Stability Is Key If Chelsea Are to Enjoy Sustained Premier League Success

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho celebrates the opening goal scored by Oscar of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

New year, new beginnings.

As 2014 approaches, the focus for many will be on change. However, there has been a little too much of that at Stamford Bridge in recent years.

Chelsea's track record with their managers has been much-publicized in recent times, with seven different coaches warming the manager's dugout in between Jose Mourinho's two spells in charge.

Suggesting that owner Roman Abramovich has been trigger-happy in the decade since he purchased the club is an understatement, although the top brass in West London seem to be singing from a different hymn sheet these days.

In an interview with The Guardian, Mourinho himself talked long-term when it comes to Chelsea, and that can only be a good thing.

Realistically I hope at the end of those four years [when my contract expires] we sit, analyze the situation and that will be the point where we both—club and me—are happy to carry on or happy to separate. But I would like [to stay for], say, 12 years. I'm 51 next month. I'd say 12 years, and then two to go to a World Cup with a national team.

LONDON - AUGUST 24: Manager of Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, (L) talks with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich  before the Barclays Premiership match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on August 24, 2004 in London.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images
Phil Cole/Getty Images

If Mourinho can follow through on that ideal, we could very realistically be looking at Chelsea dominating the Premier League for the next decade.

Manchester City will form a major rival to that notion, but with Mourinho at the helm and Abramovich's support behind him, the Blues have formidable potential.

When Mourinho first departed Chelsea in September 2007, it left the club in a precarious position. They had just lost one of Europe's finest managers and since that time have scoured the continent for a replacement who could live up to what he achieved.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 29:   Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger gestures as he walks off with Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Ol
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti came close to emulating him, yet there was always something missing. It meant only one thing—The Special One had to return.

Now it must be for keeps. Chelsea have suffered too much in the intervening years for it not to be.

When Mourinho returned in June, the expectation was that Chelsea would waltz to the title. They have an excellent opportunity to finish at the top of the pile, but along the way they are not going to have things the way many predicted.

The reason? Well, there are many, not least because Mourinho has inherited a far different squad to the one he took over in 2004.

Different managers, tactics and personnel have left Chelsea's squad disjointed. It's Mourinho's job to find a balance, and when he does, he must be given the freedom and faith to take his team on further.

Manchester United and Arsenal are fine examples of how managerial longevity can impact success. We need not be reminded of what Sir Alex Ferguson achieved at Old Trafford during his 26 years, while Arsene Wenger has been similarly successful in North London.

The Gunners have not won the Premier League since 2004, but having the Frenchman in charge has ensured they've remained competitive, not once slipping outside the top four.

It's been all change in the Premier League for 2013-14, and who has benefited most? As we approach 2014, the league table is an interesting read and its significance shouldn't be lost on Chelsea.

The club has everything to be successful and enjoy a sustained period of dominance. Add stability and the picture will be much closer to being complete.

If the Blues are looking for New Year's resolutions, Mourinho's 12-year plan would be a good place to start.


Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.