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Hiddink a hard act to follow

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Phil McNulty | 20:37 UK time, Saturday, 30 May 2009

Guus Hiddink's traditional African dancing was not as accomplished as his coaching - but he earned the right to say his Chelsea farewells in any manner he wished after leaving the FA Cup for Roman Abramovich to remember him by.

Abramovich, at least according to Hiddink, joined this somewhat unorthodox conclusion to his short, but hugely impressive, spell in charge at Chelsea before a private meeting in a Wembley sideroom between coaching staff and players.

Hiddink, who conjured up intriguing imagery by revealing "my whole body moved in the African way", reported back that it was emotional, as was to be expected, and tinged with sadness that the job well done is now over.

Chelsea's renaissance under Hiddink was confirmed by a deserved win against an Everton side who finally found a mountain that even their reserves of resilience, heart and no little ability could not help them climb.

It was a fitting end for Hiddink, whose class at his chosen profession is matched by his personality. In the moment of victory, he still found time to personally console Everton's players, speak glowingly of his opponents and even apologise to the media for keeping them waiting to speak to him.

He will be missed by the Premier League. Chelsea, you fear, will miss him even more.

Guus HiddinkChelsea's players presented Hiddink with a watch to mark his time in charge, which does not quite sound like a fair exchange for the FA Cup. It has, however, been time well spent after he repaired broken spirits, rebuilt confidence and, most importantly, restored silverware to the Stamford Bridge trophy room after taking on the rescue mission from the wreckage of the Luiz Felipe Scolari era.

Hiddink has provided a coaching masterclass at Chelsea, and even the shock of Louis Saha's history-making goal for Everton after 25 seconds, did not break their stride. It all happened too quickly for Hiddink, who admitted he missed the goal, but the remaining 89 minutes led to a merited reward for both coach and players.

The only regret, said Hiddink, was that he was not in Rome with Chelsea to face Manchester United on Wednesday after coming within a few seconds and several desperate refereeing decisions of beating eventual Champions League winners Barcelona.

Chelsea dominated possession after Saha's strike, playing in the attractive manner associated with Hiddink, and even though Everton's in-built fighting spirit kept them above water, there was a certain inevitability about Frank Lampard adding the winner to Didier Drogba's equaliser.

Hiddink admits he has been moved by the Chelsea experience - and the question for Abramovich and his comrades is how to replace him. AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is apparently the answer - but he has some job to follow Hiddink.

Ancelotti's appointment has the feel of a Scolari-style punt. He does not have the rounded world coaching experience of Hiddink. Hiddink's success has placed pressure on Abramovich to handle the succession more effectively than when Scolari replaced Avram Grant.

He has been helped by the rejuvenation of the previously disaffected Drogba, and the ever-present and undiminished match-winning (make that FA Cup-winning) quality of Lampard, but he has managed and manouevred his squad superbly.

Hiddink, without a hint of patronising, lavished praise on his Everton counterpart David Moyes - whose growing maturity at Goodison Park makes it a mystery why he has never been mentioned as a possible contender to take over at Stamford Bridge.

This was not Moyes', or Everton's best day, but the body of work he has produced this season is a powerful reference point for his ability. Everton lost to a superior side at Wembley and there is no shame in that.

It was a simple reckoning for Moyes. And he also made the valid point that with Yakubu, Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka in various states of injury at Wembley, he was stripped of his equivalent of Drogba, Lampard and John Terry.

He at least ended his post-match briefing with laughter on his dark day when the James Bond theme blared out of a mobile phone at the precise second he finished his final answer. Sadly for him, Hiddink was the special agent and Chelsea the team on a mission as Guus returns to Russia with love.

Moyes was apparently later interrupted again by the theme from "Mission Impossible" on another phone. Highly-appropriate and potentially the signature tune for the next part of his task, invading the top four.

He needs financial backing chairman Bill Kenwright currently cannot give him if he is to do that, but it will not stop him trying.

Moyes is a canny operator in the markets. This is the man who signed Tim Cahill, Arteta, Jagielka, Steven Pienaar and Joleon Lescott for the grand total of £16m.

The talk must turn to how to progress again. Can Moyes repeat the trick with the purse strings pulled tight and Everton's rivals such as Manchester City and Spurs gearing up for the big summer spending?

For now, however, he is allowed a brief period of reflection on a season that has brought another fifth place in the Premier League and an FA Cup Final appearance, albeit a losing one.

Everton need strengthening in all parts of the pitch and Kenwright will again have to somehow facilitate Moyes' ambitions. It is to be hoped Everton's fans are not forced to hear the words "having Yakubu, Arteta and Jagielka back will be like three new signings." Moyes needs actual new signings, not pretend new signings.

Pienaar has developed into an outstanding talent in recent months while Marouane Fellaini was one of Everton's better players in possession at Wembley.

Sadly, the creative edge to make the difference was missing and this is where the absence of Arteta was keenly felt. Moyes was rightly glowing with pride about Everton's players, but if the top-four goal is to be achieved, they need more and better.

The foundations are in place, now an extra layer of quality needs to be added on top. Kenwright has already outlined the difficulties, so Everton and Moyes face a pivotal summer.

Everton's downfall came via poor ball retention that gave Chelsea momentum and opportunities - and a deficiency cruelly exposed.

For every hero thrown up by Wembley there is a story from the other end of the scale. Sadly for Everton, it came in the dejected form of Tony Hibbert.

Hibbert is a lifelong Everton fan, an honest professional who pledged his future to the club on the same night Wayne Rooney signed his first professional contract at Goodison Park. This will have been arguably the worst, most harrowing, day of his career.

It was an act of merciful release as well as a tactical necessity for Moyes to end his torture at the hands of Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda at half-time. It was a weakness Chelsea probed as ruthlessly as a heavyweight boxer inflicting blows on a glass-jawed opponent and the heart genuinely went out to poor Hibbert, who received little or no assistance in his task from Leon Osman.

Everton's players deserved the magnificent support they had behind them on Saturday - but the day belong to Chelsea, an in particular Hiddink.

He admits he has been bitten by the Premier League management bug, and despite only half-jokingly referring to himself as "the old man", that mind is as sharp and nimble tactically as ever.

It will be no surprise to see return to England - maybe back at Chelsea one day? And he will be welcomed, along with his African dancing.


  • Comment number 1.

    first comment! brap brap hiddinks a legend but benitez and liverpool are better LOL

  • Comment number 2.

    Definitely one of the best managers around. Chelsea will find it very hard to find a similar replacement. He will be missed.

  • Comment number 3.

    If Hiddink had had Chelsea from the start of the season then the Quintiple / Quadruple or whatever it's called would have still have been coming to England, just not to Man Utd. (sorry to upset most of Asia but the World Club Championship is as mickey mouse as the league cup) but to Stanford Bridge. How he turned the bunch of wasters into a team capable of winning anything is beyond comprehension. The man is a GOD.

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought United were in Rome. t doesn't take much imagination to have seen a European Cup and a FA Cup Final with Chelsea and Man U this week, and the way United played on Wednesday it takes even less imagination to have seen Chelsea win a unique double, would Hiddink have left then I wonder.

  • Comment number 5.

    Undoubtedly one of the best managers in the world. It seems he can make even the most average team reach their maximum potential. He deserved the FA cup just to show the great effect he has had at Chelsea. Congratulations to him.

    However, considering the differences in spending habits of Everton and Chelsea, Everton, representing the more economical clubs, put on a mighty fine display.

    Well done to both clubs.

  • Comment number 6.

    I liked him. He's definitely one of the best managers around. Chelsea have been a completely different team under him and he will be difficult to replace.

    A 3 horse race would be great next year so they'll have to choose the next manager wisely. I personally wouldn't go down the Ancelotti route. He's overrated.

  • Comment number 7.

    I could never see Moyes as Chelsea boss as the moment things start to go wrong the players would be saying "Who the hell are you anyway?". He may have played for Celtic but his playing career is fairly non-descript and he hasn't won anything of real note.

    Now don't get me wrong that doesn't mean I don't think he's a great manager because clearly he his but until he proves himself with silverware I don't see him getting the full respect of the players.

  • Comment number 8.

    Chelsea were never that bad, even under Scolari, their "crisis" was massively overplayed, plus Hiddink got a fit Essien to stick in his midfield which was a massive boost to the side.

    Is Hiddink a good manager? Undoubtedly, did he work miracles at Chelsea? not really, he took over a good side, managed to get on with their best players and got one of the best box to box midfielders in Europe back fit at just the right time, if it was a magic trick it'd be pulling a rabbit out of a rabbit hutch.

    If I was a Chelsea fan I'd be asking the players why they couldn't put the same level of effort in for Scolari.

  • Comment number 9.

    I would have been happy who ever won today, both managers have been fantastic - one over a longer period and one in a shorter time. I don't know who Chelsea will go for but I worry that as with Mourinho is will be a hard act to follow and the next manager will have to work hard to get the players respect.

    Another worry is that with the success and transformation that Hiddink acheived then it will inspire other chairmen to sack a manager as soon as they are doing badly and try for a new one to 'do a Hiddink'. This scenario happens enough and normally ends badly (see Newcastle for all references needed) I hope Chelsea can find stability next season and give us a truely thrilling title race next year.

  • Comment number 10.

    You are doing a wonderful job - keeping idiots away from proper sports.

  • Comment number 11.

    chelsea ,you are the best!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    #8 Chad Sexington is spot on.

    I got the distinct feeling certain players were trying to get Scolari fired, of course they got their wish in the end. Hiddink's ability to get on with players better and enforce their confidence and egos more tactfully can be seen as an improvement, players getting their way will have arguably made his job easier than for his predecessor though.

    Still, Hiddink is an excellent manager who handle teams very well, though I am still dubious as to how many of Chelsea's earlier failures lie at the feet of Scolari.

  • Comment number 13.

    A very good manager. However, he took a team full of world class and won an FA cup. So hasnt really achieved impossible has he now. A bigger test for Hiddink would be how he would reshape the team for next year, and how he would conduct his business in the transfer market. Who would he sell and who would he buy? That is always a tough one. We have always known that Hiddink can get the best out of what he has got (as he has proven on the international scene) but can he build a winning team himself? We dont know that.

  • Comment number 14.

    A better than expected Cup Final - it's a disgrace to the FA that for a showpiece final, Wembley's pitch doesn't allow for the spectacle that this the showpiece game of the English football season should be. However, Everton's early early goal made Chelsea work hard and it was a superb performance by Hiddink's men against a hardworking but ultimately inferior Everton team. Moyes should be very proud of what the Toffees have achieved this season. I hope an investor comes in and provides some investment this club deserves so that they can buy the players to really challenge the top 4 as they have a crack manager already. As a fan of Everton's great rivals, I do have a soft spot for the Toffees considering the spirit of unity they showed towards Liverpool FC following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, as well as the fact they are still considered the underdogs compared to the big 4 despite their recent success under Moyes. Hope Moyes stays and pushes them further. Good to see two Merseyside clubs doing very well.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hiddinck is no doubt a great manager but getting Essein back is huge to a team like Chelsea. Mikel has the attention span of a 9 year old.

    Today was obvious.

  • Comment number 16.

    Considering the handicap, limited funds and a heavy injury list, Toffees have achieved a level of success that is unlikely to be replicated by many other teams. 'Tim Cahill, Arteta, Jagielka, Steven Pienaar and Joleon Lescott for the grand total of £12m' is a robbery if true. I do not believe it.
    Chelsea had resurrected their season even before securing the FA cup win. Winning the cup is a fitting tribute not only to the great Guus but also to the rediscovery of their own intrinsic quality. Biggest single step has been redeeming Drogba from the dead. Many say Hiddink's brief reign was boosted by Essien rejoining from injury. What about Malouda? He was nearly put on sale. His transformation surely cannot be merely down to an improved hair cut; Fellaini carries a squirrel's nest without much of a let.
    As Chelsea reestablish themselves, their long ball tactic used in big games like Barcelona and the FA cup, will perhaps slowly be replaced by short passing, beautiful football again. It was funny seeing only two yellow shirts in the Everton box for the last corner.
    Malouda goal should have been seen by the flagman. This lot ought to be good at line decisions, seeing they arbitrate regularly on the off side. The commentary was insipid. Plainly the men on the mike were denied their crescendo by the 'inadvertent' Chelsea win.

  • Comment number 17.

    Guus Hiddink is indeed a role model for football managers. He shows awesome hunger but also a supreme sense of satisfaction. An unique gentleman who can get out the best from his talented squads. Team sports like football, cricket, hockey et al need more Hiddinks to bring joy and meaning to the games and full blossoming of the players who are privileged to grace those games.

    Hartelijk bedankt Mijnheer Guus Hiddinks.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 18.

    As an Everton fan, I'm immensely proud of what we have achieved as a team under Moyes. But what I'm left with after this result is an impending feeling that without selling our soul as a club to a passionless foreign investor, we will find it pretty difficult to do better than we are doing right now.

    To be honest, I'm not even sure that I would be all that happy achieving success under those circumstances. Winning in our current situation would have been infinitely preferable to success as a result of massive investment.

    A club needs a soul and once you sell that soul to the highest bidder, where does the satisfaction in winning come from if you essentially paid for it?

    Sadly we lost to a team with, infinitely superior resources today. It would have been a triumph for real clubs if Everton could have pulled the shock victory off.

    Call me presumptuous, but I think I represent the feeling of most genuine football supporters when I say this. This is reflected by the huge neutral support for Everton prior to the game, not just as a result of British love for an underdog, but as a club that achieve their limited success through good old fashioned hard work and belief rather than financial muscle.

    Am i bitter? Yes, but only that money seems to have become the deciding factor in a teams chances of winning silverware.

    I can only hope that Moyes can prove me wrong on this one but right now I feel that another bite was taken from the heart and soul of the game today.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hiddink has done a good job. But i do agree with comment 8. Apart from the intent of some players to get scolari fired, we should also remember that Hiddink is held in high esteem by Abramovich. That is like complaining about your boss to the company CEO only for you to end up being fired.

    Moyes is a very good manager. But i somehow cannot see him as a Chelsea or a Man Utd manager. Especially at Man Utd, what would become of the ronney-moyes saga? Well, that is a discussion for another time.

    Here to hoping a cracking season next year between man united and chelsea and to push the scousers back in to 4th :-)

  • Comment number 20.

    The "crisis" at Chelsea was obviously not on the same scale as Newcastle Utd but it was perhaps possible that they'd be playing the UEFA cup had it continued.
    The difference between teams is confidence, at the end of the Scolari tenure the confidence of Chelsea was critically low, Hiddink came in and rebuilt it to a point where even beating the mighty Barcelona was possible. A great football manager needs to be tactically astute, a psycologist and a social worker. People tend to think that managing a team is a bit like a video game on a grand scale, forgetting that each and every player is a human and as such is fragile.

  • Comment number 21.

    I felt Everton played much better against us in the two PL games this season that they did yesterday. Sometimes scoring so early in a game, before a team has actually established any sort of rhythm and flow can work against you, and apart from a period in the 2nd half, I never felt Everton got really going yesterday.

    Disney Dream Based..........I understand your view and concerns if you were to receive investment and a change of club ownership.

    It is clear from interviews and TV images that Bill Kenwright has immense passion and love for Everton, but is it really only a utopian dream for a club to have both soul and a healthy and powerful balance sheet?

    I would love both Villa and Everton to be able to improve enough to make the PL have a Big 6, rather than a Big 4.

  • Comment number 22.

    Delighted with the win for Chelsea yesterday and for Hiddink, who has done a great job for the club on and off the pitch.

    But.........are we not back to square one? Now Hiddink has gone it feels to me exactly the same as the day after Mourinho left. Loads of uncertainty and concerns as to where and how Chelsea plan to progress from here.

    As for the new manager of Chelsea, I am not sure it is a role I would want to take. Unless the new manager wins the PL or CL in his first season, will he not just be keeping the seat warm for Hiddink?

    I would certainly want a nice compensation clause if I were taking the job.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great Job, come next season. I hope by now all people who put bloggs on here trying to mollest Chelsea can see that there is defference between 11 boys and 11 men.

    Thank to guus, he has been a great Boss so far, kuddos to him and i wish and his family best of luck as he return.

    Great Job Once Again.


  • Comment number 24.

    I heard Everton fans on radio phone-ins yesterday saying, they don't want the soul ripped out of their club by Americans. They are Scouse owned, just like Liverpool were before G&H came along, a lot of Toffees seem to forget that. Although it was a back-handed swipe at Liverpool,I think Everton will have to 'sell their soul' if they are to progress. David Mores could never have afforded the likes of Torres; a player that took Liverool up a peg or two. I'm sorry Toffees, if you want to progress you too, like Liverool may have to lose your Scouse-owned tag. Something which is both inevitable and sad.

    Well done Toffees, for getting to Wembley, you did it the hard way knocking Premier league teams out. I do think though that they could have given a better account of themselves but hard luck lads.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have to admit, even though not a fan of Chelsea, that Hiddink did seem to install a new air of confidence into the team which transpired onto the pitch over the second half of this season. I thought they were unlucky not to reach the CL final, and that Hiddink is going to be missed there next season.

    I wouln't fancy being the guy who has to replace him in the Summer as whoever it is will have, as usual, a huge mountain to climb to keep Chelsea's stars feet rooted to the ground, as Hiddink, somehow managed to get through all the turmoil without any apparent ill feelings between himself and the players, which is rare.

    I think Hiddink is likely at some point to return to Stamford Bridge after his World Cup stint with Russia ends.

  • Comment number 27.

    I used to hate Guus Hiddink, after his fluke results with South Korea, but now I have so much reespect for the guy!!

  • Comment number 28.

    From a United fans point of view, i am so pleased he's gone from chelsea as he is top quality
    wouldn't mind him as fergie's successsor either, or david moyes for that matter

  • Comment number 29.

    why does Avram Grant get pilliored for his reign when he was the only manager to get them to Champs league final, and if Terry had scored they'd have won it?

  • Comment number 30.

    A superb manager with a very deep understanding of the game. He oozes class, good temperament and confidence which radiates to the whole team.

    I predicted Scolari to be a failure and sadly it didn't take long to be proven right. The Brazilian knew nothing other than deploy full backs in advanced positions. I watched his Portugal team play and it was the same for 90 mins. Add to that his tendency to treat players like his little pupils you could see he was going to fail. Hiddink on the other hand had an answer to every opponent.

    I agree, our team was not bad, which begs the question why the press kept going on about "past-their-best" players when the problem clearly lied in an inept Scolari.

    Now we have to hope that Ancellotti can replicate what Hiddink did. I have a feeling of discomfort about his pending appointment, obviously not as bad a discomfort as I felt about Scolari.

  • Comment number 31.

    Have you ever seen a Monobrow like boswingas? It's like a centipede selotaped to his face

  • Comment number 32.


    Because, despite reaching the CL final and winning more points than Ferguson in his part-season in charge, he didn't have a very good relationship with the media.

    Pretty much the exact opposite of Gareth Southgate. Not only did he get Middlesbrough relegated but I can't think of a single player who hasn't gone backwards under him since being signed or taken from the academy. Despite which everyone seems to love him.

  • Comment number 33.

    29. At 10:10am on 31 May 2009, leon30001 wrote:
    why does Avram Grant get pilliored for his reign when he was the only manager to get them to Champs league final, and if Terry had scored they'd have won it?


  • Comment number 34.

    7. At 00:24am on 31 May 2009, Tuumble wrote:
    I could never see Moyes as Chelsea boss as the moment things start to go wrong the players would be saying "Who the hell are you anyway?". He may have played for Celtic but his playing career is fairly non-descript and he hasn't won anything of real note.

    Now don't get me wrong that doesn't mean I don't think he's a great manager because clearly he his but until he proves himself with silverware I don't see him getting the full respect of the players.

    That says more about the players than it does about Moyes and his ability. So many modern teams, even not very good teams are filled with players not fit to lace the boots of many an old pro. Spolied prima donnas who only care about the next bar, the next "bird" and the bonnet badge on their drive. It is sad, for me anyway, that Cashley gets a record to brag about as he is one of the founding architects of the malaise that leaves the premiership riding high under talented foreign influence and money but England as "also rans" bereft of quality and spirit. With players more interested in being a great team on paper than on grass, particularly when the paper is "Hello" magazine

  • Comment number 35.

    Hiddink has achieved a lot in three and a half months - blending a team of 'lacking in confidence egos' into a team that wanted to win again. Being a manager is a hard job, and it is about bringing out all the good qualities of individuals to make the team stronger.
    Hiddink is a master at that. It's no use asking how he would build the next team or mentioning that Chelsea are back at square one - the difference being that we all knew he was here for a brief time. A fantastic man and manager.

  • Comment number 36.

    Re #21
    Norapeti - of course your absolutely right. It is a Utopian dream that I'm alluding to. A dream that was much closer to being a reality in the not so distant past. It wasn't that long ago that teams could win silverware based on qualities other than money, Wimbledon being the best example I can think of. Seems a terrible shame that we are unlikely to witness anything approaching that romance again.
    Bit of a rock and a hard place for clubs like Everton. I would dearly love to see us win something but do not want to see the club fall into the hands of investors solely dedicated to the bottom line.
    I guess I am going to have to come to terms with the inevitable here. I don't have to like it though. I guess a trophy or 2 softens the blow somewhat.

  • Comment number 37.

    Re #36
    I too remember when teams appeared to play each other on a more level playing field, however, the abolition of the player's maximum wage (Jimmy Hill et al) and the first £million player (Trevor Francis) put paid to that many years ago!
    I am a great admirer of David Moyes who yet again, has proved himself to be a great manager. An injection of money into any club does help - you don't have to lose the passion and desire.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Chelsea's renaissance under Hiddink was confirmed by a deserved win against an Everton side who finally found a mountain that even their reserves of resilience, heart and no little ability could not help them climb."

    Renaissance? as in rebirth? Get over yourself. They were last years champions league finalists. Second in the league too? This year they place 3rd and won the FA cup, I fail to see the renaisance you are on about. If you are talking about a Scolari Style slump..well were they out of the top 4 or 5 all season?

    Yeah hiddink is great. yeah he will be missed, just as much a Murhino and Jol.

    Funny to think that Bennytez arrived the same time as those two.

    Onwards Man United next year I reckon. Liverpool are selling off players, Ancellotti is not the manager for Drogba and Co. Moyes to get no better without funds

  • Comment number 40.

    Phil, you could have mentioned Malouda as well. A player who look second rate under previous manager, now looks like the £14m they paid for him.

  • Comment number 41.

    as a Liverpool supporter I want to congratulate Chelsea for an emphatic display and less than deserved win...( THE BALL DID CROSS THE LINE AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 3-1)
    I am also outraged and gutted for the cheating practiced against Chelsea when they were playing against Barca should have been United v BARCA and judging by the current form, Chelsea would have made history by clinching their first CL trophy even,,IT IS HIGH TIME FOR FIFA TO BRING ON THE VIDEO TECH TO THE GAME.....

  • Comment number 42.

    Mr McNulty, I think you have answered your own question as to why Chelsea have not been looking at Moyes as their next man in some of your paragraphs. You use phrases like knowledge of world football etc.. I would put Moyes on a par with O'niel and Hughes. Very capable managers, but not quite in the leagues of Hiddink, Sir Alex or Rafa Benitez, or indeed the professor of the library Mr Wenger. They have spent time at the current clubs and have developed sides, Moving onto clubs like United, Arsenal Chelsea and Liverpool need a man who can get results instantly. eg, United keep winning trophys, Liverpool won the CL with Rafa in their first season, Arsenal are the oddity in this respect but are cutting the cloth accordingly and lets not forget Wenger has delivered on numerous occasions. I think the top sides in the UK will look at those managers when they break the so called big four. It would be a punt to appoint either of the three mentioned above just yet. Yes finance is a big part of the equation with the top sides, but I think next season we'll see whether Hughes can break the premiership order after a close season of drafting more of his type of players, Villa need to cling onto their top talent and sign a few more unpolished gems while Moyes - should get some backing from the chairman, they should be pushing for the signature of Michael Owen for example and all the managers need to start consistently getting results from the likes of Chelsea et all. The nil nil game against Chelsea a case in point. I made 40 quid from the final, and only lost 3 pounds. It would have been two had Malouda's effort crossed the line?!?!?! That is the sort of safe betting you can expect from the big four... I hope next season, and I honestly want to see this for the benefit of the British game, City, Villa and Everton all push on and get results that make the final 10 games of the season nerve racking for the established sides. I think there isn't a proper football lover who wouldn't want to see that. As for my beloved Chelsea, I have a horrible feeling that the next man will be a step backwards, I think the club believe that too and hence the appointment of Hiddink as a technical director. Its a first dibs option on the guy for the 2010 season. The new man will only have one season to impress as its WC year and the likes of Capello and others will be on the radar... Assuming hiddink doesn't call time on his coaching career.

  • Comment number 43.

    At 11:20am on 31 May 2009, vanoliIsGod... I think Bosingwa has been studying turn of the century Persian art and photography... That or he is a fan of the Iranian Pro league. Monobrows are still fashionable round these parts... ;-)

  • Comment number 44.

    Like most Everton fans, I find myself in a strange place this morning (and I don't mean a run-down hotel in Wembly...). Firstly, there is pride in the way we have played and competed this year. None of the top 4 have had our injury problems (Could any of them honestly have finished the same as they did without their best Central defender, best midfielder and 15 goals a season striker?) To put it in perspective, judging from the bleating from the red half about how they would have won the league if only Torres and Gerrard had started more games...well, boo hoo and get over yourselves. Try starting with the smallest squad, losing your young up-and-coming star (Vaughan), then Yakubu snaps an achilles. Then Arteta a cruciate (oh and Anichebe in the same game), then Jagielka...

    Despite all of this we finished above many clubs who splashed out - Newcastle (ahem!), Villa, Spurs, and so on. Yet the feeling is still that we need to 'get an investor'. Its such a shame football has come to this. Sky and the Champions league have turned the EPL into the SPL, whereby you hear such rubbish as John Terry proclaiming after the game that 'Chelsea hadn't won anything for 2 years'. 2 years??? What planet is that guy on. Most teams never get to a final, let alone win anything, yet the arrogance of the man betrays what we all instinctively know - that really all of the competitions revolve around the debt-laden big 4 and occasionally an upstart crew like Everton DARE to punch above their weight and take them on. Not to worry, when they did finish 4th, the rules were mysteriously changed anyway to allow a 5th club in to keep the gravy train running....

    IS this what we all want from football? Fine if you live in Norway and support Liverpool, but what of the everyday fan outside of the big 4? Forget it. Either sell the club soul like Leeds and Newcastle (and look where it got THEM trying that strategy), or accept that we're the equivalent of Rangers and Celtic swapping trophies every year.

    Finally, the fan who said until David Moyes has won anything, he can't manage a team like Chelsea represents everything that's bad. How the hell is he supposed to win anything, unless the draw plots the big 4 against each other in some absurd bad luck and you end up with Cardiff in the final?

  • Comment number 45.

    I would put Moyes on a par with O'niel and Hughes. Very capable managers, but not quite in the leagues of Hiddink, Sir Alex or Rafa Benitez, or indeed the professor of the library Mr Wenger. They have spent time at the current clubs and have developed sides, Moving onto clubs like United, Arsenal Chelsea and Liverpool need a man who can get results instantly. eg, United keep winning trophys
    It took Ferguson about 5 or 6 years to win a trophy at Man Utd, hardly instant result.

  • Comment number 46.

    The way some of you are talking on here about life and soul of football,seems as though you would like to bring back those lether balls that don the square all those years ago along with the football boots and six inch studs. Get with it, football started changing all those years ago when a man called Shankly came to L/Pool, Fergie at Manu and the others before them from Scotland. So you see times are achanging, if you are ill and go into hospital you need the best care from whoever provide it from where ever and as you go to your lovely football club you want to see good players the best players representing your club,because if you have such a narrow mind set, I can assure you some one just someone will always try to be ahead of you regardless.Look no further than Newcastle,MidB..S/Hampton to name a few.So you see that's life in 2009 and always be, like it or not,whether you agree with the progress or direction of any club for that matter,its here to stay,club, players,managers and owners,the best jobs in the world is no longer for life.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hiddink will be missed...under his managerial reign players like Malouda and Drogba rediscovered their touch and he recharged the whole squad. Hopefully the next coach carries on Hiddink's splendid work.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hiddink showed Chelsea what a real manager should be. Scolari is a quality manager, but when he was in charge at Chelsea there was never that feel of a happy team. Constant rumours of players being unhappy and possibly leaving, ie: Drogba. Hiddink came in and turned Chelsea back into a team again.

    I am sure he will be missed by the Chelsea fans, but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have some role within the club in the future.

  • Comment number 49.

    whiteinsheffield... Point made chap, but the game has progressed since the likes of Sir Alex came along some twenty years ago... Perhaps Moyes can do a fergy, but I think he'll need to be at united to do it with a wad of cash. I would love to see Moyes at United when the great man goes, but i think the board will turn to someone for instant success, and that motor mouth Jose M seems to be racking up the titles. Porto, England, Italy, Just signed a new contract with inter to ward off overtures from Real... Interesting point was made by David Gill last week over the signature of Tevez. City, Liverpool and other top European clubs all feeding from the same table and Gill simply said that is the competitive market they're in. Football is now a market and that means instant success like those Bankers in New York and the square mile where Clubs like United are available to buy for the right price!

  • Comment number 50.

    Jose Mourinho's exit or 'sacking' (i.e. if you believe last weekend's reports on claims made in Makelele's autobiography) from Chelsea FC, left a huge gaping whole that has taken 3 managers (well, 2 "wanna-be" managers, and 1 master tactician) to fill, and even then, still requires more attention as Hiddink's successful reign at Stanford Bridge does not signal a return to top-flight top-class football; it highlights what the club has missed since Mourinho was "shown the door".

    It is no surprise that the only manager since Jose's exit to begin to restore a sense of dignity and pride in the team had to be a vastly experienced manager/tactician in the person of Guus Hiddink. Unfortunately, having found him, what does Chelsea do? They shot themselves in the foot by letting him go!

    For all the media noise about Chelsea's attempt to prize Anchelotti from AC Milan as Hiddink's replacement, I fear that the club has once again returned to the dull trophy-less seasons it experienced for so long.

    Only time will tell how shrewed a decision it was to let 2 of the worlds greatest managers to leave, just when things were begining to turn a corner.

  • Comment number 51.

    #8 has got it spot on, he is a good manager, but come on he never took over a crap team and turned them around, he took over a team sitting 3rd or 4th and finished 3rd, not that amazing really. The hype from the media is as usual way over the top regarding Hiddink.

  • Comment number 52.

    only the mighty jose mourinho cdan come close to the skill of Hiddink

  • Comment number 53.

    I wonder how Brian Barwick feels now that Hiddink has confirmed what 90% of people with even the faintest idea about football already knew - that he's the best manager in the world, and would have taken the England job if the FA had shown any interest in him at all. Barwick was to English football what George W Bush was to American politics.

  • Comment number 54.

    I've had a simmering frustration for a few seasons now and it stems from the whining of British managers at non-top 4 clubs at why they are continually excluded from consideration of managing United, L'pool, Chelsea etc. I notice a number of the comments on here pick up on this point with regards Moyes, but over the last few seasons it equally applies to Allardyce, Redknapp, Curbishley et al. Now at various times these managers have all done a good job relative to their resources, however it is blindlingly obvious that a top 4 club is only going to employ a manager with league championships under his belt and extensive champions league experience. The inevitable response is 'how can a manager get that experience unless he is given a chance?'. This response howevers ignores the possibility that a manager could move abroad - say to the Dutch/Belgian/Portugese league - to a country less dominated by 4 of the biggest teams in the world. This scenario would provide an ambitious young british manager a better opportunity to win trophies as well as extend their range of experience. The 2 best English managers of the last 30 years - venables and robson - both seized the chance to work abroad (and throw into the pot the experience of Hodgson), and yet the current crop seem rather too comfy with Premier league salaries and not having to learn a foreign culture/language to countenance a move (mclaren and coleman being the only examples that come to mind - not spectacular but don't forget Mclaren very nearly landed the ajax job after his performance with twente). Fine, if that's the attitude, but it belies a fundamental lack of ambition that would not match the expectation of an owner or investor of a top 4 team. The league is full of foreign players and managers who have pursued their hunger for success by moving to a foreign country, some for mega-money but others (such as Martinez) as a chance to learn, establish a reputation and in the longer term increase his chance to manage one of the larger european teams.

    I've a lot of time for Moyes and what he's achieved, but if he genuinely harbours an ambition of managing one of the biggest teams in the world (and I do not mean this as a dig at everton), then he should go on the road and continue his managerial apprenticeship and prove that he can win trophies. Doing well relative to resources is admirable but united or chelsea or barca or milan ain't going come knocking for a trophyless cv.

    or am i missing the point?

  • Comment number 55.

    Gus is a class act and his record since taking over at Chelsea is second to none - ok perhaps Jose the God just edges it. It's a shame he's going a real shame as he brought sense to Chelsea that they so desperately need....I wish him luck in all he does except winning the World Cup which hopefully another class act Fabio Capello win bring home for England.

  • Comment number 56.

    To No 7 - Tuumble. You can't say Moyes, if he got the Chesea job, might not command the respect of Chelsea players due to his relative lack of experience playing at the top level. Hiddink only scaled the heights of De Graafschap in Holland... Being a modern day manager has less and less to do with being a player in the 70s. Then, diets meant carbs from beer and protein from pies. Hiddink inherited a bunch of misfit superstars - the perenial English problem. From early Feb, he only got them one place higher in the premier league by May and went one worse than last yr in only reaching the semis of the european cup. We all know the FA cup is only 3rd in the pecking order... Had Hiddink inherited Hull, would he have done any better than Rednapp at Spurs? The sooner people tell Abramovic Chelsea isn't merely a toy train set to tinker with the better, before every train, station, employee and product becomes a foreign 'investment'. He just symbolises £60 tickets and no chance of a british national team winning a trophy till 2066+.

  • Comment number 57.

    holdencawffle - A lot of sense there, Re McLaren, I think part of the motivation to move abroad was from the fact that he would be out of the media spotlight of the English press. He got found out at international level and in order to resurrect his career back in blighty, made a solid move abroad. FC Twente were not a bad side when he took over in the 07/08 season. They finished fourth with 62 points, and a goal dif of +20 - secured a qualification place to the CL, but they lost to Arsenal in the qualifying stages. I remember watching his press conference after that and he simply said Arsenal were the better team, they were.
    Fast forward to the end of this season and they amassed 69 points and finished with a GD of 32. Secured second spot and lost out to a very committed AZ Alkmaar who were under the stewardship of former dutch coach Louis Van Gaal. He's now in charge of Bayern Munich. If he sticks about for another season with the club, the change of manager at Ajax in appointing Martin Jol and the now newly installed Ronald Koeman at AZ and McLaren has all the tools at his disposal for a title charge. The Eridivisie is technically a great league, Lets hope he gets that title and moves on somewhere like Spain, or Germany. On Coleman, yeah he had a rough ride in Spain despite moving to a club in the second tier, As a welshman, I think I would prefer to see him in charge of the national side than the current incumbent, although Toshack is developing a very young side. If you do miss the point then it is on the British managers ambition to succeed in the domestic league. Its not a bad thing to have desire to perform well in front of your piers and from my personal experience - I would much rather be doing the job I am in the UK but for now, Im happy where I am because of the experience being gained. If you take that argument further and apply it to the thousands who apply for uni, it seems as though its par of the course now to take a Gap year and gain life experience - despite it just being a jolly for many... Ultimately - those who do set off overseas always want to prove themselves at home and return, but I dont think there is much harm in what Moyes or any of the British managers are doing right now. There is also the problem of the British managers being inward in their views. Could you imagine Harry Redknapp in charge of France's new league Champions Bordeaux? Would Italian fans be please with Allardyce's style of play at Real Mallorca or Chievo? there would surely be a culture clash... and the managers would probably bankrupt the players through card schools. I think its not just about the British lot leaving but the overseas clubs willing to take a punt on a complete unknown. it swings both ways...

  • Comment number 58.

    Italian fans style of play at Real Mallorca... LOLOLOL... Does that make me a gooner?!?!?

  • Comment number 59.

    If Hiddink stayed, with a few signings Chelsea would be favourites next season. As it stands I would put Liverpool favorites if the sign one more top class attacking player, as their midfield is far stronger than United's and Vidic's lack of quickness has now been exposed for teams to attack (Torres, Valencia, Eto'o ran by him like he was standing still). Ancelotti will take time to bed in which will hurt Chelsea.

  • Comment number 60.

    I have to say that I'm not really certain I fancy Ancelotti at the Bridge. I know all about his record, but I still think he will struggle to make himself understood.

    A more interesting scenario,(which I'm surprised not to have seen more speculation on) seeing as Guus has a contract with Chelsea for next season as Technical Advisor, would be for Wilkins to be a figurehead coach with Hiddink pulling the strings from Russia until Hiddink's contract expires in November, whereupon he can come back and take up where he left off...

  • Comment number 61.

    Agree with #8 & #51 -

    A lot of fuss about Guus, but they would probably have done just as well if Roman himself had picked the team. They just haven't had the time to get disenchanted with the Dutchman.

    After some early successes, Hiddink now only takes the kind of job he can't fail at, and he did it again with Chelsea.

    So it's Ancelotti for '09-10, or most of it. Who will be most likely to follow him?

  • Comment number 62.

    He joined Chelsea and soon got Essien back to the team. That was for me the important point. ESSIEN. THat man is a machine and Chelsea are totally different without him.

  • Comment number 63.

    On the other hand, he was wise enough to use Mourinho's tactical setup and stop insisting on the "beautiful game" approach. That was what Scolari wanted, but that is not easy with the players Chelsea has (hardworking players, most of them).

    Grant did the same, but using MOurinho's tactics at the end and was also relatively good.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Good blog, as an Australian I was fully aware of the impact Hiddink would have on Chelsea and was understandably quite excited when he was announced as our manager, albeit on a temporary basis.

    We will struggle to find a suitable replacement and am yet to see evidence that Ancelotti will be able to fill Guus' shoes.

    On a side note, who was that fool commentating on the FA Cup Final alongside Martin Tyler? Couldn't open his mouth without criticising someone and saying the words "in the danger area" every ten seconds. Almost made my ears bleed.

  • Comment number 66.

    Even without turning around Chelsea's rapidly slipping season, Hiddink is a phenomenal manager. Carlo Ancelotti however, does not strike me as a fitting successor. People will point to his double Champions League success, which is a fantastic addition to any CV. But then again, so is the World Cup isn't it? And who was the last Chelsea manager that couldn't speak English?

    I fear for Chelsea next season but I am optimistic that the next interim manager following the successes of Aram Grant and Guus Hiddink,will come in slightly earlier and rescue them in time to win the league

  • Comment number 67.

    Phil can I please educate your colleague Phil Dawkes about this quote from his "Is Ancelotti right for Chelsea?" article:
    "Clearly, Abramovich envisages a not-too-distant future whereby the Italian is sat atop John Terry, Frank Lampard et al joyfully juggling a blue ribbon-clad trophy that finally confirms Chelsea's footballing conquest of the continent, along with their manager's unprecedented hat-trick of Champions League titles."
    unprecedentedPronunciation [uhn-pres-i-den-tid]
    adjective without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.
    Hmmm. Has a supposedly knowledgable BBC writer not heard of Bob Paisley?
    3 European titles: 76/77, 77/78 & 80/81
    Please some credit where it is due.

  • Comment number 68.

    "Now don't get me wrong that doesn't mean I don't think he's a great manager because clearly he his but until he proves himself with silverware I don't see him getting the full respect of the players."

    > Surely even though most dilusioned over Chelski fans would know the name of a certain Barcelona manager who won everything in sight this year....Idiot!

    One thing i will say is after United got humbled in the year of the '5 trophies' is that Chelsea boring or not are arguable as good. They were the better side in last yrs CL final and inches from them in the league. Unlucky as hell this yr. And have had more injuries than any of their rivals.

  • Comment number 69.

    Chelski were 7 points behind ManU when Scolari was sacked (and still in the FA Cup and Champions League). They were 7 points behind ManU at the end of the season. So where's the improvement?

    Whose to say what Scolari would have achieved if he had been given the time any manager needs to develop a team? I for one hope he comes back to the Premier League (and Ranieri!).

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    I think that Chelsea will really miss Hiddink (especially Malouda and Drogba- look how good they have been under him). In turmoil, he comes along and puts them right! However, he will be back to being Russia's gain and not theirs.
    Now I think that Chelsea really need to stick with Ancelotti (since 2007, how many managers? 4!!!!!!!!!!!!); they can't just chop and change everytime something does not quite work out. Mind you, they can't be that bad; look at Newcastle rofl!!!!!

    Anyway; 'Pool for the title next year! We don't need Barry!

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    I thought United were in Rome. t doesn't take much imagination to have seen a European Cup and a FA Cup Final with Chelsea and Man U this week, and the way United played on Wednesday it takes even less imagination to have seen Chelsea win a unique double, would Hiddink have left then I wonder.
    If's, but's, maybe's?? Sounds like Chelsea's club motto to me!


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