Gus Poyet Adds to Ranks of Premier League Managers with Strong Chelsea Ties
The news of Gus Poyet's return to management on Tuesday may have grabbed a few extra column inches in the traditionally slow news week of an international break, but in West London, the Uruguayan's appointment as Sunderland boss comes edged with a little more significance.
As a former Chelsea player, the 45-year-old is still held in high regard at Stamford Bridge, despite spells with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, as first a player and then assistant to Juande Ramos during his time in charge at White Hart Lane.
Now joining the ranks of the Premier League's elite, he also brings Chelsea's "quota" of managers in the top flight to six.
The impact of Chelsea in the past 20 years or so may rankle with some—rising from a club so often seen as also-rans, to one actually winning trophies on a consistent basis—but as time has passed the club's legacy in the English game is beginning to be seen.
It's understandable Chelsea fans will always look directly at their own achievements to determine how successful the club has been, winning Premier League titles, European cups and a host of other trophies.
Yet what Poyet's arrival at the Stadium of Light demonstrates is the wider picture—it shows what Chelsea have given back and the influence the club now yields.
Outside of their own manager, Jose Mourinho, the Blues can claim to have helped, in some way, nurture the managerial talents currently occupying the dugouts at Anfield, The Hawthorns, Britannia Stadium, White Hart Lane and now Sunderland.
Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers is very much a product of Mourinho's first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge. The Northern Irishman was already at the club when the Portuguese arrived, working with Chelsea's youngsters, but it was Mourinho who took him under his wing and helped him excel.
The same happened with Steve Clarke, now at West Bromwich Albion. A former Chelsea player, he'd long been a part of Chelsea's backroom team before Mourinho spotted his talents and promoted him to become his assistant.
Mourinho's partnership with Clarke saw the club claim unprecedented back-to-back league titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.
Stoke City's Mark Hughes played on the same Blues team as Clarke that would go on to lift the FA Cup in 1997 and the Cup Winners' Cup a year later, while Chelsea's recent Premier League clash with Spurs reminded us all of Andre Villas-Boas' history, not just with Mourinho, but with the West London club also.
It's a fine legacy of managerial talent that not only shows the rapid progress of the past generation at Stamford Bridge, but the positive impact the club is having on English football.
Chelsea have played their part in creating a long line of managers who, in one form or another, are impacting the game in the modern era.
Elsewhere, outside of the Premier League, Gianfranco Zola is plotting Watford's return to the top flight with the Hornets currently fifth in the Championship. Dan Petrescu has had stints as head coach in his native Romania and Russia, while ex-captain Dennis Wise took Millwall to the FA Cup Final just under a decade ago in 2004.
And must we remind ourselves of how one of the Blues' very own heroes, Roberto Di Matteo, masterminded their Champions League success in 2012?
Across the leagues right now, the hard work at Chelsea these past couple of decades or so—pre and post the Roman Abramovich era—is playing a considerable role.
Chelsea fans are enjoying the success their current crop of stars are helping bring to Stamford Bridge, but with so many other names connected to the club doing the same with their current employers, are they creating a legacy defined by much more than trophies?
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