james debate
james debate

Saturday 13 September 2008

As anyone who knows me will confirm, i'm not one to keep my mouth shut when faced with the ongoing absurdity of the idiots that run my beloved Chelsea Football Club.

In recent years we've seen insane personal disputes amongst higher ups tear the club apart mid-season, we've seen terrible nepotistic signings and appointments of completely under-qualified sycophants.

For the first time in a long time, I was pleased with the running of the club this summer. The handling of our new managerial appointment was well handled (aside from the timing of the announcment) and our early transfer dealings went by without a hitch. It looked like the suits at Chelsea had finally started to get it right. Sadly I was wrong. They've changed alright, but not for the right reasons.

In retrospect one has to look back at the appointment of Scolari as Chelsea manager and wonder, why then?

It seems like the timing, right in the middle of a big international tournament which Scolari is working in, was very poorly chosen. Surely they knew that such a badly timed announcement would lead to conflicts of interest in the Portuguese national team and negatively impact upon their performances.

The reason is, they were desperate. Chelsea had been handling the manager search competently and diligently, but the gossip columns and tabloid scum were having a field day exploiting the situation with Chelsea gossip, a surefire way to guarantee readers. More than that, when gossip started to dry up and people weren't buying the new bullshit that these people were coming up with, they decided to paint a different picture, that the reason there was new gossip was because the Chelsea manager search was a shambles, because no one wanted to work for the club or simply because they couldn't stop bickering amongst themselves long enough to pick someone.

Of course, this was absolutely not true, they simply were going through the process professionally and quietly and not leaking anything to the news. But clearly they were getting stressed and upset with all the tabloid hackery and the only way to dismiss it all and clear their names would be to release word of the appointment as soon as it was a done deal, and so, desperate, that's exactly what they did, with little regard for the other consequences.

Similarly let's turn our attention to the activity at the end of the summer. Robinho signing for Chelsea was essentially a done deal, but for the last minute investment into Manchester City and the ensuing competing bid, a bid that was higher than Chelsea's. Chelsea then refused to match this bid and that is what has led to Robinho going to Manchester City. But why? Why would free spending Chelsea suddenly be unwilling to spend the money required to get their man? that never used to be the case.

Again the answer is, they were responding to tabloid hackery which used to criticize chelsea for their excessive spending.

This pattern repeats constantly throughout Abramovich's tenure at Chelsea. When he arrived no one in the media thought Chelsea could attract big names, so Roman went out and paid top dollar for big names. Then they were being criticized for spending so much, so Roman stops. When chelsea were criticized for playing boring football, they completely restructured the team and pushed for more exciting football.

At every step of the way, Chelsea are simply pandering as a small attempt to answer media criticisms.

So what's wrong with that? Quite frankly it shows a complete naivete and rank amateurism within the Chelsea ownership, first of all to care so much about media perception that they prioritize this pandering above even club success.

But most of all, it shows a complete lack of understanding and experience to think that you can actually respond to criticisms like this and please the critics by changing yourself. It presumes that these critics actually mean what they say and that they are actually making a genuine criticism of something, which simply isn't the case.

Anyone who has been following football more than a few years will remember when Arsenal were the best team in England, and by far the least popular. Half a decade earlier and Manchester United were the most hated and successful team in the country. Before that it was Liverpool, and by now I think you see the pattern?

Half the people in the media who write this crap about why Chelsea are evil aren't really expressing an opinion, they're simply doing what has always been in our nature to do. Throughout football history the best team in the country has always been the most hated, and that is precisely what caused this animosity towards Chelsea. Keen observers of the media will even note a more positive slant in the last two seasons since Chelsea fell behind Man United, and an increasingly negative angle against United.

And yet, still a very strong dislike for Chelsea remains. Why should this be when even the media is starting to leave them alone?

English football is far bigger today than it has ever been in the past, largely due to the massive influx of money into the league, partially thanks to Chelsea, partially thanks to the burgeoning television side of the sport and increased marketing. With this increased success comes new fans, younger fans, people who otherwise wouldn't be interested in football, suddenly jumping on the bandwagon just because it's 'cool'.

Sadly I know far too many people in my day to day life who are like this, people who until a year or two ago didn't follow football at all but now have gone in head first and painted themselves as 'hardcore' fans. These are people who never knew that Arsenal used to be hated rather than admired, and Man U, and Liverpool before them. People who have grown into the sport knowing nothing besides a dislike for Chelsea and thinking that that was simply the traditional way things were in football. These idiots now make up the bulk of irrational Chelsea haters, criticizing their football no matter what they play like, their money no matter how frugal they are, and slagging off players no matter how well they play, and they do this, simply because they think they're 'fitting in' and because they've never known any other way in football and have gotten used to it. It may interest those people to know that Man U and Arsenal were also once referred to as 'boring' and that Chelsea are actually not even in the top 5 big spenders in the league this year.

It pleases me to speak to any real football fan who has been following the sport for years who acknowledges all this, as I imagine all moderately intelligent people with an understanding of people will also concede. But frankly I think it's time for these overgrown children to grow up.

On top of this Chelsea need to open their eyes and get their head screwed on straight. Kenyon of all people should recognize what's really going on here, which leads me to believe he's slightly playing the sycophant to Roman and his American buddies who now run the club, as he has shown himself to be doing in recent times.

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