Kenyon warns FA off approach for Mourinho

January 29, 2006

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has warned the Football Association to forget making an approach for Jose Mourinho as they begin the hunt for the next England manager.

With Sven-Goran Eriksson due to depart after this summer's World Cup finals, the FA are looking to name his successor before the start of the tournament.

Understandably, after Mourinho's success with Porto and now Chelsea, the Portuguese is being linked with the job.

But Kenyon, who hails Mourinho as 'the best manager in Europe,' has claimed he would say 'no way' if the FA came calling.

'He's made it quite clear he's not interested, and we would make it quite clear we are not interested in letting him go,' confirmed Kenyon, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

'He likes Chelsea, he and his family like London, and he is very happy with what we are planning to do.

'We think he will be here to fulfil the plans we have all put in place together.

'He's another six years left on his contract, and we would like him to stay longer that that.'

It is believed the FA are to sound out Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger as part of their consultation process in recruiting the best man for the job.

Yet there is a feeling, given their years of success with Manchester United and Arsenal, either would also be suitable to take over from Eriksson.

However, Kenyon feels they are not approached because 'first and foremost they are happy with where they are with their clubs. That's an important thing.'

But he did not dismiss the prospect of another overseas appointment, adding: 'You have to look at the contribution foreign managers have made to English football, and therefore you can't rule out foreign managers.

'What they have to do is get the best manager available, and that's in the interests of everybody in English football.'

Kenyon, whose club announced on Friday a record-breaking loss of £140million, is hopeful Eriksson's claims of Premiership managers taking bungs have no foundation.

The Premier League last week announced the launch of an inquiry into transfers since January 2004, with their aim to make sure all future deals are transparent.

'We're supportive, along with the other 19 clubs, to the Premier League investigation,' confirmed Kenyon. 'It is important that all these transfer allegations are looked at, and we operate within a clean environment.

'Those accusations need to be dealt with, but it's impossible to say whether they will come to nothing. I hope they do for the benefit of the game.'

Despite Chelsea's staggering financial losses, Kenyon reaffirmed the commitment to breaking even by 2010.

However, much could depend on whether the club decide to remain at Stamford Bridge, or move to another site, with Earls Court and Olympia reported as likely options.

'Every bit of space that comes up in London, we get linked with,' added Kenyon. 'We are continually evaluating whether we can increase Stamford Bridge, which is what we would like to do.

'Those plans and discussions have not yet been exhausted, so until that's done there is no plan to move anywhere else. We would like to increase capacity, but it's difficult, although we have no intention of moving to Milton Keynes to achieve that!

'The extension to the ground to get capacity to 42,700 was a major achievement. To get it to over 50,000, we are working and evaluating.

'If we can't then we will evaluate other possibilities, but we are not putting a time frame on it.'

When asked about Olympia, Kenyon replied: 'It's a site that's close by and would suit, but we haven't looked at it from the large number of issues that it would bring.'

At least Chelsea's transfer spending has dipped dramatically, with £175million spent on players in owner Roman Abramovich's first year, to just under £60million.

Kenyon maintains the aim is to bring on their own players, claiming: 'One of the key aspects of our future business is to spend less on transfers and grow more of our home-grown talent.

'That's why we recruited Frank Arnesen to what was already a great academy structure. Fundamentally, it is about continuing to not spend those huge sums of money on transfers, and blend that with home-grown talent.

'We are absolutely committed to having more Chelsea-grown players in our squad.'

Birmingham chairman David Gold wants FIFA to make it statutory for all football nations to be managed by someone from their own country.

Gold has repeated his desire for Eriksson's successor to be English.

He said: 'I wish Sven well over this coming period because nothing would give me greater pleasure for all the fans who have hung in there over the years if we go on and win the World Cup. It would be fantastic.

'We have the finest England team we have had for 40 years. It is probably a chance of a lifetime. We have got the right players - I think - and we have an opportunity because the finals are in Europe.

'If Sven goes out on a high and wins the World Cup, we will all forgive him for his `misdemeanours.' But the next manager at the very least needs to be British - and I want him to be English. I believe FIFA should make it a rule that a country cannot be managed by anyone other than a national from that country.

'I bet if you went to Sweden, they wouldn't want to see an English manager in charge of their team.'