Guus Hiddink is back at Chelsea six years after his departure left the Blues begging for more. We look at why the Dutchman has unfinished business at Stamford Bridge.
Hiddink left a captivated Chelsea squad begging for more when he walked out on Stamford Bridge after seizing the 2009 FA Cup title.
Now, demanding Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has turned to the veteran Dutchman once again in a bid to drag the Blues out of Jose Mourinho’s malaise-filled campaign.
John Terry and Frank Lampard led calls for Hiddink to turn his back on his deal to become Russia manager and turn his rescue act into a permanent gig at Chelsea some six years ago.
Back then Hiddink swept in and cleaned up the mess from Luiz Felipe Scolari, pairing clarity in vision and preparation with restoring a sense of fun.
Any shrewd new manager will trade on the antidote effect, but the honeymoon period is always short-lived.
Hiddink was happy enough to head off to his prior commitment with Russia, as much to maintain honour and integrity as to protect a fine winning record in west London.
Unfinished business may be what drags him back now, but doubtless his strong relationship with Abramovich has also contributed.
Few managers make a success of their second coming however, and though Mourinho tasted a Premier League title just last summer, seven months later his Stamford Bridge reign is over.
Chelsea struggled for the continuity, tenacity and success demanded by Abramovich to the point where the Blues brought Mourinho back for a second stint.
History is perhaps repeating itself now then, even though Chelsea still covet the likes of Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone as Mourinho’s long-term successor.
But if he’s successful again – and to quantify that we mean by dragging Chelsea up towards the higher reaches of the Premier League, winning the FA Cup and challenging for Champions League glory – then Chelsea will once again have a decision on their hands.
Hiddink’s managerial career has already spanned 28 years, with the 69-year-old coaching Holland twice, but also South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey.
Hiddink’s second stint as Dutch boss ended in an acrimonious sacking earlier this year, after his side had won just four of his 10 games in charge.
Replacement Danny Blind was unable to salvage qualification for Euro 2016, extending the blot on Hiddink’s weathered copy book.
Chelsea still believe a blast from the past can revitalise their future, even though similar aspirations for Mourinho eventually turned sour.