Chelsea legend Alan Hudson has called on the club to bring back Jose Mourinho as the Blues’ next permanent manager. In an interview with B/R, the ex-England midfielder also slammed the club for sacking Roberto Di Matteo and suggested fans should boycott home matches in protest at the way Chelsea is currently run.
What do you make of recent developments at Chelsea, particularly Rafa Benitez’s criticism of the fans after the game at Middlesbrough last week?
What’s been happening at Chelsea is like something out of Coronation Street or EastEnders. It’s becoming a soap opera at the Bridge. What concerns me is how the supporters put up with it. Maybe it needs true Chelsea supporters to boycott home games for a month for the club to realise that the fans do count. I truly believe that supporters have to make a stand. It’s no good putting these placards up against Benitez, because it’s happening too often. It’s not just about Benitez.
Do you blame Roman Abramovich for the club becoming a “soap opera,” as you put it?
If you look back at what’s happened at Chelsea since Roman Abramovich took over, you could say that what he did to Claudio Ranieri was out of order, and what he did to Avram Grant was also out of order. But it seems the fans have accepted that managers will come and go.
Years ago they used to have terrible managers at Chelsea; people like Geoff Hurst, Bobby Campbell and Ian Porterfield—all managers with no track record at all—but they’ve had good managers under Abramovich. Yet he keeps sacking them. You don’t sack someone who’s just won you the Champions League. If you win the Champions League, like Di Matteo did, you want a three-year contract and you want to see it out.
Getting back to Benitez, do you see him lasting out the season or will he get the boot as well?
As long as they’re paying him, he’ll stay there. He’s there for the money, nothing more. No one sits in the dugout and gets the abuse he’s been getting unless they’re being well paid. Do you think he’d sit there and get called what he’s being called if he wasn’t? I don’t think so.
He’s not going to rebuild his reputation at Stamford Bridge because Chelsea aren’t good enough. And he hasn’t done himself any favours by the way he’s managed the team since he got there. I watched the game against Manchester City the other week, and he did nothing to change how the match was going.
Who would you like to see managing Chelsea next season?
I think there’s only one manager for Chelsea—Jose Mourinho. He has been the perfect Chelsea manager. He’s got the style, he fits in with the King’s Road ambiance and, most importantly, he’s got a brilliant track record.
The problem he’d have, though, is that he’d have to get rid of a lot of players, because Chelsea now are not a power. They might be fourth in the Premier League, but that doesn’t say much when a team like Stoke are seventh or eighth. The Premier League now is not that great. There aren’t any fantastic teams.
Can you see Mourinho returning to the club?
I can certainly see Mourinho going to the Bridge next season. He knows he’s loved there by the fans, and I know for a fact he’s loved by the people who live near where his house is in Sloane Square. Despite that great win he had at Old Trafford this week, everybody seems to hate him in Madrid now, but he’s loved at Chelsea.
You can’t beat him. He’s got the best record of any coach in the world at the moment. Yes, he’d want to spend some money at Chelsea but, let’s face it, Abramovich isn’t skint. The first thing Mourinho would do is to go to Tottenham and get Gareth Bale, and if he wanted to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back with him he could probably work that deal out that too. That sounds like the basis of a pretty exciting Chelsea team, they’d have to get smaller goals at the other end to stop them scoring.
It ended badly, though, the last time he was at the club. Do you think both Mourinho and Abramovich will be able to put that to one side and start again?
Mourinho would demand that it’s absolutely nailed on that he gets what he wants before he agreed to come back. But he would make Chelsea real Champions League contenders every year, make no mistake. For me, he’s the man they need.
The trouble, though, as I said earlier, is that Chelsea has become a soap opera, and that might put Mourinho off coming back to London. Abramovich interfered last time he was there when he bought Andriy Shevchenko, and he did the same thing when he bought Fernando Torres. Benitez was the man who was supposed to get Torres playing, but that sort of thing only happens in the movies.
So Mourinho will want cast-iron assurances from Abramovich that he’s the main man. If he gets those assurances, I can see him coming back—and that’ll be the best news Chelsea fans have had for ages.