Back in the day, boards of directors often picked the team; worthy local businessmen compiling the teamsheet while puffing cigars after an agreeable luncheon.
Managers geed the players up and passed round the half-time oranges, while all the real decisions were taken upstairs.
Perhaps Chelsea are trying to recapture the past, because coaches at Stamford Bridge barely get time to take their coats off, never mind construct a winning team, before they are shown the door.
Andre Villas-Boas’s crime? To do what he was hired to do, and start rebuilding a tired Premier League squad.
Money isn’t a problem at Chelsea, and that’s where everything is going wrong. In today’s weird world of football, having too much is as difficult as having too little.
It skews everything. It makes you think you’re a god.
The rest of us tighten our belts, but Roman Abramovich orders another yacht, pays off another managerial contract and brings in another big name.
He orders change. Change happens. He yawns. He orders more change. It’s all giving short-termism a bad name.
When the owner recently let it be known that he didn’t agree with the team selection for the first leg of the Champions League tie against Napoli, the writing was on the wall for AVB. Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at West Brom was merely the final nail in a coffin which has been under construction for several weeks.
Meanwhile the Blues’ bewildered fans struggle to know what to think.
Robbie Di Matteo takes charge until the end of this crazy season, then another big name will doubtless appear.
Chelsea face Stoke at the Bridge this weekend, before the little matter of overcoming the 3-1 deficit against Napoli on Wednesday.
In a way, the pressure is off. The team, whose loyalty to their manager since Christmas can best be described as patchy, have a chance to redeem themselves.
If any other incentive is needed, they’ll be playing for the owner.