Mistakes, they have made a few. But as Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital and their minor partners toast one year since being handed the keys to Chelsea, another new chapter has been opened with confirmation that Mauricio Pochettino is taking over as head coach.

And, as the departing caretaker Frank Lampard suggested following Sunday’s draw with Newcastle, the former Spurs boss has his hands full to turn things around.

It is exactly 12 months since Chelsea confirmed the club was acquired by Boehly and co, who arrived with firm promises of long-term commitment and giving fans a reason to feel proud.

Chairman Boehly recently admitted to a private event at Stamford Bridge that “mistakes have been made” during the owners’ opening 12 months. That is quite an understatement and any semblance of pride has evaporated – among the squad and in the stands.

From broken promises and unrealistic suggestions to bad decisions that sent the club into a tailspin, here is a breakdown of the lowlights from the past 12 months.

Big-spending no longer guarantees success

No matter how often you read the numbers, they remain startling: across two windows the club spent more than £600m on 16 new signings.

And not one of them could be considered a resounding success in their debut campaigns.

There have been flashes of promise from a number of youngsters and several should step up under Pochettino’s guidance next season. But even on paper and ignoring the desperate performances of recent months, the squad that ended the campaign looks no closer to being capable of challenging.

Which is far from ideal when so many of the arrivals are now tied into remarkably long contracts.

The primary reason for those six-, seven- and eight-year deals was simple: spread the cost of repayment so the club could remain within financial fair play limits. That would enable more young stars to arrive.

Yet the flaws were obvious. If the players fail to reach the level required then they are committed to big salaries and may struggle to offload. Players’ circumstances and desires change – tying them in for such a long time offers protection from losing players for free, but it can also lead to an unhappy dressing room.

Head coach carousel

But how could players thrive when there ended up being 3.5 different head coaches?

The decision to sack Thomas Tuchel was not taken easily but the German’s relationship with the board broke down quickly. Issues began cropping up during a shoddy pre-season tour of America and by the end of the transfer window the damage looked irreparable.

Graham Potter was always going to find life difficult among a dressing room packed with inflated egos – epitomised by some players referring to him as Hogwarts within a few days of his arrival and a tale of at least one senior figure having to Google the new boss because he had no idea who he was.

Potter was not faultless and his own lack of ego when in front of the media made a daunting task even harder. Yet what happened next under Frank Lampard means the reputational damage to the former Brighton boss was limited.

After Bruno Saltor’s single game as caretaker, the record goalscorer returned and oversaw a spell of one win in 11 games. The hierarchy’s logic was that reappointing someone loved unconditionally by the matchday fan would ease the disgruntlement. But the team became worse, fans became even unhappier with the players and Lampard’s already diminished status as a head coach was further destroyed. It was a position he should never have been in.

Off-field restructuring

The appointments now in place possess impressive CVs but the ruthless nature in which many key figures were rushed to the exit last summer has proven a source for many of the club’s issues. New owners will always seek to bring in their own people but the speedy departures of executives who not just knew the club inside out and enjoyed plenty of success but had a grasp on how football works led to chaos, which in turn led to poor recruitment, uncertainty in the changing room and dismal results on the pitch.

Proposals, unannounced visits and foolish predictions

On one hand at least Boehly has been more accessible than the club’s previous owner. On the other, his words have provided a source of fun for rival fans, insulted his players and ended up making him – and by proxy the club – look rather foolish.

First, the head coach carousel made a nonsense of the promises around long-term visions. What are any of his future promises worth when the initial vow was shredded?

Then the ill-advised decision to enter the dressing room and have a pop at the underperforming players following the defeat to Brighton crossed a line and left one player “disillusioned” and others “bemused” as he spent about an hour criticising their performances.

Telling reporters the night before the Champions League round of 16 tie against Real Madrid that they would win 3-0 neither worked as an example of supreme confidence nor a bit of fun and instead served to purely infuriate fans.

Last September’s suggestion that the Premier League should introduce an all-star game as a new cash cow led to Jurgen Klopp reacting in comedic disbelief as Boehly was roundly criticised and mocked for his idea.

And let’s not forget that in the same speech in which he said there should be an annual North v South game where Arsenal and Tottenham players would be on one side against Liverpool and Manchester United stars, he bigged up the success of Chelsea’s academy by naming Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne as evidence of their track record.

On the bright side…

The owners appear to be aware of their errors to date and it would be rather unbelievable to see similar performances on the pitch next season. People with a proven track record have been appointed into key positions and Boehly is dedicating less time to Chelsea and more to his other many interests.

“Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud. Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea’s remarkable history of success,” Boehly said on this day last year.

There is work to be done but still time to redeem.

2023-05-30T11:39:08Z dg43tfdfdgfd