Well, here we are again for edition number two of the weekly roundup of facts, gossip, rumours, trivia and salacious lies surrounding our beloved Chelsea FC.
It’s a funny thing being a football fan don’t you think? You choose your team through some sort of lucky chance, or the influence of an overbearing fanatic parent, or the peer pressure of school friends when you’re young and from that day onwards, in the case of the true supporter, you’re forever wedded to that team in some sort of bizarre mutual stranglehold until the day you die. Only it isn’t mutual really. Let’s face it, if you decided to move onto… Arsenal for example and wrote to the club resigning your ‘fanship’ they’re hardly likely to reply, and even in the unlikely event of a reply it would probably just be along the lines of ‘toodle pip then’.
During the length of your support you may even wobble and find your eyes cast elsewhere, envious of the success of others, or persuaded by peers (especially those at school) that if you don’t you’ll be one of life’s eternal losers. In this instance it has to be said you’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Changing teams publicly is tantamount to a form of heresy that many would think hanging too good a punishment for. On the other hand all things tend to even out and changing teams is akin to changing lanes in a traffic queue because the one next to you is moving whilst you sit there fuming quietly at the injustice of it all. What happens within 10 seconds of moving lanes? Yep, the one you’re in will grind to a halt and you’ll sit there watching all the grinning fools who were sat behind driving past you with even bigger smugger grins. It’s the same with football. If you changed from Chelsea to Arsenal circa 2004 then you’ll know exactly what I mean. Even then I reckon the person who ‘crosses the floor’ will always at their very core have the original team’s ghostly presence in the background.
Often this team changing affects the younger female population more as their fragile young loyalties are tempted away from Dad into the younger, skinnier arms of young beaus who are not even thinking 30 minutes into the future. Such is life and I often wonder if my own Daughter Number 1 will return on one of her brief ‘hot water’ or ‘hair straightening’ visits to the house adorned in the treacherous red and white Gooner shirt of her boyfriend, Marine Boy. And people wonder why I worry.
In the devious world of men and those becoming men, almost all those I know and have known have lied in some way in order to seal the deal on the young lady within their sights. Especially when frequenting target rich environments such as discos… I believe they’re called ‘nightclubs’ nowadays. You know the ‘Of course I love you… now let me just put this in here…’ or the ‘Yeah, qualified as a fighter pilot today, flying my first mission next week, love… now any chance of a night at your place before I fight for Queen and country?’ type of thing, but never, ever would I entertain the thought of pretending to support Liverpool just to get a leg over… sorry… a night of fireworks and twinkling lights as we feast upon the passionate fruits of our young lust. Nope, in my world she’d just have to lose out.
Anyway, Chelsea are my team and have been for 37 years now, so let’s get on with the news.
After the thrills and spills of the previous week (see Chelsea Weekly Times passim…) the rumbling noise that could be heard around Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening was the sound of our juggernaut crashing back to Earth in an uneventful 0-0 draw against our FA Cup final opponents Everton. Let’s be fair here, this was always likely seeing how this season has unfolded for us so far, but the difference is under Scolari the Everton game might have been a home defeat, whereas after last season’s home results and this season’s earlier fixture against the Toffees, a dour 0-0 draw probably featured fairly high up the bookies list of likely outcomes. The biggest plus for me is that it extinguishes any more talk of us winning the Premiership this year, allowing us to concentrate on bagging an FA Cup and perhaps even a Champions League. Personally I’d settle for either if not both, and then the serious business of recruiting the next coach can get under way. Is it Ancelotti? Is it Rijkaard? Is Moyes the man? Who knows? The press are throwing out Ancelotti as the favourite but my guess is that those statements are about as educated as Alastair Darling’s on the economy.
On Friday we witnessed the remarkable Frank Lampard call into LBC and speak to their host James ‘O Brien, yet another presenter in the Jeremy Kyle ‘judge and jury’ style. It’s all over the internet and if you haven’t heard it then I’m sure our kind and benevolent editor, Nick, will happily post a link. It’s rousing stuff and Frank acquitted himself superbly against a professional broadcaster who really had no place to go and started to backtrack furiously. Kay Burley then interviewed ‘O Brien and also had him back-pedalling, and if I’m not mistaken squirming a bit before he started to change the story and act like some sort of pompous, pious paragon of virtue. Sorry mate, Frank owns you now.
On to Saturday and the march into Zola’s kingdom at plucky West Ham, a team seemingly constantly under missile attack either from the FA, the Premier League, the press or the banks. Of course it was important to win, but ultimately one couldn’t help but wonder how many eyes were cast towards the Nou Camp for Tuesday. Luckily it was not the case. Lucky Guus made five changes from Wednesday’s team selection and by all accounts a routine win was forthcoming with the startling news that Cech actually saved a penalty. And did so rather well. This win is slightly tempered by the news of Zola and Clarkey signing four-year deals with West Ham thus removing them presumably from any potential manager hit list sitting on Roman’s desk.
So what do we have to look forward to this week then. Hmm. It looks pretty standard fayre to me, a Champions League tie away against Flamenco Footballing Kings, Barcelona on Tuesday, a home tie against our nearest geographic rivals, ‘a small team in Fulham’ called… ahem… Fulham, resurgent under Roy Hodgson and vying for a Europa League place themselves next year. Fulham themselves are also one of the biggest party poopers for us recently and managed to get a 2-2 draw at their place with an equaliser right at the death, which amongst many other draws this season, and like last season, have been very costly in the race for the title. This is of course followed by a hum-drum home tie against the Imperious Iberian Emperors of Barcelona again. All in a normal April week for Chelsea these days.
Some facts, gossip and lies with my very own Bullshit Rating alongside where 0 is fact, 1 is possibly true and 5 is a heaving smelly dung pile of utterly rotten putrefying bullshit.
"Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho wants to go back to his former club Chelsea in order to sign midfielder Deco." TGBS Rating 4/5 – Yeah he’ll want him because he was so keen on him when he left Porto wasn’t he? Although in one way I hope it is true and he does take Deco… far far away from us.
"Chelsea have succeeded in their attempts to bring in AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti as their next manager after he agreed to join the Stamford Bridge club." TGBS Rating 1/5 – Despite the fan polls showing him to be highly unpopular it does seem likely Roman favours him heavily despite the apparent language/culture barrier.
"Forward Andriy Shevchenko wants to stay at AC Milan for the long term despite being used mainly as substitute this season after moving back to the San Siro from Chelsea. ‘I am reborn and I would like to stay,’ the Ukrainian told reporters after scoring twice in a midweek practice game." TGBS rating 1/5 – Good. Stay there. Be reborn as a sub then. Better that than warming our bench and doing the pro-celebrity golf circuit.
"Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko will return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season because AC Milan will not pay the £9m fee to turn his loan deal permanent." TGBS rating 3/5 – Yeah, just what we need, a striker whose legs have gone.
"The Blues are willing to listen to offers for striker Nicolas Anelka at the end of the season and hope to recoup most of the £15m they spent to sign him from Bolton." TGBS rating 3/5 – Five in, five out says Buck and maybe Nico is one. I like him but there’s no doubt he’s gone off the boil since being overtaken as first choice by Drogba. Most other teams would kill for a striker like Anelka though so this does seem a tad bizarre.
"Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne has emerged as a shock target for Real Madrid." TGBS rating 5/5 – Total and utter bollocks.
"Ashley Cole wants to stay at Chelsea and win more trophies with the Stamford Bridge outfit. The left-back has two years remaining on his current contract, but has been linked with a summer move to Manchester City." TGBS Rating 2/5 – I hope this is true – voted for him as our Player of the year.
"Chelsea star John Mikel Obi has been banned from driving for 15 months after admitting drinking and driving." TGBS Rating 0/5 – Sadly true, but he won’t be the last young well off man to fall foul of the law. It’s hardly fighting in a nightclub is it?
Here’s to a good week people.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!