Ain’t nostalgia just the best thing ever? Believe me all you youngsters out there, when you hit the… ahem… forties then nostalgia becomes one of the bedrocks of life that keeps you smiling. As you enter this halcyon period of your time on earth you begin to accept the inevitability of what I call ‘couldn’t give a shit’ era of your life.
You realise that life is really all bollocks, and that everybody is out to get you, that the law is an ass, that politicians get paid to lie, bankers earn obscene amounts to gamble, and experience is merely an anaesthetic you administer to soften the painful reality of life’s painful sting. Eventually you succumb to the overwhelming sense of cynicism and scepticism in everything you see, hear or taste. You’ll welcome not having to keep up with fashions. You’ll relish in the music you grew up with not having to worry about the utter bollocks that passes for modern music. In fact you’ll deal with all the ‘modern toss’ with contemptuous ease and utter disregard for how unfashionable you look, or how grumpy you sound.
Old age and its comfortable benefit of independent thought will fit like a nice new pair of long johns, keeping all the sagging bits in and the inner self warm, whilst the youth of today freeze their souls in their thongs of inexperience and the peephole bras of peer pressure herd mentality.
Similarly, as a Chelsea fan of a certain age you have a tendency to look back to the good old days of infrequent or non-existent trophies. You cast that grumpy old mind’s eye back into the dusty cupboards of memory, fondly remembering short shorts, cotton football shirts, coloured garters on football ‘stockings’, heroes with comb-overs, paunches, long hair and drink problems, moulded studs and laces in footballs. You’ll bask in the memory of the warm glow of Saturday evenings, by the fire, in front of a black and white TV watching Grandstand with eager anticipation but inevitable disappointment as the tele-printer tapped out the Chelsea result. Of course within that canon of memories one has to include the recent transformation that came from Jose Mourinho. The unerring certainty that we would not be embarrassed in any game. That when we did lose, it would be with little grace and plenty of heart, grit and balls so big each player should be attached to a wheelbarrow for ease of transportation. Those oh-so-recent times where we could take the world’s finest on and not only hold our own, but actually be worthy of beating them. The older you get the more cupboards you have to choose those wonderfully selective memories. Another benefit of the passing stomp of time as it marches you relentlessly to your inevitable reduction to dust.
That’s where The Chelsea Times starts this week. Opening the recently locked, but seemingly forgotten cupboard containing the Mourinho files. A tough set of knockout draws in the Champions League has thrown us Juventus followed by New Leeds and now everyone’s footballing darlings, Barcelona. And that’s where good old Guus went; on a short journey back in our mental Tardis to a recent time where Chelsea could fight tooth and nail in order to hold their own against constantly unfavourable odds. A 0-0 draw in the Nou Camp might still have favoured Barca with our lack of an away goal, but no-one in the whole season had stopped them scoring in their home ground and yet, along we came and did just that. Like the best of British fiesta-crashing, lager-swilling uncouth yobbos we arrive and poop the party like no-one else could. Fiesta time, my arse. Stop all that fancy-dan Flamenco bollocks, let’s have a good old knees up! A marvellous display of intransigence and dogged defending mixed with riding the bucking bronco of Lady Luck’s foaming mad rabid horse like the most spaced out acid-happy cowboy, was fully deserving of such a potentially joyous result for us and potentially ruinous result for Barcelona. So, it was only a week later that we needed to wait for the final outcome, and as we all know once again the Mourinho files were raided and very nearly… so very nearly… paid off. This is no denunciation of Guus, merely a doffed cap that he showed, like Mourinho and all great coaches and managers, that studying opponents and drilling your charges with a game plan so often pays dividends.
Fail to plan, plan to fail… as us corporate gobbledygook management bollocks speak types like to say.
Unlike Avram Grant who seemed to leave the planning element to the players (wisely one imagines), or the disastrous Phil Scolari who seemed to prefer the ‘wing it’ method of sticking to the same plan for ALL opponents, Guus actually seemed to know the enemy and the players knew exactly what they were expected to do. It was a joy to behold.
What happened has been examined and navel gazed enough, suffice it to say that once again I feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow (copyright Sir Roger of Waters)… which was a regular feature of the Mourinho days. Once again we have shown ourselves to be a formidable force, once again despised by everyone after the folly of trying to be like Albert Square’s she-devil Janine Butcher, pretending to be reformed and nice but merely masking the villainy until it was needed. Once again vilified by other fans, loud mouth ignorant columnists (yes, Rod Liddle, Richard Williams and Patrick Barclay I mean you) and sensationalist broadcast media alike. This time, however, the bile and vitriol flowing in our direction is hitting the newly strengthened fortress walls. A fortress that now feels like a lovely warm duvet protecting us from the cold, hate filled tirades of the world. If people hate us because we’re good, if they hate us because we’re bad losers, spitting and snarling and disgracing the game, whilst causing blood vessels to strain in the bloated corpulent bodies containing the vacuous, pompous and arrogant minds in UEFA then all the signs are that means one thing.
They’re all worried we’re back.
In the Champions League intervening weekend, after my hard earned graduation day (well I did work fucking hard for that degree so I have to mention it somewhere) we came to the sticky, potential PeteW hexed banana skin fixture against local, but by no means bitterest rivals Fulham. Oh, to be able to experience the joys of a fairly simple win against a team with the party pooping capability of Bolton. Despite a sticky start, scoring with a minute gone and conceding three minutes later the Mighty Blues eventually prevailed 3-1, to secure at least some London bragging rights to add to the FA Cup semi-final defeat of Arsenal and a recent duffing up of West Ham. Of course post-Barcelona we would face Wenger’s collection of embryos and foetuses in a chance to make up for the dismal defeat we suffered at their hands under Scolari at the Bridge.
Aaah… The Emirates return match… a chance to play them and presumably be swept aside by youth, vim, vigour and their ability to play to their full capability unencumbered by a potato patch of a pitch the likes of which both FA Cup semi-final losing sides apparently encountered at Wembley. I can only assume that Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock broke into the Emirates on Saturday night and gave their putting green surface a good old fashioned makeover with a rotivator, before flattening the resulting surface with a loaf of bread. How else can they explain the subsequent 4-1 spanking (and yes that is the right adjective) dished out to them just days after the Manchester Broncos gave them an equally humiliating lesson in multi-discipline football?
Finally, we host Blackburn at home in our last game at Stamford Bridge this season on Sunday. Third place secured and a faint chance of second if New Leeds trip over their own egos this weekend. Blackburn are safe now and so metaphorically they’ll be on the beach and as we will want to keep the winning habit going until the FA Cup final I am hoping we’ll dish out a little trouncing. Wouldn’t it be nice to see some kids given a go from the bench as well?
Some 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 is ready to come to Chelsea. TGBS Rating 3/5 – It’s all guesswork by the press…
Carlo Ancelotti is staying put at AC Milan for at least another season. TGBS rating 3/5 – You see they have got just as much a clue as any of us…
Inter Milan are interested in signing Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel. TGBS Rating 3/5 – Could be true, all will depend on the new man, but Obi-wan has had a good season in general this year and when Essien was out he covered very well. He’s very young, very calm on the ball and I would be sorry to see such a potential talent leave for someone else to benefit from.
Angry Chelsea supporters want to get their own back on Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, who made a number of controversial decisions in the Blues’ Champions League semi-final, second leg against Barcelona. They have set up an internet campaign to stop Norway winning the Eurovision song contest. TGBS Rating 5/5 – Seriously, you’d have to be one sad Chelsea fan to give a fuck about this. Yeah, stop them winning a fixed rubbish song contest, that’ll teach ‘em.
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is on his way out of the club following a rant at interim manager Guus Hiddink after the club’s Champions League semi-final exit. TGBS Rating 2/5 – Has a ring of truth about it. Guus will be an influence on our club, and I expect him to be back in a cushy consultant role when his Russian adventure ends. I also think Roman will see Drogba as part of the Mourinho legacy he wants to move away from.
And finally. Blues striker Didier Drogba, who appeared to verbally abuse Ovrebo after the match, his side were knocked out by Barcelona, faces a ban of up to six months according a to a UEFA official. TGBS rating – 5/5 – That would be extraordinary when one considers the paltry fines handed out to Spanish clubs for racist chanting, and the puny punishment Inter and AC got for the rioting a few seasons back. Six months for shouting? Or are our press trying to influence here?
As someone once said, and bearing no relation to anything Chelsea… but seemingly apt for the world of football…
And you have to be trusted
By the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!