Football: Floundering Chelsea FC hire All Blacks guru Gilbert Enoka to improve club culture

All Blacks mental skills guru Gilbert Enoka has been engaged by Chelsea FC, as the six-time English Premier League champions try to improve their club culture.

Enoka is widely credited with helping the NZ rugby side transform from World Cup underachievers to repeat winners in 2011 and 2015, credentials that have clearly impressed a glamour football outfit struggling to recapture its glory days.  

'The Blues' last won the EPL crown in 2017, the FA Cup in 2018 and European Champions League in 2021, but currently languish ninth on the league table under new ownership, after finishing third last year.

Gilbert Enoka (right) with former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen
Gilbert Enoka (right) with former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen. Photo credit: Photosport

Last May, they were bought by a consortium led American businessman Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, who have spent more than 600 million pounds on players across two transfer windows, with Graham Potter as head coach.  

Club management are reportedly worried the new signings will struggle under the weight of expectation and have hired Enoka as a short-term consultant as the answer, with his track record of creating a positive team environment.

Enoka is known for introducing a 'no dickheads' policy to the All Blacks, after they were sensationally dumped from the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals by France.

"A dickhead makes everything about them," he said. "Often teams put up with it, because a player has so much talent.

"We look for early warning signs and wean the big egos out pretty quickly."

Four years later, they overcame intense public expectation to defeat the French in the World Cup final on Eden Park and then defended their title against Australia at Twickenham.