'No idea about football' - Chelsea sacking Graham Potter has made Todd Boehly & Co. look like clueless clowns

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The Blues paid a world-record fee to prise their former manager away from Brighton and yet have sacked him after just 100 days at the helm

Back in September, Todd Boehly admitted that while Chelsea's new owners knew all about "people and human capital", and understood "game plans and strategies", they were "not expecting to be the football experts". Which is just as well, really, because they're looking like clueless clowns right now.

Did Graham Potter deserve to be sacked as Chelsea manager? Absolutely. Every manager is judged by results – and Potter's were pitiful.

Saturday's 2-0 loss at home to Aston Villa made it 11 defeats in 31 games for the former Brighton boss. He took over a team sitting sixth in the Premier League and he leaves them 11th in the table, 12 points off a Champions League place.

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He departs with the joint-lowest points-per-game tally (1.27) for a Chelsea manager in the Premier League era. Worse still, there were few signs of improvement, little indication of what exactly he was trying to do.

His tactics and team selections were puzzling, and did nothing to win over a fan base that treated his appointment with scepticism.

However, Potter's dismissal after 100 days at the helm says far more about his employers than his own struggles at Stamford Bridge.

  1. 'Chelsea will bitterly regret' firing Tuchel

    'Chelsea will bitterly regret' firing Tuchel

    He had been hired, remember, because Boehly & Co. wanted "a manager who really wanted to collaborate with us" – and Potter cannot be faulted in that regard.

    Indeed, according to the official statement confirming his dismissal, "Graham has agreed to collaborate with the club to facilitate a smooth transition". Presumably by accepting responsibility for the dire situation Chelsea now find themselves in...

    But there is simply no hiding the fact that this is a mess of the owner's making. As Jamie Carragher promptly pointed out, firing Thomas Tuchel six games into the 2022-23 season and replacing him with Potter was a "ridiculous decision to start with".

    Tuchel, as if anyone needs reminding, had won three trophies in 18 months at the club, including the Champions League.

    Of course, Chelsea were renowned for their 'hire-and-fire' policy under Roman Abramovich but things were meant to be different under the new owners. However, Boehly argued that "there are a lot of walls to break down at Chelsea" and Tuchel was considered one of them.

    Even by Chelsea's standards, it was an incredible call – and one which, as Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel pointed out, did nothing to dispel the suspicion that Chelsea were making it up as they went along, particularly as they'd signed one of Tuchel's former charges, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, just a week before deciding to dismiss the German.

    "The sacking is grist to the mill of those who are against investors in football. It was purely an investor's decision," he told BILD. "Someone who has no idea about football probably thought that sixth place wasn’t good enough for him and said: 'Let's try another coach.' After only six games, I can’t think of any other reason.

    "But Chelsea will bitterly regret this decision – they won’t get such a good coach again so quickly."

  2. A lack of courage in one's convictions

    A lack of courage in one's convictions

    Potter is a good coach, of course; he proved that at Brighton. But he's always needed time to implement his ideas.

    At Chelsea, he was operating in a constant state of flux, with a plethora of expensive new signings arriving in January, further fattening an already bloated and imbalanced squad.

    What was the point in ditching a proven winner like Tuchel to start a long-term project with Potter if they were going to be dissuaded by a rotten run of results after fewer than seven months in charge?

    Yes, there were grounds for his dismissal – player and fans unrest on top of the results – but it smacks of a lack of courage in one's convictions.

    At the very least, it's an admission that they got the biggest appointment of their tenure thus far horribly, horribly wrong.

    After all, Chelsea were so convinced of Potter's potential that they paid a world-record compensation package of £21.5m ($26.3m) to prise him away from Brighton.

    They further backed their new boss by bringing in a number of his former colleagues at the Amex Stadium, including co-sporting director Paul Winstanley, who was one of the driving forces behind the decision to dismiss Potter.

    That even Winstanley had lost faith says everything you need to know about just how poorly Potter performed.

  3. Chelsea playing 'Football Manager'

    Chelsea playing 'Football Manager'

    However, while some Chelsea fans are presently celebrating the dismissal of "the worst manager we've had in 20 years", they should also be asking serious questions of Boehly and his fellow investors, who have done nothing to challenge the idea that they have more money than sense.

    Their Football-Manager approach to the transfer market has put a club that was already in a perilous economic position in serious danger of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

    At the very least, several players will have to be sold this summer to balance the books – so perhaps it's just as well they have so many!

    However, shifting players is never easy (particularly if they're on bumper, eight-year contracts!), meaning the "football experts" that Chelsea's owners subsequently hired have a colossal job on their hands this summer.

    They'll need to not only raise funds by reducing the size of the squad, but also make it more compatible with the needs of the new manager, whomever that may be.

    Above all else, though, they'll need time – and a hell of a lot more than Boehly afforded either Tuchel or Potter.