Buck: Chelsea want stability – but trophies are more important

 

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The Independent Online

Andre Villas-Boas will be given time to transform Chelsea into an entertaining creative team, and to introduce younger players, said Bruce Buck, the club's chairman yesterday... as long as he wins trophies.

Buck said Chelsea envied the long-term managerial stability of clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal and wanted Villas-Boas to establish a similar tenure at Chelsea, but indicated Roman Abramovich's patience would not be infinite.

"Longevity and stability in your manager is a very good thing," said Buck, "it has been good for other clubs and we look with envy at that. But you have to do it with the right manager. In Andre we believe we have the right manager for the long term.

"He was inexperienced but we have been very impressed as to how he has tackled the job. His man-management skills are excellent. There was a concern that 'how could a 33-year-old manager deal with a 31-year-old player?' The answer is he can do it very well.

"We are impressed with his organisational structure. Weeks in advance he knows what the training programme is going to be. We think he is very creative. We think that the way he instructs players is very clear to them about what their job is in this situation and that situation.

"We also think that he relates very well to the board and to Mr Abramovich which is important. You not only have to relate to your players, but to your bosses as well. So the whole man has been a really really positive experience for us."

So far so good, but then came the caveat. Villas-Boas has a demanding brief: to rebuild while entertaining and winning trophies.

"I think its well known there is a progression," said Buck, who was speaking at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge. "You want to win trophies – we have started to do that. You want to win them creatively – we have done some of that and want to do more. We like the entertaining approach. That's why we all go to matches. We expect to win trophies with creativity.

"Other people say you cannot win trophies while developing your creativity. We don't agree. It might take time, it might not. A manager needs success to have a long-term relationship with a club. Why are we here but to have a successful football club."

The last four managers to end a season without a trophy at Chelsea have been sacked: Claudio Ranieri, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti.

Buck also addressed the issue of Chelsea's request to the Chelsea Pitch Owners plc (CPO) to sell the ground back to the club. The club had, he said, been told by architects they could not add more than 5,000 seats so had to move. He added: "Some fans will never agree, but there are circumstances in which we would be prepared to move. There is no conspiracy."

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