Chelsea – The Unsung Heroes Working Backdoors

A fantastic article in BBC reads: Eight hours at the coalface, 13-page report, 2am finish. Blurred eyes, frazzled mind, empty stomach. All for just £4.

Celebrated writer Michael Calvin’s book titled “The Nowhere Men” is a fascinating read for any football fan who loves to dwell into the intricacies of Scouting and its challenges. Calvin sheds light on unknown scouts who are responsible for identifying and maintaining the pipeline of young talented players, some as young as the age of six. There is an unrelenting search for the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But as we say, “The shiniest gold is found in the murkiest waters.”

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While Jose Mourinho is leading the Blues to the top of the Premier League standings with style and his elegant panache, today, we here at Game Has Just Begun, provide our readers an insight on the unsung heroes who are working their heart out and giving every inch of their soul backdoors at Chelsea Football Club.

Piet de Visser: This 80-year-old Dutchman is widely known throughout the football fraternity and is conceived as Roman Abramovich’s right-hand man. Though he started out a manager in the Dutch League, De Visser is famous for his work as a scout for Ajax. He was instrumental in scouting Brazilian greats Ronaldo and Romario for Ajax. Since 2005, Abramovich has held the Dutchman in great respect.

De Visser, who modeled the youth academy at PSV Eindhoven, was given the task of recruiting young players at Chelsea, Solomon Kalou and John Obi Mikel being the obvious examples. The ‘Rinus Michels’ award winner also recommended Abramovich to sack Luiz Felipe Scolari and draft fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink at the managerial helm when the Brazilian was struggling to get to grips with Premier League Football. He also has had differences with Mourinho over player transfers. He had once suggested bringing in Brazilian defender Alex while Mourinho preferred Khalid Boulahrouz. De Visser now works as the head of Chief Scouting at Stamford Bridge.

Assistant First Team Coach Rui Faria, another close aide of Mourinho has worked with the Portuguese since the Special One’s early managerial career. Mick McGiven who has been with the club for over 24 years running as the opposition scout played a significant role in moulding club captain John Terry. However, the one who overlooks all technical operations backdoors is Technical Director Micheal Emanelo.

Emanelo was previously involved in both coaching and scouting roles but was promoted to his current position in 2011. He assists technical programmes of the club’s academy and international youth network. Recently, Chelsea signed a partnership agreement with Turkish giants Besiktas to co-ordinate first team activities and academies.

Emanelo is believed to have played a key role in the partnership which will also aid in training support and joint scouting projects. The agreement could also see young Chelsea players go on loan deals to the Turkish club in the near future. Earlier, the Blues had a similar structure with Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem. Emanelo arrived at Chelsea with former manager Avram Grant while he has also served as an assistant first team coach and opposition scout under Carlo Ancelotti.

Edited By: Girish Bhangre

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