Are we sitting comfortably folks, or are we crossed legged with the sheer excitement of Saturday’s Big Cup Final? Or is it because you’re all still pissing yourselves with laughter at Manchester Village FC’s humbling at the feet of Flamenco Footballing Kings, Barcelona in last night’s Irrelevant Cup Final? Anyway sit back and enjoy another edition of now re-named Bi-Polar Express. Many thanks to Clive, one of our regular readers living with a beautiful doctor called Mrs Clive somewhere in the wilds of the untamed West Country, who came up with that most apt of names for a sort of regular Chelsea FC rant/whinge/rumour/scandal sheet.
Why Bi-Polar Express. Well, for the uninitiated it came to light recently that the mighty Danny Baker, broadcasting through the ether on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s generally excellent (except during Wimbledon fortnight) Radio 5 Live had drawn the conclusion that his most hated of teams, Chelsea, had the most bi-polar set of fans known to footballdom. We either proclaim our utter superiority and start predicting domination of England and Europe the like of which hasn’t been seen since some Italians decided to have a jolly boys outing a couple of millennia ago. Failing that we want everyone out at the club or else we’re doomed to be the real new Leeds, free-falling to a point so low they’d have to re-open the old 4th Division especially for us. I truly love Danny Baker, almost beyond the point of mere masculine admiration, but my first reaction was one of scathing bile spitting disagreement. But after a few moments of listening to his rationale, it dawned on me that it was in fact completely true. (At this point picture an image of Danny Baker wearing a barrister’s cloak and horse hair wig, addressing the jury consisting of several thousand non-Chelsea supporting fans with the words “No further questions, I rest my case…”) And then I read some of the previous postings on this fine blog, with the relevant comments. There is nothing else that need be said.
First on the agenda has to be a hats off to Nicholas Anelka who today received his Golden Boot award, which makes him the fourth Chelsea winner since the Premiership started, with Jimmy Floyd winning twice (once shared with Michael Owen and Andy Cole I think) and Didier Drogba being the other. Now, far be it from me to stir the pot but there are a few on this blog who would not be sorry to see him go. This is utter madness and hence would be typical of us as a club. We are just about the only ones who’d do such a daft thing, whilst keeping a man who can only be described as the epitome of Chelsea bi-polarity, in the form of Didier Drogba. I’ve always been an advocate of Drogba, but such is his depth of bi-polarity I don’t think we can truly rely on the man anymore. At this point I am wondering if he’ll shovel in three against Everton and the friendly siren of the reversing Humble Pie lorry will be heard pulling up outside TG Mews. The fact is Anelka has been fantastic this season, proving at yet another club that if you want goals then he will always deliver them. Drogba has had some good moments this season but seriously people, there haven’t been enough of them, and interspersed with the dire moments it is in my opinion a gamble to keep him on, certainly as the number one striker. We need to wean ourselves off Drogba, and that means trying something new, and I don’t mean Di Santo, who may have promise but is years away from fulfilling it. Roman, splash the cash and get David Villa before those bastards at New Leeds, or Airline FC get him.
Moving on then, we had another fine away win against potentially tricky opposition in the form of struggling Sunderland. From what I saw, the rather paltry highlights on Match of the Day and Sky’s Goals on Sunday and back up by Hab’s first class report we turned in a thoroughly professional shift. Anelka’s goal would have yet again seen a mass y-front creaming session from the 4th estate had he been wearing something red, and Kalou scored a little cracker as well. Nice to see my player of the year, Ashley Cole, get on the scoresheet as well. Come on Ash, what about spoiling us at Stamford Bridge then? A nice way to finish the season from Guus and the boys and it really does feed the ‘what if…’ thoughts that crowd my mind on a daily basis. We could and should have won the Premiership this year the argument goes, but we’ve said that for three seasons now and lost out to Manchester Village each time, and New Leeds have finished above us this year as well and hence the only logical conclusion is in fact that we’re not good enough and despite the protestations of some who visit this blog, we need to ring the changes now. Just as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have done, because if we think they will stagnate then we’re kidding ourselves and that for me spells yet another ‘what if…’ season. We raised the bar and others took their time but jumped it. Our next best move is to raise the bar again. More on that in next week’s Bi-Polar End of Season Special which will include team and player reviews, with my own lists of ins and outs, wants and desires for you, dear readers, to bitch and fight about.
And so we address the Big Cup Final on Saturday against the rather more sensible Scouse fraternity that is Everton. Maybe I don’t feel that much antipathy toward them because they never seem to throw the stereotypical class insults at us that New Leeds do. Maybe it’s because they see a kindred spirit in us, a team in blue for years dominated by nearby neighbours in red, hoping that one day the tables will turn as they briefly did in the 80’s under Howard Kendall’s fine collection. I think the country will unite behind Everton for this one, and so we’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. If we win it’ll be the usual bully boy money driven mercenary victory that apparently only we conjure up and if we lose it’ll be indicative of mercenary bully boys being given a bloody nose by plucky underdogs. We’re used to it though by now, and if it continues next season that I’ll know that we are back to our reviled and regaled Mourinho years. On a personal note, had we lost to Arsenal in the Big Cup Semi-Final then I too would have nailed my colours to the good ship Everton’s mast.
Prior to David Moyes’ arrival Everton had the most vile set of fans I’d seen at the Bridge, regularly abusing their own players and manager with far more disgust than was aimed at us. I also felt that they were the precursor to Leeds and Newcastle as a ‘club too big to go down, but who would anyway’ but year after year they made miracle escapes. I thought they should have been awarded relegation by the FA on the basis that they, more than most, had been trying hard enough but just failing to go down for years. Then Bill Kenwright, a former Coronation Street actor and current theatre impresario made the inspired choice to bring in a young and eager coach from Preston North End, one David Moyes. He’d had some limited success there but just failed in the play-offs, but Kenwright was smart enough to recognise a talent when he saw it. And it seems we’re missing that talent spotting capability again. It’s odd really because in true bi-polar manner we have sections of the blog in favour of the ‘experienced’ managers like Carlo Ancelotti and Guus Hiddink, with proven Champions League records, and success stamped across their careers, and yet, in recent times the some of the most successful coaches have been young, hungry and comparatively inexperienced. Our own Jose was one, and then last night we saw a man in Pep Guardiola who until last season had only coached at reserve level, win his third trophy of the season and become the first man to do the treble in his home country of Spain. An incredible achievement which no-one can undermine. Habs even spoke in a comment of him being the man for Chelsea at some point. When? After he’s got more ‘experience’? My point is why not go for Moyes? Why not give him the same chance with us that Guardiola got with Barca? He has the Premier League experience, and no-one can deny he’s done a bloody superb job making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Whatever you may think of Barcelona’s pyrrhic victory over us, the fact remains Guardiola in one season has done what successive coaches have failed to do for us. That’s why an understanding of the fans, the club, the history and the culture of a club and the domestic league in which you’re based, for me, counts more than a ‘proven track record’.
Our record in recent years against Everton has been good, but this season has seen both Phil Scolari and Hiddink stumped by a team that seem to do to us what we have done to Arsenal and Barcelona. Everton have stopped us playing both times and have frustrated us with a game plan that we’ve failed to counter. When we do it it’s because we have worked out our opponent’s strengths and planned to circumvent them, but when it’s done to us it’s because the opposition are limited or chose to park the bus. After our displays against Barcelona perhaps we should be deploying Blakey as our next coach such is the skill with which we park the bus when required. But of course this example and attitude merely underpins the bi-polar nature of us as supporters. Despite our frustrations this season though, and the undoubted planning skills of Moyes, aligned with the usual sympathy vote from the Great British Public for their underdog status, I think we will be desperate to turn an Everton side over and get our success groove going again. The bitter disappointment of missing out on the Irrelevant Cup Final to the eventual and deserved winners must have rankled with our players, some of whom will still be raw from our penalty shoot out disaster in Moscow, and I have a feeling that they will want to give Guus a big memento of his short but memorable tenure at Chelsea. They will want to give him something to remember us by which he will proudly look back on in his dotage. I also think the players will be less overawed than the big occasion virgins of Everton, our nerves will be steelier and steadier than Everton’s. I think we’ll go at them from the off and I have a feeling the game will be very similar to last night’s, with us nicking a goal in the first 20 minutes, riding out a determined Everton comeback and then dominating to the end. It has 3-0 all over it for me, and I hate making predictions but I do feel very confident on this.
I was drinking at my local on Saturday when three Pompey yobbos turned up with the obligatory teenage slapper in tow. One was a Manchester Village fan, heavily… ahem… tired and emotional and spoiling for a fight. His two mates were New Leeds and Everton respectively, also rather… ahem… socially relaxed and sporting a shiner each apparently donated to them by their mate, the United fan. Spoiling they may have been, but with a few Magners oiling the TG wheels of social diplomacy I defused the United fan with congratulations on their success, coupled with a warning that we’ll be right back at them next year and a veiled message that surely he wouldn’t want it any other way. He loved it and left the pub as happy as a chap called Lawrence. The New Leeds fan could barely annunciate which made him sound remarkably sensible and coherent for a New Leeds type, but the Everton fan was a decent lad and his one abiding comment to me was that he, like a lot of Everton fans had groaned aloud when we lost to Barcelona. That was the moment they went from challenging a downhearted Chelsea who may have lost the final, or a distracted Chelsea overconfident and drunk on the success of victory in that final, to facing down a determined, angry and unswervingly committed Chelsea with a ruthless desire to regain their winning mojo.
And I think he was right.
The usual collection of facts, gossip and lies with my very own BS rating alongside where 0 is fact, 1 is possibly true and 5 is a heaving smelly dung pile of utterly rotten putrefying bullshit.
It’s the silly season now and the rumours and gossip is rife so in the interests of time and effort I’ll save them up for next week. The following sentence sums it up.
Franck Ribery in, Carlo Ancelotti in or not, Frank Rijkaard in or maybe out, Deco out (yay!) and Carvalho out or not, Xabi Alonso in (yep, just what we need), Mikel out (bad, bad move, the boy has been great this season and HE’S YOUNG!), David Villa in, or out etc. etc. etc.
And finally, culture corner, lyrics dressed as poems, with a tangential relationship to Chelsea at best…
Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be
Run, rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!