“It works well with Chelsea. Since I left two years ago I’ve been advising the club on things concerning the squad. Sometimes I become a sounding board. It costs me very little time and I can combine it well with my position with Turkey. There is no conflict at all.” – GUUS HIDDINK
IT WILL be as surprising as night following day when Guus Hiddink is announced as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor at Chelsea. The Dutchman made a positive impression when he was caretaker-manager two years ago though he knows what is expected of him – finishing runners-up to Manchester United did not save Carlo Ancelotti from becoming Roman Abramovich’s latest ex-manager.
Hiddink has been an adviser to Chelsea since he left Stamford Bridge to resume his role as coach of Russia. He’s subsequently moved on to Turkey but his advisory links with Chelsea remain. Exactly what advice he gives Chelsea has not been revealed, apart from him saying “all things concerning the squad.”. It is unlikely he would be contacted about pre-match meals or which hotel to stay in.
The biggest decisions any club makes are transfers and the hiring and firing of personnel. Was Hiddink used as a “sounding board” for the unpopular decision to sack Ray Wilkins? It is unthinkable Hiddink, who forged a close relationship with the likeable Wilkins during his spell at the Bridge, would have given the green light to the former England international’s shock and sudden mid-season departure.
Similarly, it is hard to imagine Hiddink, who knows more than anyone the difficulties of management, would have agreed that it was right for Chelsea to have shown him the door. In fact I’ve yet to hear anyone say Ancelotti got what he deserved.
So what DOES he advise on? Hiddink’s version of his advisory role is spurious. He said: “Every now and then I come and visit to do whatever might be needed but not in an official situation. I have been advising the club since I left Stamford Bridge. I advise them on an occasional basis.”
But on what? Was Hiddink contacted about the arrival of Fernando Torres and David Luiz in January? More recently, Chelsea made a bid for Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric but on whose say-so? They have no manager, no director of football so was it a board decision, Abramovich or was outside advice sought?
It is not unusual for a national coach to be contacted by someone representing a club about one of his players, to find out more about the type of personality he is or his work-ethic but Modric is not Turkish. While not suggesting anything untoward has happened between Chelsea and Hiddink it is a unique and delicate situation. The club can apparently ask Hiddink’s unofficial advice about certain aspects concerning the squad yet cannot speak to him in an official capacity about “other things” as it could constitute an illegal approach.
No doubt more will be revealed in the near future when, as just about everyone expects, Hiddink is promoted from unofficial adviser to full-time manager at Chelsea.