As the 2010-11 ended, the management decided that it was time for Carlo Ancelotti to depart the club. It was around this time that Michael Emenalo was promoted to the role of the Technical Director of the club.
This new role was one of supporting the manager and while this was unheard of in the English league, a lot of European clubs had been using technical directors. This is what Michael had to say on his role back in 2011:
“I’m going to be supporting the manager and working with him in making sure that things run smoothly. I have the responsibility to direct and manage our scouting structure internationally and domestically, and to keep an eye on and assist the academy.”
As we can see from this statement, he was there to help out the manager in tasks that did not deal directly with the team and would help reduce the load slightly on the managers. While certain managers like Sir Alex Ferguson who like to remain in complete control do not take well to technical directors, Chelsea was a team that needed a system and this was a brilliant way to ensure continuity in the academy as well as our transfer policy. Managers came and went, but Michael stayed on.
When rumors were plenty about Chelsea turning back time and hiring Jose Mourinho as our manager, Michael offered his resignation to make way for the homecoming of Mourinho. Roman Abramovich promptly refused the resignation which shows us how much the Russian valued him. It turned out that Mourinho was more than happy to work with Michael. This is what Mourinho had to say:
“Michael is working well. It’s important you have around you some structures that can deliver the best possible information, especially the scouting area is a very difficult area for a person like me.”
And this statement reveals how much of an impact Michael has created at Chelsea. Since 2011, Michael was responsible for the scouting department of Chelsea. He was responsible for finding young talent and bringing them to Chelsea. A look at all of our transfer’s since then shows how exemplary his performance has been. Michael had been directly involved in getting Juan Mata, Gary Cahill, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Hazard, Oscar, and Azpilicueta among others to Stamford Bridge and there are many more to this list.
Over the last three years, we have had an impressive collection of young talent and Michael has been responsible for finding these diamonds in the rough. He is responsible for the academy as well and has played a huge part in the development of Swift, Brown, Loftus Cheek, Baker, Ake and many more. However, his biggest contribution to Chelsea can be summed up in the following statement he made on our youth academy:
“We are very happy we now have a system for both academy and Under-21 teams that allows the young players to play a lot of games, because the only way you develop young players is for them to play.”
“When I first came to Chelsea, the reserves had an 18-game schedule and that was not going to prepare a young player for the first team and to compete with someone like Frank Lampard who was playing 60 games, or Michael Essien who was playing 55. […]
I feel convinced that if those players over a two-year period had played 35 games a season like Lewis Baker has just done, they would be much closer to the first team than they are now.”
“When the next batch of players come from the Academy or come back from loan, they are much more ready than they used to be, and we have very good young English players and young foreign players we have developed here who we feel in the near future will come to the first team and will stay.”
As we can see, he has literally changed the academy for the better. His work since 2011 has started paying off as we can clearly see the improvement in youth players. He is someone who has worked behind the scenes and can definitely be called Chelsea’s behind the scenes hero. All it takes is a Sneak Peak.
Edited By: Ojas Tripathi