Chelsea 2-2 West Brom – Cliché Klaxon! Get Out of Jail Free with CFC

A little preamble

A sad day for our little band of travellers from the Deep South of England into the great metropolis for our occasional delectation of Blue-tinted delights. Our much loved, slightly ramshackle, but always warm and friendly café, The Broadway Grill closed its doors Saturday after 37 years of providing the best proper pre-match fayre on earth. Proper wholesome football food, the sort of stuff that’s a naughty treat, not organic wholesome healthy tasteless expensive shite, but kebabs, burgers, breakfasts, mixed grills, all with chips, bread and butter, pitta bread, chilli sauce and so on. The owners have retired and sold it on and with heavy hearts our next home game will involve a no doubt painful search for something similar, that isn’t Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, gourmet or fucking sushi. To Mum and the family, enjoy your retirement, we’ll miss our Chelsea FC café and all the fellow fans we’ve got to know by face if not name.

I sat in the Club Room bantering with the others and jokingly said ‘I’ll take the draw’ something I’d be repeating incessantly in the last 10 minutes of the game. I also said Mourinho would lose the frankly astonishing home Premier League record not to Manchester United, not to Arsenal or any other big team. I said we’d be mugged by a West Brom, a Swansea or a Stoke. A smaller team will take that scalp, and Saturday it came within 30 seconds of coming to fruition. It was by far the closest ‘near miss’ we’ve had under either Mourinho reign. And yes, I know the term ‘near miss’ is grammatically wrong and ‘near hit’ would be right, but either way those who left with two minutes of the game remaining had already accepted our fate but ended up missing what the Premier League does best, drama, fighting, arguing, controversy, despair and joy. And with the results yesterday we can be thankful that this was a point gained rather than two lost.

The game

Another game, another selection headache, another team that could probably have been easily predicted. A team that on paper should be the match of any other team in the league if not Europe. I however, being in a niggly, devil’s advocate mood I stirred up a bit of debate with my contention pre-match that Cech was an increasing liability, that Lampard didn’t deserve a starting place (it should be the excellent Mikel) and that Eto’o despite my misgivings was turning into a proper poaching, hunting striker that other teams would both covet and hate. I should have had a bet shouldn’t I?

The first half was almost a carbon copy of last week’s Newcastle debacle with Chelsea holding possession against a team seemingly unwilling to cross the halfway line. The Baggies had come to park the proverbial bus. My criticism is we’re going to come across many teams like that. Under Jose Mk. 1 we would power our way through them, but this new team isn’t as reliant on power and favours creativity. However, it’s obvious that our Creative Herberts (© Dr Blue Bayou) just can’t seem to crack the conundrum of big defenders and packed defences. Something is missing. Just before half time the energetic and slightly chastened Hazard hit a superb shot parried by the impressive Myhill and before the Baggies defence could clear in swooped Eto’o to put the ball in the net. A poacher’s goal that Lineker, Muller (Gerd) and Rummenigge would have been proud of. I was not enamoured with Eto’o because of his spitting episodes and his disparaging comments about our club. But fuck it, I’m fickle, so now I love the bloke.

Half time and over a cold (tasteless) beer I chatted with my Matthew Harding Upper neighbours Attilio and Tony about how it was looking like a perfunctory cruise to victory. Not a thriller but a functional win and we’d be happy for the forthcoming two-week break. West Brom though hadn’t read any script and came out for the second half probably suspecting Chelsea would be settling for the 1-0, and having seen the Newcastle collapse maybe thought they could rattle us as we sleep walked through the second half. And that’s what happened. As we trod the perennial Chelsea path of cheaply losing possession and our shape, along with a growing sense of apathy from the pitch, the Baggies started to venture into our half and threaten our goal. Inevitably as we stumbled around in a carbon copy of our Newcastle visit the inevitable happened and West Brom equalised. Once again, just like last week, very few fans in blue seemed surprised. My first thoughts were that Cech could have cleared the ball after the initial save, but on a second view he’d fallen on his backside after the first save. Questions may be asked about how Shane Long could out jump our defenders but some credit is due for his determination in doing just that.

I had hoped this would spur us into action but no, we had passengers on the pitch and unusually Mourinho hadn’t spotted, or had ignored our weak spots in midfield. Oscar, for me, had another poor game aside from one decent free kick. He insisted on either being under Ramires’s feet or running into blind alleys. I like Oscar but he’s not firing at the moment and I hope he gets it back. In hindsight I think Mata should have replaced Oscar earlier because when he came on the team seemed to lift a little. Within a few minutes, the usually dependable Ivanovic had surrendered possession after a two-footed jump tackle narrowly missed him and West Brom got the ball and Sessegnon took an opportunity to sling a scuffy daisy cutter shot at our goal. Now 99 times from 100 I’d expect even the lamest goalkeeper to get a shot like that, but it was sort of near post-oriented and Cech feebly allowed the ball to roll under him. It bought back happier memories of Leeds United ‘keeper Gary Sprake doing similar at Wembley in 1970 from the late Peter Houseman. (Younger fans may need to search on Google for that glorious episode in our history.) But it was dismal, woeful and abject goalkeeping. And it just adds fuel to my fire that Cech needs competition. Schwarzer is decent back up but he isn’t competition and for me Courtois needs to be back next season competing with Cech for that coveted shirt. What worries me about Cech is how rooted to his line he is these days. He doesn’t command his box. He is no better than Ed de Goey. A decent shot stopper on his day, but suspect in the air, a bit of a flapper and worryingly susceptible on the near post. I want my ‘keepers to be like Schmeichel, loud, intimidating and scary and bellowing and putting the fear of God into his defenders and the opponent’s attackers in the proximity of the goal. Cech has been a good servant and great at times, not least of all Munich 2012, but maybe it’s time to rattle the cage of security with some competition. After this we saw Mourinho bring on Mata, Ba and Mikel. And then proceeded to play our football pretty much camped in the West Brom half. We missed sitters, as is our wont, Ba conspiring to miss a superb drilled cross from the impressive Cahill, and Willian putting a free header over the bar from six feet out. But as time wore on it looked like we’d left it too late.

As the 4th official held the board up signalling four minutes minimum (please note all you pundits and early leavers, it’s a MINIMUM time) the fans seemed resigned to the fate of defeat… well it had to come at some point didn’t it? Hmm… one thing about Mourinho teams is they play to the very last whistle, and with what would have undoubtedly been the last attack of the game, in the 94th minute, Ramires ran into the box and Steven Reid. He went down. No arm raised or cry for a penalty, but Andre Marriner took a few seconds for dramatic effect, and blew the whistle pointing to the spot. Unsurprisingy West Brom were collectively furious, fans, management, players and no doubt even the Hawthorns’ toilet cleaner. But the ref’s decision is final and despite the bickering and protests (which saw four or five West Brom players booked), along with three or so minutes of delay, up stepped the ‘son’ Hazard to please the ‘father’ Mourinho with as cool a penalty as you’re likely to see. Say what you like but that was a pressure penalty and his dispatch was almost Ballack-like in calmness. Of course we celebrated furiously which was odd because we’d expected a win, but in hindsight seeing yesterday’s results, that celebration was for the point gained against three rivals in Arsenal, Spurs and Citeh. And as much as anything else, the drama meant that emotion erupted at the end of what for large parts was a pretty average game.

Was it a penalty? Well having seen the incident live and thought he’d dived, then reviewed it many times on playback, I think it was perhaps soft. But thinking of how the referee had given any contact from a Chelsea player to a West Brom player a free kick in their favour, my conclusion was that anywhere else on the pitch and that’s a free kick for the majority of referees, ergo, if it happens in the area then it’s a penalty. What it wasn’t was blatant cheating. It wasn’t even a passable impression of anything as blatant as that we’ve seen from Ashley Young. And for Michael Owen and Alan Shearer to sit in the Match of the Day studios calling Ramires out for diving is just the most blatant example of pots calling kettles black. And Robbie Savage and Stan Collymore sounding off as if Ramires had done terrible things to their wives, mothers, grannies and pets was utter cuntery (© Jonny Dyer) of the highest order.


So a few final thoughts. Yes we were lucky. Yes, we’ve dipped in form in November as usual. Yes our ‘problems’ are unusual apportioned as they are to a surfeit of fabulous talent and making it click correctly. But Saturday was also about hard work, and Mourinho was right about how hard we fought to get back into a game threatening to spiral into a nasty defeat. In the end you reap what you sow, even if Lady Luck does hand you a bucket of good fortune. I’ve seen enough decisions on penalties go against us to know we were overdue something like that at some point. For me we need to look at Mikel or Luiz. Mikel is calm and has matured into a great water carrier-type player, and every team needs them. Luiz might have had the manic creative streak to make something happen. And we missed the industry of Schurrle as well, a player growing more impressive every time I see him.

Finally, a controversial point to finish on. I bow to no one in my admiration of the fabulous service we have had from Frank Lampard, but I do think I might be witnessing the start of his decline. He was appalling in this game. Any pace he may have had seems gone, witness the yellow card for a late tackle, a carbon copy of one he got versus Citeh. His passing seems way off beam and to be brutal he just got in the way. We should pick on form not achievement and for me The Charmed One is misguided in his unswerving faith in Frank. For me he needs benching, to come on when we need something of his mercurial talent, much like Giggs is used at United. He is still useful, but the signs of decline appear more obvious. I can’t help thinking that subconsciously he’s lost something since achieving the goals record. And knowing it’s likely to be his last season as a player with us and England having reached the century of caps. Add to that a consequent eye, perhaps on Beckham’s Braves or whatever he calls his soccer franchise, or a coaching role under Jose either of which may also be affecting his form. We need to start learning to live without Frank. Carefully and with dignity and respect. He deserves so much of that.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

There are 41 comments

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  1. PeteW

    From the little I’ve seen of the game, it really looks like the Lampard-Ramires axis is the issue. I can see the arguments for using them – Ramires has boundless energy, Lampard recyles the ball positively – but MIkel is easily our best (only?) option in that spot. With Mikel there, it may also free up Ramires more. But the problem central to the whole team is that we don’t have the right two players in the middle for this system – I’d rip it up and play 4-3-3 but apparently the club is committed to playing 4-2-3-1 at every level, which is one of those ideas that sounds clever but is actually pretty dumb, given that none of our youth players will make it into the first team, the few that do will spend years on loan playing 4-4-2 or whatever and that 4-2-3-1 doesn’t get the best out of our first team squad, which is surely the point of the entire club’s existence. I remember Hoddle and Rix insisted on us playing 3-5-2 throughout the club back in the 90s when that was the fad formation. Sounds amazing – ooooh, we have a PHILOSOPHY – but it’s retarded.

    As for Cech, I hardly think he is anywhere near our biggest concern. No other big club has a decent No 2, it just doesn’t work like that, but Cech has a bigger threat than any other player at the club hanging over him in the shape of Courtois. If Cech has a bad season (not a couple of iffy games), he’s a goner and in comes Courtois. And that’s it for Cech at Chelsea. It will be as simple and brutal as that. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Tony write Cech off before three or four times, but he’s always come back to prove he is one of the best three keepers in Europe. I expect the same to happen this year, giving us the Courtois headache again in the summer but I think there is a danger of massively under-appreciating how good and important a player we have in Cech in the search for the new and the shiny.

    But I am far more concerned about the central midfielders, and to a lesser extent the full backs, given that Cole has now been dropped, which means we are playing a CB at RB and a RB at LB. That don’t feel right.

    • GrocerJack

      I was deliberately a bit harsh on Cech and I believe firmly that whether its us or another club competition for places is critical Pete, and goalkeepers shouldn’t be exempt from that. For this reason i liked the old Shilton/Clemence rotation for England. It meant we always had a top notch keeper ready to go rather than relying on inexperience or experience based on being over 40. I don’t do tactics, they bore me but 4-3-3 has always worked pretty well for us so I’m not sure why we’re sticking so doggedly to the 4-2-3-1 you mention. My comments on Frank were not just mine on Saturday, and the point on subconsciously losing edge, especially when you’ve won all there is to win domestically and have gone past your 100 England caps, are on a final year contract (possibly) then he wouldn’t be the first or the last. He’s been fantastic and along with drogba is one of the only two statues I’d like to see next to Ossie, but if he’s thinking of coaching, a media role or joining Team Beckham I wish him well. I just don’t want to see him getting passed by like he has been in recent games. There’s no loss of dignity in a bench role and being used when we need his talents. I think I might be alone in actually having enjoyed the last 20 minutes on Saturday.

  2. PeteW

    Oh, and were Owen and Shearer really moaning about dives? Shearer. who got booked in his last England appearance with one of the funniest dives I’ve ever seen? Owen, who was an expert at it for Liverpool and England?

    I don’t mind diving, I find them hilarious when they fail and pretty amusing when they succeed (the only reason I’d watch Man U is to see Young have one of his tumbles), but I do despise hypocrisy. I get bored of excessive diving (Drogs, Barca) slowing down the tempo of a game, but the odd one or two is one of the best things about modern football.

    Did Ramires ‘look for it’? Yes, probably, but daft defending by Reid throwing his hip and coming across from that angle when he couldn’t get the ball. But ‘going down to easily’/’left his leg in’ etc always so subjective and doesn’t take account for the speed at which football is played and the amount of fouls that otherwise go unpunished.

    • GrocerJack

      Owen and Shearer were both guilty. Shearer rolled out his stock use of ‘shocking’ when in reality it was merely at best a poor decision from the ref. Shearer in his playing days would mostly stay on his feet, but Owen? And as for Savage/Collymore….dear God is this where punditry has fallen, to the absolute lowest common denominator? I’d accept those views from knowledgeable, thoughtful and intelligent ex players like Souness, Ballack, Neville (G), Terry Butcher, but not from journeymen cloggers like Savage or wannabee playboys like Collymore

  3. Cunningplan

    Good report Tony, and I mentioned on the Schalke blog that yes the penalty was soft, but with any contact in the box you run the risk, and yes Frank was very poor, and should have been subbed at half-time.

    I feel we did perform better than the Newcastle game, the work rate and effort was very good, we doubled up on quite a few occasions to win back the ball high up the pitch. Although with many of our lot putting in average performances at the moment. we didn’t have that creativity to open up their well organised defence.

    Slightly annoyed with Steve Clarke for having the nerve to say that his team deserved all three points when they quite clearly came for the draw, so in my book objective achieved and a draw was a fair result.

    Strange old season so far with the unpredictable results that the weekend has thrown up, but feel by Christmas we should see the usual suspects pulling ahead slightly in the table.

  4. Blueboydave

    Interesting report and discussion here and on the Podding Shed.

    Have to say I don’t think I’ve ever felt less elated by a stoppage time rescue of at least a point.

    Very sad to see the rapid physical decline of Lamps. As someone behind me remarked, he looks like he’s going to get more yellow cards through late tackles this season than he’s had in his entire career previously.

    I didn’t enjoy the last 20 minutes, Tony, as I thought we just looked like a Hackney Marshes shambles of pile everyone forward and hope for the best. I’m sure Ivanovic was channeling Mickey Droy during that spell, right down to having to be physically restrained in the centre circle after the equaliser to stop him from advancing to clock one of the opposition.

    As has been commented on already other results yesterday made things look not so bad, while the other good news that broke on the subject of fuckwit commentators/ pundits is that we will be spared ITV’s ghastly crew on CL nights from 2015 due to BT Sport wrestling the complete rights away from them and Sky.

  5. Blue_MikeL

    “Cech was an increasing liability, that Lampard didn’t deserve a starting place (it should be the excellent Mikel)” – can’t argue with it.

    Frank is not a starter anymore and shouldn’t be unless in some critical circumstances, Chech is moving into no starter land.
    He (Frank) was appalling already for some time, however the idea of beating scoring record last season brought some power into him, but this an end of the great, really great adventure.

  6. Der_Kaiser

    Had a quick look at Cech’s record last night. Of the nine full seasons he’s been with us, we’ve had the meanest defence in the league for five of them (granted he wasn’t available for most of one of those). We’ve had the second meanest in two other seasons. In the remaining two where we / he slipped below those standards, we won two major European trophies – the biggest one of those would not have happened without him. That’s before you go into general club / individual records for clean sheets, domestic trophies won and so forth.

    Always good to hear differing opinions on players and their form and disagreement is entirely natural, but based on his record and form I’m really struggling to see why there is any real concern about Petr. Courtois is undoubtedly the future, but at 31 Cech has many years ahead of him as a keeper for a top-flight club. I’d like to see who would be involved in the scramble for his signature should be become available – that would speak volumes.

    • Nick

      City would snap Cech up in a heartbeat, and for silly money too. I’ve seen very little of our football this season so can’t really comment on recent performances, but I don’t recall reading in any of the numerous match reports I’ve read elsewhere that Cech has been at the centre of our current slump in form – just the odd lapse like on Saturday.

      One thing I can understand is his apparent unwillingness to come off his line a bit more and get involved with both defenders and attackers, because the area of weakness in his skull caused by Hunt must always be in the back of his mind, so to speak, and I doubt even the best designed rugby helmet would give him 100% protection from a flailing elbow/raised knee/fall on the head (see: (Daily mail article alert)). In fact he’s probably changed his game since the ‘accident’ (it’s hard to remember how he played before the accident because it was a long time ago) and deliberately remains on his line unless he’s almost certain he can catch/punch with relative ease a high ball into the box (though there’ll always be some risk). He’s probably coached with this in mind, too.

    • GrocerJack

      Stats huh? Well I said what I said from observations at games, and for me he is susceptible at the near post, and this rooted to the line thing isn’t just me saying it. I also think that goalkeeper weakness doesn’t always cost you games if the defence can cover you and to some extent that has happened, especially in the post THO/TCO days with successive coaches putting all 11 in the box for a corner or free kick. THO/TCO leaves 2 players outfield, pulling opposition players, usually plus one extra back as well. I LOVE that ploy. I’m not anti-Cech just concerned that lack of competition like any other position leads to complacency, even unwittingly. So I stand by my 2 players for every position, including the ‘keeper, like the Shilton/Clemence scenario. Cech should know that constant errors will lead to a bench start because a hungry ‘keeper is ready to come in. Schwarzer is good and reliable, but hungry to be our number 1 he ain’t. Cech knows that and knows even after injury he’ll be straight back in without earning that place based on current form. That, for me is wrong.

      • PeteW

        I can’t think of any club in the past few seasons that has had two world class keepers on the books at the same time for the sake of competition. International football is very different to club football. It just doesn’t work like that. So, if Courtois comes, then Cech goes, simple as that. We may just get a season of overlap but I doubt either will want to sit on the bench. And if Cech goes, he’ll go to one of our big rivals, none of whom have a keeper half as good as Cech (with the possible exception of United). If Courtois is as good as he looks it’s less of a problem but it is still a monumental risk and we will inevitably strengthen a rival (can you imagine Cech at Arsenal, he’d improve them 5-10 points immediately).

        And Courtois will still have weaknesses – every keeper does – so be prepared for the odd slip up, it happens.

        As for the idea that competition reduces errors, has anybody discussed this with Luiz or Cahill? Doesn’t seem to work there.

        Also, I think there is a certain amount of romanticism regarding Cech pre-injury. He wasn’t actually as good as he is now because he was younger and less experienced, but he was playing behind a far stronger defence and midfield.

        • GrocerJack

          Cahill hasnt made any errors. Neither has Luiz barring Cardiff. Same ethos applies here surely. I don’t get your downer on Cahill. There are very few better defenders than him in the league in the same way you both profess Cech is in the top echelon. We’re very blessed to have such defenders in my view. And if Cortouis hands in a request and we let him go, then what? Another wasted talent. And then the inevitable hunt for another bright prospect we can pay for until we sell and another club benefits, from it. I take the view that the best coaches are happy to refresh in the way SAF did whatever the position. Again, I’m not anti-cech but to dismiss competition for such a key position makes you wrong, and every coach that ignores that as well.

          • PeteW

            I don’t have a downer on Cahill, I think he’s a perfectly adequate defender. He’s certainly not in the top five in his position in the world, as Cech is. And of course he makes mistakes – he’s flat on his arse for the first goal, while Cech is making a great instinctive stop and then getting no protection from his CBs from the loose ball.

            I don’t dislike the bloke, I just don’t think either he or Luiz are particularly amazing – it’s mad that Terry should still be our best CB at this point in his career. Luiz and Cahill continue to make errors, which is why JM is effectively rotating between them, and that isn’t great for the keeper either.

            And I haven’t dismissed competition – the competition is there, in the shape of Courtois in Spain, who is on our books and waiting the chance to take over for the next decade. That is all the competition that is required. Can’t recall SAF ever ditching a great keeper before his time was up and I know he wishes he’d been able to hang on to Schmeichel for longer.

            But you have a downer on Cech, you’ve been calling for his replacement or demanding greater competition every season for as long as I can remember – and yet he still ends every one of them as the best in the league.

          • Der_Kaiser

            How many keepers did Fergie use after Schmeichel left before he settled on Van Der Sar? Fair few of them only made the odd appearance or two, but it’s got to be a dozen.

      • Der_Kaiser

        But that’s the thing Tone – I mentioned his form as well as stats (and discount them all you like – let’s see a keeper in Europe with a comparable / better record; there can’t be many).

        I’m watching the games too and I just don’t see where he’s costing us points or how much / where the defence is bailing him out. It’s probably the main position on the pitch where errors are most noticeable and they just aren’t there. Nick’s point about him adjusting his game to allow for any perceived reluctance to come off his line is also valid.

        Saturday was a howler which he’s held his hands up to. Happy to be proved wrong, but despite having a fairly changeable defensive lineup in front of him which is arguably not as strong as it has been at any time during his time with us (and that’s before we get on to the midfield in front of them), he’s still among the top 5 in Europe – the situation is slightly skewed in the sense that we own one of the others on that shortlist.

        Competition is another matter and irrespective of whether Schwarzer is hungry or not, he’ll take his place if Cech becomes to be a liability. Sorry, I just don’t see what the problem is.

        • GrocerJack

          Blimey anyone would think I’ve just shot Cech 😉 Mind you if i decided to it’s not like he’d move quickly enough to dodge the bullet……oh and if you’re some snooping fuckwit from GCHQ/MI5/NSA/Mossad reading this, then that last comment was a JOKE, geddit?

  7. Ankur

    Agree with every point you made….Cech, Lampard ..and overall very slow pace…need to pick up all points before Arsenal…I don’t know how they will do it.

  8. Cunningplan

    Have to congratulate Tony with his views on Cech, just on the basis it’s put life back into the blog with some debate.

  9. Der_Kaiser

    To be honest, everything I’ve read about the apparent concerns over Cech seems to have as much to do with possibly losing Courtois as it does Cech himself. I’m sure the club have that in mind, but it’s no reason for ditching one of the world’s best goalkeepers for a 21 year old, albeit one who appears to be one hell of a prospect.

  10. bluebayou

    Never less than entertaining Tony. Sad about the eatery. You can drop your pet in for a manicure and spa on the way to the ground but can’t have a fry up. That’s Chelsea. While I have always hoped that the club would stay at the Bridge or worst case Earls Court, it is gradually being marooned in a sea of not just wealth but conspicuous opulence. Football’s roots have never seemed so far away.

    I had resigned myself to the defeat and did think Steve Clarke ending the unbeaten record would be less painful than others. Because it has to go one day.

    I don’t know how he and Jose get on these days, but as one of the architects of the unbeaten edifice, there’s no better man to swing the wrecking ball.

    • GrocerJack

      Yes, the surrounding area does seem to be slowly transforming into high end estate agents, gastro pubs, specialist organic food shops and other such ‘Made in Chelsea’ aberrations. I’m fine with Thai, Sushi, Vietnamese or bloody Antartican for a nice night out (slow roasted Penguin in a crushed snow jus anyone?), but on a match day it seems in keeping with tradition that a fry up, a mixed grill, a doner kebab or a half pound burger be on the menu. Gourmet Burger opposite might be bloody fantastic but for the unnecessary garnish of the word ‘Gourmet’. They probably put little flags in the top of the bun, the heathens. Our current Plan B is the back of the car consuming some burger van specials, with lashings of fried onions etc. But don’t get me started…’s like the sad sights of pubs being converted to MacDonalds or Tesco Express and being told the nearest pub is now the fucking Harvester or Table fucking Table 3 miles away.

      We’re in so much trouble……

  11. Blueboydave

    In another dull international break can I commend the official club website for brightening my day with today’s “Shot of The day” pic which I have already adopted as my new avatar.

    Well worth heading over there to see the full thing which also includes Dennis Waterman and a second not in the least gratuitous young woman.

    Will Wee Pat ever live this one down?

    • Ramone

      Ah, the ill fated ‘Chelsea Collection’. A Bates home brand I think. Building on the abominable Bates badge. I wonder why it didn’t last ? Perhaps it was that the marketing department couldn’t find the right sized gear for the models. Everybody appears to be swamped in lounge wear two sizes too large, bar wee Pat who must have had access only to the kids department. Wee shorts for the wee man. It’s a good job we can’t see his cocteau twins.

      • Blueboydave

        You have to wonder why the 80s avoided being dubbed the Decade That Taste Forgot, in our case at least.

        Still, the more things change etc. – I was struck on my recent brief annual visit to the Megastore to pick up my freebie Yearbook how much space is now devoted to leisurewear tat with no real football connection other than a Chelsea crest or name tacked on it.

        Looking at the website today it seems “The Collection” concept is alive and well still too:|category_root|12772=fashion&category|cat_12772|45170=collections

        Apologies, the link has glitched for some reason, but you can find the full range of “Collections” available with a few clicks, if you can bear it, under the Fashion section on the toolbar.

        • Ramone

          I expect the 70s hung onto the tragic taste award throughout the 80s – and that it probably still holds it. T

          Thanks for the collection link. What an eye opener. I’m certainly going to be buying my Mrs. a “Chelsea Thong – Women’s – Navy” for Christmas. Three things strike me about this item.

          Firstly it was nice of the club to point out that the Chelsea thong is a womens’ item. I was just about to get myself one until I noticed.

          Secondly, the nod in the design to the laced necked football shirts of the past, or perhaps the laced up ball, is exquisite. It’s good to know that, whilst in the throes of passion, out lady friends can still remind us of our footballing past.

          And third, despite 13.75 GBP being a bargain for luxury lingerie, I wonder if the club have ever sold a single one of these.

          Cum on you blues (can I write that?)

      • Agh57

        Kit was made by Umbro (At least that’s what they label inside said). I remember the badge came off my home kit the first time it was washed. Perhaps Uncle Ken provided them.

  12. disqussedit

    The Peterborough Cafe at Parsons Green might be worth a look. I’ve only been in there on Saturday matches, there is no website so not sure what the opening hours are. It’s like an old transport greasy spoon cafe, kind of sticking two fingers up to the rest of the area! Do a search on Google for some pictures/reviews.

    • Cunningplan

      Yes it seems Mike Riley might well be a busy man, rather silly as it could well set a precedent for every club to complain.

    • Blue_MikeL

      Came here to express the same sentiment WTF!!! They want to apologize, great no problem, but apologize for every fuck up and not selectively!

      • Ramone

        It seems a silly precedent to set. They have just painted themselves into a corner.

        As Mourinho says pre West Ham

        “Nobody called me to apologise that it wasn’t a free-kick against West Brom for their second goal,”
        “I am curious to know if people see that as a normal
        situation, if now on it is going to be the same for everybody [to get a
        phone call],”

        • Blue_MikeL

          exactly. It is extremely ridiculous and doesn’t look good at all. How can they single out for what they sorry and for what they think it’s not worth to apologize.

  13. Ramone

    After we got bullied into submission last year at West Ham, what team do you reckon we’ll put out this time ?

    Cech, Ivan, Terry, Cahill, Azpi, Mikel, Ramires, Shirley, Hazard, Oscar, Nando.

    Maybe ? I’d prefer Azpi at RB and Cole at LB but I reckon he’ll want Ivan for a bit of power in the air, and to go to three at the back when we go 1-0 down after 65 minutes.

  14. zaphod

    >We need to start learning to live without Frank.

    Talk about bad timing.

    For all the wisdom on this blog, I never understood the inability to restrain the certinity of one’s opinions or distinguish them from facts.

    • Ramone


      It may be that we went from playing Frank in the double pivot for which he is ill suited, and which sees him getting caught out (yellow cards v City and WBA as evidence) to playing him in a 4-3-3 for the first time this season. When we do that Mikel will sit and Frank can push on and get into positions to score. Which he duly did.

      My – probably not too controversial – opinion is that Frank is an older bloke who can’t play every game and so we will have to learn to live without him for some games. And I wouldn’t bet my house on him being there next year which may be more controversial.

  15. bluebayou

    Those on here who pointed to Riley’s apology as a hostage to fortune have been proved right almost immediately.

    The last gasp penalty against West Brom involved a significant collision, with the only question being as to whether Ramires was already stumbling. The ref made a decision; it was controversial because of the timing of the award rather than the award itself. If he gives that in the 23rd minute the media would not have focused so heavily on it.

    And that’s the problem. My perception is that the FA and the Referees’ company seem to always feel the need to react to media pressure. There have been plenty of decisions, which were completely indefensible, yet Riley intervenes in a situation where, by comparison, the referee could easily defend his decision to give a foul.

    Now we’ve just had a weekend where in game after game it seems as though referees have not just made wrong decisions but have clearly ignored either the laws of the game or the manner in which they are meant to be, and are applied, week in week out.

    And because Riley felt the need to apologise for one incident, which could quite easily have been defended in the usual fashion, these poor decisions at the weekend now become even more controversial if an apology is not forthcoming. It is just another aspect on which the media frenzy can feed.

    They never learn. In their unseemly haste to pander to the media and score what they think is an easy PR victory (backing the small WBA against the evil “ref accusing” Chelsea, if you want to be extreme about it) they’ve just made their media position a whole lot worse.

    And a last thought. In the Meireles and Rooney incidents, the “referees should try and keep 11 men on the pitch to maintain the quality of the spectacle” party seem strangely quiet. Possibly ’cause they’re the same lot who are now baying for the ref’s blood. Yes both could/should have seen red, but play back any season’s worth of games and you’ll find similar decisions.

    You might struggle to find one as completely baffling as the Wes Brown sending off.

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