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Ruud Gullit (1996-1998)

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Ruud Gullit (1996-1998)

Written by Butch in August 2007

Following the departure of Glen Hoddle in 1996 (Hoddle took over the reigns of the English national side), Chelsea appointed Ruud Gullit as the next manager. Ruud was actually signed by Hoddle in the summer of 1995 and was voted as Chelsea player of the season in his first season with Chelsea.

zola-gullit-signs-him.jpg Born on September 1, 1962 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the Dutchman had had a glittering career on the continent, playing for clubs such as Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, as well as Sampdoria and AC Milan in Italy, the latter as part of arguably one of the finest teams ever assembled.

Ruud continued where Hoddle had left off, signing some big name players, including the then club record signing Roberto Di Matteo for £4.9m and Gianfranco Zola for £4.5m.

Zola would go on to become one of the most loved Chelsea players in the club’s history. For that alone, Ruud deserves accolades. Other significant signings included the stylish French centre half Frank LeBouef, Uruguayan midfielder Gustavo Poyet, and Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo (widely regarded as one of the shrewdest signings made in Chelsea’s recent history), not to mention the man that was to succeed him at the Chelsea helm, a certain Mr. Gianluca Vialli.

_39913099_gullit300.jpg At Chelsea, apart from his much deserved Player of the Season accolade at the end of the 1995-1996 season, Gullit was able to bring Chelsea it's first piece of silverware for 26 years when he guided us to the FA Cup title in 1997. He was also the first non-British manager to win the FA Cup. In the league, Gullit led us to 6th place in that first season as manager, a significant improvement over the previous 3 seasons under Glen Hoddle where we had finished in mid-table.

In February of 1998, Gullit was sacked by Chelsea in news that shocked the majority of Chelsea fans, myself included. Contradicting stories abound, but player unrest was likely his undoing.

Still, when I think of truly world-class players who have worn the blue of Chelsea, not many spring to mind. But Ruud Gullit showed his colours for us and is the exception. The elegant and almost effortless, yet powerful, way in which he moves around the pitch, coupled with his immaculate control and precision of passes and shots on goal, give him pride of place in the registry of Chelsea Legends.

Managerial Record

Highest League Position 4th (Div 1) 1997/98 (shared with Vialli)

Trophies - FA Cup (1997) & League Cup (1998 - shared with Vialli)


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