Former Chelsea technical director Micheal Emenalo has revealed that at a point, he fought hard to prevent Chelsea's academy from shutting down.
Emenalo was technical director at Chelsea for six years (2011-2017) before leaving for AS Monaco.
Despite Emenalo leaving Chelsea two years ago, his faith in the club's academy has finally started paying dividends this season.
Following a transfer ban, Chelsea is reaping from the robust academy where English Premier League joint-top scorer Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount, among others, graduated from. Three of those have already made it to Gareth Southgate's England squad.
“I defended the academy when there was pressure and doubt and pessimism,” Emenalo said in an interview with Telegragh.co.uk.
“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 me, and I can’t thank him enough for that.”
Chelsea currently occupy the fifth position on the Premier League table.