Albert Einstein once defined madness as the act of doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. The perfect description for Chelsea Football Club then. Why do I say this? Well, no matter how different we try to become, no matter how the club is run it ends up being the same. We had turmoil during the Mears family era with misguided new stands built to coincide with the austerity of the 70s, driving us into hideous debt for which the team suffered and the merry go round of managerial staff really began. But their days were numbered…
Into town rode Uncle Ken Bates, buying the club for the princely sum of £1 and over the years putting us back on an even footing, saving the ground, installing a faster revolving door on the manager’s office, failing to install electric fencing (no doubt for the health and safety of us fans) before yet again undertaking an ill-conceived development of hotels for Chelsea ‘Village’ and putting the club heavily back into debt and once again on the verge of bankruptcy.
Then came the mysterious man from the East… well Russia, seeking credibility and a plaything. This man was rich beyond the wildest dreams of avarice and he was good. The debt was cleared, the club was once again solvent-ish and the money was splashed and the players came in. The revolving door was removed and in strode The Special One, changing everything before him, instilling a true winning culture and ethos. But The Russian had developed that well known disorder amongst club owners, Trigger Finger, a side effect of the more serious conditions of Chronic Impatience and Power Madness. The money was splashed on a high tech training centre and despite the success of the young arrogant enfant terrible, he was summarily despatched in a Clash of the Ego-Titans showdown. The revolving door was re-fitted as Einstein’s definition started to kick in again until we end up in 2009, an FA Cup safely garnered by Guus from what looked a season of disaster after the failed experiments of Grant and Scolari.
And then came Carlo, a calming presence and the final sated desire of Roman was in place. This was the man, the choice, the new Special One to take us to greater glory. Of course this was so different to the Mears’ choice of Docherty or Sexton, a million miles from Bates’ choice of Gullitt or Vialli. This was where we changed for good.
To be fair it worked for a while, Carlo seemingly enamoured with keeping Mr Chelsea, Ray Wilkins, close by his side, helping in all areas, not least translation skills. The first season under this new dual stewardship, the ‘bromance’ of Ray and Carlo, the players responded, some completed their rehabilitation (Malouda) and some looked like Chelsea cult heroes (Ivanovic), the Double was sought and won and despite a former son dumping us out of the Champions League (well who else would be capable?) all looked rosy. We even saw some of the much vaunted youngsters start to hatch from their incubation pods.
And then came Trigger Finger. Just as it all looked good and rosy, out went Carlo’s ‘bro’ and it coincided with a slump in form not seen since The Special One left only to replaced by a charlatan. And once again, using the PR skills developed under the Mears, finely honed under Uncle Ken, and tweaked even further under the Abramovich dynasty we manage to point the gun at both feet and shoot.
Conspiracy theories rained down upon us, the Twittersphere fired all cylinders and at one point Carlo was about to jack it all in allegedly. The dismal Chelsea PR machine and hierarchy had done the same thing again, no doubt expecting different results.
Three defeats in four, dismal displays in three and a superb but losing display in one. The club maintained its actions were innocent in this slump. And then came MSK Zilina, and for the first time we saw the faint glimmer of a bright future coming from the Academy. Like flowers opening their petals in Spring, the tentative first 30 minutes were about surviving the harsh frost of being up against hardened pros, but having survived that with minimal damage the young flowers went into full bloom. Kakuta was arguably the only casualty not surviving past half time. I don’t know why this was because his link up play was superb and his speed astonishing. I fear his ostentatious displays and undoubted ability have been put through the young footballer development homogenisation process, designed to engender the team player whilst crushing audacious talent and individuality. Let him bloom Carlo, let him bloom. Young McEachran, Paddy Van Aanholt, Danny Sturridge and Jeff Bruma all put in fine turns, and let’s not forget another youngster, the much maligned Ramires who was great in the tackle and the pass, and was unlucky not to show a Rivelino like bender the back of the net. Add into this a fine handling display from Turnbull and all of a sudden the bi-polar transition is once again complete. Once again we drink from the cup of comforting warmth having removed our mouths from the cup of bile and vitriol served by the clubs cack-handed treatment of the fans.
Carlo said as publicly as he could what he thought of the Emenalo appointment, much like renaissance and classic artists used their paintings to subtly deride society and the ruling regimes, putting their messages out to the proletariat. English may be his alt-language, but this was beautifully executed and although I’ve never warmed to him like I did with Jose and Guus suddenly I find the sparks of admiration of him as a man of dignity starting to glow. It was marvellous and he deserves credit for keeping his head whilst others, many of us included lost theirs.
And there we have it my friends, a quick glance over our shoulders at why we’re seen as bi-polar fans both within and without. And why our club has a permanent sheen of madness over it, because no matter who’s in charge, the minute they take the keys to the door, they are cursed to follow all owners and boards previously.