When Graham Potter accepted the Chelsea job last week he will have known he was walking into a chaotic situation, but nobody could have predicted what came immediately afterwards.
Hours after his announcement as the new Chelsea manager, one of the biggest news stories in years broke as it was confirmed that the Queen had died.
The connections to Potter’s time at Chelsea were immediately and are still now being worked out. At first the ripple effects looked positive. Most significantly, last weekend’s game against Fulham was called off, meaning that rather than rushing to get himself into the dugout for a game 48 hours later, Potter was given a few days to at least get settled in at Cobham.
But it wasn’t a one off, and the disruption hasn’t ended there. Sites with Chelsea live scores don’t know whether to add these games or remove them, even with just a couple of days before kick off.
The next game on the agenda was Wednesday night’s Champions League game against RB Salzburg, a match given extra importance because of the fact we lost our opening group game. That’s now been confirmed as OK to continue – but only now, on a Monday afternoon 48 hours before kick off. Hardly ideal for Potter and his new backroom staff, let alone the players.
Then there’s the small matter of this Sunday’s game against Liverpool. That is set to kick off 10 days after the Queen’s death, but the fact that the funeral will take place in London is putting the game into serious doubt. All the things we’re readying now are suggesting that it just won’t be able to happen.
So that small benefit of a postponed game is now looking heavily outweighed by the negatives. The confusion of disruption of our season will go well beyond this week of uncertainty, as these postponed games are crammed into an already unworkably packed schedule.
Potter will relish every day he gets on the training ground, but these extra days now are coming at the cost of rest further down the line, and as a manager who has yet to coach in Europe, he’s got serious challenges to face in terms of keeping the squad fresh through a uniquely testing season which just got made even more complicated.
The sooner we find out about this Sunday’s game the better, for the players, for the fans, and most of all for the new manager, who has enough on his plate as it is.