How to get Chelsea players to like you, their new manager
April 5, 2016
So you’ve been hired to be Chelsea’s newest manager. Congratulations! There are only a few dozen people every year who get to experience this honor. Now that you have the job, your primary focus undoubtedly moves to keeping the players happy. After all, these are Chelsea players — a group known to mercilessly chew up and spit out managers who dare to upset them. Even successful ones they once loved.
Getting them to like you (and keeping it that way) won’t be easy, but here are some tips to help you make it happen:
Throw a pizza party
Everyone likes pizza and free pizza is probably the primary reason Claudio Ranieri might win the Premier League title with Leicester this season. (Note: he didn’t give the Chelsea players free pizza back when he managed them and he didn’t win the title with them, either. This is not a coincidence.) Yes, it’s cliche — the Italian guy buying everyone pizza — but this is England and that stuff works here.
Give John Terry a new contract
This is the big one. Chelsea said they weren’t going to give their 35-year-old captain a new contract, but that they would leave the final decision up to their new manager. This presents a rare opportunity for an incoming manager to instantly be seen as a hero to a beloved club legend and boost morale both in the dressing room and the stands.
Then again, giving Terry a new contract also keeps a figure with his own deeply ingrained power in the team. If you don’t keep him on your side, you become the answer to the trivia question “Who was sacked midway through the 2016/17 season to make way for John Terry’s reign as Chelsea player-manager?” In other words, this is like playing Russian roulette with John Terry as the bullet. If you win, you’re a legend. If you lose, it’s only a matter of time before you’re coaching Newcastle.
Hang out with Didier Drogba
Interim manager Guus Hiddink executed this move to perfection. With tensions high after fan favorite Jose Mourinho was sacked for the second time, Hiddink made his own return to Stamford Bridge with the immensely popular Drogba at his side. Though Drogba opted to remain with the Montreal Impact rather than accept Hiddink’s offer to join his staff, the Drogba seal of approval had already been made clear and it’s been smooth sailing ever since then for Hiddink.
(Actually being Didier Drogba is an even easier way to get Chelsea players to like you. Are you Didier Drogba? If so, well done, you can go ahead and skip all of this. You’re golden.)
Keep it positive
Chelsea players are like that kid from the old Twilight Zone show who had absolute, supernatural power over everything around him and would dole out twisted punishments to any adult who held a negative thought about his childish whims.
Jose Mourinho made the mistake of thinking too negatively after winning the title last season and the players punished him by putting him into a relegation battle before getting him sacked the same calendar year they won the title. So to keep the players from dishing out this type of sadistic and seemingly impossible retribution to you, keep your thoughts positive at all times. Don’t make any drastic or sudden changes. Everything they do is great, even when the reigning Premier League Player of the Year hasn’t scored a goal all season or star striker is more interested in fighting people than scoring goals. If not, they’ll be sulking in the tunnel after getting substituted or throwing bibs at you on the bench in no time.
Don’t publicly shame the medical staff for doing nothing wrong
Follow these tips and you’ll have a happy and secure work environment for at least five or six months.