Monday, 20th May 2013
A hotel room somewhere in South West London, the sun is rising through hazy clouds, there is dew on the ground, and the birds reluctantly start their daily chorus of joy. Are they slightly hesitant? It’s as if they’re unsure today will bring much to sing about…
Outside the room the raised voice of a man with a Spanish accent can be heard… not shouting… but loud enough in frustrated yet resigned desperation to be heard.
“Well? How was that… go on, tell me?”
Embarrassed muffled words. “Look… I think we should call it a day… please don’t tell me you hadn’t guessed?”
“That’s it? Am I getting this right?”
More embarrassed muffled words sounding something like “Sorry… it’s not you… it’s me.”
“I have to know… it’s important to me… c’mon, you said you wanted me, that you cared for me… what’s changed? What do you mean, it wasn’t enough? You’re dumping me? After all the crap I’ve taken from you and your ‘friends’? We had a deal! You want me to still go where?”
“Oh and could you just accompany me to the last couple of social events I have planned… just for appearance’s sake… after all you did agree to… you know the American gigs…”
An imagined end of shag conversation, variations of which no doubt happened in reality from time to time, maybe even amongst the fine readers of this revered blog. In the cluttered enclaves of my ageing mind, this is the sort of imagined conversation that Chelsea had with Rafa Benitez the day after the Everton game that secured the cherished position of third place in the Premier League. The courtship was over, what had appeared as a mutual meeting of two like-minded entities, desperately searching for a long-term relationship which would be accepted and admired had turned out to be more ill-fated than Elton John’s liaison with Renate Blauel. You know, the girl he married before he realized he was gay? Anyway, the point is whilst the rest of the world looked on and said it wouldn’t work, that it couldn’t work, the two parties ploughed on regardless anyway, as if by denying the obvious mismatches the situation could be overcome, and that perfect conjoined bliss would eventually become the default environment.
Like any football manager role, both sides had failed to see that irrespective of the intentions from each party, the end result whether the span is a few months, or a few years is always the same.
To quote one of my favourite lyrics, that every football manager should learn off by heart…
And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.
The Season Overview Part One
Normally I would re-open the gates of the school, St Chelsea of Stamford Bridge and wax lyrically on about polished shoes, parquet floor, the smell of Duraglit in the air as yet another trophy is delivered into the ever extending cabinet of honours. But this year it’s time for a more sombre look at how the season of madness, arguably a madness to exceed all of the preceding madness we’ve come to love or loathe.
So come last August, in rain drenched Britain, with travel companies inundated with last minute requests for people trying to desperately vacate this green, extremely green as it happens and pleasant isle. The football season is about to start, and for some who have had their holidays it’s the start of something to metaphorically warm and dry the damp spirits. Football is back, and under the stewardship of Robbie Di Matteo, the FA Cup and Champions League conquering bravehearts of Chelsea start their 2012-13 campaign. Didier Drogba has left our club with memories of cup final heroics obliterating some of his more eccentric and dismal moments, and like any ‘big’ player his role in our FA Cup win over the detestable Liverpool and the mighty Bayern Munich will never be forgotten, but like many I believe he chose his moment of departure perfectly. With that last kick for us in the last penalty in Munich his legend was secured. There was literally nothing left for him to win. He’d come in as a much derided substandard Thierry Henry and walked out of the Premier League with a few more gongs than Henry did.
Instead we saw new players come in, Oscar the Brazilian playmaker, Kevin de Bruyne (straight out on loan) and the much lauded Eden Hazard alongside the rather less known Cesar Azpilicueta. Brown envelopes were exchanged with Wigan Athletic to bring in Victor Moses and Michael Essien went on loan to Real Madrid, under the care of our former patriarch, Jose Mourinho. The squad still looked thin but Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge no longer had the big Ivorian to deal with for the key striker position. Surely we’d have enough to finish better in the Premier League, even if most believed the defence of our Champions League crown was highly unlikely. As well as Drogba, we said goodbye to Salomon Kalou, a Marmite player who never seemed to reach his full potential and eventually became either super sub, or a last desperate roll of the dice depending on your view of Marmite. Other losses included the unloved Jose Bosingwa, a man who went to QPR and showed his true motivation by refusing to be a substitute there.
And it all looked so good for a short while. Ignoring the rumble with Manchester City in the Community Shield, where they kicked our players out of the game things looked OK. After the first few games of the season we were top of the league with three consecutive wins and a dull 0-0 draw at QPR. Although the QPR result was disappointing, I like many just thought of it as being because it was their FA Cup final, little did we know then just how dire QPR were to become, and that therefore this result and a defeat in the return fixture would be a staggering indication of how easily broken we could be. It was an unheeded warning sign of fragility and fans were right to not worry based on what we knew at that point. Then came the UEFA Super Cup and if QPR was a graze that could be infected, then the 4-1 demolition we suffered at the hands of Atletico Madrid was the hand being sliced open by a chisel. Many of us weren’t unduly worried at this point wither, although the several thousand that travelled could be justifiably aggrieved at how easily beaten, deservedly so as well, we had been. A second red light was ignored by many fans because we were still top, and even the further capitulation of a two goal lead in the Champions League ending in a 2-2 home draw with Juventus didn’t dent many optimists, nestled as it was before wins over Stoke and then away to Arsenal in the Premier League. The blinkers remained down as we went on to beat Norwich and the loathsome Spurs and a little known team in our Champions League group called FC Nordsjaelland. But under the surface, rumours were growing that Roman was already thinking he’d dropped another managerial bollock with Di Matteo, and that his desire for Pep Guardiola to come in had infected every thought of his waking and sleeping hours. A salutary lesson was dished out by Shakhtar Donetsk in our Champions League game there. They were good, but we were frail, lacking in composure, lacking in steel, lacking in ideas and lacking in confidence. We were fast morphing into the Jekyll and Hyde team many of us knew and loved in the 1970s and 80s. Brilliant one minute, pub team the next.
On the 28th October, we entertained the team many thought would be our biggest title rivals, Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. They came to us hot on our tail having started the season pretty well, and not seemingly content on waiting until their traditional post-Christmas spell of dominance to push them to glory. From a Chelsea perspective the pub team started that day for the first 20 minutes. In fact after 12 minutes we were two goals down and frankly being ripped apart by them. But after 20 minutes, things calmed down and we started to dominate the game. We clawed it back to 2-2 and what had looked a rout had become a highly entertaining game with Chelsea looking phenomenal at times. Even being reduced to 10 men we still looked the most like to win. Then Mark Clattenburg heard the words ‘Bet in play… now!’ and sent Torres off in an unfathomable decision that shocked everyone, United fans included. We lost; we accused Clattenburg of racist comments to John Obi Mikel. We lost not only two players, but also the game and eventually the entire plot.
It was the turning point.
The next game sequence went WDWDLL. Significantly it was a leaner spell of unconvincing football, but the final defeat in that run was against Juventus where we went down 3-0, Torres had been dropped by Robbie, seemingly against the ‘advice’ of the club hierarchy. He gambled, he lost and the inevitable lunatic piece of PR sacking ensued. The man who rescued one season in untold glory, who’d carried out a bigger rescue than Red Adair Hiddink, had been thrown overboard by the club. And then, for many fans the club having pushed him overboard then threw the souls of many fans with him by appointing the largely despised Rafa Benitez.
Things were changing, and for many it was not necessarily for the better.
The Season Overview Part Two
It was hardly the most inspiring of starts. A low key appointment with the caveat of ‘interim’ as part of the title was it seemed a testimony towards the club’s realisation that once again they’d taken the biggest spoonful from the terrine of Piss Poor PR Soup, and that yet again the club had skins so thick they were tougher than a bull elephant with a Kevlar suit. His first three games were dire 0-0 draws against Man City and Fulham (Fulham!) and a defeat against West Ham (West Ham!). This was hardly going to endear him to the anti Rafa groups, and even me, who’d cautiously thought he might be OK wobbled slightly. Let’s be clear I had no objection to him based on what he’d allegedly (but didn’t) say about us when in charge of Liverpool. After all he was Liverpool coach so he was hardly going to praise us. And as for the rubbish about never coaching Chelsea, said again when at Liverpool, well what else would he have said?
He was in charge when we won a virtual dead rubber return against FC Nordsjaelland and so can’t be blamed for our embarrassing early exit in the Champions League, but when we met Corinthians, who must equate in ability terms to Newcastle or Fulham, in the World Club Championship final, we put in a typically Benitez-like whimpering simpering display of unnecessary caution based on his principle of not losing a game before winning it. Not the most prestigious of trophies but yet another failure in the huge list of trophies we’d have a chance of winning. Another one-off game with a trophy at stake in which we’d choked, two under Di Matteo and this under Benitez. There were good games under his tutelage, not least of all an 8-0 destruction of Aston Villa, but the pattern of inconsistency was set with a chance to win every game over the vital Christmas period, then winning the first three but losing at home to QPR. At home! A team who had not won a single away match in the season beat us at home! Simply unacceptable, and his calm manner did nothing to alter the views of many that he was merely a mercenary with no passion for the club, no skin in the game, merely dismissing each disappointment with statements of cold logic and standard media-trained soundbites. In the same month we drew 2-2 with lowly Brentford in a game we were lucky to come out of unscathed and then there were two inexplicable 2-2 draws versus Southampton and Reading to finally scupper our chances of winning the league. Both United and City were away from us.
By this time my anger had been replaced by apathy. I genuinely cared less about going because the football was dire, the heart and passion was sporadic at best, the tactics bewildering, the substitutions bizarre and yet despite all of this, there were some great results in there. Beating Arsenal at home when I was snowed in that day was a joy. Beating United in the FA Cup and then in the league at a critical time, albeit after they had secured their 20th title. We had also progressed through the Europa League stages and even in this my apathy submitted bit by bit and became belated enthusiasm. In the end it was all we had in the shape of a winnable trophy. We’d been contesting the Community Shield and lost, the FA Cup and been knocked out against our new hoodoo side Manchester City, the Champions League defence was shambolic, we’d been beaten out of sight in the UEFA Super Cup, been pathetic in the World Club Championship, been knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Swansea with yet more weak and lily-livered displays, and surrendered any chance of the Premier League by the end of January. April and May however, saw the team grow in confidence in the Premier League, the last eight results looking much like WWDWWDWW which in fairness is decent form and included a last game win at home versus Everton for the virtual trophy of third place. Benitez finally seemed to have a better grip on the idea of starting your strongest team irrespective of the competition. As the Europa League progressed though we seemed to be determined to ensure that trophy never slipped away. In the final versus a tough Benfica side we played like The Hope and Anchor ‘B’ team for much of the first half, unable to pass to anyone in the same colour shirt and were lucky to be 0-0 at half time. Even the second half start wasn’t great, but if Chelsea are known for anything these days it is a never say die spirit in big games. Games with a trophy at stake. A far cry from the nearly men teams of the 1960s and 70s and the dead loss teams of the 80s and much of the 90s. A goal from the mercurial Torres, seemingly transformed from deadly striker into an Anelka-like role of targetman/playmaker and occasional scorer got a decent goal with echoes of the Nou Camp semi versus Barcelona to give us hope. Hope seemingly dashed by a Benfica equaliser within 10 minutes, only for that to be undone by a romantic novelist fairytale script ending winner form Branislav Ivanovic after a corner won by the oft slated Ramires. Two players who’d sat out Munich because of suspension had finally played their part in ensuring that unlike press and media role model side Arsenal, yet another chaotic, lunatic, basket case, bat shit crazy, bipolar and insane season for Chelsea FC had returned silverware.
Time for another tenuously relevant quote…
I’ve been mad for fucking years, absolutely years, been
over the edge for yonks, been working me buns off for bands…
I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like the
most of us… very hard to explain why you’re mad, even
if you’re not mad…
And so endeth another season. I’m glad to see the back of it quite frankly. Glad to see the back of Benitez and his brand of negative safety first football, glad to see the back of moronic 16th minute chants commemorating a man who is still alive, glad to see the back of misguided racist accusations, contract deadline rumours, 18-year-old ballboys, refereeing injustices, anti-Rafa songs in full view of his family (no-one deserves that dog’s abuse) and of our Kremlin-esque communications to the fans from our own Ministry of Truth conveniently covering over the fissures running deep through the fanbase and club. A season of stress, anger, bemusement, confusion, embarrassment, apathy, determination, illogical decisions, irrationality, heartbreak and in the end joy and relief. Yet there is some good stuff, the emergence of David Luiz as a key player, the growing confidence of Gary Cahill, the lowered dependence on John Terry and to some degree Frank Lampard, the delightful progress of Juan Mata, the potential of Oscar, the sheer audacity, skill and pace of Hazard and of course the steadiness of Azpilicueta finally filling our problem right-back position with aplomb. And let’s not forget the continued employment of Eva, huh?
And if all of the madness and emotion just listed and experienced by me and I suspect most of you wasn’t enough, the club then unwraps the beloved Jose Mourinho as our next manager (reprise) and for the most part the divisions between fans are gone, the club is unified top to bottom and out. Have we recruited another madman to join the fray? Another impaired person to come in and try and provide stability and success where all others including himself have failed? Who knows?
All said and done it’s possibly best left to Captain Edmund Blackadder at the time of the big push when Private “Sodoff” Baldrick tells him he has a plan so cunning that it’s as cunning as a fox just appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University…
Whatever it was it was better than my idea of pretending to be mad, after all who’d ever notice another madman round here?
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!
An enjoyable summary of a very strange (but very Chelsea) season, TG.
Agree with you that it was a chore at times and I’m ultimately glad to see the back of it. Think the Europa League was an enjoyable distraction – without that, it would have been one long slog to nail a top 4 spot.
Really looking forward to the new season. A much better feeling amongst the fans, a far better man in charge, some great players who will only improve over the next 3-4 years (hoping that we can hang on to them all). With the addition of a few returning loanees and hopefully the odd new arrival, if Jose can work his magic and blend it all together and add a bit of defensive stability then I’d say we’re in with a very good shout of picking up some shiny stuff come May ’14.
Agreed, a more than decent stab at summing up possibly the weirdest season I can recall in my 35 year plus spell as a season ticket holder at The Bridge.
For me, that dreadful first week of the Mad Rafa era pushed me a long way down a trajectory I’ve been considering for some seasons now, towards becoming an armchair fan only – and indeed I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of games I attended during the rest of the season, as I joined the hordes on the viagogo site to offload my seat.
The return of Jose has temporarily halted any thoughts of giving up the season ticket just yet, but I remain cynical about the likelihood of a period of stability ensuing at the club, given our trigger-happy suits and Jose’s tendency to do one when he’s had enough.
Have to agree with the hack from the Telegraph that the photo at 14.42 on this article from the press conference is just wonderful:
Just begs for some speech bubbles, doesn’t it?
A penny for Jose’s thoughts!
i refer you both to my quote in the above article re: knives being stuck in, being trusted by the people you lie to etc…..although in that picture I guess it applies to all parties!
Pretty much summed up the whole season for me as well. My lethargy from January onwards was evident in the fact that I rarely visited this fine establishment. I did feel that the complete overdose of Chelsea games didn’t help things either, too many distractions with the so called friendly games in far away lands.
I felt totally indifferent with regards Benitez, I certainly didn’t want the team to fail under his control, but didn’t want him to be too successful either, and was certainly counting down the days to his exit. I have a feeling that Napoli might well dispose of his services long before Jose leaves us.
Exciting times ahead me thinks with JM in charge, and we can be assured it won’t be dull, and has JD says a few additions plus some loanees should get us being contenders next season.
Did like the Pink Floyd lyrical references Tony.
Ha, you are Roger Waters, and I claim my £5!
To be honest, between Floyd and Bowie, there is an almost endless seam of rich lyrics to mine for quotes for all sorts of situations, such is the genius level at play amongst those fine musicians.
I wish I was Roger Waters! but agree lots of rich lyrics to choose from.
Good stuff Tony
Surprised you didn’t reference as a highlight that it was last season we met as Podcasters, or are you trying to erase memories of that night in your under-stairs cupboard?
Personal highlights for me were a very nice fish lunch in Copenhagen for FCNordsjaelland and some very pleasant Stamppot; sauerkraut with meatball, sausage and bacon (Dutch style bangers and mash) at http://www.haesjeclaes.nl/?page=getLinkCats&cat=74 for the Europa final.
Busted! Lock the mother fucker up!
If Messi and his advisers are smart, they should thank their stars that this is happening now. The point is not whether the story is true or false, but the damage this has already done to the Messi brand and the more damage it will continue to do, no matter how the judicial process goes, if he remains in Spain. His advisers should advise him to up sticks and move now. Throw the football transfer market into frenzy by declaring that you are tired of this unrequited love with Spain. Take a leaf from Jose Mourinho’s book and tell the Spanish that you know other climes where they love you! Take a leaf from Ronaldo and tell them you are sad in Spain. Go a step further and tell them you would love to move on to the Premiership where you are sure the fans would adore you and such a trial by media over tax returns would never happen! Hey, Messi! Move now! If you remain in Spain, you’re going down! No ifs and buts, going down! Hehe!
let’s see how it unfolds. I am really curious.
P.S. The comment encouraging system is rather strange, though.
Spoke to a Spanish tax lawyer today, oddly enough. A Real fan, so the story had him chuckling. Suggested that a lot of high net worth / high profile individuals are under scrutiny at the moment – as much by way of sending a message as anything else. Be interesting to see how it pans out
Hmm, lost the end of the comment for some reason – but he didn’t think it would come to much and that if there was a genuine case a ‘deal’ would be done.
Or may be the story is so serious that feel they have the case to finish? Let’s see how it unfolds.
Possibly. Can’t help wondering that somewhere along the line someone will realise that potentially locking up the world’s best known footballer might not be too good for business though!
An excellent retrospective, Tony, thanks.
The overall effect of the season has been strangely wearying. I’m glad we managed to pinch a gong at the end but I’m honestly not sure I’d feel that differently if we hadn’t. I’m glad it’s over and I’m enjoying paying attention to cricket at the moment (surely not a good sign, come to think of it …)
I have to say, though, that José is making all the right noises, especially with regard to two major points:
1) saying he doesn’t want to bring in lots of new players;
2) going on and on about “stability” in a way that actually suggests he means it — the points he’s been making about how his job is to improve the team and how there needs to be a corresponding long-term club philosophy sound more than skin-deep to me.
Does he have enough clout to stick to these guns when the inevitable run of bad results happens? I think the league’s going to be pretty competitive next year (as does he) and it’s unrealistic to expect the kind of dominance we got used to in 04-05 and (especially) 05-06. Can Abramovich restrain the trigger finger when we lose a few games and the press are gleefully turning up the pressure in the hope of watching José blow?
It’s a peculiarly unpleasant thing to worry about, and yet I can’t get it out of the back of my mind. Abramovich has done wonders for us, but he’s also infected us fans with this permanent nagging doubt.
Ah well. England v Sri Lanka tomorrow, goodee.
Welcome to ST Andre Shurle
And following on from the podcast theme, perhaps we could sing this one next season
Are you sure Andre isn’t a hairdresser?
Well TSO said that last year we had more haircuts than goals. It looks like Shurle is from the last year trend 🙂 haircutwise of course only.
Fine fare there Tony (spot the gratuitous grocery retailer reference?). While football is always by turns depressing, tedious and uplifting I didn’t feel the same sense of weariness and frustration that many felt, in terms of watching the games and the how the players developed (or not).
Mind you, the off the field machinations and the background noise of fellow fans laying waste to each other was enervating as was the knowledge that the team management was on hold for yet another season.
Hence my welcoming of JM’s return. ‘Cause it either works and we’re all happy or it crashes and burns and we can all look to some Cormac McCarthy, post apocalyptic “The Road” style terror filled wasteland where we all push our broken down supermarket trolley of expectation along the danger-filled torn up highways of footballing hope, knowing that the green and pleasant land of the recent years is but a lost dream and we must face the future knowing that the second coming just didn’t work out the way the good book says it should.
On a lighter note, and for all you stats wallahs out there, Chelsea have never failed to win a European Trophy since the Podding Shed began broadcasting.
(now some of you will point out that when Lord Haw Haw started broadcasting the Wermacht were on a bit of a roll and look where that ended, but that strikes me as a rather bitter outlook)
Incredibly entertaining and well written! In the words of the late great Roger Ebbert, “Two Thumbs Up.”
Good to see spirit of revival on this blogg!
Eden Hazard shared the image on his FB account 🙂
Hehehehehe! The Blue Boys are feeling the Jose Revolution already! Can’t wait for the season to kick off!
and they still gave him 4 Balloon d’Ors . That should tell something about our defense and how much he stressed to play against us 🙂
Jose is proficient enough at self publicity I’m surprised he needs your PR services.
Hahahahaha! You can’t have enough of PR, Mark! Besides, PR at this level transcends Jose or any individual. It’s about the club as well, because the manager and the players are the human totems of the club and the only ones capable of generating the type of emotions fans need to function as part of the winning team in a club. I mean, look at it, from the moment Jose walked back in, Chelsea news in traditional and new media has virtually tripled. Imagine the number of hacks and media houses out there when Jose was being unveiled. It’s not just about money. Manchester City announced their own new man and it was as if no one really cared about that. Mourinho still dominates the news even without trying and after the lethargy of the past few years, Chelsea fans are once again rising worldwide, because they recognize that great things are about to happen again. For some of us, it is not just about what Jose wins, it is the feeling he arouses in the Chelsea fandom worldwide. That is what true history of made of! So far, even before the first ball is kicked, he has united Chelsea fans worldwide and with everything he say, we are convinced that he’s still got the fire in his belly to take us to the very top. Once the transfer window closes and we make sense of the resources at his disposal and what his plans for the season really are, we will all rise as one and back him! I know at the moment fans of other top teams in the Premiership are jealous of Chelsea fans with the arrival of Mourinho. It’s our job to make them more jealous by making sure we play our role as Jose’s Blue Army! Hehe!
haha. what follows is at least a hattrick against us, in the next years CL final…
Bored with transfer speculation. Roll on Wednesday and the fixture list…
I was surprised to read in yesterday’s Observer that compiling each season’s league fixtures starts 4 years in advance when the international schedule is announced.
Intrigued, too, to see in the range of parameters used is the EPL’s preference to avoid “big matches” on the opening day of the season.
Which is a timely reminder of the reduced status we still had as a club last time Jose arrived when Chelsea v Man U was obviously not considered too big a match for a first weekend game.
and they have been made to pay for it by no one else but our Eidur !
On a similar note – didn’t we play United on a Friday night early on (possibly first / second game of the season) once under Jose?
That tells a lot about Roman, tells a lot of good, actually!
Getting bored of the transfer window! The confederations cup is only providing a slight distraction! Can’t wait for the season to start and see the special one back!
Second fixture is Man USA away game. probably good time to play them.
Summoned to court! Lock him up! Taxes and death are inevitable
*kicks away tumbleweed*
Carlo has gone to Real Madrid, it says here. Good luck to him – splendid chap.
Indeed, one of the worst in the ever-growing list of awful decisions of our suits when they chopped him.
Meanwhile, I was shopping in my local Sainsbury’s this morning [ other fine supermarkets, including Waitrose, are available].
As I reached the checkout my eyes skimmed idly the front page of The Mirror that the shopper in front was buying and fell on a “RAFA OUT” headline.
Blimey, I thought, have Napoli sacked him already – before I twisted my head enough to recognise the small pic alongside was of the injury-prone Spanish tennis player, rather than the Fat Spanish Waiter.
Sigh…..is it August soon?
Yes, certainly not our finest hour. Particularly grim treatment for a very decent man who did a cracking job for us.
Wonder if Torres and Nadal will get together and ponder the future over the summer, gazing out over the sand to watch young athletes while opining that the kids seem to be an awful lot quicker these days?
Well that sorts out one lot of hot and cold balls come the Champions League. All that remains is for the suits to decide whether they want a Jose v Carlo match-up in the Group or later stages.
BBC says “Rafa should consider grass future”. I think this title will suit Nando as well.
Just thought I would get off my deck chair and introduce you to a very talented young man we’ve just signed…. Mr Rip Van Ginkel.
This little montage shows his potential talent. http://www.weaintgotnohistory.com/chelsea-fc-transfer-rumours-news/2013/7/4/4492970/marco-van-ginkel-highlight-video
Ginkel Twinkle little star
The boy has it, but my oh my do they really defend like that or did they just pose like statues so he looked good while passing/creating/scoring?
Far be it from me to disagree with our Transatlantic cousins at WAGNH, but I couldn’t help think the main thing the clips showed was how ropey defending is in the Dutch League rather than that van Ginkel is a versatile genius ready for the EPL.
Meanwhile, Lesson 1 in “Kremlinology: The Second Decade” came through the letter box yesterday in the shape of the foldout cardboard sleeve containing my new season ticket.
Last year’s equivalent had a cover pic of one of those group shots on the pitch with the CL trophy and a “We Are All Chelsea” strapline. This year’s has 4 pics in descending size of players, with the largest beckoning out at us and a strapline of “Join In”.
I assume this does not mean we are about to follow those nutters from the lower league who offered the chance to buy 10 minutes on the pitch for a league game, but what intrigued me was the choice of players for the cover.
Eventually, I concluded that it was meant to demonstrate the cosmopolitan nature of our squad, as there is a Brazilian, an Englishman, a Spaniard and a player from Central Europe. However, these are not Crazy David or Oscar; JT or Lampard; Mata or Torres; or Cech [though he gets a moody, shot from below, pic to himself on the inside.
No, the new face of the club consists of Ramires, Ashley Cole, Dave and Ivanovic – make of that what you will!
So true! Nothing says the galactico era is finished quite like a picture of Ramires grinning awkwardly and gesturing like he’s a volunteer usher waving you towards your seat at an amateur drama performance.
interesting history…. i have got interest to read it
if you wanna get live update of English premier league and about arsenal football club then
visit >>>> http://www.myarsenalnews.com
Praying now that the galactico era really is over (if Old Fat Wazza counts as a “galactico”, which come to think of it seems impluasible).
Please God, no Wazza. Please.
I see Shrek has stirred some of us into life, I refuse to let the whole saga spoil my “Ashes Cricket”
On saying that we know it’s going to drag on until Sky’s over hyped deadline day arrives. Announcing at one minute to midnight that mature (cough) working ladies have all moved from Manchester down to London.
From Eden Hazard’s FB page 🙂
Chelsea vs Malaysia preseason all goals highlights
2:0 Chelsea vs Inter highlights. Oscar does it again
Eden continues to entertain 🙂
*blows cobwebs away*
Have to admire the man’s optimism. Even Jesus would have baulked at pulling off a miracle like this, wouldn’t he?
Speaking about football. the goal from Shurle is something to admire.
Here it comes Barca is bidding for luiz
Chelsea vs Roma 2:1 and some moments to forget from Shwarzer
As good as it is of you to post links to the goals on our recent US tour. I’m afraid being selective in your posts only puts you into the camp of a government type “spin doctor” did we not lose to Real Madrid last Wednesday, or did we go undefeated? 😉
Anyway the season is nearly upon us, so will there be some more life injected into the blog from the regulars before Sunday? Or are some us still sunning ourselves, and drinking/eating copious amounts of burnt BBQ food?
Hi Clive, good to see you, too. Yeeeppp haven’t posted that one guilty as charged indeed. However, in my defense I can say that my posts have rather voluntary nature and did not try to provide a precise historical account of our preseason. Nevertheless here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dErE2IZHYuM
You’ll never make a politician, you’ve admitted guilt. 😉
To tell you the truth I am proud of it 🙂
Not quite ready to assist with the injections yet I’m afraid Clive. I’m still too busy enjoying reading the Australian cricketing press …
For those with an interest in such things, I’d recommend an article whose mordant wit wouldn’t disgrace our own Dr. Bayou:
I’ve also been enjoying the pummeling our antipodean friends have been taking this summer, what with “The Lions” and currently Captain Cook and his crew.
The guardian article was superb, thanks for the link, it would be great if similar things happened when we play Spurs/Arse/Utd/Pool just to round off a rather enjoyable summer.
Looks like old purple nose has got his apprentice in dealing with the media off to a good start.
Just picks where the old man left it 🙂
It’s “new season eve” surely some bloggers must be excited and looking forward to it, where are you all?
stocking up beer and meat for a good Sunday BBQ to celebrate beginning of the season. There will be tears of joy http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/23728230
A new season with Jose at the helm and I’m gonna miss the start of it – 15.20 flight out of Heathrow tomorrow!
Never mind, after waiting all this time another few hours, days or weeks (depending on what TV services are doing) won’t matter too much.
Must confess it still seems a bit unreal that he’s back at the Bridge and I don’t think it’s gonna sink in until I actually see him back on the touchline.
Well I’m now concerned so I’ve started the ball rolling….http://www.andersonchance.com/missing_persons.asp?gclid=CNy_nq2MhLkCFebJtAodCgMAuw
As chance would have it I just received a call from a chap called Anderson.
Rubbing in the embrocation now so will be ready by tomorrow.
Looking forward to reading our first match review from one of our intrepid reporters.
If we draw or lose…. JOSE OUT! 😉