Just over dough, Ray? Me? I’m so far from comprehending

A little time has elapsed since the unseemly events around the sacking of our beloved Mr Wilkins as first team coach, in that somewhat sudden and brutal fashion. There has been pause to recover and consider, but we are no nearer gaining an understanding of what really happened. We may never know the truth. But that does not mean we cannot mark the departure of a Chelsea great in proper Bardic fashion.

Great poetry arises from the residues of reflective thought filtering down to accumulate through time, deep in the memory. The action of remembering, of recall, moulds and compresses this sediment, which the poet then mines selectively, carefully polishing the condensed ideas to lustrous, shining verse.

Safe to say nothing even remotely like that has occurred here, indeed, my work was once cruelly described by a particularly acerbic critic as “merely fridge magnet versifying, without the benefit of either fridge or magnets”. Well at least it rhymes a lot.

But a Chelsea legend has been ill-used and this cannot go unremarked.


(To Ray “Butch” Wilkins, A Valediction by Dr B. Bayou)


Oh Ray, Ray, what a dreadful day,
When they sent you away.
A mysterious power play?
You had to pay,

Cut to the bone, for faults unknown,
With no evidence shown,
Just a call on the phone,
Gone without moan,

From those above, so little love.
Instead push comes to shove,
Iron fist in the glove,
Cleaved from the “guv”,

Carlo’s flair, your diffident air,
Such a finely tuned pair,
Always standing foursquare,
Stark diff’rence in hair,

Oh why? Why? You hear us all cry,
Looking up to the sky,
Then we heave a long sigh,
So much “our” guy,


Bald, shiny crown, wearing a frown,
Though the talk of the town,
You have not let us down,
You’re not the clown.

Unseemly haste, a maddening waste,
And so poorly replaced,
And your good name debased,
Leaves a bad taste.

Called upon, you took the baton,
Such a bright beacon shone,
But the light is now wan,
Untimely gone,


Ron, you know! ‘Twas you struck the blow.
Was it just about dough?
Would you sink so low?
An undertow?

The joy goes sour, leaving brute power,
In its ivory tower.
To endure a dark hour,
Storm clouds glower,

What ingrate demanded this fate,
Why couldn’t you all wait?
Did some secrets mutate?
Half-truths conflate?


Though Ray, we’d rather you could stay
It seems they’ve had to pay.
For you some small defray,
For us dismay,

There are 40 comments

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  1. Anonymous

    Well, that’ll teach you, Cunningplan, be careful what you wish for ;-).

    What can I say, Dr. Bayou, have you perhaps spent too much time perusing the collected works of E.J. Thribb?

    What a dilemma now, do I force myself to re-read the above or face UEFA’s interminable fixing of the CL knock-out stage draw? I’ve already been to the dentist once this week, so that’s not an alternative.

    On a more serious point, didn’t Uncle Ray’s new bestest friend, Richard “Keysie” Keyes claim the other day that Ray had almost admitted on his recent Sky Sports appearance that a row with Roman was the reason he’d been fired? Although I also recall seeing a headline in one of the tabloids where Ray was claiming he still didn’t know why he’d been fired.

    Deep waters, indeed.

    So is it Inter, Milan or Roma in next round, then?

    • Der_Kaiser

      Very Thribb-esque, I thought. How many football blogs have a resident poet, eh? A fine introduction to the weekend, Dr. Bayou.

      Nice CL draw – very happy with that. Arsenal and Spurs have a scrap on their hands…

  2. Anonymous

    Is it tempting fate to say “it couldn’t get any easier”.

    Always fancied Copenhagen so a couple of days away I think.

  3. Anonymous

    So welcome again to Dr Bayou
    A friend to those bedecked in blue
    No need to ask who?
    So much ado

    A friend of EJ Thribb, aged forty nine and a half

  4. John

    Thanks for the poem, which is a brilliant start to the weekend. Capped off by the draw which, although we must be our usual bi-polar selves and fear the worst, really couldn’t have been any better. On Wilkins, I know a premiership player and when I saw him last week I asked him what was going on at Chelsea. You can take this or not and I realise we can never know the absolute truth about these things, because the the people involved don’t tell and all the rest is just gossip/speculation, but it’s a fairly reliable source all the same. He said this was about the “big” players (JT etc) vs RA, with Wilkins punished for siding with the players. They wanted money spent on signings for this season but RA’s days of extravagance (or at least extravagance of the kind JT and others seem to want) are over. No way of knowing if this is right of course but it rings true because it’s plausible and I’m sure others have speculated along these lines. At the time of the sacking, The Guardian said something about Wilkins thinking it might be something to do with what he’d said to RA at the end of last season to do with whether the squad needed improvement.

  5. Matthew Davidson

    The post just reaffirms what I’ve thought for a couple of years now (no pride in recognizing the obvious), that this is head and shoulders above any other soccer blog — or soccer writing generally — on the interwebs or elsewhere. Thanks, B.B.

    I repost my request towards the tail end of the last section: Does anyone know a good place in Rome to watch this weekend’s match?

  6. Anonymous

    Can’t decide if that’s a bullet dodged or missed opportunity. We’d undoubtedly raise our poor-of-late game against them, but then again it wouldn’t take much of a side to give us another defeat.

    Annoying, if nothing else.

  7. Cunningplan

    I don’t know guys, I think we’ve missed an opportunity here, the incentive must have been there to inflict the first league defeat on the Mancs.

  8. Anonymous

    Fuck me the Daily Mail really pisses me off most / all of the time.

    Now running a story that incites a bit of controversy around us calling off the game so early. Almost as if we’re using the snow as an excuse, obviously overlooking the fact the pitch conditions have nothing to do with it anyway.

    Let’s ignore the plausible idea it might be in the interests of the Utd fans who had miles to travel (while comparing with Arsenal v Fulham being off. They’re not close are they. Oh…). Or that the conditions around the stadium are dangerous, or maybe the police were invloved.

    Sorry, not the levels we should be rising to. Just does my fucking head in.

  9. bluebayou

    Following in the tradition of Byron, Tennyson, Yeats, Eliot, Heaney? No E J Thribb and Pam Ayers. Thanks for that all. Genius un-recognised in its own time…..

    The pragmatist in me says that the chance to get some people back to fitness might not be a bad thing and perhaps we dodged a bullet. Looking at Mondays game against the Librarians, I suspect Fergie was going to play with a similar midfield to stifle and frustrate. Once you see Fletcher, Anderson, Park and Carrick lined across midfield it will be all about attrition, like last year. Not sure we’d have been up to wearing that lot down just yet. Mind you I suppose the Roonster will only get fitter and sharper. (Unless they sell him in January, to City, as a replacement for Tevez).

    On the other hand the Mancs did rock up at the Bridge a decade ago with an unbeaten 29 games in the League only to be handed theirs………


    Yes lets wait for a warm and sunny day.

  10. Ringo

    Where’s the report?
    So what if there wasn’t a match.
    Shirley someone ,or the blog laureate ,could rustle up something?

    • Anonymous

      I decided that there wasn’t much to talk about.

      Basically it’s a debate over whether the snow was a lucky break (Lamps gets fit, Alex will be back in 2011 and we should be in form) or if it came at exactly the wrong time when confidence was up after the Spurs game.

      That and snow would only have made up about 3 lines of a report.

  11. bluebayou

    Didn’t watch SPOTY last night.

    See it was won by a bloke who sits on a horse for a living in an industry that exists purely to separate people from their money, but does require slightly more energy than throwing darts while smoking and drinking beer or lying on a table pushing balls around with a stick, so fair play to him I suppose.

    I did catch the moment where they announced the Team of the Year. Now you may think that beating 19 other teams to the “No. 1 league in the world” with a record number of goals scored, thereby providing more entertainment than the average fan’s thrill circuits could cope with, plus the FA Cup to complete a double was a significant achievement. Not only that, it was accomplished by a team dismissed at the start of the season by the “Sage of Govan” as too old to even get out of bed.

    A shoe-in you would think.

    No, more blokes hitting balls with sticks as they wandered around the grounds of a posh Hotel somewhere in Wales. They won a trophy that only the same 2 teams ever play for and one that they win with regularity. And the team only ever comes together every 2 years. And they got Coach of the Year as well.

    Go figure.

    Oh and Man United got their usual “big up” with Beckham picking up his award for services to the shaving industry.

    A man could become very bitter, indeed he probably has…….

    • Cunningplan

      Yes I wondered why Colin Montgomerie got coach of the year, now I’m no golfer, but surely all he did was pick the team and send them out to play in a set order.

      What coaching was involved???

    • Anonymous

      I was so enraged I could hardly lift a Chilli Heatwave Dorito to my mouth. A burden for Sunday Couch Potato’s like me as I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

      Of course, as a golfer I can appreciate the difficulty involved in the Ryder Cup, and have no real objection to the selection of them as team of the year. I see the skill and dedication of the golfers as something very worthy, as anyone who has ever lifted a golf bat and attempted to hit a ridiculously tiny ball straight and long will attest to.

      No, what galls me more than most was the fact we weren’t even nominated, and all we got was about a minutes coverage including an interview with Lamps. Compare that to the 30 seconds or so given to Manchester United for a Carling Cup, or an England cricket team who I agree did win a World Cup of sorts with the 20-20 but have yet to retain the Ashes getting a fair bit more. So, in my own mind a bloody disgrace.

      Now, Monty didn’t really do any ‘coaching’ per se, but he did pick the team order, the players and was ever present moving between games, so in essence he was doing that managerial role. I’m not saying it wasn’t deserved either, but the very fact that he wasn’t even mentioned or nominated smells very odd as well.

      And yes, Beckham, top bloke, well liked and probably deserved award, but yet another on stage MUFC love-in after the rather piss poor decision the public made to award Ryan Giggs the SPOTY for last year?

      So, in my case a man could become even MORE bitter…..

      • bluebayou

        I may have to take issue with you on 2 counts, well 3 if you count eating Doritos.

        1. Chelsea were nominated. The tiny bit I saw had Ginola reading out the nominees. That made it worse. The fact that our achievement was put up there just so that it could be dismissed in comparison to blokes in bad jumper / trouser combinations.

        2. Team of the year for Golf? They play in pairs for a couple of days but in the end it’s the singles that makes the difference. So how is this a team game? Coaches/Managers have to spend a whole season with a team in their chosen sport. A bloke drives a buggy around for a couple of days and dishes out cigars?

        They should have been honest. It’s for beating the Yanks at something they think they’re very good at. Beat the Yanks or beat the Aussies at something they think they’re very good at and you’ll get some award as long as it’s a sport where you don’t get more kudos from beating non-anglo saxon foreign speaking types at something they think they’re good at.

        Nausea overwhelms me…..and it’s not the thought of Doritos.

        • Anonymous

          On 1 – I didn’t hear Ginola read our name out, I heard England Cricket team,Europe Ryder Cup, but am pretty sure we weren’t in there.

          On 2 – Tough call, they usually play as individuals and so getting them to gel as a team might be exceptional coaching, especially as Monty doesn’t get to see them day in day out. A moot point, but arguably a decent achievement.

          But yes, beating Yanks or Aussies does seem cast iron guarantee of reward, bit like when Ricky Gervais got Kate Winslet to make the point that playing a ‘mental’ more or less guarantees an Oscar (around 4m 30s in but a genuinely funny clip)


          • Der_Kaiser

            Always raises a smile, that one.

            Think we were on the team of the year shortlist; more surprised that Carlo didn’t get in with a shout of the coaching award though; well done Monty and the European tour, but as others have observed it’s hardly a ‘team’ game as such and his involvement isn’t exactly hands on.

            Do get the impression that the Beeb were keen to gloss over the football season in general; not for any reason of bias, just the lack of any meaningful TV rights held by the corporation, the overwhelming crapness of England in the summer and the extended Beckham tribute probably meant that the production folk felt that there was enough football in a 2 hour programme to be going on with.

            Much as I disagree with the concept of golf and indeed darts as sports (patterned knitwear and casual ‘slacks’ ruling the former out, out and out silliness the latter), I appreciate that the dedication and skill required for both elevates them to a level where they are considered as such. Phil Taylor seemed genuinely delighted with his runner-up spot too, which was good to see.

            Beckham award was deserved; I am gradually being convinced that he is a genuine sporting icon – until recently I could only see the narky, floppy haired 20-something running 50 yards of the pitch at the Bridge to get involved in some altercation that didn’t concern him, but he is growing in stature all the time and putting him in some form of ambassadorial role would be good for the game, I think.

            Most pleasing award was for Tony McCoy though – been fond of a spot of the gee-gees for some years and the guy is just superhuman, in my ‘umble opinion; 15 years at the very top is incredible in any sport, but to stay there in one where the downside is hitting the deck at speed from a great height with one or more nags weighing a few hundred kilos likely to stamp all over you takes an extraordinarily large pair of cojones. No tweaked hamstrings or groin strains here – smashed arms / collarbones / vertebrae (and check out the list of knocks that he’s had for a real medical horror story or three); stuff that would bring a close to most careers elsewhere in the sporting world. Recognition long overdue.

            He is a Gooner though, so we do have to view these things with a degree of perspective…

  12. bluebayou

    Oh yeah and while I think of it, isn’t Team of the Year meant to be a UK based team? That was a European team.

  13. Cunningplan

    Also if I remember seeing correctly for the nominees for coach of the year, wasn’t it Ian Holloway on that list?

  14. Anonymous

    Surprised to learn any of you still bother to watch this, let alone care who wins any of the gongs.

    Have to say I gave up on the programme entirely many years ago when the concept of “sports personality” became increasingly difficult to justify as anything but just another TV-driven popularity contest and it became positively embarrassing how few sports the Beeb had any rights to left and had to be either omitted or shown with cringing acknowledgements to Sky in the clips.

    • bluebayou

      BBD, I think you’ll find that only Tony has owned up to watching it. JD (deliberately I think) skirts around the subject of whether or not he viewed it, Clive certainly shows far too much awareness I’ll grant you and I state definitively that I only caught 30 seconds by accident.

      It’s a slow day. It was either that or join the Mancs in wondering whether calling off the game was a conspiracy and spend our time analysing footage from traffic cameras in the Stamford Bridge area.

      Mind you, if the alternative is watching Sue Barker being propositioned / goosed by James Corden while giggling like a schoolgirl then maybe watching traffic isn’t such a bad idea.

      • Cunningplan

        In my defence, the good lady wife enjoys the show, so for the sake of marital harmony, and brownie points, she insisted I watched it.

      • Der_Kaiser

        Not at all – happy to admit I watched it. Largely a load of old guff and not quite what it once was, of course, but it’s one of those things that has just become part of the pre-Christmas furniture over the years; the whole process is a bit subjective and subject to all the pitfalls of anything decided by a ‘phone vote – the racing industry at large has been shouting ‘VOTE AP’ for weeks – but I kind of like it in a slightly nostalgic way (vague memories of being allowed to stay up to watch Ian Botham win it when there was school the next morning…)

        (also know a few people that worked on the show in days gone by, and the myth is added to by the tales of hedonism and general debauchery that took place at the aftershow party – near legendary in the corridors of Wood Lane – rather famous goalkeeper; young female researcher, the fountain at Television Centre (in December, lest we forget) – tough, hardy types they were back then…)

  15. bluebayou

    It’s Panto Season

    BB: We cannot let Mr McCoy’s deserved award go unremarked can we?

    The rest of the known universe (with trepidation): Oh yes we can!

    BB: Oh no you can’t! So here it is

    I had a tip from a jockey called Tony,
    I was broke so I lumped on a pony*,
    But the old nag was shite,
    Fell at the first flight,
    And the loan shark’s now left me with no knee

    I thank you.

    (*Thats £25 as opposed to a short horse like animal)

    • Anonymous

      I agree that Everton did us a favour and City didn’t look at all threatening so out title hopes aren’t gone yet.

      In other news, there’s a few interesting Chelsea stories doing the rounds this morning due to the lack of proper football:

      1. Didier’s contract talks are on hold which is good. It gives us time to start looking for a replacement and puts a bit of pressure on him to start picking up his performances.

      2. Kakuta and Branner are getting new deals:


      3. And the Times puts a bit more meat on the rumours that there is a split in the camp between the French speakers and the rest. Dressing room problems usually get written about when a team starts losing but this story has been doing the rounds for a while and Malouda’s talk that a poor defence has let down “the best attack in the league” is frankly lauaghable. Injuries and the shit form of himself and Didier are the real problems, not the performances of JT or Branner.

      “Florent Malouda lent some weight to recent rumours of division in the Chelsea dressing room yesterday by blaming their defence for the team’s recent problems.

      Carlo Ancelotti’s side have won only one of their past seven Barclays Premier League matches as they have dropped to fourth in the table, their worst position at Christmas since Roman Abramovich bought the club seven years ago.

      There have been unsubstantiated suggestions of unhappiness among Chelsea’s French-speaking players about the contributions of some of their team-mates, a potentially divisive state of affairs that Malouda’s contribution to the debate will do little to allay.

      The France winger claimed Chelsea have the best attack in the league but have been let down by a back four who have not kept a clean sheet for five league matches. But his outburst will not be well received by his defensive team-mates, who have had to cope without key players such as John Terry and Alex because of injury in recent weeks, particularly as his claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

      Despite the recent lack of clean sheets Chelsea possess the best defensive record in the Premier League and have conceded only 12 goals in 17 matches this season. On the contrary, their problems appear to have been caused by a loss of attacking potency as they have scored only four goals in their past seven matches.

      “We have one of the most prolific attacks in the league, but I think the reason we have dropped is because we’re not defending so well,” Malouda said. “When you look at the records, we kept a lot of clean sheets at the beginning of the season and now we’re conceding goals.”

      Ancelotti has a different perspective and accepts a lack of goals has been his side’s undoing. But the Italian believes that restoring Didier Drogba to form and fitness will be the key to a possible revival during the second half of the season and is optimistic that the Ivory Coast striker has completely recovered from a dose of malaria that caused him to lose half a stone in weight.

      Drogba’s equaliser against Tottenham Hotspur last week was his first goal in open play since the start of October, but Ancelotti claims Drogba has been revitalised before next Monday’s visit to Arsenal, against whom the striker has scored 13 goals in as many matches.

      “We need Drogba to come back to the performances he had last year and the goal against Tottenham was very good for his attitude,” Ancelotti said. “He has not been in a good condition. He had difficulty to play with malaria and he found it difficult to train.

      “I put him in the last few games even though he was not 100 per cent because we need to have his character and his personality. Now his condition is better. He had a good reaction after coming on as a substitute in the last game, this is the important thing. Following the goal against Tottenham he will show us a different Drogba in the next game against Arsenal.”

  16. Cunningplan

    Well may I be the first to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

    A big thank you to Nick, for making the blog possible, and of course the supporting cast of reporters (you know who you are) who give up their time to write. And a special mention to….. and the Oscar goes to! BB for his witty, and sometimes mega intellectual slant on all things Chelsea, it’s greatly appreciated guys.

    And last but not least, Merry Christams fellow blues fans who contribute with posts to this fine site. See you all back here on the 27th Dec for the family Christmas squabbles….. come win, lose, or draw.

    • Anonymous

      Many thanks CP. We try our best at Blog Towers.

      I had planned a little ditty to keep us refreshed over Xmas, but sadly work commitments have gone and rudely got in the way. Bloody Xmas.

      Anyway if I can get a BP express out in the next day or so I duly will.

      Similar sentiments here……..Happy Christmas and New Year to all of you*

      *Except anybody not supporting Chelsea

    • bluebayou

      Clive, you’re too kind and I second your other sentiments.

      If I wasn’t a raging egomaniac who dies a little as every passing day fails to bring me the riches and fame I deserve, I might have blushed.

      For those of you who are so busy partying that you can’t keep up with the news, a brief summary to save you the bother

      Financial – The Big Squeeze
      Weather – The Big Freeze
      Health – The Big Sneeze
      Religion – Birth of the Baby Jeeze
      The Media – mostly Sleaze
      Leisure – Chrimbo Holidays – Take your Eaze
      Culinary –Sprout Alternative – Peaze
      Dubai – Expensive Treeze
      Football – Benitez Leavze
      The Workplace – Who makes the Teaze?
      New Years Fitness Resolution – Wheeze
      Drink – Oh Yes Pleaze!

      In case I don’t get to the keyboard again before Saturday

      Wishing everyone the Season’s Best

      In some ways we all want a Blue, Blue Christmas so take it away Fats…..


      although unlike Fats we wont be at home over Christmas, well not on the 27th anyway…


  17. John

    Seconded/thirded or whatever it is by now – grateful thanks to all reporters/poets and best wishes to everyone for a great Christmas.

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