The Chelsea Planet, nee Times

Well folks, here we are again for another edition of The Chelsea Times, which I’m rather inclined to rename The Chelsea Planet simply because it sounds… less stuffy. Thoughts anyone?

What a strange old week it’s been as well. A perfunctory win over Blackburn kept a tiny bit of pressure on New Leeds, who could trip up against Spurs this weekend, whilst we travel to the wilds of the North East to play relegation threatened Sunderland which should guarantee a feisty affair. Such a shame that West Brom have ruined a potential North East Relegation Grand Slam. Although we’ve relied on Spurs before it’s never worked out because we all know just how dodgy they are. If Spurs win then that might mean Europa League football for them and one can picture Harry Redknapp pulling his best ‘bulldog licking piss off a nettle’ face at the thought of that.

I’m sure for most of us it’s been one of those weeks where in part we’re sort of glad that the Premier League has drawn to a close, glad because Liverpool didn’t win it, yet unable to share in the bunting filled street parties apparently taking place the length and breadth of the country to celebrate Great Britain United winning their third title on the bounce prior to taking on the Flamenco Footballing Emperors of Barcelona in the Champions League/Tin Pot Egg Cup final (until of course we win it). I mean surely they’re going to try and win the Champions League for Britain? They wouldn’t dream of parading all of their trophies around the country gloating, taunting and flaunting their success in everyone’s faces would they?

Strange that, when you think back a couple of seasons to when we won the Premier League back to back. I don’t recall the country unifying in their admiration. What I do recall was more than a few cursing us for our domination on the back of allegedly shady Russian roubles. Adrian Chiles and Gary Lineker duly donned hooded gowns in May 2006 and declared the Premier League dead and buried for the next decade.

Blue was bad. Blue was undermining the very cultural fabric of football, with its ethos of mechanical efficiency and its unswerving drive towards its objectives. Blue had removed the thrill and the fun from football.

Mercenary, uncaring bastards, the lot of us.

I dare say even some of our exalted and deeply dedicated Blues fans fidgeted uncomfortably in their woven hair pants at the thought of such total dominance on our part. Not me I hasten to add. I wanted the dominance, the bragging rights, the success and the sense of invincibility.

I didn’t mind the hatred and bitterness. As a true socialist of the Champagne variety I know how the politics of envy works. I also know the futility of the battle for an egalitarian distribution of wealth across this fading green and seemingly less pleasant land. In society the bulk of wealth lies with the few, not the many, and as if mirroring life itself, the self same thing occurs in football. It always has, and it always will. Occasionally in life, the small guy can work his way into the top echelons of the wealth league, or they can get lucky through gambling on such things as the National Lottery, at heart another tax on the very people least suited to paying it. Or they can get there through crime. But how often do they stay there? Life is littered with tales of people who have come from humble backgrounds, climbed the social ladders of success and power only to find the ‘system’ has a pre-programmed machine ready to dissemble that wealth and discredit them. Countries have similar issues as well. Look at Iceland (the country!) and its risky financial policies that allowed it to assault the traditional big guns, only to fall spectacularly from grace, taking hard working investors’ money with it. Even the ‘nouveau riche’ of Russia are watching investments and wealth crash through the floor. Latest reports indicate that our own benefactor has seen his value diminish from £20bn to £10.5bn. One wonders how they survive.

However, as we have seen, even the most affluent of organizations can completely louse things up through utter mismanagement. And at this point we bring in Chelsea FC. We’re not the worst, not by a long shot. One only has to look at Leeds and Newcastle to see how things can fall apart in a short space of time. Spurs have arguably blown more chances than anyone of joining the elite through the revolving door policy on their managers’ office. Former Premier League stalwarts Southampton are arguably the worst as they stagger painfully towards extinction. But we did have the chance to dominate and we dropped the ball. We lost a dynamic, volatile and hungry manager. Then we replaced him with Avram Grant, an example of the triumph of nepotism over knowledge. Then came The Scolari Experiment, an exercise in blind faith over capability. This was like the time the Russians developed the ‘Concordski’ TU-144 clone of Concorde. It all started so well, it looked the part and performed the same, but then it became apparent so much was wrong and then one day inevitably and very publicly it crashed. Luckily The Benevolent One (TBO?) foresaw the parallels to this event and killed our own equivalent experiment before irreparable damage could be done.

All through this time, but especially during The Scolari Experiment, we lost our belief, despite the owner’s wealth and support. We went from nigh on invincible, not pretty, but bloody fearsome into a good but beatable and occasionally fragile unit. Teams bred into the culture of winning who once groaned when they knew they were facing us, now saw the chinks in the armour and exploited them as ruthlessly as we would have done. The seven stone weakling of SW6 had become the equivalent of Arnie’s T-101 and for all the world it looked likely to evolve further into Robert Patrick’s even deadlier and ruthless T-1000. Instead it turned into a Dalek, full of bluster and threats but bought down by those who knew that throwing a jumper over its head would send it into a frenzy of confusion and panic.

All of this was our own doing. Inexperience of operating at this top level took its toll across the club, from fans to staff to players. All we could do was watch as the powers that be struggled with the seemingly universal unpopularity from all areas of the media, other clubs, retired ‘darling’ players (Platini, Cruyff et al), the football authorities and, on occasions, even amoeba brained MP’s with all the footballing knowledge of the average horse. But when combined with what seems a continuing and concerted campaign from the media and the footballing authorities one starts to see the conspiracy theories of an establishment machine busily working away to restore the status quo.

Making things like they used to be. Restoring the natural order.

As Chelsea fans are we paranoid? Has our usual bi-polarity developed into something more sinister?

Am I paranoid, or are they all really watching me?

The usual collection of facts, gossip and lies with my very own BS rating alongside where 0 is fact, 1 is possibly true and 5 is a heaving smelly dung pile of utterly rotten putrefying bullshit.

Carlo Ancelotti’s position will be clarified by AC Milan on Monday. TGBS Rating 1/5 – Very possibly true as the Italian season ends on Sunday and Milan need to beat Roma to be sure of second place and Champions League football.

Chelsea are lining up Ross Turnbull from Middlesbrough to be backup for Petr Cech. TGBS rating 1/5 – Quite likely and not a bad move. A young English goalkeeper as backup to Cech and eventually maybe proper competition is no bad thing.

Ricardo Carvalho may be off to Benfica and Ashley Cole will be subject to a bid from Real Madrid. TGBS Rating 4/5 – I think Carvalho may well leave or at best see a one year extension, but his automatic choice days are over. I would have thought Inter might be more likely. Ashley Cole recently stated on TV, very publicly his desire to stay at Chelsea. Lest we forget his ugly departure from Arsenal, however I don’t see us selling him.

Hilario and Mineiro will be let go after the season closes. TGBS Rating 1/5 – Makes perfect sense to me.

Edin Dzeko has been targeted by Chelsea for £6m. TGBS Rating 2/5 – I don’t know much about this guy apart from some people here think he’s OK. He’s at Wolfsburg so maybe the good Kaiser can shed more light.

Yuri Zhirkov will make up his mind about a move to Chelsea after meeting Roman Abramovich. TGBS Rating 4/5 – Sounds iffy to me. Roman actually seeking the players out? Isn’t that Kenyon’s job? He’d be a good prospect mind, but hardly a volume shirt shifter… that’s SHIFTER for those with poor eyes.

And finally, the culture spot, lyrics dressed as poems, with a tangential relationship to Chelsea at best.

Nothing ever rocks
And nothing ever rolls
And nothing’s ever worth the cost

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!