Behdad Eghbali continues to make regular post-match trips to the dressing room despite the backlash against co-owner Todd Boehly last season.
Boehly’s visits last season, which sometimes included taking groups of guests and their children to meet the players, caused quite the stir.
Things came to a head when Boehly went in after their 2-1 loss to Brighton and reportedly called the players “embarrassing”, before singling out a senior member of the squad out for criticism, leaving them ‘disillusioned’.
Boehly stopped for a time but is now back at it according to The Telegraph, who report that it’s fellow owner Eghbali who does engages more with the players in the dressing room these days.
The report states:
‘Rather than expressing his thoughts to the team during his post-game visits to either the home dressing-room or the manager’s office, Eghbali is said to have instead shaken hands with players and coaching staff, and wished individuals well.
‘Flanked by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, and on occasion Boehly, Eghbali has visited the dressing-room area or Pochettino’s office, which is next door, after every game he has attended this season – including the Premier League victory over Luton Town and the draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend.
‘Sources point out that Eghbali has been consistent in his approach – win, lose or draw – and that his visits will not have come as a surprise to Pochettino, his staff or the Chelsea players. The practice of owners entering the dressing-room area is common in American sports, but has been traditionally frowned upon in England.’
Manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked about the visits on his appointment in the summer, and said he was on board with the owners being more of a presence than is typically the case, as long as they communicated appropriately with him.
On his appointment as Chelsea head coach, Pochettino stressed that Eghbali and Boehly needed to make him aware if they were going to visit the dressing-room or training ground, and it is understood the owners have discussed the subject directly with him.
“Of course, for me, more than welcome if the owner comes to the dressing room, to the training ground,” said Pochettino in July. “But, like I said, always they need to communicate it to myself, I need to know and to prepare, you know, the people because here it’s really special this type of thing in England.
“For me, I am more than happy if they [the owners] are close to us, but the coach, the head coach or the manager is who decides the thing, how it’s going to work in the dressing room, on the pitch, on the training ground. Also with the sporting director, altogether, to create the line altogether.”