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West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Chelsea – Hangover Blues

Hangover Blues

A little preamble

So we’ve finally turned the corner have we? Last week’s perfunctory victory over Bolton was the pivotal part of the season was it? We had pretty general agreement across all of cyberspace, and the three-dimensional world we physically inhabit that at last AVB had found his best team. A mixture of the new and the old, the untested and the established. The newer players like Mata, Ramires, Sturridge, Cahill and Luiz would integrate seamlessly with the big players entering the twilight of their careers, Lampard, Cole, Essien and of course the mercurial Drogba.

All we needed was a tremendous record at the Hawthorns, a small injury list, some optimism and we were home free.

So it was a good job those senior players turned up then wasn’t it? It was a good job the new intake showed why they are the right people to take Chelsea forward to a new age of glory then?

Our dear leader, Nick, asked the Podding Shed gang, a motley crew as you’re no doubt aware, of world-weary but not necessarily wise men, all in different stages of general grumpiness (a peculiar inherent trait amongst men from 35 onwards) if we fancied writing a review. It’s been a while I thought, and besides, like everyone else I was confident we had turned a corner and fancied writing something positive for once.

We had turned a corner it transpires. The one that leads to the edge of an abyss from which even Spider-Man with his adhesive qualities would struggle to get out of.

As the great Roger Waters once wrote and no doubt sung:

“And when you lose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown.
 And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
 And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw 
around.
 So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
 dragged down by the stone.”

Who is the stone that’s dragging us down. AVB? Buck? Gourlay? Roman? The ‘senior’ players? The new intake? The whole blend?

You decide.

And so to the game…

I am still hungover, some 36 hours after the last glass of imported Dominican rum was consumed to a home cinema system being pushed to the limits of its performance envelope by James Edward Page, Robert Plant, David Gilmour and Roger Waters. This hangover was so bad during the game yesterday that had Old Nick … Beelzebub … Louis Cyphre (apologies to Alan Parker for that blatant theft) knocked on my door I would have sold my soul for a cure there and then. I’d have even bought a secondhand trident off the bloke. But as a 50 year old man, slightly overweight and hungover I’d have performed better than almost every Chelsea player yesterday. Even if I’d had gout as well.

The first half really was a blueprint for the whole game, and a photograph of the whole season thus far. The first thing to note was this team which had done so well last week have obviously been affected by some sort of body snatchers event. Because to say they barely recognized each other is an understatement along the scale of saying that Derek Chisora might have a bolt loose somewhere. So we had a player who looked and no doubt sounded like Frank Lampard, but patently wasn’t. The same goes for the rest of the team with exceptions for Cole, Ramires and Luiz. Whoever the man who looked like Juan Mata was yesterday it’s the best disguise I’ve ever seen. The second thing to note was how bloody slow and ponderous we are. Teams aren’t scared of us because we’re not dangerous, they just know that if they have pace then they have us at a disadvantage. The third thing was our passing. We’ve never been Arsenal or Barcelona in the passing tippy-tappy stakes. We always had alternatives. But now we’re not even at pub team level on passing. Who was this team we were playing, West Bromcelona?

Drogba absolutely stunk the place out. Ball control? Nope. Speed? Nope. Passing ability. That’ll be a no then. He made one very good pass to Sturridge, who as his wont these days missed, albeit by a very small distance. But a miss is a miss and I suppose had it been 20 yards wide, or an Essien corner flag special it makes no difference.

As the half wore on, we had a few lucky escapes, but there was always a sense that half time would bring a change for the better. Like last week, we could go in at 0-0 and then do all the hard work second half.

Unbelievably … no make that believably we actually came out and looked worse. There were flashes of control, of ideas, of moves but they all petered out through a poor pass, poor control or a tiger tackle from a very feisty and enthusiastic West Brom. AVB subbed Sturridge for Malouda, which as any fule kno’ would make not a jot of difference even if Studge’s head had dropped after about five minutes of the game. Whatever the question is I doubt the answer would be Malouda. He let Torres have his obligatory 14 minutes, breaking Ancelotti’s First Law that states Torres and Drogba can’t be on the field at the same time. Torres did what Torres does and ran about and tried to make things happen, but within five minutes he too was afflicted by this creeping malaise running through the club. Meireles came on for Ivanovic which seemed an odd move. One of those for which no-one can see any real purpose for. This of course had all the hallmarks of seeing the stable door open and rushing over to close it because of course West Brom had scored by then and not undeservedly so. They’re another Swansea. A team managed by someone the players seem to like who has the knack of getting so called lower/smaller teams punching above their weight. Like Swansea they tackle quickly, they pass quickly, they move quickly and they care. They genuinely care. They care about the club, their fans, their manager and their pride.

That’s my summary of the game. Not very technical I agree, but overall we were rubbish. The combined affect watching the team yesterday was akin to having arse gravy poured over your head whilst Jedward serenade you and Alan Carr tells you some of his ‘jokes’. Deeply, deeply unpleasant.

The good

  • West Brom – everything we weren’t to be truthful.
  • Our away fans who despite being served this dross sang manfully and womanfully until the last.
  • Phil Dowd. Surprisingly very good yesterday.
  • Petr Cech without whom we would have lost by four or five.
  • A Liverpool defeat which means the Carling Cup springboard to further success theory might have just failed. Leaves us clear for 6th or 7th.

The bad

  • Everything about us at the moment – not singling out any individuals as collectively they were all poor and one was … well … ugly.
  • An Arsenal win. Now clear points between us and them and despite the criticism Wenger gets, they look far more likely than us at the moment. And they have a fucking goal machine in the rather excellent if loathsome Van Persie.
  • The CFC fans who sang ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’. Absolutely shameful.

The ugly

  • Didier Drogba. Did we really think he’d save our season? A shadow of the player he was. Truly abysmal.

The player ratings (aah … I feel the joy)

  • Petr Cech – 9/10 – Had a blinder which was just as well really.
  • Ashley Cole – 7/10 – Better, a rare glimmer of light yesterday but still has a bolt loose somewhere. Is he Chisora’s cousin?
  • Gary Cahill – 6/10 – May have been better but this was lost in the overall gloom and doom.
  • Branislav Ivanovic – 7/10 – Worked hard but needs to realize he can’t do everything.
  • David Luiz – 7/10 – Another bright light in a dimming universe.
  • Michael Essien – 6/10 – Not a patch on last week.
  • Frank Lampard – 4/10 – Anonymous or clumsy in differing measures.
  • Juan Mata – 5/10 – Is probably losing the will to live.
  • Ramires – 7/10 – Averagely average but signs he is getting back to his pre-injury form.
  • Didier Drogba – 1/10 – Good grief. Scary scary decline.
  • Daniel Sturridge – 5/10 – Needs to be told he is not Pele. He’s not even close to Pele.
  • Fernando Torres (sub) – 6/10 – Fourteen minutes to change things. It’s hardly enough time to find your pants let alone put them on over your tights.
  • Malouda and Meireles (subs) – 5/10 – They are NOT the answer to ANYTHING in football.

That makes an average score of 5.7 or thereabouts, and yet overall the sum for team performance is more like 3/10. It could be my calculations and ratings (very subjective) or it could that the players despise each other so much they just won’t play as a team.

Man of the Match

Ashley and Luiz were runners at one point for this, but frankly it has to be Petr Cech for saving us from a four or five goal humiliation.

The epilogue

It could be that by the time this gets published we are once again rudderless as AVB signs his compromise agreement and walks away made for life. Nice work if you can take a year or less of abuse, unreasonable pressure, and the politicking of those above you and around you.

I like AVB and presumably he was hired on potential rather than historic success. But something is very wrong. Those senior players may be making a point about the coach they so despise, but in doing so they’re also showing their disregard for Roman, the club and for the fans. Loyalty stretches as far as a decent pay cheque for most, but even for some this is not enough. The professionalism across the squad is missing, team spirit appears non-existent and one senses that something is very wrong in the state of Chelsea FC. The inspirational JT who has verbally backed the coach allegedly in the dressing room is missing and the sword of Damocles over his future can’t be helping. I think we may be witnessing a perfect storm whereby the coach, the players, the executives, the owner, the media and to an extent us, the fans have created the perfect poisonous and toxic mixture for an implosion the likes of which will make the Bates years seem like the good old days.

On a personal note, the thought of Capello chills me to the bone. Italian football, dour, grinding, with every ounce of flair removed is not for me. Rafa, despite the howls of protest here and elsewhere seems to fit the criteria though. Champions League winner, knew how to get Torres playing, experienced, good with the fans and kept Liverpool in the top four despite the boardroom battle going on. How about Sven for some Swedish calm and logic? I’ve heard Brendan Rodgers mentioned but his experience is even less than that of AVB so I can’t see that being viable just yet if experience is key criteria for a Chelsea manager. This list isn’t great is it?

One final note. I just wonder if by playing to the media and maybe Roman and the fans by picking this so called ‘best team’ whether AVB hasn’t rather cleverly sent a powerful message to the board about the state of the club.

Dear Roman,

This is the best team as discussed with you.

What do you make of that then?

Yours,

AVB

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

The press reports

The Observer, Jamie Jackson: “The tap-dancing around the Chelsea grave of Andre Villas-Boas continues. This defeat from a late Gareth McAuley winner may already be causing the coffin to be lined and the pallbearers put on stand-by. West Bromwich Albion dominated this game, especially after the break, and it may now be a question of when, rather than if, Roman Abramovich decides the time has come for AVB to hear the executioner’s song.”

The Sunday Telegraph, Oliver Brown: “Beaten, befuddled, bewildered. André Villas-Boas has projected many moods at these moments of extremis for Chelsea, but the dominant impression was one of utter helplessness. The beleaguered Chelsea manager, maintaining his now-familiar crouching pose on the edge of the technical area, watched Gareth McAuley lash in West Bromwich Albion’s late winning goal with a mixture of horror and incredulity. It appeared, after all his wild gestures and exhortations, that he had run out of ideas.”

The Independent on Sunday, David Instone: “No longer can many ports be considered safe for Andre Villas-Boas in the storm surrounding him. Chelsea had beaten West Bromwich Albion in their previous 15 top-flight meetings and scored more goals against them than any other Premier League side. But defeat, courtesy of a Gareth McAuley goal eight minutes from time, added further pain to a day that had started going horribly wrong with Arsenal’s lunchtime victory at Liverpool. The smoke sensors that did their job amid more high jinks at Chelsea’s training ground on Friday are not the only alarms sounding at the club.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A goal nine minutes from time following a set-piece decided a close encounter at the Hawthorns.”

The goal

81′ McAuley 1-0

(Image credit: Gemini Spacecraft.)

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  • Fiftee

    Well, bye-bye Champions League next season.

    I wonder if AVB’s famous (infamous?) 3-year-project ever accounted for NOT being in the CL? We most definitely will not finish top 4 and so, owe Liverpool thanks they’ve opened up another European spot in the Europa League.

    What an unmitigated shambles. The refreshing of the squad will be impacted massively by not being able to offer CL football. The solution? Well, we’ll just have to carry on with JT, Lamps, Dr

  • Fiftee

    ogs and Malouda.

    Sorry about the gap. My phone and fingers don’t get on.

  • Babayaro2LeSaux

     Been fan since European Cup Winners Cup . Yes the Ugly light blue yellow Coors Kit!..but this is getting abysmal !

    Interesting Last comment about this game team selection- AVB now has ammunition to back his point?

    But my problem with this team has been the SAME all season… SPACING and MOVEMENT is Poor…so what is the cause of that?  What about the fact that these World Class Professional players seem to be unable to function in different schemes…..?..

    1) Problems with  players ages, fitness, ability, effort ?…

    2) why can’t these lifelong Professional Chelsea players change tactics mid game or even at half time when asked

    3) Is it because unfortunately maybe AVB De Matteo don’t ask for any tactical changes?

    ….I know we get only 3 subs but.. if any HIGH SCHOOL basketball player can’t change formations and run different plays within 2 seconds they are NOT on the team. or the Coach who can’t make tactical changes is long gone.

    So is it #1,#2) Players’ faults

    or
    # 3)  inept Management team’s fault  …      If so bring in  Rijkaard!  he’s available

    I respect your opinions so Please HAVE YOUR SAY  about this cause I’m fed up that NO ONE on TV or blogs ever focuses on this.

    • ethanbanks

      I’ve always liked the yellow kits. They should become a staple.

  • Cunningplan

    Sky Sports News reporting AVB has gone and Robbie left in charge until the end of the season.

    • Radicalevan

      At least Roman slept on it.

      Christ, what a circus.

    • Guest

      Fuckety fuck!

  • Fat Nakago

    I’ve discovered the identity of the man who disguised himself as Juan Mata. It was none of than NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace: http://www.themagicworld.org/bloog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/kenny-mata-2.jpg

    As for the rest of your analysis, I’m with you all the way on that. The execution of our team is something I would be in favour of. It was a horrible game to watch. When my wife told me, “Honey…it’s time to leave for the doll show,” I was MORE than happy to turn off my computer and get on with the rest of the day.

    It’s too bad that it is easier to fire the manager than it is to fire the entire team. I would be all for the latter. Maybe we should adopt the Portsmouth squad for the rest of the season. I’m sure they’d be HAPPY and PROUD to go out there and play their ASSES off at the very least knowing they’d get a paycheck that won’t bounce.

    Meanwhile….we totally focked it seems no matter which way we go.

    I’d rather us take the most entertaining route in that case and go with youth.

  • Dannybrod51

    So the Old Boys get their way again. Too confused, demotivated and embarrassed to even try to make sense of this. What is the point of appointing R Di Mat till the end of the season if not to appoint another Avram Grant to lay out the cones at training. 

  • limetreebower

    Sigh.

    Off we go again.

    Might as well make Frank, JT, Cashley and Drogs joint managers.

    I hope we finish outside the top four. I really, genuinely do.

  • Fat Nakago

    Well…that was quick, yes? No sooner are the words out of my mouth and they announcement comes down from on high:

    http://www.chelseafc.com/page/LatestNews/0,,10268~2633044,00.html

    Like I said, it’s always easier to fire the coach….

  • Fiftee

    Good Lord what an embarrassment we are. I’m ashamed to be a fan at times like this.

    Utter laughing stock. RDM is unlikely to do anything different.

    How very depressing.

  • Cunningplan

    I have to say he sounded like a broken and defeated man in his post match interview last night, so he must have known what was coming.
    Speculation on a replacement will be starting soon enough, but I think I can deduce from the current state of affairs, that I would put a few quid on JM’s return in the summer, otherwise Capello or Benitez would have been employed fairly quickly, and not Robbie.

    • Gaelforce_01

      Well well – you came to a real British family football club with a collection of free transfers , lower league pick ups and reconditioned invalids with no big money foreign owners and you lost fair and square.
      If you are honest you got what you deserved – a bunch of overpaid over rated and lazy mercenaries lost to players with heart, skill, courage and desire – not really your managers fault boys – you bought trophies and now you know money doesn’t buy heart.
      I pray that my football club is never bought by Arabs, Indians, Russians or Americans. Rather be watching players who actually give a shit. We may be a “small” club – but we are the very foundation of British football.
      Chelskie you lost to the better team not just because you had a bad day – you played consistent with your season form.

      • Cunningplan

        If you bothered to read the match report you will see that the reporting was honest and complimentary to WBA and spared no excuses for our shambolic performance.

        • Gaelforce_01

          The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A goal nine minutes from time following a set-piece decided a close encounter at the Hawthorns.”
          Just saying – don’t be so sensitive. All those Roubles have given you a sense of entitlement.

          • Cunningplan

            I think you’ll find all main sites of any football club will put positive spin on bad results, nothing new there.
            If you read the above report you’ll see no punches were pulled, and I certainly don’t think we have any sense of entitlement, it’s the usual crap we get from fans of other clubs, so again nothing new there.

      • GrocerJack

        Perhaps you could look to your fellow Brummie fans who came on here after the FA Cup game and commented with thought and intelligence. After all the clue is in the title, it is the CHELSEA blog. Looking at MY report I thought I was rather complimentary about your club. Put your crayons down sonny and go back to the park with your mates.

      • Abhishek Srinivasan

        “He drinks, you know. Self-medicates, total cliche, this guy. He’s a strung-out, washed-up, has-been, jerk, snitch fuckin’ drunk seven-layer loser. Right. And I’m prayin’ he puts up a fight. Please please please. Rape him! If it’s possible. Punch him in the seat if it’s possible. Hit him in the brown. I don’t know. Anyway…  
         Some shit, suffice it to say, just don’t wash out.”

  • JONTY 1

    yep the old guard got what they wanted and it’s only taken about 6 months from the time they discovered AVB’s 
    “project” actually involved replacing them .Drogs can get his 2 year extension now and Lamps can continue his quest towards breaking the club goalscoring record by knocking in tap-ins against bottom 4 teams.What a fucking joke we have become!

  • Blueboydave

    Yesterday’s performance was truly woeful , but today’s announcement is just utter farce.

    I believe I said on here sometime around November when the first wave of serious anti-AVB rumours started, that if he was sacked at any point before the next season ticket renewal deadline I would let mine expire and become an armchair fan after 36 years of holding a season ticket.

    I can think of nothing that could happen now to change that opinion short of Roman selling out to a new owner who would stop using our club as his own personal fantasy football game.

    • GrocerJack

      My own ST is also under serious threat after this as well. 

  • Fat Nakago

    Here’s a little Chelsea haiku that pretty well sums it up at the moment:

    AVB plan failed.
    Hire Chef Gordon Ramsey?
    D I Matteo!?

  • GrocerJack

    My caveat has to be that I wrote this about 2 hours before the announcement!!!!! So maybe he didn’t get to write the letter then…….or maybe he did and Roman didn’t like it. 

    I’m off to watch some Keystone Kops, At least they were funny……

  • Leznikm8

    Utter cuntery. Just another idiotic decision from our club hierarchy. Unfortunately not the first one since TSO got fired.

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t mind seeing players mentioned here leaving also: http://www.thenational.ae/sport/football/chelsea-stars-are-headed-for-the-exit 

  • http://twitter.com/Benjami7 Benjami

    Another sad day for Chelsea FC, it damages our reputation as a team and as fans :(

    I wanted AVB to stay as it is clear that the player power must be broken for us to return to winning ways. But we must always remain in the top 4, and on our current form I fear for us even achieving a 5th place finish. This is unacceptable and would put us in a weak position in signing players in the summer.

    I still can’t see how his sacking is going to improve our current form though. Go RDM but where is the change going to come from that is required?

    Be interesting to see if Fabio gets a 3 month contract to come in and beat the players with a stick (which is what they need)

    That is the only way I see us turning this around.

  • Agh57

    In the circumstances he had to go. It looks like he’s lost most of the players. The performances have been awful. The players and the board are also responsible. They have conspired to make a perfect shitstorm, in which all but the very best managers were likely to fail in.

    AVB didn”t help himself with his man management. The handling of Alex and Anelka was terrible. Slagging of Cahill just before we signed him wasn’t that clever. I don’t have a problem with dropping the “old guard”, but doing it one week, dripping innuendo at press conferences and then bringing them back as captain the week after at best made him look indecisive. Then there is the issue of picking or dropping players irrespective of form (Lampard, Mikel, Romeu etc.). If I had a boss that treated people like that at work then it is bound to affect morale. There was also the dreadful management speak.

    That said, I get no joy from todays events. Whoever we get next will have to confront the same issues.

  • Musumba_antony

    Anelkas brilliance might have massaged his ego,He was the best manager with a planned  failure plan,Di matteo must be laughing now !!!from chelsea player to westbrom to Chelsea 

  • http://primaryaccount.blogspot.com/ WorkingClassPost

    This is all a bit odd.

    Went to watch a moody showing, but all they had was Mancini so had to make do with MOTD. Everyone says that we were crap, and the result certainly was, but, all I saw later, was sitter after sitter going begging, which was quite a surprise.

    I knew we were 0-0 at HT and although Linker tried to add a bit of tension, he just couldn’t stop gloating, so I guessed the outcome, which is why so many missed chances caught me on the hop.

    Anyhow, Tony got it dead right about the post match with AVB. He looked and sounded as if he’d had enough and wanted away, whatever RA thought.

    So I’ve got slightly mixed feelings. If we’d scored when we should have, AVB would probably still be in a job, but I think he’d have left in the summer, in any case. And then who would we get?

    Unlike most on here, I’d be quite happy to see Robbie get a few months at the helm, so perhaps all is for the best.

    More importantly, if he does well, will we be able to resist the urge to ‘Get a big name’ come the summer?

  • limetreebower

    I’ll keep my season ticket, mostly because it’s a good seat, I like the gang who sit nearby, and I can see a time in the future when some of our decented, talented younger players might be playing enjoyable and heartfelt football and I’d be sad not to be watching their progress regularly.

    But I’m fucked if I’m cheering for this shambles. I feel sorry for the young players who’ve come on a ton this season and have been making a serious effort to act as if they’d signed for a proper club: Mata, Romeu, Luiz.

    Who gives a shit who the next manager is? — wait. I remember typing more or less exactly the same sentiments at the end of last season, so I won’t bother finishing the paragraph.

    We need to finish as low in the table as possible. I don’t see how anything other than total humiliation can make Abramovich and his gang wake up to the idiocy of what they’re doing. He owns us lock stock and barrel and we can’t complain since goodness knows we’ve had the benefits, but our only hope now is that unlike most people who are used to getting anything they want, he can actually grow up a bit.

    Until then, fuck it, frankly.

    Come on Stoke.

    PS David Conn in the Grauniad had some interesting comments about whether we could even afford to pay off another manager, given the major problems we’re already having with the impending fair play rules. I guess that’s the other thing that might work: if UEFA (of all organisations) can impress on Abramovich that he’s going to have to change his ways.

    So come on Stoke and allez Platini.

  • Blue_Mikel

    So lampard and co got AVB fired, fuck them! Fucking bunch of clowns. The only thing I blame AVB is that he didn’t ground these bunch of inefficient egoistic bastards. Fuck them!

  • Ryan

    Haven’t been leaving any comments as I feel quite uncomfortable about CFC at the moment. I was told last week by a friend that AVB would be sacked within 24 hours if we lost to Bolton. I suspect based on some of AVBs comments about players/chairman/club that he knew exactly what was coming. See especially his comments about members of his family advising him to stay at Porto in the summer. I don’t believe that he is a complete incompetent. Pardew’s comments about senior players owing him an apology and comparison with his own spell at West Ham were interesting considering the way he was written off as shit at WH but is now being feted as a great manager.

    In terms of coaching (ie the cone placing Tony mentioned) I would be inclined to think that AVB isn’t much worse than a lot of other coaches. His management was lacking. In terms of his handling of the press, board, players and owner he lacked the big club experience required. At Porto, he could speak directly with Pinto Da Costa. He was his boss. At CFC nobody seems to know who the fuck is in charge. It was no coincidence that all the players apparently liked Guus. It’s common knowledge that he is a personal friend of RA.

    As suggested by Tony I think I doubt if Capello or Benitez will be given the job. If they wanted them they could’ve got them now surely. Giving Di Matteo the job does rather suggest that there is a target for the summer. If it is Jose any fears about attracting players would be minimal. Players would come to CFC with Jose on board even if we finish in the bottom half this year.

    I’m going racing tomorrow. I’m sick of football at the moment. I’m still looking forward to reading everyone here’s thoughts over the coming months though and also am looking forward to my now traditional Monday listen to the Podding Shed.

    Finally. Genuinely wish AVB all the best and am sure he’ll be a success in the future.

    • GrocerJack

      It’s a longer edition this week Ryan and we had to omit the ‘weird places/times’ to watch Chelsea, but fear not this will move to next week. 

      We really value the feedback on the Podding Shed including your ideas and the shame of the sacking is we wanted to pay homage to our overseas friends with the getting up at 2 in the morning to hold a rusty aerial pointing North North West on a lead roof in order to get a fuzzy black and white image. 

      never mind, with the news today it was obvious The Podding Shed would be given over to the whole sorry affair. 

  • Gleb

    What a day. Putin gets elected, AVB gets sacked. I guess whoever comes from Russia is just blatantly incapable of managing anything. Be it a country or a football club. It seems that accumulating a shitload of money does not equal prudent management. Roman might be our savior but he’s no genius. He’s fucked up more times than all of his managers combined. Not to mention our old guard acting like total fuckwits. It’s all going horribly wrong. I might have trusted them if they were 25 with years of quality football still to offer, but they’ve got 1-2 years at most with ANY manager. Why get rid of AVB then? It’s not AVB’s fault they’re old and can’t play anymore. He might have screwed the whole “sugarcoating the pill” process in terms of his treatment of some of the players, but his motives were correct nonetheless. It seems like Drogba and Co. are living on 50 cents per month with 13 children and a wife to feed, and Chelsea is their only lifeline. The fact is they can stop playing even now and be happy for the rest of their lives.

    It’s not AVB’s fault Drogba failed to score that fucking penalty against Zambia in the AFC Final. It’s not always the manager’s fault you can’t win a trophy. Or that Terry slip/Anelka miss. Who the fuck do they think they are? They should sack themselves, not the man who tried to, against all odds, transform the club they supposedly “love”. Of course he was doomed to failure in such circumstances.  

  • Throstle

    I’m sorry about Gael_force01. That was an incredibly churlish response to a report which gave us full credit for our contribution to the match, and actually made me sniffle a little. I’ve been reading this blog on and off since I discovered it after an earlier Albion match; I like the sardonic tone – it’s obvious that you’re not in any need of patronising lectures about ‘real’ clubs. Sorry, and please believe that we don’t all have massive chips on our shoulders at the Albion. All the best for the rest of the season.

    • Cunningplan

      Thank you for the sensible posting, it’s always appreciated when oppo fans come onto the blog and enter into non tribal debate. You’re team played well and certainly deserved the points, even AVB said it after the match. I think you can safely say that you seem to be securing your long term premiership status, and your football is pretty decent to watch as well.

  • bluebayou

    I had to track down that recored in the photo. It’s a blast. Take your mind of the troubles.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwtnjzqIPMQ

  • bluebayou

    Throstle,

    We don’t assume one represents all. You are probably vaguely amused that Di Matteo is now coach to the end of the season.

    Personally, having lived by the Albion pub in Hackney and enjoyed watching many a match in there, I’m pleased the guy who named it after his beloved team is getting to enjoy a team playing some decent stuff. Good luck to you

  • Machchan

    Let’s look on the bright side: 

    * Di Matteo has more experience than AVB _relevant_ to what’s needed at Chelsea in the coming months.  

    * He doesn’t strike me as being as naive as AVB in communication with the key stakeholders (be they the owner, owner’s agents, press, players or oh yes… the fans).  

    * The “seniors” are less likely to be riled and feel threatened.  They are likely also to be motivated to prove they were right in helping engineer the AVB sack; there will be a concomitant improvement in their performance.

    * And really, all it will take is the very likely prospect of an injury to Van Persie for Arsenal’s season to come unstuck again and 4th spot will open up for us.  

    That’s what my crystal ball says anyway.

  • PeteW

    Well, thank the lord for that, just a shame it didn’t happen sooner. Now let’s get a decent manager in and pretend this season never happened. What a shambles. 

    • NorthernVA

      Amen to that! First sensible decision the club has made in ages. Let’s just hope Roman removes himself from the next search for a manager. A complete disaster. 

      • mark_25

         Roman’s going to be the new manager, as soon as his court case has finished.

  • GrocerJack

    I used this as a reply to CP on The Podding Shed page, but it’s equally valid here……..

    I realise I’m very much alone in not hating Benitez and to be honest my first choice would be Jose. Take the emotion away from Rafa being ex=Liverpool and you have a man who by most standards would be considered successful. Champions League winner, FA Cup winners, Super Cup winner, kept Liverpool in the top 4 for the duration, did this with arguably the biggest boardroom battle in football going on behind him. yes there were dodgy signings, but lest we forget SAF and Djemba Djemba, or AW and Francis jeffers, or even TSO with Jarosik, Del Horno, Kezman. 

    I mentioned van Gaal on the podcast because no doubt there’s a shedload who would say he doesn’t meet our criteria either. In fact if you ask the Chelsea fanverse there is no-one good enough. 

    Guardiola is untested outside of a Barca system devised by Cruyff, handed to him on a plate which delivered some results for Rijkaard but even more for Guardiola. He may be a great coach but having messi, Iniesta, Villa, Xavi et al won’t do much harm to your career will it? Plus i think Guardiola is a rounded person who would take one look at us, our club, the media and the whole hierarchy and run a mile. Jose, on the other hand knows all about us including the media, and of course the foibles of the owner. RM have played some good stuff this year although Barca have edged El Classico’s, but every team has a nemesis, under JM it was Liverpool, whereas SAF might argue that we’re his. It matters not, because who cares if you lose both games to Utd if you win the league. I suspect if MUFC win the PL they will care very little about the 6-1 vs Citeh….If RM topple Barca from their perch in Spain and maybe Europe I think they’ll care little about El Classico. So in all honesty….for me the first choice is Jose. Beyond that I’ll be a lone voice for Rafa. Guardiola doesn’t really feature on my list because that will be AVB mkII in my view. Fabio Capello……I’ll renew my ST but will be far more willing to sell on game by game basis as his style of football is just loathsome to me. David Moyes would be a gamble but just reward for a man who continues to get more from Everton than most think possible. Of course there are few CFC fans who believe in promotion to our job, despite that even Jose saw it as exactly that. Failing that i keep seeing some no mark called Bielsa being mentioned which is laughable. Martin Jol? I was told he was a mid table Tottenham berk. O ‘Neill wouldn’t leave Sunderland and anyway, he is sane and would never work with such a hierarchy. So it leaves a sparse talent pool to choose from. Hence why I reckon it’s Jose, based on his imminent departure from Madrid where despite the success he’s never had the warmth he had with us. Plus, there’s the aspect of ‘unfinished business’  and lastly the huge hunch that RA would not let him go anywhere else in England. 

    • Cunningplan

      I saw you’re reply on the podding shed Tony, and respect your views and reasons on Benitez. Perhaps my dislike is getting in the way of some logic, he’s not a bad manager, but I dodn’t see his man management any better than AVB’s. He comes across as cold and aloof, and his tinkering with team selections each week at Liverpool bordered on Raneiri like lunacy at times,  (and that’s one thing Liverpool fans used to complain about).
      Admittedly he did beat us while JM was in charge, but we did edge it overall in head to heads, and that’s allowing for the lottery of penalty shootouts.

      As I said perhaps no real reason or logic on my part, just a dislike for the man, on saying that I’ll get behind whoever our next victim will be.

      And to mention one more thing with regard the hypocrisy of the media and pundits, who are now lining up to say they feel sorry and appalled at AVB’s sacking, these were the very same people who constantly drove the agenda for months, and screamed out the headlines, AVB under pressure etc etc…

      Such is life  being a Chelsea fan, as much as we may dislike what our owner and his cronies get up to, it doesn’t change the way we feel about the team we support.

      You can checkout any time you like,
      But you can never leave!
      Welcome to the………

      • Blue_MikeL

        Just not Benitez!

  • http://primaryaccount.blogspot.com/ WorkingClassPost

    If we get past Napoli, then almost anything’s possible in what’s left of this season (and beyond?).

    As for tomorrow, we can jump right back on the proverbial horse with a cup replay that looks none too easy, and it’s on terestrial TV so plenty of media attention too. 

    Not having balls of the crystal variety, that’s as far as I want to look right now.

    • mark_25

      I have a crystal ball and I’m extremely careful when sitting down

      • http://primaryaccount.blogspot.com/ WorkingClassPost

        Hope that you’ll excuse me if I choose not to stare into them.

  • Blue_MikeL

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17257114
    Big Phil warns new Chelsea manager: “It is hell!” 

  • Musumba

    AVB had the worst performance index post the Ranieri era,good riddance that Russian roulette landed in the perfect position,i would rather continue with this sacking spree for non performing managers, than be in that  “in arse we trust” position, with 7yrs of nothing,  nothing being as permanent as change itself, in this case it was rapidly required.
        AVB had worked in Chelsea Fc prior, with these very players, came back, had 2 transfer windows did nothing,instead he just kept on dragging us down and dividing the whole squad,No excuses !!! he got what he deserved,His stupidity can not be overemphasized, He said MCity had a better Squad than ours ! wasn’t it these same Chelsea squad that broke MCs unbeaten run, to hell with his naivety, apart from Jose those sacked managers(Grant,Scolari,Ranieri and co.) have failed to perform elsewhere, we can look for managers, they are plenty.Fabio capello(can handle egos ) ,Pep Guardiola,Benitez,Jurgen Klop,Heiko vogel.etc,with the exception of Jose the sackings are very much performance based nowadays.

  • http://www.chelseafcblog.com Der_Kaiser

    I’ve checked and sadly neither Jesus nor Brian Clough is available to take up the post of Chelsea manager. Where do we turn now?

  • Blueboydave

    A really interesting airing of the issues on the latest podcast chaps. Thanks to all for that.

    As one of those poised to let my season ticket go I guess I should clarify that I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of the 3 league titles and regular Cup trophies we’ve won in the Roman era.

    My problem is one alluded to in the discussion that after the Ancelotti and now AVB sacking I can’t help thinking we’re in serious danger of disappearing down a very deep shithole indeed as the hire and fire on a whim policy reaps diminishing returns.

    It seems difficult to see how we can possibly now attract anyone other than cynical mercenaries looking to make a fast buck from a brief tenure of the CFC manager post.

    Listening to the many candidates names being bandied about, they all seem like people interested in a real long-term role, where they might get reasonable time and backing from the suits at the club. I hope you can all guess how much it grieves me to say this, but why should any of them not prefer to take the Spuds job rather than come to us, when ‘Arry has been anointed new England manager?

    I guess the joker in the pack is Mourinho. Might the tacit admission of error in sacking him first time around be a big enough ego-stroke to tempt him back, with all the risks of failing this time? Wouldn’t he enjoy just as much turning the Spuds into a team that can win trophies and rubbing it in Roman’s face that way?

    • Cunningplan

      I can see the logic of Jose perhaps going to Spuds, but he has by all accounts kissed and made up with Roman, so no real need to rub his nose in anything.

      I honestly believe that RA takes notice of what’s written in the media about Chelsea, and reacts accordingly, especially with most of our firings. So if the bandwagon from our beloved jornos begs for the return of the special one, then I can only assume what Roman wants, Roman gets.

      Besides I’m with Tony on this one, I can’t see Roman allowing him to go anywhere else in England without putting up one hell of a fight.

      • Blueboydave

         On his next house-hunting trip in London perhaps Jose need to keep a sharp look-out for dodgy characters with sharp-pointed umbrellas approaching him, then?

        • Cunningplan

          Might be difficult for him then, doesn’t everyone in London carry an umbrella, and wear dodgy bowler hats? ;-)

          • Agh57

            I only wear mine on dress down Fridays.

          • Cunningplan

            Do you also carry around any Polonium under your bowler?, surely a must have for those mean streets in London.

          • Agh57

            No. That’s where I keep my Oyster Card.

  • Day Tripper

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17260309
    Good to see Steady Eddie has joined the team. In the same way that I’m sure Ray Wilkins instilled in the players the virtues of the 5 yard square pass, so I’m sure Eddie will teach them how to twist one way, then back again the other, then the other way again until he falls over. At least he’s one of us. he might have fucked up in 1994 but at least he scored the second in the 1997 final. According to Uncle Ken, that win heralded the dawn of a new era, Under Gullitt, Man Utd’s dominance of the Premier League would come to an end, a new force in European football had been born etc etc. 8 months later he was out of a job. Oh, it’s fun being a Chelsea supporter

    • mark_25

      He was on Chelsea TV Friday.  Maybe he was in the building signing up as assistant?  From now I will look at Friday night guests with a bit more scutiny.

      • JONTY 1

        Watched the programme and if I recall Eddie was following the party line of supporting the suggestion of playing all the “senior” players in the west brom game,because they’ve been there and done it (or words to that effect) Gives us a clue as to what advice he will be giving to RDM re team  selection over the next few games. .

    • Blueboydave

       I note from the article that no one could be bothered to think of a job title for Eddie – presumably his job description will be “To do what JT tells me”.

      Seems about par for this process. As someone pointed out on another blog, the club’s official announcement of AVB’s departure was virtually a straight cut and paste of the empty sentiments from the one when Scolari left.

      I expect it’s on a Word template document in the PR office now for next time ;-)

  • ChelseaAfrica

    I never regret the sacking of Carlos and I don’t think I will regret the sacking of AVB too. But Roman If I were you I would rather sack all the so called usel*ss senoir players and leave the coach to continue his work. Like somebody mentioned earlier it will be good if we get a coach that will be flogging them with cane.

  • mark_25

    Ramires signs new five-year contract with Chelsea

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17264677

    I’m happy with this.  Won’t be happy if Drogba gets the same.  Was Ramires keeping his pen in his pocket till AVB left (or was he just pleased to see Ron Gourlay?)

  • Dylbo Baggins

    finally, some good news

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17264677 

    Good lad- happy to have him on board for another 5!

    • Cunningplan

      I think you’ll find Mark posted the same story above Dylbo. :-)

      • Dylbo Baggins

        I see i just replicated it without the cutting edge humour!

        • Cunningplan

          I never comment on humour anymore,  it’s very subjective as BB rightfully pointed out to me a while back. I’m still receiving treatment from the community psychiatric team after he shot me down in flames. ;-)

          • Dylbo Baggins

            Aye, true, but that wee Mark warms the cockles of me ‘eart!

          • mark_25

             I’ll have you know I’m not so wee

  • Day Tripper
  • PeteW

    Judging by many 
    of the comments on here, and the complete tin ear regarding team psychology and man-management, I’m fucking delighted I don’t have to work for any of you lot!

    I picked out AVB’s weakness from the start, the arrogant bully boy attitude towards his staff that meant he either had to be extremely fucking good or he was destined for the chop house. 

    What kind of twit tells a bunch of experienced workers they are in terminal decline and have no part to play in the company’s future, replaces them with worse performers, sacks a couple and refuses to let them come to the Christmas party or use their usual offices while still expecting them to report for work, introduces a system that everybody tells him from the start is unworkable, and then expects them to dig him out the mire when it all turns to shit, while simultaneously squealing to the press that he doesn’t need their support anyway because the big boss loves him? It was a clusterfuck of epic proportions, and I don’t understand how anybody can’t see that or are surprised with the way it went. 

    I’m sure the players could have acted more professionally, but let’s be honest here their boss hardly set the best example. 

    If he wants to phase out Lampard and Drogba, nobody will argue if he has better options to replace them with. But he didn’t, so he had to get them onside to support his project, perhaps make it clear that he saw a role for them going forward (even if he was lying through his teeth and planned to sell them in the summer). His treatment of Alex, Anelka and Kalou was straightforward bullying of the pettiest kind – and people don’t like seeing their colleagues bullied by somebody who they perceive as not being half as good as he thinks he is, especially when they know their head could soon be next on the block. It’s so elementary, so basic, I can’t believe it even happened. It’s almost pathological. 

    This season has been completely wasted by this over-promoted tit, and we are left with all the problems we failed to deal with in the summer – the need to replace, one way or another, Drogba, Malouda and possibly Lampard, sign a right back (how have none of our managers managed to do this?!) while finding a new manager and not having CL money to cushion us. As I’ve said all along, we’d have been so much better off (financially if nothing else) if we had stick with Carlo, given him support, not thinned out his squad and sacked his number two. I think that is the biggest fuck up of the Roman Empire, ahead of signing Shevchenko, appointing Grant, signing Torres and not letting JM sign a CB in January 2007. 

    We’ll be okay, eventually, because we always are, but we can’t have another Roman fuck up this time. 

    • bluebayou

      How did AVB’s lack of “people management” skills not get understood before he was appointed. What happened at Porto?

      One thing that always surprises me, no it doesn’t surprise me, it depresses me, is how easily the “up front talk the talk bullshit” is mistaken for an ability to manage people. And how the theoretical knowledge of how to manage a process also passes for an ability to manage people in real life.

      The one thing that every qualification and every selection process for whatever industry singly fails to address is whether the appointee can actually get people to do the required job in a calm efficient manner that gets the best out of them and achieves the objective without too much collateral damage to personal health and well being.

      It possibly has something to do with the fact that the people doing the interviewing and appointing are similarly borderline socio-paths.

      Because you are very good at designing widgits doesn’t mean you can manage a group of widgit designers. And just because your shit at designing widgits doesn’t mean you can manage a group designing widgits.

      The person who needs to manage the group is the person who understands enough about widgit design but is very good at handling people to achieve the required process. 

      My experience of management in this country is that by and large (with notavble exceptions) egotistical over confident and shouty people fancy more money and a bit of power and so bullshit their way into the job and then thrive off the expertise of those less hsouty but usually more able than themselves.

      But that maybe becuase I’ve worked in rather traditional male orientated industries.

      A bit like football.

      If you paid people the same for managing as for doing, you might get the people who actually want to manage and are good at it instead of those who want more money. And no you don’t pay because of the responsibility because in general not a lot of responsibilty is taken.

      • http://www.chelseafcblog.com Der_Kaiser

        Don’t get me started – in 25 years of working life, I’ve come across maybe 2-3 people who I’ve regarded as decent people managers and the rest have ranged from average to those you wouldn’t trust to run a bath.

        The female departmental head who got drunk at a department lunch and then openly tried to persuade two of her (both married) staff – one male and one female – to ‘come back to mine for some ‘fun” in front of the rest of us always stood out as particularly unusual people management to me.

        All very subjective, of course.

        • PeteW

          AVB, I imagine, is one of those chaps that seriously impresses people on interview panels by telling them pretty much exactly what they want to hear (you need to make drastic changes and I am the man with balls of steel who will make those changes) in the sort of management speak that turns on people who never go near the shop floor. Company bosses love tough-speaking knobbers because they think it means they won’t have to get their own hands dirty. 

        • GrocerJack

          Somehow I think the male might have though that was rather an excellent piece of cross gender person management and an ideal opportunity for some….ahem……personal development.

          And possibly worth getting the sack for……

        • Ryan

          -Your female departmental head sounds like she’d be great at boosting our current squad’s morale though to be fair. If you have contact details please forward them to RDM ASAP.

      • mark_25

        But then again, if AVB is a cross between David Brent, Basil Fawlty and Attila the Hun it’s amazing that the Porto players kept running for him for the length of the season to win 3 trophies.

        Hang on, I get it, Portuguese folk are easier to manage …

        • Blue_MikeL

          There were less primadonas  in Porto…..

        • bluebayou

          That’s what I was wondering. Is it a Brian Clough at Leeds situation (As Jonathan Wilson alluded to) where it was perhaps just a question of the wrong group at the wrong time and not understanding the dynamic. Was he perhaps encouraged to be overzealous with the breaking down of the senior powerbase (assuming it exists)? Or did he have other people on his team who were able to ameliorate his worst excesses (assuming he has them) at Porto?

          Whether the real blame lies with the players or not, it does seem that he managed to become unpopular with quite a lot of others as well if reports are to be believed. Again to what extent did he believe there was an ingrained culture at Cobham that needed breaking down, which it would be difficult to do without upsetting folk.

          To some extent it is a mirror image of JM who while very popular with players and associated staff seemed to become ever more unpopular with other echelons of the club when he tried to impose a different way and his way of managing the football side.

        • PeteW

          I’m sure he didn’t begin the Porto job by boasting how he was going to make all their most experienced players redundant because he was so fucking amazing he didn’t need them. 

          • mark_25

            I don’t know if we’ve learnt from this experience.

            If AVB’s learnt from this experience this must rate as the most expensive training course since teaching Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr how to moonwalk.

  • PeteW

    A few other thoughts: the appointment of Di Matteo to me is very much a ‘put up or shut up’ to the squad (and it’s not just the senior players, everybody bar the Portuguese hated the fucker) from Roman. They are effectively in charge for the rest of the season, management by coalition, but it’s not a ‘reward’ as some of the hard-of-thinking may assume, because if they fail – and they probably will such is the incomparably appalling job that has been done to the previously enviable squad morale in the past nine months – Roman will certainly be brandishing the hatchet.

    To be honest, even if they succeed I think Roman will be brandishing the hatchet, he’s probably as pissed off by the perceived rebellion as some of the fans and also smarting at the fact he got things so embarrassingly wrong, so he’ll be desperate for somebody to blame, and he ain’t going to point the finger at himself, is he? (I think this is what motivates some fans too, who can’t bear to accept the fact they really thought sacking Carlo was a good move and then found themselves supporting dunderhead AVB as he blundered from one foot-shooting site to another.).

    If Roman loses the court case, he could do something really petulant, and then we do have to worry.

    But a lot of these players are goners now, one way or another, probably on loan to European rivals with us paying their wages. Roman’s kind of in a win-win with regard to them, the only thing he has to lose is his money, and he could earn £45m in about 25 minutes if he put his mind to it. 

  • PeteW

    Finally, if Jose returns, I will cry with happiness. It’ll be another two years of pointless fight-picking, universal loathing and occasionally mind-numbing football, but at least we’ll have some swagger and unity about us again. It’ll be guaranteed to end very badly indeed, though, so hankies at the ready.

    • http://www.chelseafcblog.com Der_Kaiser

      Yep, we’ll be going to hell (probably in a handcart, dependent on which paper you read), but it’ll be quite some ride getting there.

      I think a future edition of the Podding Shed may be carrying a ‘Roman’s 10 greatest cock-ups’ feature…

      • Blueboydave

         Why not make it easy on yourselves and go for Top 20 ;-)

        • http://www.chelseafcblog.com Der_Kaiser

          I can foresee one of those Channel 5 talking heads ‘100 Greatest…’ style programmes coming on…!

      • Agh57

        Only ten ?!?

    • bluebayou

      Can’t disagree with what you say Pete.

      And yes, in the absence of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, it does seem that Roman and Jose could be the “can’t live with – can’t live without” love match of this age.

      And as we stumble from the wreckage a couple of things concern me:

      Whatever his actual role to the end of the season, what is the attitude of the squad to RDM?

      We are supposed to believe there’ll be peace in the valley tonight, but I sense there may be a fissure between the Lusaphones and the rest. (And yes of course I looked it up). Not on the basis that you can’t dislike someone who shares your language but during the infamous goal celebration it was them rather than the others who showed some solidarity with AVB. I read one or tow things yesterday that suggested the Lusaphones weren’t as delighted as the rest. But I treat that with a measure of care. And Ramires did sign a new contract. Although to be honest that would have happened anyway I assume.

      Now you may think it pointless picking over these matters but squad cohesion has seen Chelsea through some tough times. If that’s gone then they’re a basket case to the ned of the season. It would take a very strong character to knit them back together if that were indeed possible.

      I may be taking the pessimistic view but………

      And one more thing. It would appear Birmingham could be short of upto 8 first choice players.

      So tonight’s performance will have to be gauged against that.

  • Blue_MikeL

    Eddie Newton gets on board with Di Mateo

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17260309
     

  • Blue_MikeL

    Great our managerial squad which has prior experience managing West Bromwich Albion and MK Dons is certainly better than guy who won merely Europa League Cup and Portuguese League. How lucky we are! 

      

  • Cunningplan

    His biggest cock up is, that he runs the club like a football fan, with the added benefit of gazillions in his bank account.

  • Simon

    AVB was just a younger version of Scolari with a good looking face. 
    Let’s get Fabio Capello then.

  • Cunningplan

    Is it April the 1st yet? this made me laugh out loud…  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17271855

    • http://www.chelseafcblog.com Der_Kaiser

      Didn’t he say something very similar about leaving Portsmouth for Southampton (and vice versa) before doing just that?

      Get your money on Harry being our next manager, folks.  He probably has (allegedly).

      • Blueboydave

         The Observer’s Said & Done column summed up ‘Onest ‘Arry’s previous managerial denials back in February:

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/feb/11/said-and-done-fabio-capello

        Be afraid, be very afraid!

        BB, the anonymous looking bloke in the picture with Ramires is David Barnard, a Director and Club Secretary, but too shy to have his photo on the website or Yearbook.

        • bluebayou

          Thank you George Smiley

  • Blueboydave

    Also providing some hilarity and nuggets of info now are the acres of guff being written by the journos on the aftermath of AVB’s demise.

    I’ve only dipped an occasional toe into all this but was struck by The Indie’s article about Roman’s meeting with the players after the sacking at which:

    “Other than Abramovich and the players, only the Chelsea director Eugene
    Tenenbaum, chief executive Ron Gourlay and technical director Michael
    Emenalo were in the room.”

    Which firstly, begs the question how Sam Wallace knows what happened, then.

    Secondly, if Roman’s English is good enough to address the players directly, why was he allowed to give evidence at his recent trial in Russian [  verdict now on "reserved judgment to a date to be fixed after a trial at London's Commercial Court" according to the Beeb, whatever that means].

    Thirdly, brings us back to the hapless Emenalo and the mysterious Eugene Tenenbaum as mentioned in the most recent excellent podcast.

    Like Tony, I don’t even know what Eugene Tenenbaum looks like, and a google picture search brings up a remarkable number of photos even on the first page in which he does not actually feature! But despair not chaps, because this link seems to provide the best image I can find taken obviously during Carlo’s reign:

    http://www.soccacritics.com/2011/01/25/chelsea-owner-roman-abramovich-billionaire-feeling-the-pinch-of-club-versus-country/

    Looks like a man you’d be happy to see approach you with a pointed umbrella, doesn’t he?

    • mark_25

      Eugene looks like this http://test7.duotek.ru/company/directors_management

      Now I’ve read he’s a Chartered Accountant he’s just gone up in my estimation.

      I’d place a pretty hefty bet that this is the only company board with two Eugenes

      • GrocerJack

        Maybe its Eugene who does the actual sacking?

        Cue any pisspoor excuse to get the following Pink Floyd line in

        “Careful with that Axe, Eugene”

  • bluebayou

    As Kremlin watcher-in-chief, can you tell me who is that in the picture on the official website with Ramires at his contract signing? (Shocking ignorance on my part, I know).

  • Day Tripper

    The match tonight brings to mind the game when Vialli first took charge in 1998. We were against Arsenal in whatever the Carling Cup was called then, and had a deficit to claw back. I had rarely seen a group of players so up for a game as that one (and they were the same group of players who were putting in such lacklustre performances up to then). It was a very emotionally charged game; Viera got sent off; Vialli himself got injured; and who scored the decisive goal: Roberto di Matteo

  • Cunningplan

    So the concensus appears to be ‘Arry to take over Chelsea and lead us to Champions legue glory, and also to take on England part time, and lead them to World Cup glory.

    I should imagine he’ll leave Rosie in charge at Cobham whilst on International duty, and get her to pick up his monthly pay cheque.

  • http://primaryaccount.blogspot.com/ WorkingClassPost

    Not sure that I get where all this is going.

    Shit happens.

    It didn’t work out and what percentage of it was AVB,  the club, and the players, is anybody’s guess, and yes RA must also have some part to play, but it’s done, and we all get to move on.

    We’re fortunate that this shouldn’t damage us financially, especially if we can make fourth spot. A fairly tough ask, it’s true, but still in our own hands.

    Hindsight is a great thing, but most of us wanted a young, future-proof manager, and AVB certainly answered the description, so to complain about his appointment now smacks a bit of cake and eat it.

    And speaking of young, up-and-coming managers…

    • bluebayou

      Some but not all and I certainly said at the time of CA’s sacking that I couldn’t see the logic.

      In fact I’m still confused by the fan reaction last season.

      • Cunningplan

        Since when have logic and Chelsea been synonymous?

  • Blue_MikeL
  • mark_25

    Kalou playing tonight.  AVB sacked.  PeteW has more influence at the Club than I thought :-)

    • Ryan

      Interesting line-up. Meireles back. I’m not as critical of him as others have been. I thought he was very good at Liverpool but only when he was not played as DM or in a double-pivot. Most Liverpool supporters I know would agree. He was definitely better at the beginning of the season when Mikel/Romeu were in the team to do the donkey work. Anyway fully expect him to prove me 100% wrong now by playing like a complete bell-end!

    • Cunningplan

      PeteW is… Eugene Tenenbaum

  • Blue_MikeL

    Mata can’t score  penalty to Birmingham

  • http://twitter.com/Benjami7 Benjami

    Oops Mata :P You know he looks like a player who I never thought would miss a penalty ;/ Wasn’t the best penalty though

    Just thinking of how many of this team we had at the end of the 2010 season:

    Cech (First team 2010)
    Ivan (First team 2010)
    Cahill (New)
    Luiz (New)
    Bertrand (Reserve)
    Meireles (New)
    Mikel (First team 2010 ish ;p)
    Ramires (New)
    Mata (New)
    Kalou (First team 2010 ish ;p)
    Torres (New)
     
    18% First team
    18% First team ish
    64% New ish

    In other words 64% of this team have never won a trophy for Chelsea. So for us to expect to be title challenges based on past results is incorrect.

  • limetreebower

    AVB wasn’t sacked ‘cuz of man management errors.

    He was sacked because the team lost too many games.

    Did the team lose too many games because of his man management errors? Possibly. (Also, perhaps even more possibly, not.)

    But I can’t see that it matters, ‘cuz the next bloke will eventually lose too many games because of man management errors or injuries or sunspots or gypsy curses or freak goalkeeping accidents or bad weather or whatever. And then they’ll be sacked too.

    Time has proven that José is a brilliant manager, the Guus and Beeg Phil and Carlo are good ones, that Uncle Avram is a useless one. Time will tell where AVB will stand on the scale. Personally, I suspect that in five years his reputation will be pretty high, but who knows.

    Time has also proven that by far the most decisive factor in determining how well a Premiership team does is cash. The number two factor is probably stability, especially managerial stability.

    So if you combine both (Man U) you are perennially successful. If you have wads of cash but no stability (us, Man Citeh so far) then you’re occasionally successful. If you have managerial stability and some cash (Arse) you do pretty well; managerial stability and no cash at all (Everton) you do a hell of a lot better than you ought to on your budget.

    Does anyone seriously think that Roman’s “method” is making us better than we’d otherwise be? We’re the club that got rid of Mourinho, for God’ sake. Mourinho! If we could get rid of him, we can get rid of anyone. And, in a couple of years, will.

    • http://twitter.com/Benjami7 Benjami

      I think it is more like this:

      1 If your team is performing well, then you must still be the manager
      2 We are top of the league and performing well
      3 Therefore I am still the manager

      Rather than how you are suggesting it:

      1I f you are still manager, then your team must be performing well
      2 We are top of the league and performing well
      3 Therefore I am still the manager

      Sort of works :P

      In other words Ferguson is the manager of a period of stability at Man Utd because his performance has been consistently very good. Not because a period of stability has lead to an increase in performance.

      All we have learned is instability costs money. but it wasn’t so long ago that our level of success and instability matched their level of stability and success. (Not anymore obviously :P)

  • limetreebower

    Brendan Rogers, quoted today:

    “If any of our [Swansea's] fans are wondering about me and Chelsea, they need not panic. I am trying to build my career and not destroy it.”

    Ouch. Ouch. And, touché.

  • http://twitter.com/Benjami7 Benjami

    Stability can follow success, success does not necessarily follow stability.

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