Chelsea 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers – Newspaper Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report, Good and Bad, Player Ratings

Newspaper reports

The Observer, Paul Doyle: “From Russia without oomph. Chelsea tackled this domestic chore as if drained by their midweek trek to Moscow and, although they eventually stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points and extended their 100% record at Stamford Bridge for the campaign, this was a far-from-perfect performance.”

The Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “Anyone investing even a modest sum on Wolverhampton Wanderers to win here at something around 20-1 would have received an unexpectedly good run for their money. It was tighter than many a fixture between League leaders and those down among the dead men at the bottom, without in the end even denting Chelsea’s extraordinary home record. Like all Premier League visitors since Aston Villa last March, Wolves failed to score, but few if any can have had more opportunities to do so. A finish was simply not there, bringing to mind last season’s feeble total of 32 goals, the worst of any team.”

Sunday Telegraph, Duncan White: “After victory in Moscow this was another controlled, if far from exhilarating, win. There is no doubt that Ancelotti’s team still miss their attacking fulcrum in Frank Lampard, who, the Italian says, will return to training at the end of this week and will be available after the Blackburn game next weekend.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea made it eight consecutive home clean sheets in the League against Wolves today following a tense game inside the Bridge which saw Jose Bosingwa play 78 minutes of football.”

The goals

23′ Malouda 1-0
81′ Kalou 2-0

The preamble

I bet some of you erstwhile readers think this writing lark’s all a bit easy, it’s all just “go to the match, watch game, fill up memory cells with key moments, go home, write the facts, send it in”. Well let me tell you my friends it doesn’t work like that at all. We work hard at our training sessions, we work with our coaches and we have to constantly think up different themes for the reports and articles in our quest to keep this journal fresh and interesting, and of course to keep our Dear Leader happy. If any of us disappear suddenly and without any trace then it may just be that we have in some way displeased our Dear Leader, maybe with a shoddy performance, or because we politely challenged something he has asked us to do.

Prior to a report, the selected writer will adjourn to a quiet area and run through a set of cognitive exercises to limber up the old grey matter and get those neurons firing efficiently. Those not chosen will stand on the virtual sidelines waiting for the Chosen One to come forth and show us the report, much like Moses did when coming down from the mountain. It is always a moment of great revelation to get an early read of the blog when a new article has been posted. But, there are occasions when the Chosen One pulls up and for whatever reason is unable to fulfil the honour of entertaining and informing you, dear reader brethren, on all things relating to our wonderful club. At this point, the Dear Leader walks over to you in a virtual manner, and whispers in your shell-like the well chosen words that mean a stiff call to arms:

“Get your keyboard ready son, you’re going on.”

Today was such a day. Our top striker… sorry… writer has some rather more important and pressing business to attend to and so I got the late call to express some views on today’s game. I just hope I can do the good Lord Kaiser justice at such late notice.

So, to the football and a chance to watch some real stuff instead of self-serving posturing from Mister Rooney, some sinister undertones from Sir Rednose and some even stupider posturing and brinkmanship from those involved in the Portsmouth tragi-farce.

All we needed was a good win and a decent performance from our boys and the weekend would be set fair, and we could all sit and watch Citeh and the Arse play out a knackering draw tomorrow as comfortable pseudo-neutrals. Trust Wolves to put in a decent attempt at stifling that goal…

The match

So, oblivious to the call of duty I duly arrived at the ground after polishing off a decent plate of cholesterol-based meat products and chips at the newly renamed Broadway Cafe (formerly the American Cafe) in a successful attempt to drive away the hangover demons left over from a raucous night of Guinness and Rioja. The atmosphere was muted, and the team announcement met with knowing and approving smiles as we saw Drogba back in the starting line up along with Jose Bosingwa starting his first game for over a year. The general feeling was that this might be another walkover and a hatful of goals. Well, in my usual default position of uber pessimist I was seeming a lone detractor from this optimistic rather rose tinted view. Judging by the rather quiet atmosphere in the stands, it seems a lot were expecting a rather perfunctory barely breaking sweat win over Mick McCarthy’s plucky but doomed team of cloggers. Well, it seems I was rather more right to be a bit concerned, and more accurate than most with my forecast of 2-0 at best. Now I had expected that mainly based on last season’s thumping we gave them at Stamford Bridge, which I had thought might mean a siege mentally for Wolves based on them parking the old charabanc firmly in front of goal, aligned with a suspicion that we’d be rather tired after a long trip and tough game in Moscow. Am I being a bit smug here? Damn right I am!

On the tactics front I think we were trying to play the Dummy Reversal method or perhaps a Drury Convention. As usual, you might guess that I’m still not turned on by systems and tactics, sticking with my thesis that “Nobody really knows anything about football”.

The first half was a rather strange affair, akin to the recent display against Villa at times but punctuated by some good stuff, especially Bosingwa’s stinging shot which bought a wonder save from Hahnemann. Overall, we couldn’t really get any tempo going, I suspect due to a combination of rather daring play from Wolves who held the ball admirably and some rather leggy Chelsea players operating a few percentage points below their optimum level. Wolves were rather good value, although the Chelsea fans probably didn’t appreciate it. Yes, as Danny Murphy said there were a few hard tackles from them, but similarly we’re hardly a side that worries unduly about a little rough house treatment. We barely made Hahnemann do any work at all other than the save and at times stringing more than three or four passes together was looking like a tough task. But we are, if nothing else, a resilient team and even when we’re under par we still have the ability to grind out a result – that’s what differentiates us from Arsenal, and it will be interesting to if Citeh have the same mental toughness when things are a bit tight. After the luck they got against Blackpool I would suspect not. On 23 minutes we did however put together a lovely move with the impressive Anelka linking well with Zhirkhov to thread through Wolves defence and leave Malouda with an easy strike to give us an early-ish advantage. The expected goalfest never happened but we did have a good chance or two after that. 1-0 at the break and a strange feeling of missed chances that we’d normally bury had me feeling that my prediction was looking better by the minute. I should have had a bet.

The second half followed a similar vein with bursts from us, good possession in the midfield from Wolves and some dogged defending from us as well. I’ve not seen the stats but I’m guessing Wolves won the corners count in the second half. Luckily their lack of quality up front would have meant something special would be needed to breach big Pete’s goal. As the half wore on the performance became more laboured and Carlo seemed to have spotted this, with Kalou coming on for a tired looking Malouda. It did the trick, and a fresh Kalou seemed to spark up the rest of the team a little and the last 15 minutes were arguably our best and most consistent part of the whole match. On 81 minutes another fine piece of work on the right this time saw the ball threaded through Wolves again for a clinical finish by a much improved Kalou. 2-0 with 10 minutes to go and the points were in the bag, but credit to Wolves who unlike Arsenal when they conceded the second goal, their heads never dropped. They may struggle to stay in the Premier League this year, but on today’s performance they will cause some teams a few problems. Ferreira came on for Bosingwa who can relax happy in the knowledge that he did a decent turn today. The other substitution was young Josh McEachran coming on for Zhirkhov with 10 minutes left. More game time for the young man can only be good thing.

Standard Good, Bad and Ugly fayre this week as time is of the essence and I want to sit down and watch some mindless TV before drifting off into a non-alcohol based sleep.

The good

  • Another clean sheet. I am fairly sure the last goal conceded by us at Stamford Bridge was Aston Villa and that was way back in March. That’s a pretty awesome statistic by any account.
  • Another win, putting us clear at the top by five points at the time of writing, and many of us wanting an Arsenal win against Citeh. Not often you’ll hear that said.
  • The referee. A good performance today from Lee Probert who was unfussy and allowed the game to flow.
  • Spurs getting a taste of the post European game hangover and struggling to a 1-1 against Everton.

The bad

  • Didier Drogba – not a return he’ll remember with any great satisfaction, but to be fair he was patently way below his normal fitness level, so it was good he got a full game under his belt.

The ugly

  • Stephen Hunt… who is most a definitely a cu… well you all know what he is.

The much loved and adored player ratings (out of 10 and from the default score of six with marks added or subtracted for being good or bad)

  • Big Pete – 8/10 – looks very close to his imperious former best
  • Bosingwa – 8/10 – a polished return
  • Cole – 7/10 – screwed a couple of gift chances to have a shot or get a decent cross in but like others he look shagged out
  • Terry – 7.5/10 – standard good stuff from him
  • Branners – 7.5/10 – a great foil for JT
  • Obi – 7.5/10 – a bit subdued compared to his recent high standards, but OK in general
  • Zhirkhov – 7/5/10 – looks a very good option for making things happen
  • Flo – 7/10 – low key performance but a steady strike for the first goal
  • Essien – 7/10 – an even lower key game with some uncharacteristic losses of possession and stray passing. Obviously tired
  • Nico – 8.5/10 – sheer utter quality oozing from every pore but needs to be a bit more selfish from time to time
  • Drogs – 6/10 – not fit, frustrating and frustrated but still helped for the second goal
  • Kalou (for Malouda) – 8/10 – not on for long but scored a lovely goal and livened us up. A much improved player from previous seasons
  • McEachran and Ferreira (for Zhirkov and Bosingwa)- 6/10 – both did OK considering they weren’t on for long
  • Overall team performance – 7/10 – not great but not poor, and definitely laboured

Man of the Match

Nico – who was sheer class today and the best on the ball by a long way.

Final thoughts

A five point lead looks good and a draw between Citeh and the Arse would be a good result, or even an Arsenal win. The performance wasn’t good, as even Carlo acknowledged but the result is always the more important factor, and as the hackneyed old cliche goes… the sign of a great team is one that wins when playing poorly, and that was very much written for us today. There’s little doubt the midweek exertions played their part in an under par performance, but it does look like we’re one of the few teams that can roll our sleeves up and do a job even with a European hangover.

A bit like me, in fact.

A week’s break until an arduous trip to Blackburn next weekend will no doubt give some of our stars a chance to relax those muscles.

And talking of aching muscles, the one in my skull is switching off bit by bit, the eyelids are drooping and the keyboard is making more and more mistakes. So, much like Chelsea this sub standard performance from me will hopefully keep me in good stead with our Dear Leader, and as Carlo himself said… the result is more important the performance…

Time for bed said Zebedee… zzz…

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

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There are 58 comments

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  1. Nick Benfield

    A splendid performance off the bench, Tony.

    I missed the game. I kept up with proceedings via the BBC website and Red Button. I’ve watched the goal videos several times now though. A couple of crackers.

  2. Anonymous

    A great report Tony on what was a rather strange game.

    We looked tired and rather bored at the prospect of having to stroll past a strangely impressive Wolves side, and when combined with a trip to Moscow, it all added up to a routine and pretty dull win.

    We should have scored 4 or 5 but our decision making on the break was abysmal at times and DIider’s illness led to a pretty poor performance from our front man. But Bosingwa’s return, the 5 point lead at the top of the table and Carlo’s calm analysis of our rather average performance mean there’s nothing to worry about. It was the performance of Champions as they said on MOTD tonight and when combined with tomorrow’s Super Sunday at Eastlands, things are looking up for us. Plus Frank should be back this week so what can go wrong?

    Ok, that’s a dangerous thing for a Chelsea fan to ask but seriously, if City lose tomorrow, who can stop us?

  3. Avadu

    I think we should consider ourselves really lucky to have a player like Nico at our club, you can have your money grabbing, fag smoking, whore mongering Shrek like types I,ll have Nico every time, he really is a joy to watch and the last time I was so entranced by a Chelsea player he had the number 25 on his back.

  4. Anonymous

    Nice report Tony.

    I thought Wolves did a good job today- they had quite a number of dangerous moves. They just never had anyone with enough quality to put the ball in. The acquisition of a half-decent striker will really turn their season around.

    I think we had the combination of some tired legs, a few coming back from injury, and other problems leading to a lack of cutting edge. Drogs wasn’t on form, which you can’t really blame him for. Ancelotti remarked that he wanted to play Drogba despite his form to get him match fit, so you can’t be too upset that most of our attacking moves broke down in one way or another when Didier was on the ball. I love the kid, but it isn’t like Kakuta would have been much better today. There is no shame in winning two nil.

    In the meantime, the team isn’t firing upon all cylinders, but they are keeping all cylinders firing. From all games played this season we’ve only dropped 5 points. We aren’t playing at maximum potential, and it is clear that everyone knows it. Reassuringly, no one is panicking. Sometimes we win with quality, other times we grind out results. But as of right now we have a decent buffer in the league and are cruising to a first seed in the CL. The only real hiccup is losing in the Carling Cup. In the meantime the team is growing more comfortable with Carlo’s system, players are coming back from injury, and we’ll be able to rotate and alleviate some tired legs. By the time the pointy end of the fixtures roll around we should be playing with sharpness again.

    Three players caught my eye today. I thought Zhirkov did quite well- some good dribbling, good passing range, and some nice runs late into the box. I also thought Kalou and Bosingwa had nice games, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. Bosingwa looked sharp (does anyone remember him being this good before?) and Kalou worked well on the right. I haven’t checked the chalkboards, but it looked like Bosingwa was working the wing, and Kalou played more on the inside-right. We all know Kalou is clueless on the wing- but he did a nice job in a more central role. I’m hoping the two of them will develop a relationship similar to Ashley and Malouda. (Well one can hope).

    In the meantime, everything is going well. It won’t always be like this, so for the time being we should enjoy it.

  5. Clive

    Good report Mr G. even though we looked a bit leggy, I always felt that if we needed to go up a gear or two, then we were more than capable. Kudos to Wolves also, they played well, and produced a few heart in mouth moments, especially from crosses, and set pieces. I don’t know if anyone else saw Hunt’s forearm smash on Bosingwa, but it looked intentional to me, he really is a nasty piece of work.
    All in all a good three points, which keeps the pressure on the trailing pack, and yes wanting an Arse win over Citeh today, never thought I would ever be saying, or wanting that.

  6. Anonymous

    I suffered a similar kind of heart-sinking start to proceedings to TG brought on from reading the “Did You Know?” page in the match programme, which set up a horrible hostage to fortune by not only pointing out that we were going for a club-record 8th home top-flight league clean sheet since Carew scored for Villa as pointed out above, but also reminding us that Wolves have the joint worst away record in EPL this season [ with ‘Poo would you believe].I was mightily relieved when all bi-polar Chelsea fans’ hero, Kalou, put the result to bed and I could start taking some comfort in Bosingwa’s fine first game back after so long and Josh getting his now customary cameo game-time too.TG’s new hero, Ian Holloway, makes a plea for video technology in his regular Independent on Sunday column today, which ends with this gem:”This technology is available. We know that because we see Andy Gray using it on Sky every week and it must be easy to use if he’s managing it”.I’m warming to the man.

  7. Anonymous

    Is Kalou the new David Fairclough (older readers only).

    Worst we’ve played for some time but 3 points are 3 points. Drogba tried to showboat at every opportunity and thought he was God but doesn’t he realise he’s fourth in the queue behind the triumvirate of Rooney, Ferguson and Stretford?

    Pleasantly suprised by Wolves who passed like a junior Chelsea.

    5 points clear so the rest have to keep winning just to keep us in sight.

    • Anonymous

      Agree that Drogba’s insistence on taking almost every corner and every free-kick in Wolves’ half no matter how acute the angle and how far from goal became really tedious.

  8. Marco

    Just to echo Clive’s point about the Berkshire Hunt. Replays show that he used a forearm chop on Bosingwa. The referee was standing no more than 10 yards away and ignored it. This was another game in which poor refereeing allowed open season assaults on our players, starting with the one on Drogs by Stearman. It really is about time Carlo made a fuss about it.

    Wolves had 9 shots on target to our 5 and – just as in Moscow – it was Cech (along with Essien’s goal-line clearance from the *unt) who kept us in it. Thought both Drogs and Malouda were very poor and Malouda, in particular, seemed to be playing like Joe Cole on cannabis. As soon as Kalou came on for him we immediately started to look a lot more dangerous. Just as TG says, Nic was MOTM by a mile, so thank God he was on the pitch.

    Up until Kalou’s arrival I could barely stand to watch the second half; our worst performance of the season so far and the only consolation is that Carlo seems to be aware of this and we have 7 days to recover before Blackburn away.


  9. Gary

    Couldn’t watch the match. Going by all the reports, it seems it was a hard labour.

    Here is something nice to read though – :
    “Needed, urgently, by the Premier League’s other 19 clubs: a formula to stop Chelsea. Try skill and enterprise and they will reach for their finer attributes. Test them with aggression and they will usually win the grapple.

    José Mourinho’s back-to-back title-winning teams were more dauntingly mechanical but this one has a greater range of styles and more strength in each position.”

  10. Ringo

    A fine performance from The Blog’s very own supersub ,and thanks to you (and Google) I now know slightly more about card games than just Go Fish.

    “And Kalou is starting to look like a bit of a David Fairclough” ,great(?) minds and all that Mark!

    Hoopefully Wolves can play like that in their next three games and maybe nick a point ,or three.
    Just can’t bring myself to root for Arsenal this afternoon ,I’ll take a draw. I’d even enjoy a big City win.

    And as for that hobbit cu.. (are we not allowed to swear in our new home?) there’s nothing a good knee-capping wouldn’t put right.

  11. Ringo

    That feels better.

    Just wondering ,what kind of reception did Tommy Docherty get at half-time?
    Don’t usually hear anything about the half-time guests anywhere ,would anyone like to keep us informed?

  12. Marco

    Apologies if I’m beginning to sound like a monomaniac but Clattenburg has just sent off Boyata for a tackle on Chamakh that looked no worse than the one Zabaleta performed on Ivan early on in our game against Citeh. Referees seem to have been told off to red card bad tackles on Arse players and ignore the ones on ours.

  13. Anonymous

    Interesting game, we were not at our best, but scored two nice team goals. Yuri is getting better and better and as someone said here he is definitely one who can bring change to the game.

  14. Anonymous


    Did you know Kalou has more goals and assists per minute played than any other player in the League?

    Can we add a dislike button, just for Moffat!

  15. Ringo

    How did little miss muffet get past security?
    The bouncers aint doing their jobs.

    As if the Mexican neighbours aren’t a big enough pain in the arse ,then I have to watch Chiquitita rescue Utd.(though to be fair that was a great headed goal ,Uwe Seeler-esque).
    And what’s up with his worshipping the aztecs bollocks before kick-off ,do it in a church ,or up your pyramid,it’s almost as cringe inducing as the haka.

    Remember The Alamo!

  16. Nick Benfield

    Everyone: I moved the blog to a new web host in overnight. We’re now floating in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. Have you seen the view? The blog is blazing fast! Wow. A few dollars more every month but worth it.

    Anyway, DNS propagation can take a while depending on your location and ISP. I had to flush my local DNS cache to pick up the changes. If you’re reading this then everything went smoothly. It’s probably a good idea to force-refresh your browser’s cache, just in case.

    To bed.

      • Nick Benfield

        Thanks for the kind offers, Mark and Clive, but I’ve got it covered for now. Down the line, who knows. I’m going to put a couple of small ads on the site at some point in an effort to recoup some of the hosting costs.

        The best way to help is to spread the word – a disappointing number of fans know we’re here at the moment. Also, if you know of anyone who would like to blog about Chelsea…

        Thanks again.

  17. Ringo

    I’m thinking Martin Broughton has become too involved in his undercover role.It might be too late to call him back.Better to just cancel his season ticket and ban him from the Bridge.

    The silence at Anfield was deafening at times.
    Have Arsenal beaten an eleven man team in the league this season?
    It might have been a good result for us ,but I didn’t enjoy it.
    If we do our stuff ,we don’t have to rely on anyone else.

    Was disappointed no gooners got De Jonged though.

  18. Der_Kaiser

    Morning all,

    Cheers to TG for stepping up to the plate at late notice; the read far more enjoyable than the game to be honest.

    Generally a good weekend – results fairly kind to us, Arsenal getting terribly excited having beaten another side playing with 10 men for 85 minutes and so on. Plus ca change…

  19. PeteW

    Nick, there are a few Chelsea fans on Twitter you could get in touch with – Rick Glanvill, Chelsea Youth and Blue Chronicle all worth dropping a line to and should respond with a plug.

  20. Der_Kaiser

    Might be worth a plug on the official chat site if anyone visits there – used to a few years back and think it did some good in terms of hits; not been on there in a while as there were too many sociopaths for my liking, but possibly worth a plug…

  21. Anonymous


    With Christmas on the horizon I’d suggest getting an Amazon banner – click through adds aren’t worth a toss unless you’ve got a few zillion readers but you’ll get a reasonable commission from the big A – I, for one, would be happy to shop from a link on this site.

  22. Anonymous

    On to the game.

    Saw a quote of 20/1 against Wolves which is bizarre. Despite poor recent form, they started the season well, and with us returning from Russia, that was just one of many banana skins we’ll be negotiating in the next few months.

    It makes a nice change for the bookies to be getting complacent, rather than the team at the top!

    And that’s what I particularly like about our play these days.

    We seem not to feel that we’re better than anyone else and don’t expect to win or to dominate teams just because of our relative league positions. If teams leave us feeling happy that they ‘only’ conceded two, and that they had a chance to play and maybe even win, then that’s got to be good.

    And if it also keeps us on our toes, then so much the better.

    Agree that some of the guys looked a little jaded, but the other performances made up for them and that’s probably the price we pay for fielding so many International players.

    Jose looks much better than when Scolari had him running up and down like an Olympic sprinter rather than a world class footballer. He seems to choose and time his interventions now and his return was well worth waiting for.

    Talking about world class players, is Nico now playing the best football of his career? If we could just find out who keeps swapping the ball for a Jabulani every time he shoots from range he’d be pushing Messi for whatever title he’ll be claiming this year.

    More good news was that Rooney mugged the mugger and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of manipulators.

    For all his early promise, does anyone here really believe that R’s improving as a player?

    Whether it’s having played second fiddle to the winker for too long, or just a void between the ears I don’t know, but either way he’s not on any road to maturity that I can see.

  23. ososdeoro

    I liked the effort and result of the Wolves match, but the corner kicks are worse than embarrassing. We REALLY need Lamps back, if only for this purpose. Kalou is FANTASTIC, and quickly becoming one of my favorites….though the keeper should have known to flop flat on the ground in defense of him, since almost all his goals seem to be down low.

  24. Nick Benfield

    Thanks for all the suggestions, gents.I’ve added an Amazon banner to the head of post pages, fansincethesixties, linking to products from the Chelsea FC Blog Amazon Store – Force-refresh your browser if the layout looks odd.Will give the “Please plug our site” approach a whirl, too, PeteW. They can only say no or not reply.

  25. Der_Kaiser

    As Nick’s tweet confirms, Paul the psychic octopus is no more. I’ll bet he didn’t see that coming…Cloakroom etc.On another note, is it just me or does it need to be pointed out to the various Arsenal-ites (players included) that beating a team playing with 10 men for 85 minutes probably doesn’t constitute some kind of watershed moment / turning point? At least Fabregas has wound his neck in a little and said something to that effect, having rather bullishly announced previously that City wouldn’t have stopped the tippy-tappy charabanc with 15 men.And finally, catching up on all the Rooney hoo-ha (we refer those vexed by the subject to PeteW’s sagely posts on the previous article and his Time Out blog on the subject of player loyalty (Pete, post the link if you’re passing, everyone else, read often when perplexed by such matters)), it is interesting to note that despite all and sundry proclaiming that Rooney has destroyed the United spirit / alienated his team-mates with his recent statements etc., Evra has pitched in and said “phew, glad someone raised it…” or something along those lines.I’ll bet a pound to a penny that he is far from alone, too.

      • Der_Kaiser

        Doesn’t surprise me, Clive.

        I think we probably suffer in terms of decisions going against us sometimes as we’re perceived as big, ugly and more than capable of looking after ourselves (Arsenal themselves took a fair few snide and unpunished on-pitch digs at our boys when we played them earlier this month); whilst Carlo is sticking to the media friendly, non-controversial approach and not generally being critical, there is an argument for occasionally having a dig at officialdom when things don’t go our way. As much as Jose got up people’s noses at times, it is pretty clear that such comments from the likes of him, Fergie and Arsene (as the article suggests) did / do stick in the minds of the officials when it comes to dishing out cards and so forth.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Splendid.Thought much on the subject whilst incommunicado and chatted with a mate who was briefly over from New York where she’s lived for some years now. She doesn’t have any interest in football whatsoever, but her take was the difference on how the story might have been covered over the pond; something along the lines of “Kid from blue collar family who had squat 10 years ago lands contract to make him one of the world’s best paid sportsmen – hurrah!”And add to that the fact that he took one of the world’s biggest sporting organisations by the balls and said “cough”, which they did, and loudly, the more you think about it, the better it gets. Sure, it might pee us off a little if it’s CFC on the receiving end, but it says a lot about the British pysche that people have such strange, conflicting and just plain weird opinions on anyone (I’d venture that this is especially the case when it is anyone working class) asking for what they feel they are worth.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think I railed against the money aspect – I’m all for people being paid the market value or more for their services. It’s why i don’t work for a local authority…I’m just not that altruistic. And yes, if offered another 10k a year I’d walk from 16 years of service with all the accrued and rather generous shares and redundancy pay that has accrued.

        No, my rant is more against the utter bollocks spouted by, or on behalf of players, coaches, clubs alike. I guess its the PR sanitized soundbite culture that I detest. An age and societal culture where showing emotion is frowned upon, where saying exactly what you feel is held up as some sort of clanger. Homogenized nonsensical bullshit. Like JT, I thougt the PR crap was exactly that…crap. Mind you, when I look at some of the England fans fo example, maybe it’s the only thing they understand.

        • Der_Kaiser

          Oh, I agree – it was more the ‘general’ media reaction; the Mail’s front page (ridiculous in itself) on Saturday was beyond anything that ever appeared on Brass Eye – “millions facing redundancy, and this bastard is daring to earn more money” being the general thrust, but far more hysterical (I mean it in the ‘funny’ way, not what they intended though, I’m sure).@Pete – good point about Scholes and Giggs; same thing with Solksjaer – the number of times you heard the ‘he could move to virtually any other team in the league…’ argument, I always used to think, but why would he want to? Well paid, knows that he’ll see enough action to win medals etc., only an injury away from a starting place in a team he knows will be in there scrapping for most of the pots come April/May. No brainer.

      • Anonymous

        You have it spot on. That’s exactly how it goes down in the US and A. Two additional points:

        The contrast in the sporting press between the USA and UK is one of the ancillary benefits of enjoying football. Every day when I read sporting stories I’m reminded how different the two countries are.

        The other side of the money situation is that in the USA you can be taken through the wringer by the press over contract demands- just for entirely different reasons. Money rules the big three sports- Baseball, NFL, NBA (and college football too, sadly) and each has a much different pay structure for sporting and business reasons. Basketball players make the most money on average, because there are only 11 players on a team, as opposed to 53 in the NFL. But baseball players are the highest- Rooney looks to be making $15M per year, but Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees makes $33M per year. But a ton of basketball players you’ve never heard of make about $15M per year.

        So Americans are used to the eye-popping salaries, and care much less about it. I’d say that it has to do with the fact that we believe that the owners of our sports teams are even worse than the players. Hicks and Gillet are about average in this country. Good teams with bad stadiums will just up and leave a city. Pro sports are entirely mercenary, so the obligation a player has is not exactly to the club, but to the team and the fans. This isn’t universal across the country either- it really depends on the city.

        Probably the most similar episode to Rooney here was the LeBron James incident. Widely considered the best player in the league, he left his hometown Cleveland (a long suffering city that never wins any championships in any sport) to play in Miami with Dwane Wade, one of the five best players in the league. Its kind of like leaving Hull and going to Real Madrid. He was almost universally condemned for the move. Not for leaving, not even for turning his back on his hometown fans (but that was an issue), but for the way he hid his intentions the whole time.

        If he had been like Rooney and demanded the team give him better players to play with- which was exactly the problem that caused him to leave- and used the threat of leaving as leverage he would have been celebrated as a hero. So it isn’t just that he’d secure a huge contract- a commitment to winning both on and off the field makes you popular here, regardless of how much you get paid.

  26. Clive

    Also to possibly bear in mind with regard Arsenal, and the red cards, they could be our main rivals this season. I say that on the basis of Liverpool finishing second a couple of years ago to Utd, when they had a season of favourable sendings off, which included Frank being a victim.

  27. PeteW

    That’s an interesting view. I do find it strange that we are so keen to take the side of the (huge, wealthy) institution against the individual in these cases, and it surely does have a lot to do with straightforward envy.

    I’ve not read much commentary on Rooney to be honest cos I’ve a good feeling what I’d find, but has anybody made the case that we have here is the story of a footballer who asked for a transfer in August and was batted away. That’s essentially what happened, all else stems from that. So are people now saying a footballer isn;t even entitled to request a transfer during the summer when the window is open?

    I also think people don’t give footballers enough credit. If it was just about the money, Rooney would have gone to City. So this suggests there is something in his fear that United were not prepared to compete anymore. Personal success/medals is every bit as important to most footballers as cash – it certainly explains why those saints of modern sport Giggs and Scholes stayed at United for so long: because they earned a shitload of money and won a shitload of medals while doing so. If United’s success on the pitch had started to decline while Giggs and Scholes were at their peak, would they have stayed there so happily? I wonder.

  28. PeteW

    Interesting stats from Arsenal.

    We commented at the time that City were allowed to kick us around without the ref doing much about it. If it had been reffed the same way as the Arsenal game, City may have found things a little tougher.

  29. Clive

    With regard the reffing of us against most teams, JD and Pete are right, we’re big and strong so don’t need protection.
    Strange, I always thought there was a huge difference from playing a physical game, to playing a dirty one.

  30. Anonymous

    Forgetting the PR rubbish for a mo, I’m fascinated by the what-ifs here.

    If Rudy doesn’t find his form quickly and the crowd start to get on his back we can guess what his reaction is likely to be, causing further resentment leading to worse form and so on. Manu might end up with an unplayable and unsaleable millstone on their finances.

    The guy can barely speak English so how could he cope with life on the continent, and who in this country could afford to take risk?

    Man shitty might, but then would Tevez put up with him again? I know which one I’d prefer.

    If Manu are forced to keep paying and playing him, how long before the others start demanding big wage increases and that he be dropped?

    Manu always boasted that nobody was bigger than their club (Eric excepted), but it looks like they’ve been panicked into a potentially disastrous reaction.

    I don’t like the agents and advisers, but this is one occasion when they seem to be well worth their commission.

  31. Moffat(inho)

    ‘Nico – 8.5/10 – sheer utter quality oozing from every pore…’
    You owe those blokes at Specsavers a visit.

  32. Anonymous

    Oh, and I’m sure this is the wrong forum, but as I’m from San Francisco and the Giants are my team, and they are in the World Series, if anyone wants to talk baseball this week I’m all for it.

    I know most people can’t make heads or tails of the sport, but I’m happy to chat about it.

    • Nick Benfield

      I really miss watching baseball, Be_Champions. I used to watch a couple of live games a week when Channel Five had the broadcast rights to MLB in the UK. But they dropped their coverage two years ago and I’ve hardly seen a minute of baseball since. I’m tempted to pay the measly $19.95 and watch the World Series online, though my broadband connection might have a say in that.

      Go Giants etc. George Dubya Bush’s association with the Texas Rangers is enough to put any sane person off getting behind them.

  33. Anonymous

    Lastly, thought I’d plug a blog that I enjoy reading:

    Chelsea blog written by an American. Has decent match reports, but worth reading because he does some Zonal Marking style positional analysis, as well as other statistical analysis, like shooting heatmaps and predictive league tables.

    Guardian Chalkboards it is not. Worth looking at if you enjoy seeing some of the numbers behind the game (another American obsession).

  34. PeteW

    Rooney will without a doubt regain his form. He’s an excellent player.

    One important thing to remember is that United would have been weaker without Rooney and City much stronger. Don’t think there really can be any doubt about that, and that makes it,on balance, a good deal for us.

    Didn’t see the Mail headline: of course, Paul Dacre works for free. Everybody knows that.

  35. Anonymous


    The Amazon link is restricted to club stuff which is OK but unlikely to generate much commission – any chance of providing access to their whole catalogue, electricals etc?

    • Nick Benfield

      I’ve just replaced the two Amazon ads on the front page, fansincethesixties (force-refresh your browser) – one goes to the Amazon homepage and the other to the Chelsea FC Blog Amazon Store.

      Clicking-through to Amazon from any Amazon link on this site should earn me a small kickback no matter what you end up buying.

      Thanks for the help.

  36. Marco

    @ Be-Champions

    Thanks for the link to the US Chelsea Blog. An excellent read.

    Looks like the troll has swapped his obsession with Frank over to Nic.

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