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Small piece I have written.


Carloseyebrow

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Hey all would be grateful for your opinion on a small piece I have put together , possibly for a small sports blog.

 

Be careful what you wish for........................memoirs and musings of a Chelsea fan

 

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25 years ago (plus a few more) I made my way through the turnstiles and up the steps , turned the corner to my left and then I was there. The Shed End at Stamford Bridge. It was the first time I'd been to a football match on my own , it was my first time to Chelsea. Of course Stamford Bridge was not the all seater stadium you all see now. It was a mix and match of crumbling terracing , old benches and a modern if not hideous looking stand that nearly bankrupt the club. There was a running track around the ground similar to Wembley , on matchdays cars used to park there. If truth be told the ground was awful. The football was not much better , within a season we had been relegated by 'Boro , which prompted a pitch invasion borderline riot and the club had the terraces shut for the start of the new season. My dad was giving out to me about Chelsea being a hooligans club and that I wasn't allowed to go. He stopped me from going to that infamous relegation match , on that occasion he was much wiser than I.  Did I stop going ? Did I hell.........

 

In 1987 I became a Chelsea member , which was the next best thing to a season ticket. Despite all of the reasons to walk away and support a 'big' club I kept with them. How was I to know that afternoon , those two hours or so , would have such an effect on the rest of my life.

                                                                                                                                                         Bill Shankly said 'Some people think football is a matter of life or death , I assure you , it's much more serious than that'. It was to me back then , I was totally taken over by all things Chelsea. I lived for the weekend , home and away , I spent every spare penny I had following Chelsea. Although I invested so much more than money into Chelsea , it had my heart and soul. It still has although I don't quite follow Shankly's quote so strictly.

                         For many years all I wanted was for us to be able to compete with the 'big' teams , and by compete I mean not a one off victory , I mean compete and win something. 1994 we played and beat Man Utd twice in the league , only to get hockeyed in the FA cup final. Truth be told I watched that final and knew we didn't stand a chance. They had the big team mentality , I wanted a piece of it , but we were never going to get it with Ken Bates , we needed serious investment.

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Matthew Harding arrived like a ray of sunlight. A Chelsea boy done good who now wanted to realize a dream , the same dream I and all other Chelsea fans had. For two years it seemed like a match made in heaven. Forget the power struggle that ensued , because now we were in with a real chance of joining the 'big' boys. We accepted this boardroom squabble as part of the deal to bring us trophies. Tragically that part of our new history was doomed.

                                                                                                                         Still a new chapter in the clubs and fans expectations had already began , we have Matthew Harding to thank for that and his legacy will go on forever at our club regardless of what comes to pass. He understood that modern football was a business , but knew without patronage or a product , that business could fail or certainly fail to evolve. Football clubs are a little different to most big business , just because the product might be sh*t from time to time , generally speaking the patronage remains the same. Its what separates the fans from the glory hunters , but to be 'big' , to make money you need your glory hunters to buy into the 'brand' or product. We sure got our fair share of those.

                                                                                                                    So fast forward nearly twenty years since our first introduction to someone with money coming into our club and I see where we were and where we are. Yes , there have been Premier league titles , FA cups , League cups and a Champions league trophy in the cabinet. But at what cost ? The annual sometimes bi-annual sacking of managers , the constant fear of picking up a paper and reading the latest saga at Chelsea. 

 

We have become a 'bigger' club but would stop short of calling us a 'big' club. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Let me expand on that. My opinion is that to be regarded as a 'big' club you have to have so much more than trophies , fan base , stadium and top players. The way the club conducts itself is also to be considered. Its relationship with the fans , the boards relationship with the fans , how the club treats its employees , how it conducts itself in public and in private. Some of these area's we are fulfilling , some we are falling short on.    

                                                                                                                                                                                                        So the question is , would I give them away (the trophies) , would I trade them for the possibly rose tinted view I have of twenty odd years ago ? Up until a few months ago , I would have said 'no'. I will be honest with you football in general 'pre' premier league was on the whole sh*te , sh*tty grounds , f**king headcase hooligans , being treated like a criminal just for supporting your team by plod , this was the reality. Now I am faced with another reality which is my dislike of men I've never met making a farce of my club. A man who made disparaging remarks about the fans and who is here to serve only his own interests being put in charge. An owner it would seem who will not be happy until he is running the team , or has surrounded himself with sheep who will 'run' it for him.

 

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 1990 a Sunday afternoon in Manchester , Bobby Campbells kids win 3-2 , I was there it was my Champions league. A Tuesday night in Portsmouth , 2-0 down with less than ten to go , we win 3-2 , I was there it was my Premier league. I celebrated those victories as much as the more recent trophies. So again I ask myself , would I trade the success ? My answer 'be careful what you wish for , you just might get it'.

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