Chelsea’s brilliant academy was nearly SHUT DOWN by ex-boss for being a ‘waste of time’, Michael Emenalo claimed – The Sun | The Sun

EX-CHELSEA chief Michael Emenalo claimed a former manager tried to CLOSE the club's academy.

Frank Lampard put his trust in the youth during his debut season in 2019-20 after the club were put under a transfer embargo – and managed to guide the young Blues into the Champions League.

The likes of Mason Mount and Reece James then helped the Blues to win Europe's top competition under Thomas Tuchel.

And starlets like Levi Colwill are set to play a huge role under incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino.

But things could have turned out differently had a former boss succeeded in persuading Roman Abramovich to pull the plug on his youth funding.

Emenalo, who served as Chelsea’s technical director between 2011 and 2017 after spending the previous four years as chief scout and assistant first team coach, worked above the likes of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Roberto Di Matteo.

He claimed former supremo Abramovich was urged to ditch his academy and focus instead on pouring money into the first team.

But the Russian did not listen to his manager, and Emenalo reckons the decision is proving to be one of his best ever.

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The former Monaco chief told the Telegraph: “I defended the academy when there was pressure and doubt and pessimism.

“There was a time when there was a clamour to do more and a manager came in to make a presentation to say the academy was not necessary.

“The argument was it takes too long, we don’t have time, we should use it to make some money here and there, and that the owner should stop pumping money into it because it seemed like a waste.

“But that wasn’t my idea and I had to fight against it.

“This is where I am very, very proud of the owner Roman Abramovich because of the trust he had in me and the willingness to listen to me and give the academy time.

“He would not abandon it. He believed in it and in me, and I can’t thank him enough for that.”

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