this before and have come out the other side. Thanks to experiences gained, they have the tools within them to fight back.

But Badiashile? Carney Chukwuemeke? A massive price-tag and a promising profile guarantees you nothing at this level. Ideally, you'd have such talent enter a dressing room with personalities like Toni Rudiger and Marcos Alonso there to guide them. With long time staff - coaching and medical - always available for support. Familiar faces. People who know the club. The area. The culture. But so much of that knowledge and experience has been pushed out. Again, the place is like a new franchise with a playing and coaching staff parachuted in.

For many, it's all baffling. But across the Atlantic, Boehly's actions come as no surprise. This isn't about the traditions of football. About what worked before. As former Miami Marlins president David Samson says, Boehly wants to prove he can achieve success his way.

"There's nothing more limiting than being a limited partner, and that's what Todd Boehly is with the Dodgers," said Samson. "He's not the face of the franchise, he doesn't have the ultimate decision-making power within the Dodgers organization. Todd has always had an interest in being the front person.

"You see with this acquisition that he gets to be the person who is in the news, the focus of a show like this. That is important to any owner. Ego is a big part of sports ownership no matter where you own a team."

So this column's consistent suggestions of only a 'light touch' being needed by the new board was never a prospect. Roman Abramovich left Chelsea at it's absolute peak. The academy. The first team. The coaching staff and style football. Abramovich's greatest achievement as Chelsea owner was the state of the club he was forced to relinquish.

But as Samson has now explained, none of that was ever going to matter. Thomas Tuchel could've led Chelsea to the Quadruple last season and it would not have changed anything in Boehly's approach.

Will it work? No. At least not in the short-term. To get anywhere near their past glories, it's going to be a long, long struggle. And unfortunately there'll be many casualties along the way.

Parachuting in a team and staff. Expecting it all to click. Football doesn't work like that. It never has and it never will. For Chelsea fans, this going to be a grind.

Support Tribal Football with this great deal from our partners ExpressVPN. You get an extra three months free with the 12-month plan (a saving of 49%!). All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind. Click here to try now, risk-free for 30 days - and support Tribal Football in the process.

Video of the day:

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

Have your say

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free