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Bruce Buck Interview


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http://www.chelseafc.com/page/LatestNews/0...1564527,00.html

Bruce, Guus said today that we're in three competitions. Obviously the target is to win the two cups and to progress as far as we can in the Premier League. If we do very well under him, what are the chances of him staying?

I don't really think there's much chance at all. I think you have to look at the dynamics of the processes as to how or why Guus got here. We dismissed Felipe on a Monday afternoon, and really with a decision that was made very shortly before that, and then we had to think about a new coach, someone really good and someone that was immediately available, and of course, because of the relationship between our owner and Russia, Guus came to mind.

There were some discussions with the Russian FA where they were very kind to permit Guus to work with us for the remainder of the season and one of the things that permitted that is that there's very little football conflicts between coaching Chelsea and coaching Russia, so it's a unique set of circumstances which permits him to be with us through to the end of May but that won't continue thereafter.

Suddenly we're a football club with a high turnover of managers, especially if we're getting a new one in the summer. Is that a concern?

I think a lot of people talk about continuity in managers and I think that we as a board and Roman would agree that continuity is a real plus but we don't think it's continuity for continuity's sake and it has to be with the right person at the right time. Everyone points to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, as situations where continuity has worked very well and it has, but football has also moved on and I think it was four years, five years before Alex Ferguson really won anything at Manchester United and I think the way dynamics of football are today, that's really not acceptable and I think that when Manchester United does change coaches, which it will at some point, I don't think they will have the luxury of waiting four, five, six or seven years for its new manager to win a trophy.

So I think times are different from when Wenger and Ferguson started their jobs. If you look at football generally around the world, everyone looks at continuity as helpful and as relevant but there's not a lot of it because of the nature of football, so yes, continuity is important but it has to be with the right person and it's very difficult to achieve.

Just going through, some fans would say that we should have held on to Jose Mourinho.

Well I think that every time a coach has left Chelsea or almost every time, people, fans and otherwise have said you shouldn't have let that coach go. I think each situation that we've been involved in since Roman has bought the club, a different set of circumstances have applied in terms of why that coach/manager has left.

If you start with Ranieri, first of all he wasn't the manager that the current board and current owner had selected, he was in place when we arrived and I think that at the end of the season it was clear to us and really clear to him also that we were going in different directions and it was time for him to leave.

We then brought José on, who did a superb job, won us half a dozen trophies, did a great job and the fans loved him but once again in the fall of last year, I think it was clear to José and it was clear with the board that his time with the club was up and it was a mutual decision that he would leave the club and I think it was the right decision for him and the right decision for us.

Avram came in and once again at the end of last season, not because he didn't win the Premier League and not because he didn't win the Champions League but because the board and the owner felt that he wasn't the right manager to take us forward and then there's Felipe Scolari, who I guess I must emphasise is a wonderful, wonderful man and he's just a great guy and I think that when we hired him last summer the fans, the press said what a wonderful choice particularly with his track record but the name of the game in football is results and as things progressed, particularly after the period of time since we lost to Liverpool at the end of October, our results and our performances were not as the manager wanted, as the players wanted, as the board wanted and over the last several weeks we didn't really see any signs of a turnaround and we felt that we could just languish through the rest of the season but we felt that it was just time for a decisive decision and we took one. So Guus is here now and we have to look forward.

So was Guus first choice? There were reports that Avram was being considered.

Avram was not considered, was not discussed by the board and I know that there were reports on Sky Sports News on the Monday that Felipe left that Avram was on a short list but that's totally wrong.

The Champions League, how important is it that we qualify?

I think it's very important that we qualify but we're confident that we will be going. It's very important because it's an important part of our business plan. Champions League has quite a bit of media revenues and we want those revenues but we're confident that we will be qualifying for the Champions League.

What would be success then for Guus?

I guess if we just looked at this weekend if he can knock over Aston Villa, I'd say he has his first success. I guess all coaches look to the next game and like José used to say that all the time. What is success for Guus Hiddink? I think that we want to be in contention for all three trophies that we're involved in as we get to near the end of the season and if we're there then I think that would be a success.

We had the accounts declared last week and there was a statement from Peter Kenyon saying that from now on we're going to balance sales and purchases and transfers. Manchester United won the Champions League last season and they spent £32 million on Berbatov. Where do we stand now in the long term and in competing with teams like them?

In terms of transfer spending? I think that generally speaking what we'd like to do is use internally generated cash to buy new players and by that I mean sell players and buy new players but to the extent an appropriate player comes along that is outside of that cash flow then money would be available from the owner to buy that player but it all depends on the player and the circumstances.

That's what we learnt from Peter. He wasn't actually around when the dismissal of Scolari happened and there's been comments on that. What would you say?

I think you have to appreciate that Peter's in a very difficult position in the sense that there isn't a good time during the year to take a holiday. When we all go off at the end of the season, he's busy planning the next season and working on transfers and things like that so the only thing he can do is look for appropriate times in the season, international breaks where he can sneak away for a little bit and I think that very few of us thought that the home match would be a particular problem but it was and Peter went away just before the Hull match and expected to come back just after the international break after having a nice holiday, but as things turned out that wasn't possible, and in conjunction with Peter on the telephone, Eugene, myself and Roman had conversations and a discussion and collectively and cooperatively we made the decision that we should terminate Felipe.

Once the decision was made, and obviously a lot of things were going to be happening over the next few days, so Peter came back from his holiday early. So you shouldn't read anything into the fact that Peter was off on holiday.

So when you all get together now, to discuss the future, how much restructuring of the squad do you think is required?

Well, first off we haven't gotten together yet to talk about summer transfers but I think that we could expect that several players will leave and that several players will come in, I don't know whether that is three, four of five, but something in that kind of neighbourhood. A handful we can expect to leave and we can expect a handful of players to come into the club.

In the accounts, it was made clear to us that Roman had converted half of his loans into equity?

Well, it means greater stability for the club and greater confidence in the club by Roman Abramovich, but there is a bit of a misnomer in all of these discussions, because the kind of debt that Roman had and has in the club in terms of £350 million, I would really called quasi-equity anyway.

It's subordinated, which means all other creditors of the club have to be paid before that debt is paid back and it is also non-interest bearing. And although the press doesn't seem to be bright enough to differentiate the difference, it is much different from the debt carried by Liverpool or Arsenal or Manchester United, which has interest attached to it, which has to be paid everywhere, whether or not the club is doing well and is required to be paid back on a commercial basis as apposed to a loan from a shareholder, which is much different.

So I think that some of the loans were converted to really help convince the press of the commitment of Roman to the club.

Yes, but equity, what does it mean?

Equity are shares in a company, I think that is a concept that everybody understands and you don't get your money back from the company unless you sell those shares, but I guess I must emphasise at this point that Roman has absolutely no intention of selling any of his shares or interest in Chelsea Football Club.

We invested £65 million in the last financial year, that included the special items, which were the pay-offs to José Mourinho and Avram.

Well look, our financial pictures each year over the last five years are not pretty pictures, but they are improving pictures, and we knew from the start in 2003, that it was going to be very difficult to have a successful football club, win trophies, while at the same time not lose money.

Now while the objective has been for Peter and his team is to, over a period of time, reduce those loses every year until we get to a point where we do not need further cash infusions from Roman Abramovich, and I think that subject to transfer requirements, we are pretty close to getting there.

We have our team for the rest of the season now, Ray Wilkins with Guus Hiddink in charge of the squad. There has been talk of Steve Clarke's role and how it has been missed, how much do we give credit to Steve Clarke for what went right?

I think we can give Steve Clarke a lot of credit for his service to the club; he has been a real yeoman for what he has done for the club for over many, many years. He is a great guy and he was wonderful to have around here, I guess I should emphasise that we didn't want him to leave and go to West Ham and we tried to talk him out of it, but this was something that he wanted to do and he said he wanted to do it, and having been a loyal servant to the club, not withstanding his contractual obligations to the club, we felt that we should let him do what he wanted to do.

In terms of the club's performance since his departure, I think there are various misunderstandings of the statistics. I think Steve left after the third, fourth, fifth game of the season and we had many superb results after Steve departed. The Aston Villa match, where we won by 2-0, it could have been 10-0, we were superb. We had several 5-0s a while back. So I don't think it is fair to say that Steve left and all of a sudden our results went down.

How's Ray Wilkins doing?

I think Ray is doing great, I think in just a week he has developed a very good relationship with Guus Hiddink. One of the jobs Peter gave Ray when he came on board was to try and develop a closer relationship between the reserves, the academy and the first team and I think he is doing that very well. Ray is a good stabilising influence for the club and the quad, he's doing great and we are happy to have him here.

I guess another fear of the changing of manager over the last few years is just interference by the board or the decisions being made by the board.

I don't except and of course you won't expect me to. None of us, Roman, Eugene, Peter, Bruce, none of us go into the dressing room and tell him what the team should be, none of us tell him what the substitutions should be, and that's true from Ranieri to today, and to be honest managers wouldn't except that.

We hire managers and he does his job, and we let him do his job. But there have been circumstances obviously, where the manager was taking us in the wrong direction and we have made some changes. I don't call that interfering, I call it trying to do the best for Chelsea Football Club, and our strategy in this decision making process is very straight forward and very simple. We're trying to get Chelsea Football Club into a position of winning as many trophies as possible, as frequently as possible and preferably doing it in a very entertaining way.

I am a fan of Chelsea Football Club, and in that sense, the board and the fans think identically, we all have the same objectives.

Should we have bought Robinho?

We would like to have had Robinho, and we believe me made a very fulsome offer for Robinho, but unfortunately the new boy on the block made a better offer, and that's what business is all about and we can look back and lament that we didn't get Robinho, and he would have made all the difference, but we didn't get Robinho. Just like there are other players over the last several years that we didn't get for one reason or another.

But we have to look forward and plan on getting the right players in the future, and we will cope for it.

We are one of the bigger clubs, and down the years we really have had full stadiums, game after game after game, so when we look forward now, how important is it to increase the capacity?

Have you noticed that there is a credit crunch? We have said consistently that we would lie to find a way to increase the capacity at Stamford Bridge and only after looking at every possible opportunity would we consider going elsewhere, but to be honest, those discussions, those plans are sort of not happening during the credit crunch and it will be a year or two before we visit that.

What about admission prices, if there is a credit crunch?

Well, we know there's a credit crunch and we recognise the impact that has on our fans and within a few weeks we will be revealing the ticket prices for next year and we will be setting the ticket prices while recognising there is a credit crunch.

We are a big family, what's the message to the fans?

I am sure the fans have hope. I have a lot of hope about this season and the future, I'm very optimistic, and I think the only things I would ask the fans for is to continue to give JT and the boys the support they need and candidly deserve, and we can all move forward together and we will win some trophies.

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Just going through, some fans would say that we should have held on to Jose Mourinho.

We then brought José on, who did a superb job, won us half a dozen trophies, did a great job and the fans loved him but once again in the fall of last year, I think it was clear to José and it was clear with the board that his time with the club was up and it was a mutual decision that he would leave the club and I think it was the right decision for him and the right decision for us.

Bollocks Bruce, you dont know what your on about !!

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I think that generally speaking what we'd like to do is use internally generated cash to buy new players and by that I mean sell players and buy new players but to the extent an appropriate player comes along that is outside of that cash flow then money would be available from the owner to buy that player but it all depends on the player and the circumstances.

Interesting

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http://www.chelseafc.com/page/LatestNews/0...1564527,00.html

but as things turned out that wasn't possible, and in conjunction with Peter on the telephone, Eugene, myself and Roman had conversations and a discussion and collectively and cooperatively we made the decision that we should terminate Felipe.

Christ almighty, sounds like Felipe done alright to just get away with being sacked.. :)

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Thought it was quite interesting, positives and negatives.. we all give Kenyon a hard time but the others are just as responsible especially this guy who I have never really liked...

Btw Fall means Autumn apparently

I like the fact the board recognise that stability in a manager is good but not at any cost.. although if I was on the Chelsea board I would have given Scolari longer at the expense of trophies, but that just my opinion, It is telling that he said, in so many words that Champions League qualification is crucial in financial terms.

The bit about Jose had his time I agree is Bollox

I agree with the clubs stance over Robinho

I am not convinced either by Butch although he is a nice bloke.

Good interview right questions I thought initially then again, I am sure as it is form the official site the answers were very well considered.

Finally the piss off to the press over the finances is spot on.... These sports writers really should consult their finance editors sometimes.

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