Football: Bates explains the Gullit effect

FA CUP FINAL COUNTDOWN; Glenn Moore finds Chelsea's chairman delighted with his manager's first year
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The Independent Online
Ruud Gullit will be presented with a new contract this summer - regardless of Chelsea's result in Saturday's FA Cup final against Middlesbrough.

Gullit, who adapted his playing contract and extended it by a year when he succeeded Glenn Hoddle as manager last summer, will be offered another deal as soon as he returns from a post-final club tour and personal holiday.

"We have mentioned it but neither of us wants to talk about it until after the final," Ken Bates, the Chelsea chairman, said yesterday. "He'll probably go on holiday then, but we will talk to him when he comes back."

Although Gullit has been linked with a number of clubs, including his former team, Milan, and his boyhood favourites, Feyenoord, Chelsea are confident the Dutchman will stay.

Bates cited three reasons for this. "One: who can afford him? Two: where will he live? He and his girlfriend are very happy here, he likes the style of London. Three: what can he do elsewhere that he can't do at Chelsea? In Italy the presidents interfere, he wouldn't last long under that. People talk about Milan, but look at the state of their pitch. I've walked on it. It's terrible.

"We never doubted Ruud would be the man to take over when Glenn Hoddle left," Bates added. "We had been talking to him for a year and got to know the guy and he is something different. He was an influence behind the scenes - even under Hoddle.

"Most player-managers fail because, instead of working 10 hours a week, they are now working 60 - they can't cope. A football club today is not like it was 20 years ago, it's a big business. So we [Bates and Colin Hutchinson, Chelsea's long-serving managing director] decided to let him concentrate on his playing and coaching. We organised others to look after the administration and deal with the press and players' contracts.

"That arrangement started with Hoddle - getting him in was the first stage. He made a great number of changes at all levels and he bought in Mark Hughes and Gullit. He made some mistakes, bought some bad players, but that was the platform. When he went to the England job, Ruud took it on.

"They have different styles, Glenn was into reflexology, alternative medicine, a dietician. Gullit is into fitness, he bought in Ade Mafe, and a different style of coaching. He bombed out the dietician, reflexologist and masseur.

"Gullit said to me: 'The players rebelled against the dietician, telling them what they should eat. If I say 'you must eat this', they won't eat at the training ground, they will go elsewhere and get it. You have to get them to realise the only person who can look after themselves is themself. If they don't realise that, they won't be in the team'."

Bates added: "Some make the transition from player to manager easily, others find it a problem. John Hollins found it hard. As a player, he was one of the ones that took the mick out of the manager behind his back. Now his team-mates were doing it to him. Ruud has not had a problem like that.

"He's done two important things. He's shown no favours in team selection. When Dennis Wise was playing crap, he dropped him. The message was: 'Even if Dennis is captain, he will not be picked if he is not playing well.'

"Then, when Gullit himself was injured, Craig Burley took his place. He played well and, when Gullit was fit, instead of putting himself back in the team, he said: 'Craig has been playing well, so he stays in.' That sent out the message that no player had the right to walk into the team. If he was not guaranteed a place, no one was."