Football: The reaction - 'You don't mess with Bates'

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The Independent Online
Most Chelsea supporters who gathered at Stamford Bridge yesterday were bewildered by Ruud Gullit's departure. However, Gianluca Vialli's appointment was generally well received.

James Edwards, editor of the Chelsea Independent fanzine, said: "As far as I'm concerned we should pay Ruud as much as he wants. He is the best manager we have had around here for a good decade or so."

Tim Veck, a season ticket holder, said: "Gullit was a brilliant coach and a brilliant manager but I think you don't mess about with Ken Bates. If Ken wants something he gets it and I trust his judgment on this."

Mark Kelly, a lifelong fan, said: "Gianluca is loved at Chelsea. I don't think they could have named anyone else for the job. Naming him for the job was the only way they could keep the fans onside."

However, another supporter, Joe Horvath, said: "I don't think that Vialli is the man for the job. Gullit has got stature all round the world and he was a magnet for great players and I don't think that Vialli is the same."

Alan Hansen, the former Liverpool player, said: "This puts a lot of pressure on Vialli. Just a touch. He is popular there. But to become player-manager and take decisions is a completely different ball game. In my opinion they had a better chance of doing well with Gullit in charge than Vialli."

The former Chelsea player Peter Osgood said: "I don't think Ruud was interested in managing this club. He is an arrogant man. Vialli is in a different class."