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The Five Ages Of Chelsea Midfield Man


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1. Gold - "The race of men that the immortals who dwell on Olympus made first of all was of gold. They were in the time of Kronos, when he was kind in heaven; and they lived like gods, with carefree heart, remote from toil and misery…â€


Frank Lampard (aged 34yrs)


According to the Ancient Greek poet, Hesiod, there were five ages of man and if ever a Chelsea midfielder exemplified the first of these it has to be our very own Super Frank - forever ’carefree’ and of blue heart, he has been godlike at every turn for us for more years than the Media have ever cared to either remember or mention. Until now, that is, when it suits them to extol his virtues to the detriment of his club as a whole and its owner in particular, whilst at the same time fostering a constant [incredulous] need to pander to the likes of that ultimate creator, Sir Alex Ferguson, for [allegedly] wishing to prolong his immortality in a different shirt, no doubt with Robin van Persie, another god-on-the-run reincarnation, in close attendance at his left hand.


However, those Olympian days are now over, ceremoniously accompanied by a levelling blast of triumphal trumpeting, as we hear it large for Financial Fair Play and a reversion to that age-old maxim of ‘toil and misery’ earning success on the playing field - irrespective of the fact that some have got the [unfair] playground benefit of massive stadiums always providing the best, absolutely acceptable, revenue streams. Of course, Gods know it makes sense to usher in the next generation of underprivileged youngsters in this way because by so doing maybe we can avoid standards slipping back through the ages….


2. Silver - "A second race after that, much inferior, the dwellers on Olympus made of silver. It resembled the golden one neither in body nor in disposition…â€


Liam Bridcutt (aged 23yrs)


Remember Bridcutt? Good player this lad, with a sensible head on his shoulders too. Unfortunately, for Liam, the perception of size mattering never did him any favours whilst he was with us and not only did a list of rivals [for retention] get longer, they also got taller. Still, our coaches and much-maligned board recognised his talent anyway and he signed for us in 2007, even though I think he always knew he was never going to make it at Chelsea, just by glancing at the competition around him at the time of his tutelage.


So, off he went, to earn his fame and fortune elsewhere, a glowing example of exactly what the Abramovich Academy can do to benefit all levels of football in this country, not just within the rarefied atmosphere of our own first team environment. Having watched him stroll around Brighton’s midfield at the weekend, bossing the show against Newcastle in the FA Cup for the second year running, there was a feeling of pride brought about by the fact that, silver standard or not, we can produce a player of his quality and he can [hopefully] go on to have a really good Premiership career with this Brighton side.

Meanwhile, back at the next tranche, against all the Gods, another age stage was set…


3. Brass or Bronze - "Then Zeus the father made yet a third race of men, of bronze, not like silver in anything. Out of ash-trees he made them, a terrible and fierce race, occupied with the woeful works of Ares and with acts of violence, no eaters of corn, their stern hearts being of adamant…â€


Jon Obi Mikel (aged 25yrs)


It was back in 2005 that Mikel set out his stall in English football, by declaring that Chelsea was the club that he ‘genuinely’ wanted to sign for and stating that the Mancs had previously pressured him into signing a contract with United without his agent present. Quite frankly, you cannot help but admire this boy’s fortitude, in the face of much provocation, displayed in a stand against Ferguson bolstered as it was by sycophantic hacks who instantly took Manchester United’s side on the matter.


Whether coincidental or not, Mikel has had a torrid time with officialdom in this country ever since and acquired an unfounded reputation for being ‘terrible’ and ‘fierce’ and ‘violent’ on many a football field, thereby seeing him placed in invidious positions throughout a brilliant, tempestuous career to date. He should really be placed in the next age, yet will never be so, because that is reserved for the specially-regarded, the chosen ones - a group he can aspire to be in, but will never actually join.


4. Heroic - "After the earth covered up this race too, Zeus son of Kronos made yet a fourth one upon the rich-pastured earth, a more righteous and noble one, the godly race of the heroes who are called demigods, our predecessors on the boundless earth…â€


Josh McEachran (aged 19yrs)


Chelsea fans want Josh to succeed so much it hurts, or at least it is beginning to, as the logjam of midfielders builds ahead of him, during an enforced Geordiean absence when we become evermore anxious over a much-anticipated return. Indeed, some would ask already if the place is still there for him to fill and, if so, does he really deserve it, such is his fall from ‘righteousness’ in the last two seasons. Here is the once frontrunner in our ’godly race’ of future heroes and, at the very moment the gold standard looks like dropping, demigod status appears out of reach.


Not that many want so drastic a change of standard just yet anyway, gold being what it is these days and the selling of it being as abhorrent as it ever was. That said, needs must when the Russian devil drives and a spare place at Mata’s right hand awaits somebody, sometime soon - the only question is when. Then again, maybe it isn’t the only question and a second has to be asked. Who? Should hero status await another and surely a player of his quality would not be found in the final age? Time to make up your own mind….


5. Iron (the current era) - "Would that I were not then among the fifth men, but either dead earlier or born later! For now it is a race of iron; and they will never cease from toil and misery by day or night, in constant distress, and the gods will give them harsh troubles.â€


Nathaniel Chalobah (aged 18yrs)


Can it be true? Are we about to enter a phase in Chelsea’s midfield existence that will be dominated by ‘men of iron’ who will ‘never cease from toil and misery’? No, not if Chalobah’s got anything to do with it, for anyone who saw him play, as I did, on loan for Watford against Brighton in the Championship last month, could not help but be impressed. Here is a young man who can control a game at the tender age of eighteen, away from home against a midfield driven on by the gritty Cobham predecessor mentioned earlier, winning the MotM award in the process. We’ve got him signed up and, other God’s away willing, we should be getting him in our first team as soon as possible.


The previous four ‘Ages’ are what they are - pure myths that happen to add up - whereas this current Chelsea day and age is only deep in doubt about its diplomacy, not its direction. The way forward is clear, even though it remains all Greek to some. Quality players don’t wait for Godot to arrive, let alone depart. Indeed, once they are recognized for their ability and are put in front of a camera with a bottle of champagne shoved in their hand, they don’t hang around for long at all… and they never hang around for ages.

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Josh and Nathaniel are, to my eyes, the real deal and I hope they both turn out for us for years to come - behind Oscar, Hazard and Mata in an awesome midfield quintet to take the world by storm. Yes, I want Lamps to stick around for another year or two, but to help bring these boys on and not to hold up their progress.

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