Date: 3rd December 2017 at 8:41pm
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In the first a series of articles that we’re going to run at Vital Chelsea, we’re going to take a look at some of the people who are in the background of the club we all love. The people who also love the club rather than the wealth it could bring. To be fair it may be quite a short series of articles. But?..

First up is someone you’ll all be familiar with if you watch Chelsea games on TV, or indeed if you’re in the ground itself. Gary Staker is the guy who stands by the tunnel in Chelsea’s games at Stamford Bridge. He`s officially known as the Player Liaison Officer. Back in March 2016, just prior to the arrival of Antonio Conte in the Chelsea hot seat, The Daily Mail ran an article outlining Gary’s work at the club. The picture it painted was of role that involved more than just player liaison.

Gary first joined Chelsea as a steward, the fact that he was half Italian led him to become a part-time translator when Gianluca Vialli joined the club. Once Claudio Ranieri joined as manager Staker took on the role full-time. It was a ‘sliding doors’ moment. His life could have gone two ways.

Jose Mourinho is famously called the translator by those who follow Barcelona, after his spell there with Bobby Robson, that saw him take on that role. As we know he turned from translator to manager, Staker on the other hand preferred to stay behind the scenes at Chelsea.

As the article suggests, he`s the ultimate ‘club man’. After his spell in translation ended he held various jobs around the club, becoming a popular figure amongst his colleagues. Those colleagues included the players, and in due course he took on what is still his job today.

His role as player liaison officer involves looking after the needs of an international footballer. Now, I don`t know any international footballers, but i`m going to guess that some can be a bit needy. The players could rely on him to find them a house, buy them a car, book theatre tickets, or get English lessons, you name it.

So if Eden Hazard has lost his passport as he’s about to board a flight, it’s Gary Staker that sorts it out. In fact Hazard did lose his passport once but that was on an unsanctioned trip back to France. Hazard was unable to return to the UK in time for training. Jose Mourinho dropped him as a result, if only he’d lost whilst on Chelsea business.

The Daily Mail story highlighted in this article was written against the backdrop of Staker`s presence at an Italy international, sitting amongst Conte`s family prior to his arrival in London. Most notably he was sitting next Conte`s brother and manager Daniele.

It would appear from that, Gary Staker is held in high esteem not only among the players he supports, but also by those in high places at the club. So for anyone who is a steward at the club currently, the opportunities that Chelsea could offer to the right person are quite staggering.

 
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