Why the hell did Chelsea fire Ray Wilkins?

I rarely write about Chelsea in this space anymore because there are hundreds of other places on the Internet that cover English football. But I do keep reasonably abreast of what’s happening at Chelsea through the usual channels: UK media, blogs, online forums, etc.

Like many Chelsea followers, I was immensely puzzled by the sudden departure of assistant manager Ray Wilkins this week. Up until about a year and a half ago, the unexplained departure of a member of the coaching staff – ie. the manager – would have simply been par for the course. That’s the kind of reputation you get after five managers in five years. But the Carlo Ancelotti era had ushered in a strange, almost boring period of calm. Until now.

The official reason the club gave for dismissing Ray was, well, basically that his services were no longer needed. That seems supremely odd, given how much the players obviously liked him, not to mention the fact he offered a living, breathing connection to the club’s history, which rival supporters still like to remind Chelsea they don’t have.

Even more odd is the fact that this decision was taken with Chelsea cruising four points clear at the top of the Premier League. Ancelotti said it was a “boardroom” move. Was it about money? Hardly seems possible. This is the kind of thing that the Guardian football writers would have been all over a few years back, now it seems they can’t offer up any juicier speculation than I can.

Could it be that Roman Abramovich simply felt it had been too long since the last Night of the Long Knives at Chelsea? He definitely strikes me as a boss who likes to foster paranoia and ruthless competition amongst his employees.

I picture him sitting high in his office above Stamford Bridge, staring out over the empty pitch, hands clasped in front of his chest. Suddenly he swivels his chair, punches a button on his intercom and says in a thick Russian accent, “Fire zee bald one.” Then he turns around and continues staring.

For all we know he meant Alex, but his minions were too scared to clarify and poor Ray took the fall.

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4 Responses to “Why the hell did Chelsea fire Ray Wilkins?”

  1. Andriy Shevchenko? He’s a good scapegoat, right?

  2. Ray Wilkins as manager for TFC!!!

  3. Yup there’s TFC’s new man, fresh off a long contract with THE top European club. All the Utd poofs that wear their “Eric Cantona collars up” Wanc kits to BMO Field will be driven away finally, so you won’t even have to bare their sight while watching a game on CBC.

  4. NOT a chelsea follower but listening to the wonderfully free to speak announcers on wilkins….i got curious….loved you write up….go arsenal

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