It's in our hands
SEB COE Tue 8 Sep 2015
Welcome everyone to my second monthly column here on the official Chelsea website.
Since I last wrote on the eve of the new season, things have perhaps not gone as well as we may have expected, but rest assured nothing is decided yet.
Last month I became the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and the club were hugely helpful in all sorts of ways, so I thank them for that.
While I was in Beijing for the World Championships, I bumped into Andriy Shevchenko. I’d met Sheva a few times previously during his Chelsea days, and we stood talking about Chelsea and football. It was nice to catch up, albeit in a slightly unexpected setting! He was supporting my opponent, Sergey Bubka the Ukrainian Olympic pole vault champion, who was challenging me for the Presidency. I told him I’m not sure it would go down a bundle in the Shed End.
Returning home after a busy few weeks I caught up with all the football, so I have seen all of the Chelsea games so far on Chelsea TV…where else?!
I predicted in my first column there will be no easy games, and so far that has definitely been the case. But nothing has been decided this season.
Yes, last season we won the Barclays Premier League from gun to tape, but there are other ways of winning it. Jose Mourinho has had seasons where he has gone on to win trebles from not having started significantly better than we have. The squad has to keep its nerve - you don’t become a bad team overnight.
I am sure the manager will have sat down and been fearless in his assessments. What I’ve been comforted by is that he did what all good coaches do – when he was asking questions of his team, he asked them of himself in the same breath. Great coaches never take the easy path of saying to their teams: “We won, you lost.” They question themselves and what they need to improve on, and that’s what good coaching is about. You have to be tough on yourself too.
When I lost the 800 metres final in the Moscow Olympics, my father, who was my coach, spent a day on his own asking himself how his athlete who had been two seconds faster than anybody else on paper, ran significantly slower than his personal best in the final, and finishing second. He didn’t absolve himself of any responsibility, and we came back to win the 1500 metres a few days later.
The squad will know too that it has work to do. The players will need to remember some of those achievements from last season. Not to say they should be resting on former glories, but reminding themselves that they are a world-class side, and how the season ends is still very much in our own hands.
Let’s hope we get back into action with a strong performance and result against Everton at the weekend, and then we can begin the Champions League group stages on a high against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
As promised, I will be looking back into the archives each month at some iconic Chelsea imagery, and this month I’ve dug out one featuring myself and Joey Jones, where I am giving him the 1983 Chelsea Player of the Year award at London’s Café Royal.
I am looking a little like I’ve just come out of my O Level exams, and worryingly like my son. Joey joined us from Wrexham, and was a hugely popular figure and very important in our revival at that time, alongside another Welshman, Mickey Thomas. Welsh football is going through a fine period at the moment, and I really hope they are there at Euro 2016 alongside the other home nations.