The Sweeper: The End of the Peter Kenyon Era at Chelsea FC

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Chelsea FC have announced chief executive Peter Kenyon will be stepping down October 31st while staying on as a non-executive director and liaison to both UEFA and the European Clubs’ Association committees.  As it stands this morning, the most likely explanation for Kenyon’s resignation will be the Gael Kakuta affair—the Lens youngster whom Chelsea encouraged to break contract with the French club, leading to a two transfer window ban for CFC—although there were likely more important factors which led to today’s announcement.

Most significant was the power struggle between Kenyon and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic over the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari as head coach in July 2008.  As the Times reported this morning, Ancelotti was Abramovic’s first choice, but Kenyon overruled him in selecting the ex-Brazil and Portugal manager, an appointment that ended in turmoil when Scolari was sacked in February 2009.

Still, one could hardly fault Kenyon for choosing a World Cup medalist and European Cup finalist as manager of a Premier League Top Four club.  And Chelsea’s other significant missteps, the Ashley Cole tapping up in 2004, the £30 million Andriy Shevchenko transfer from AC Milan in 2006, were hardly Kenyon’s alone.  What is indisputable is Kenyon’s role in building Chelsea FC into a European juggernaut, helped immeasurably by one of the most successful managerial appointments of the twenty naughts: Jose Morinho in 2004.

Love him or hate him, money-movers like Kenyon are now integral to modern club football.  Chelsea fans aren’t likely to pick up any future Peter Kenyon ghosted autobiography with much relish in the next few years, but the man charged with spending Abramovic’s oil money should surely share some of the praise for lifting Chelsea to their first League title in half a century.

And Kenyon’s remarks today—”I have at least one major challenge left in me”—signal he may be coming to another big club near you.

Worldwide News

  • Among Peter Kenyon’s more recent achievements was setting up a partnership between Chelsea FC and Hawaiian school Le Jardin Soccer Academy.  As Kenyon explains, “Our newest partnership with Le Jardin Soccer Academy extends that support to one of the elite clubs in Hawaii, providing training and support for young talent critical to the long-term development of the sport in America.”
  • UEFA general secretary David Taylor is leaving his post to become head of marketing, to be replaced by deputy Gianni Infantino, the Guardian reports. Infantino is one of the driving forces behind UEFA head Michel Platini’s desire to force European clubs to spend only what they earn in revenue, and his appointment signals UEFA is moving full-steam with the plan.
  • Twohundredpercent.net weighs in on ESPN‘s rejection of any deal to broadcast the Blue Square Premier League: “ESPN may or may not have been the ideal choice for the Football Conference, but now that any proposed deal with them would seem to be lies in tatters, it is critical that the next decision that they take over who broadcasts the Blue Square Premier – and where & how they broadcast it – is the right one.”
  • San Jose Earthquakes striker Darren Huckerby‘s career is likely over following hip surgery last week, reports EPD24.
  • Two fans accused of shouting homophobic insults at former Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell have had their convictions overturned.
  • Martin Samuel makes a compelling case that UEFA’s Champions League payout is ruining competitive parity in Europe’s smaller leagues: “In a domestic league currently ranked the 34th strongest in Europe, with the attendant financial paucity implied, one club, Debrecen VCS, are to receive a payment from UEFA in the region of £12million…Good luck trying to prise the Hungarian national championship off Debrecen then.”

Richard Whittall, proprietor of A More Splendid Life, is Sweeping up as Tom Dunmore is away this week.

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