Heres a bit more insight on whats going on at the Bridge,
How Blues give youth a chance
By Henry Winter
Many future star has graced the green, green grass of Chelsea's lush Cobham training retreat. Gavin Rossdale, lead singer of one of the planet's most successful bands, Bush, used to parade his midfield skills for his old boys' XI on the Surrey playing fields where Frank Lampard now roams.
Rossdale was a popular fixture at Cobham before he glided off to conquer the world. Harbouring similar global ambitions are Chelsea, the new owners of Cobham, and they, too, must look to native talent if they are to become a similarly respected and profitable force.
However eye-catching a headline figure, the £80.2 million loss announced by chief executive Peter Kenyon should not alarm Chelsea fans. Roman Abramovich, is not only hugely committed to the Bridge, but particularly to nurturing tyros in the Cobham dream factory who will mature into first-team players, as John Terry has done, so pre-empting the need to buy in so expensively.
"Youth is a very, very important part of the future,'' said Kenyon yesterday, aware that the losses were sustained through the purchases of Andrei Shevchenko, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Michael Essien.
The patter of tiny feet is already being heard across Cobham. If some of Chelsea's recruitment tactics have been embarrassingly underhand, the broader approach of giving youth a chance must be lauded. Anyone doubting Abramovich's enthusiasm to youth development need only see him wandering around Rossdale's old playground, unobtrusively watching Academy games. The Russian regularly attends such matches, aware that Chelsea's long-term livelihood rests here, as much as in his wallet. The plan of one graduate per year into the first-team squad remains ambitious, but reflects Chelsea's desire to promote youth.
Encouraged by Abramovich, Jose Mourinho and Frank Arnesen, the scholars and schoolboys are part of the Chelsea family, sharing meals and ambitions with the elite. Some clubs prefer an upstairs-downstairs ethos, but Chelsea are keen to foster an "aspirational'' culture among their kids.
The idea is that apprentices will have their desire for first-team involvement quickened by experiencing the banter of Joe Cole and company, by rubbing shoulders with sorcerers. They will look and learn, acquiring good habits just as Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs did under Eric Cantona's imaginative tutelage.
Apprentices, as Alan Sugar would agree, are the future, the only way forward for a club that must maximise resources if it is to come close to balancing the books. Chelsea hailed a "significant'' increase in merchandising revenue, up 44 per cent, yet the figure rose only to £11.1million. All the blue baby-grows, novelty celery, and Special One tribute coats will just about cover the season's wages of Shevchenko and Drogba. A different strategy is required.
The champions will never be as big a club as Kenyon believes. Chelsea will never catch Manchester United, for local, nation or global appeal. Impossible. United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, talks of expanding Old Trafford from its 76,000 capacity. Chelsea are considering moving to a new home, yet realistically require only a 55,000-seater home. Anything larger risks empty seats.
Chelsea's real future revenue stream runs through stockbroker-belt Surrey, not down the King's Road. Arnesen is looking all over the world for the first-team stars of the future, but Abramovich appears particularly keen on an English accent in the dressing-room. Mourinho's first-team squad already contains six England internationals - Terry, Lampard, Wayne Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole, and Joe Cole.
Of longer-term significance, 11 of Chelsea's players outside Mourinho's squad have represented England Under-21s or below: Michael Woods, Tom Taiwo, Michael Mancienne, Jimmy Smith, Anthony Grant, Jack Cork, Adrian Pettigrew, James Simmonds, Scott Sinclair, Lee Sawyer and Nana Ofori-Twumasi. With one eye on their losses, the club with one lion on a shirt are assisting those with three lions on their kit.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.j ... nwin20.xml