With a new manager at the helms, the only way is up for Chelsea after their jaw-dropping start to the campaign. Regardless of whom was selected, there needed to be change to resurrect the broken Blues.
However, the selection of Guus Hiddink proves a particularly interesting decision. With such a stagnant recent managerial career, it seems Roman Abramovich is clinging onto the nostalgia of the Dutchman’s previous reign at the club.
It is yet to be seen as to how successful Hiddink will prove upon his return, but the 69-year-old hasn’t performed well since he left Stamford Bridge.
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Success at Chelsea
The predominant reason why Chelsea fans have been so welcoming of the new man in charge is his history with the club.
Upon the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2009, Hiddink was chosen to see out the season as an interim manager. The Dutchman did so on the understanding that he would also maintain his role as head coach of Russia.
During just a three-month spell, he guided Chelsea to an astonishing 16 wins in 22 games and just one defeat. Hiddink’s win percentage of 72.73% remains the greatest of his career; incredible considering his first managerial role was initiated in 1987.
Moreover, his capture of the FA Cup and admirable modesty saw him become a resounding fans favourite. Blues fans sorely missed him.
Rotten form since
However, since leaving Chelsea in 2009, Hiddink’s managerial career has taken a turn for the worse and it's uncomfortable viewing for Blues fans.
A damaging defeat to Slovenia in a qualifying play-off for the 2010 World Cup marked the end of his role at Russia. His failure to make the finals saw him leave the job before the powers-that-be made the decision for him.
More play-off heartbreak greeted Hiddink in his new role at Turkey, which lasted just a year. Croatia dispatched the Turk’s 3-0 on aggregate to secure a place at Euro 2012, with the Dutchman’s failure to guide his team to a major competition once again compiling his downfall.
Hiddink proceeded to take a break from international football by ascertaining the role at currency-saturate Anzhi Makhachkala. However, despite enjoying relative success, the 69-year-old was keen to leave the dysfunctional club behind him and resigned in 2013.
Perhaps the most prominent failure of Hiddink’s recent career followed his departure from Anzhi as he took the role of Netherlands manager.
The curse struck once again. Despite possessing world-class players such as Memphis Depay, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, Hiddink could not guide his nation to Euro 2016.
Sacked before the inevitable was confirmed, Hiddink had guided Oranje to demoralising defeats to Czech Republic and Iceland.
Return to Chelsea
Now striding back into the halls of Stamford Bridge, the future for Chelsea under Hiddink appears murky.
If the Dutchman can recreate the success he kindled in 2009, then the Blues could launch an ambitious offensive on the European spots. However, recent history doesn’t bode well for Hiddink’s ambitions.
Whilst a new manager will undoubtedly spark a rise in form, it will take a very accomplished coach to resurrect the wreckage that is Chelsea’s dressing room.
You can’t help but feel that the selection of Hiddink is resting on a three-month spell that took place six years ago. Chelsea are a very different animal now and Hiddink may have bitten off more than he can chew.
In re-signing for Chelsea, Hiddink has bypassed the age-old football phrase warning to ‘never return’. Whether the Dutchman proves a failure or success, he certainly faces an uphill struggle to re-spark a squad on its knees.
For Blues fans' sake, lets hope Hiddink’s recent managerial form is simply bad luck and not a chain of disaster snaking its way to the door step of Stamford Bridge.
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