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Aims and the Man (Part Two)


Dorset

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Fiction. The 2014 New Year arrives and, if the original aims of THE man come to pass, Chelsea look down from their lofty perch at the top of the Premiership table at nearest rivals, Man City and Aston Villa, the newly revered Top Three that bears scant resemblance to the Big Four of yesteryear.

Yes siree, times will have changed if the Roman Abramovich aim [for Chelsea to be the No.1 club in world football by 2014] turns out to be true with the accuracy transmitting itself into a dominant force in perpetuity, and, if other clubs with a similar mix of financial muscle and youth, such as City and the Villa, continue with their particular version of that credo, the overall effect will be of Obama-like proportions. A pecking order that was once so mind numbingly dominated by Manchester United [the very fact of which had to be ignored for so long by a fawning, share buying Sky organisation] will reflect investment in youth at just the right time [pre-credit crunch] to reap the longer term rewards.

Just how it happened and how Chelsea emerged as the leading club amidst the turmoil is a long story, but a happy one for the Pensioners, which was in itself a nickname destined to return in song, as self deprecating fans now chant it relentlessly in support of their fledgling team. Long story or not, here’s how it pans out…

I suppose it all kicked off at the end of the 2008/9 season with a Liverpool implosion that saw them fritter away a 10 point lead to allow another mass cup holding, bobbing-up-and-down session featuring Rio, Wazza, Berba, et al. Yet somehow it wasn’t quite the same the umpteenth time around, especially after going out to Inter in the Champions League and eventually having to watch Jose lift that trophy again, this time at the expense of their own retention of it. Perhaps that should have been the moment to approach the Special One about taking over from the Aged One, but the chance went a-begging in favour of holding out for Capello who, as we all know, is more of a man (of his word) than Fergie will ever be and therefore he preferred to ease into early retirement with his CV well and truly intact.

To make matters worse, the bellicose ManU incumbent was growing more Mugabe-ish by the minute and David Gill’s next belated plea, to Martin O’Neill, fell on deaf ears. The Villa manager, spoilt for choice and taking a long look at what he could move to, compared to what he had where he was, declared it to be no contest, promptly setting off in search of more silverware with a young side overflowing with English talent whilst, at international level and following Fabio’s success, inwardly revelling in telling the FA what to do with their job interview.

It was in that same year that Rafa gave up battling with American owners and a poor Premiership track record to return to Spain to take up the reins at Real Madrid following an acrimonious Juande Ramos departure five months into his first full season - well what did both of them expect from their respective history making clubs? Meanwhile Arsenal’s relentless rush to mediocrity continued apace with Fabregas returning to Spain and, somewhat belatedly, the faux Englishness of their boardroom went into overdrive with Wenger being asked if he might, perchance, want to spend more time with his family in 2011.

Events almost worked in his favour as the Abou Dhabi boys, seeking a replacement for Mark Hughes replacement, Roberto Mancini, offer Arsene the job and £1 billion to spend in the transfer market, only to be told, as only a haughty Arsene can, that he would merely require five loaves and two fishes, leading to a posse of sceptical negotiators in long white robes vacating the building rather abruptly. Undeterred and clearly picking up on the clues left a by Frenchman finding himself out in the froid, Citeh soon put similar proposals to Jose who accepts in a heartbeat and the rest is [or may well be] history in the making.

But what of us, I hear you scream after six paragraphs of pure surmise? Well, for that you will need to read from the middle ground of Part Three in this trilogy where fiction merges into fact once again and for now all I would add in my defence is that what I’ve written is no more surreal than the Media garbage currently being dished out on the subject of Roman’s bank balance and the tenuous doom and gloom linkage with a sudden falling out of love with football. It is, admittedly, a farcical way to end this second stage, but just for a moment let’s take a sensible look at the mountainous pinch of salt the general public is being asked to take when reading, listening and looking at the coverage of Roman’s present situation...

Figures published today in FourFourTwo magazine reveal that he has dropped two places in the new Football Rich List and has, allegedly, been hit harder than most by the global recession. Quick to pounce on this news, Garry Richardson [bBC Radio for those who haven’t suffered] interviewed a representative from the magazine and elicited the hoped for response that going down to his last £7 billion would have the likely knock on effect of Roman pulling the plug on his Chelsea ‘plaything‘, thereby making the club a leading contender to be the first to go bust in these difficult times. Pity those poor souls involved in football ownership whose fortunes are less than our benefactor’s, that's what I say in response to this drivel, but no sooner do I switch the radio off, and turn to the newspaper, than I read the following from Matthew Syed in the Times…

‘Say what you like about Arsène Wenger, but you have got to hand it to le professeur for facing up to the reality that everyone else in English football seems determined to ignore. “At the moment, people in football are not conscious of what is facing us economically,†the Arsenal manager said as the transfer window opened. “People still think we are in a bubble, but we will be hit like anybody else in this economical crisis.†Wenger has always managed according to two key principles, the first of which is a commitment to attacking football of a kind that has made Arsenal the team of choice for neutrals.

But of equal importance is Wenger's steadfast refusal to risk his club's financial probity by splurging on transfers and wages….’

So, cutbacks at Chelsea are either portrayed as a sign that Roman is no longer in love with the game or his prudence is ignored altogether, whilst we can perish the thought that they have anything to do with the credit crunch. Meanwhile, Wenger supposedly stands alone amongst the Premiership lemmings hell bent on financial disaster. With logic and myopia like this Syed would be better off sticking to table tennis [though the myopia wouldn’t help much] which was once his chosen sport and one that clearly makes him well qualified to comment on others within a totally different financial strata. No wonder Roman continues to be reclusive, faced with the sheer stupidity of most of the constant commentary designed to goad him into submission, and, as thoughts turn to the ManU game, we can only trust in his fortitude - 2014 is still a long way away and, as everybody knows, football is a game of two halves.

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You write a good piece. Are you involved with anything like this in your job?

I'm currently an aspiring sport jounalist, going to Uni next year (hopefully), so I'm really enjoy reading well thought out and written articles like yours.

I owned up [on here] to being a journalist some time ago, Chelsea Lad, but, by keeping my head down, ignoring the ’bloody journo’ comments and explaining that my field has nothing to do with the football one, I think I’ve pretty much got away with it so far. ;)

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I owned up [on here] to being a journalist some time ago, Chelsea Lad, but, by keeping my head down, ignoring the ’bloody journo’ comments and explaining that my field has nothing to do with the football one, I think I’ve pretty much got away with it so far. ;)

oh my god, your patrick barclay arent you. ;)

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Good read Dorset, once again. However, you seem to have looked into your crystal ball and seen the destinies of all our rivals in terms of management posisitions, yet you never allude to what happens to our dear Brazillain in charge of bringing sexy football back to the bridge?

Scott

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Good read Dorset, once again. However, you seem to have looked into your crystal ball and seen the destinies of all our rivals in terms of management posisitions, yet you never allude to what happens to our dear Brazillain in charge of bringing sexy football back to the bridge?

Scott

As with all good trilogies, Scott, the final part is the best part.

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Greetings Dorset

Whilst appreciating the majority of the points you raised and being not particularly concerned as to the likelihood that the financial crisis will prove to be Roman's downfall, there is, nevertheless, one extra factor for future inclusion in the financial debate. Namely Chelsea's regular fortnightly income compared to its likely competitors.

With a ground capacity approximately 20-25 thousand fewer than two of our arch rivals (at 2009 prices) Chelsea has a relative income deficit in the

region of £1 million per home game. This deficit increases when comparative income from European games is added.

As Chelsea has a wage structure which is at least on a par with our rivals (and probably higher for a number of individuals) it is clear that meeting Bruce Buck's claim for a "break-even" situation by 2014 (to use your timetable) will prove increasingly difficult. One million extra per two weeks would go a long way towards the annual salaries of Terry, Lampard, Ballack which must amount to 3x52x140,000 give or take a limited quantity of spare change. There are a few others earning a few bob too of course.

Having discussed this with our forum's beloved chairman, the question inevitably arises as to whether or not a 65000 capacity stadium would be filled sufficiently often to justify the massive expenditure of (presumably) Roman's reportedly decreasing wealth.

Perhaps your fellow Dorsetian Thomas Hardy has the answer . Will it appear in trilogy's 3rd instalment?

I await with interest

bar24rat

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