Paul Furlong: I thought Ruud Gullit was arrogant before he joined Chelsea but I was wrong
EXCLUSIVE By Alessandro Schiavone
Paul Furlong revealed that he was positively surprised by Ruud Gullit’s humble attitude despite thinking he was an entitled prima donna before he joined Chelsea.
Dutchman Gullit’s stock was sky-high when he put pen to paper on a deal with Glenn Hoddle’s Blues in 1995.
He was a European Championship winner with the Netherlands in 1988 who had lifted the Champions League on two occasions with AC Milan before making the move to Stamford Bridge in the final years of his decorated career, a year after Furlong had departed Watford for the Blues.
Furlong, whose son Darnell has followed in his footsteps by becoming a Premier League player and is now involved in a relegation scrap with West Bromwich Albion, cannot speak highly enough of Gullit as he fondly remembers his time in SW6.
He said: “To be fair, when I found out we were signing him I was very surprised. I thought he was gonna be sort of big time, very flash and showing off sort of. But he had a very good character was a mentor and I learned a lot off of him. And in terms of the way that he trains, the professionalism, and the discipline were things that I learned off of him.”
Furlong’s fondest recollections of his time with the Blues was reaching the semi-final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in his first season.
The Blues had suffered a 3-0 defeat against Real Zaragoza in the first-leg in Spain before they saw off the same opponents 3-1 in London as they narrowly missed out on an all-London final with Arsenal in Paris.
Furlong said: “Getting into the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup was a good occasion. We played Real Zaragoza where we got beaten, but I had some very good times at Chelsea. In the league we finished twice 11th which was a little bit disappointing, especially with the players that we had. But the Premier League is a very good league with some tough teams in it.”