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OFFICIAL: Gourlay is new chief executive

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Chelsea is delighted to announce today (Thursday) that Ron Gourlay will be the new chief executive.Gourlay, who was previously the chief operating officer (COO) of the club, will succeed Peter Kenyon.

'It is a huge honour to be offered the chance to lead Chelsea,' said Gourlay.

'We have a fantastic team both on and off the field and those teams can move us onto even greater success in the future.

'To be responsible for that is a fantastic challenge and I will be giving it my total commitment, drive and energy.

'All successful clubs strike the balance between the footballing andcommercial sides and my role is to ensure this happens as it is acritical part of our strategy moving forward.

'We have great partners in Samsung, adidas, Etihad and many others.Together we will move our relationships onto the next level and developnew and exciting opportunities in other areas and with other companiesin key markets around the world.'

Gourlay, 46, has been with Chelsea for five years, in a variety ofdirector level roles culminating in COO before today's appointment. Hehas more than 25 years experience in football having previouslyundertaken senior roles at Manchester United and Umbro.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: 'Ron was the outstanding candidatefor the job. It was not necessary to look outside as we had someonewith all the necessary attributes inside which was important as itensures continuity and a smooth transition.

'He has the total support of the Board and Roman and both the football and business elements of the club will report to him.

'Ron has been a central figure in the commercial success of Chelseain recent years and he has excellent operational experience and isthoroughly respected across the football side.

'We are absolutely confident that he can now take us forward into the next stage of our development as a club and business.'

Source: Chelsea FC

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Ron Gourlay football industry CV:

2005-2009: Managing Director (Merchandising); Commercial and Venue Director; Chief Operating Officer; Chief Executive at Chelsea

2000-2005: Commercial Director at Manchester United

1985-2000: Business Development Director; Sales and Marketing Director at Umbro

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What made Kenyon a clown?

Kenyon is up there with the best in the world with what he does, and i am grateful for everything he did for Chelsea, including sponsorships and advertising and even some key signings. But ill never forget that night in moscow when he led the lads up to get there medals with that grin on his face, it still makes me sick.

Edited by STEV3O
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Peter Kenyon's successor must tackle void left by José Mourinho, too

RonGourlay, Chelsea's replacement for Peter Kenyon, has to deal with the club's dearth of personality since the José Mourinho publicity machine left


José Mourinho, from the moment he was unveiled as manager, above, took center stage at Chelsea, allowing Peter Kenyon, right, to be more in the background. Photograph: Tom Jenkins

Chelsea have developed a taste for understatement. The confirmation that Ron Gourlay is taking the step up from chief operating officer to chief executive carries no glitz. When his predecessor Peter Kenyon decided to leave Manchester United so that he could start work with Chelsea early in2004 there was, by contrast, a rancour and fascination that never quitevanished.

Everyone seemed to hold a grievance, from the United supporters who thought he was a City fan to Chelsea spectators who could not forget he had come from Old Trafford. Kenyon and chief executives in general have received undue emphasis. Individuals with great gifts might bring about some sort of transformation but most are prisoners of circumstance.

Kenyon came into that category. Negotiated a sponsorship deal with Samsung that was worth around £11m a year to Chelsea until 2010. United were getting some £14m a year from AIG. Chelsea then achieved better terms from Samsung for an extension 2013 but the figure almost certainly falls short of the £20m a yearthat United can reportedly expect when their deal with their new sponsors, Aon, starts in 2010.

That level of funding owes much to the magnetism of a club with so rich a history. A chief executive cannot deliver that single-handed and it is no coincidence that Kenyon's fortunes with Chelsea were at their peak in the early days of José Mourinho, before the ceaseless controversies under the Portuguese appeared to exhaust Roman Abramovich.

Since the results on the field matter so much a chief executive supplies the voice of the clubonly when a manager lacks the status or track record to get a proper hearing. The well-regarded David Gill, to his certain relief, does not have to go hoarse at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson's words always take precedence. The same is true of Arsenal, where Ivan Gazidiscan go about his business in full confidence that Arsène Wenger is incommand of the communications that truly matter to fans.

Chelsea have been lacking that type of voice. Guus Hiddink did have thepresence to make people listen but he was around only in a caretakercapacity. It does look as if there is a re balancing of Chelsea, with the focus on the game itself now that the sporting director, Frank Arnesen, has been deemed worthy of an enhanced role. Abramovich, with that promotion, has at least chosen to stress that football games arethe core of the club's being.

Arnesen, however, is unlikely to be addressing the public very often. Abramovich himself prefers to be mute and Eugene Tenenbaum, the director regarded as his representative, is unlikely to speak out either. The manager, Carlo Ancelotti, in view of the language barrier, will not be holding forth and, following his eight years at Milan under the demagogue Silvio Berlusconi, he is unlikely to become a figurehead now.

Chelsea still lack the identity they had when Mourinho's hopes, quirks and outbursts filled the club with personality.


this guy has a point about us lacking that voice, someone to distract the media away from bullshit player dressing room disputes, scandals and everything that comes with not having a manager representing the club in a attractive way.

and it's all well and good saying results are all that matter because in history no one remembers the clubs who where silent about their successes.

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Kenyon is up there with the best in the world with what he does, and i am grateful for everything he did for Chelsea, including sponsorships and advertising and even some key signings. But ill never forget that night in moscow when he led the lads up to get there medals with that grin on his face, it still makes me sick.

Till now I thought I was the only one who recognized that!!! This twat... hate him for that... But maybe we're both wrong and he only didnt want to lat his head down, so platini and the other suckers didnt get what they wanted... a devasted and shocked Chelsea side which would never ever regain they're strength... maybe... but I couldn't belive it either...

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