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Wanting Our Old Chelsea Back


Dorset

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My old Chelsea is exactly that… old, very old. Ancient and stretching back to the dim and distant past, the year being 1957. Imagine, if you will, a small lad visiting the Bridge for the first time, clinging to his Dad’s hand for dear life and in danger of being swept away in a sea of humanity on leaving the ground, feet not even touching it, floating on euphoric memories of the previous ninety minutes, yet caught amidst supporters eager to get home, uncaring of consequence. Want it back? Sure I do, but not because it was a superior adrenalin rush to that obtained when watching Dennis score in the San Siro, or to that when seeing Frank glide through Bolton’s defence in search of our first Premiership title. Let me explain further…

Back then, if you had called those Fifties fans ‘plastic‘ they would have thanked you kindly for the implied association with modernity and doffed a cap in your direction. A decade on and clinging to a Wembley terrace vantage point as we faced Spurs in the FA Cup, you could hear the letters in that word being delicately rearranged, then spat out venomously at rival supporters to denote their physical state. The backcloth to the game in general was changing, we were losing the match and a punch-up awaited defeat, as if it were a panacea for frustration rather than the embodiment of it. But, lest we forget, this too was some fans ’old Chelsea’ and I have no doubt the generation concerned hankers after it nostalgically, much like a Crespo curler into the top corner in the last minute, or a Poyet hitch-kicked effort to the roof of the net, after a lobbed pass from Zola.

Affirmation and adulation of this era’s status duly arrived with defeat of Leeds and belated FA Cup glory, yet in the decades that followed, from Ron Suart and a 26% win ratio to Glen Hoddle and his 34 percent’s worth, not much disturbed each new generation’s appraisal of his Chels through rose-tinted glasses, perched as they were on noses only ever having had one sniff of trophy success in their lifetime - unless you were later to include a John Neal (41%) promotion season or a Bobby Campbell (46%) tilt at the title. Asked now, I’ll wager that they’ll want their ‘old Chelsea’ back too, without giving even a moment‘s thought to Ruud, Gianluca, Jose, Guus, Carlo and Roberto, all still to come crashing through the glass ceiling holding back our foreign trophy winners. Trophies that, for many, will never alter a mind‘s eye forever bathed in nostalgia. For them only moments exist, much like Robben’s skinning of a Newcastle defence and Duffer’s dumping a third past Barcelona.

So, here we are, the lot of us, each generation bemoaning the current lot, this ‘lot’ known as Roman [plus advisers] to the reverent and Russian pillock to the peeved, or perhaps that’s just the one poster epitomising in a single descriptive word the level to which we have all sunk in our great depth of despair and parlous debate. Yes, here we are, each of us recalling his own special days of no whine and joses, the only common denominator being a desire to rid ourselves of what we have endured right here, right now, hurtling in a hell bent rush towards what we want as fans who are, undeniably, irrefutably, entitled. And, jeez, are we entitled, especially after all we’ve been through in recent years and most certainly because we, more than any previous generation, recognise meltdown when we see it. Sense it, don’t you, much like a Drogba header powering to the back of the Arse net at the new Wembley, or an Essien bullet ricocheting in off a Barca crossbar.

Indeed, I think it is incumbent upon all of us to cast an envious glance in the direction of anyone whose ’old Chelsea’ sprang into vitriolic life for the very first time only in the last few months. Carefree or not, whoever they may be, they cannot have started with any lower level of expectation of anything, or anyone, involved with our club. Rafa Benitez, for instance, is an FSW and there can be no doubting the fans desire to get rid of him, along with every other ill known to mankind, most [the assumption must surely be] stemming from a string-pulling Russian puppet master. This generation could easily look back on a start to Chelsea-loving life and hail it as the sea change of a century - the time when fans themselves influenced failure, mimicking a film set director creating his own snuff ‘em out movie.

Moreover, it seems to be all going to plan so far. Struggling to qualify for the Champions League? Who cares, as long as the Interim is gone tomorrow and we get our ’old Chelsea’ back. Roman Abramovich in talks over a possible sale of CFC? Bring it on and while you’re at it bring Uncle Ken along too - loved those days, didn’t you? Falcao didn’t want to sign in January because of the turmoil and now we can’t even attract Peter Odemwinge to the car park, never mind the pitch? What’s the problem, aren’t we on the brink of getting our ’old Chelsea’ back? Nope, thinking about it I can’t see one either, so let’s stop wondering where the next player’s coming from and start planning for a future without….. well, virtually everything we’ve had under Roman Abramovich, much like the last two seasons of Mata magic, the current Oscar cameos and all those David Luiz distractions - don’t you just love him, I know I do and I’ll be sad to see him go.

Then again, mere mention of these three, in terms of possibly losing them in the maelstrom of revolution, might concern some, but not the brave, the principled, or those that want their ’old Chelsea’ back. Therefore, no matter no Mata and an uncertain future, the only remaining important issue requiring attention has to be new leadership - and that is already being addressed under another topic. Not a stalking horse for repetitious posturing, as I had assumed and feared at first, we now see Seb Coe’s name go forward more as a genuine cry for help, financial as opposed to administrative or speed-driven. It was a thought that definitely counted, but sadly, significantly more than his money would do.

Still, he may be prepared to be just a factotum, pulling together some kind of consortium and, if the worst comes to the worst, there is always a Glazer-type debt package to fall back on. Okay, that scenario wouldn’t end in a return to my ’old Chelsea’, nor I suspect yours, but it’s bound to be somebody’s…. so let’s go for it, shall we?

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How about wanting "our Chelsea" as in a club we actually felt connected to? In Abramovich we have an owner and benefactor who is sometimes seen but never heard, unlike Uncle Ken who was often seen and very often heard. Matchday Programmes would include Ken's very own Programme Notes.

 

If he had something to say, he'd say it, never mind who it upset. Colin Hutchinson was Chelsea's Chief Exec before Trevor Birch who helped put together the Abramovich takeover. You only have to compare Colin Hutchinson to Peter Kenyon to get a flavour of this (not so) "old Chelsea" that's been harkened back to as a time when supporters felt a greater sense of connection towards the club.

 

And now we have Ron Gourlay. Shall I refer you yet again to Gourlay's notes in the QPR programme? Lest we forget, here they are again:

 

“I would like to thank Roberto Di Matteo for all he did after taking over last March and we will never forget the huge contribution he made to this club’s history.

“However, the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary to keep the club moving in the right direction ahead of a vitally important part of the season.

“Rafael Benitez subsequently joined us as interim manager. He has significant experience at the highest level of football and has come in to immediately help deliver our objectives.

“We still have the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup to fight for and we face Swansea in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals here at the Bridge next week. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all four fronts.â€

 

We no longer have the Premier League to fight for, the Europa League is one hell of a long shot, in the FA Cup we have yet to get passed Brentford, and have since crashed out of the Capital One Cup.

 

And so Rafael Benitez, has delivered none of the stated objectives. Rafael Benitez has turned a promising season into what looks likely to be a struggle for Champions League qualification at best. Rafael Benitez, aided and abetted by the board, have together managed to tarnish what should be a celebratory season.

 

You'll have noted by now that I'm working backwards through Gourlay's statement. I feel there is a certain logic to this approach, you may well next disagree. So now to the second paragraph. "The owner and the board felt... ". Well the "owner and the board could hardly have been more wrong, could they. If this is what they wanted, if this is the "right direction" forecast in appointing Rafael Benitez, then that way is downhill all the way.

 

And so to the first paragraph, which in an ideal world might have been worded something like this:

 

“I would like to thank Roberto Di Matteo for all he is doing for the club since taking over last March and we will never forget the huge contribution he made last season and have every confidence that Robbie will continue to play a major part in the club's future success for many years to come."

 

So if you take "our Chelsea" as an owner who actually communicates with the fans, a board of directors preferably without the ex-Man U (Umbro is surely a coincidence, isn't it?) connection, ideally including at least one member with a long standing connection with the club, then I don't think it's asking too much. An "our Chelsea" situation would never in a million years have resulted in the appointment of Rafael Benitez in any capacity whatsoever.

 

It occurs to me that this feeling of disconnection isn't confined to Chelsea fans, but is common to fans of many of the more successful Premiership teams. Even if this is the case, it's difficult to imagine the owner and board of any other Premiership Club being as insensitive and as dismissive of their supporters feelings than our owner and board were when they decided to replace Robbie Di Matteo with Rafael Benitez.

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Good Post Dorset - however back in the days of the 'old' Chelsea, or my 'old Chelsea' - we were a division 2 club who got promoted had a couple of decent seasons then began flirting with relegation to the old division 2, which eventually happened. We were in a stadium we didn't own, with the fans having a whip round to save it, and most of the time had to sell our best players.

 

I used to say to my dad, I won't have a panda pop today dad, can I put it in the bucket (Save the Bridge fund) - supporters kept us going as much as the next owner, or the next.

 

As European Champions - yes I never thought I'd say it either, we have not  turned into a overnight shambles, we just need focus and correct management. The mounting instability over recent years have culminated to where we are now.

 

Back then we sold our best players due to necessity, nowdays we just give them away, even if they don't want to go or still have something to offer. Back then we only sold out for big games still with vast areas of derilect, crumbling terraces left empty, now we attract a +40K attendance every week.

 

 

Back then we had a blue plastic disabled car by the side of the pitch, nowdays we have red plastic bearded car-crash in the dug-out.

 

All we want is a club of our resources treated and managed with a little fore-thought and care, the same way all of Romans other business interests and hobbies are treated. Would he hire David Dickenson to purchase his antiques or allow the Costa Concordias skipper to take out one of his ocean liners, or even allow Bernie Maddoff run his share portfolio - no he hasn't and wouldn't, because he is a sensible man.

 

The reasson we were in such a state when I began supporting us, clinging onto a distant memory of the Leeds victory you mention, (when I wasn't even born I might add), is because shortly after that success the club were mis-run, built up debts and were eventually sold to Bates for £1.

 

History can repest itself, and NONE of us want to go back to the bad days we experienced as a club, which could happen without Roman investment, but as it stands we just want the club to be run properly and treated with a little more care and respect in the way it's run, and have a little more customer care and respect for the people who kept it going before Roman took over.

 

My pound in the bucket, and your pound all went to saving Chelsea, to making it what it is today, as well as Romans millions  Billions, because we are all a part of it's history.

 

Where we were then is not where we are now as a club, so we must address what is required now. That is a management strategy from top to bottom with full control of football matters, stability throughout the club, with a continuity from youth through to the first team, with players allowed to develop.

 

Perhaps even a dialog with the supporters and somone to be made accountable for what is currently going on.

 

Sadly I don't see any of this happening soon, so we could be the 'old Chelsea' sooner than we think, lacking success, not realising our potential, and returning to the sleeping giant, but this time around spending millions in the process.!!!

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Seeing that I'm that peeved person who's sunk to using the term "Russian Pillock" I thought I'd offer my two pennorth.

 

Firstly, he is. I have other words but none which were both sufficiently short for the poster and suitable for a public forum.

 

Secondly, would I have Ken Bates back? Actually, I wouldn't discount the idea out of hand. I was never clamouring for him to leave in the first place. I like a person who calls a spade a f**king great shovel.

 

And finally, I'll repeat what I said on the "Protest" thread, where I supported this comment by Bluebeard,

 

"Sorry, but that's just bollocks. Chelsea spent years playing sh*te football and snatching the occasional win in both Divisions 1 & 2. Those of us that went to the games back then didn't expect a win, yet we still followed the club both home and away. It's called loyalty, and true fans will have that no matter how the results go.


Have you ever considered why fans of teams like Rochdale, Bury, Stockport and the like keep supporting their sides week in week out? It's not because those teams are winning, is it?"

 

My remark in response was,

 

"I'm one of those old people Bluebeard refers to. Back in those days we wanted to win but we didn't expect to as perhaps some do now that we're champions of Europe. We attended matches anyway because we felt a part of the club, somewhere in the heart of it all. Heaven knows, there was no other reason to go to god-awful places like Watford, freezing our asses off as the wind swept across the terrace. There was a connection there, a unity between us, there was recognition of the fans' involvement from team and management alike... even from Ken Bates! Like him or loathe him, you knew where you stood with him, even if that did mean that you had to apply reverse psychology and could guarantee that around 7 days after Ken told the press that he had every confidence in his manager the guy would be out the door! The thing is, it didn't happen with such cynical, depressing regularity as it has since Roman has taken over... and when it did occur, it generally happened for a good reason.


And now? Never before have I felt so disenfranchised, so alienated from my club and all who are part of it. I accept that part of this is because they're all so much less accessible than they were way back when we were in the 2nd division but it's not just that. It's probably
caused by a host of things as well as the silverware meaning more to Abramovich than loyalty, decency and commitment, it's quite possibly about the big financial divide, the plastic corporate "fans", the indignation I feel when only Lamps, JT and Luiz acknowledge the fans at the end of the match... but there's one thing it's not.


And that is that it's not just Bluebeard who sees that there's more to Chelsea Football Club than a handful of shekels and a shiny cup."

 

So yes, I DO want my Chelsea back!

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Good Post Dorset - however back in the days of the 'old' Chelsea, or my 'old Chelsea' - we were a division 2 club who got promoted had a couple of decent seasons then began flirting with relegation to the old division 2, which eventually happened. We were in a stadium we didn't own, with the fans having a whip round to save it, and most of the time had to sell our best players.

 

I used to say to my dad, I won't have a panda pop today dad, can I put it in the bucket (Save the Bridge fund) - supporters kept us going as much as the next owner, or the next.

 

As European Champions - yes I never thought I'd say it either, we have not  turned into a overnight shambles, we just need focus and correct management. The mounting instability over recent years have culminated to where we are now.

 

Back then we sold our best players due to necessity, nowdays we just give them away, even if they don't want to go or still have something to offer. Back then we only sold out for big games still with vast areas of derilect, crumbling terraces left empty, now we attract a +40K attendance every week.

 

 

Back then we had a blue plastic disabled car by the side of the pitch, nowdays we have red plastic bearded car-crash in the dug-out.

 

All we want is a club of our resources treated and managed with a little fore-thought and care, the same way all of Romans other business interests and hobbies are treated. Would he hire David Dickenson to purchase his antiques or allow the Costa Concordias skipper to take out one of his ocean liners, or even allow Bernie Maddoff run his share portfolio - no he hasn't and wouldn't, because he is a sensible man.

 

The reasson we were in such a state when I began supporting us, clinging onto a distant memory of the Leeds victory you mention, (when I wasn't even born I might add), is because shortly after that success the club were mis-run, built up debts and were eventually sold to Bates for £1.

 

History can repest itself, and NONE of us want to go back to the bad days we experienced as a club, which could happen without Roman investment, but as it stands we just want the club to be run properly and treated with a little more care and respect in the way it's run, and have a little more customer care and respect for the people who kept it going before Roman took over.

 

My pound in the bucket, and your pound all went to saving Chelsea, to making it what it is today, as well as Romans millions  Billions, because we are all a part of it's history.

 

Where we were then is not where we are now as a club, so we must address what is required now. That is a management strategy from top to bottom with full control of football matters, stability throughout the club, with a continuity from youth through to the first team, with players allowed to develop.

 

Perhaps even a dialog with the supporters and somone to be made accountable for what is currently going on.

 

Sadly I don't see any of this happening soon, so we could be the 'old Chelsea' sooner than we think, lacking success, not realising our potential, and returning to the sleeping giant, but this time around spending millions in the process.!!!

 

::clap2:: ::clap2:: ::clap2:: ::clap2:: ::clap2::

 

We're clearly much the same age, BLUENUT. I remember that blue plastic disabled car well.

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We will never get our old Chelsea back and this is not entirely down to our ownership, Football has changed beyond all recognition due to Sky and the inception of the Premier League.

Nostalgia is all well and good but everything about Football has changed from the way we watch it (MOTD or the Big Match on a Sunday if you couldn't get to a game) to the way its reported on in the press.

 

Nowadays we have rolling news and radio virtually 24 hours a day devoted to football. Everything is over analysed,even forums like this one (which is, imo the best fans forum in the business, and is where I come to for my Chelsea news, cravenly allowing others to filter out all  the dross from the media that I don't want to trawl through) add to the sense of intense scrutiny which simply didn't happen in the past.

 

As for Ken Bates I hated him when he sacked Vialli, but I got over it....Boards and Chairmen make decisions which we don't agree with, the appointment of Benitez seems to be one of the worst yet, but hopefully when this season is over it will be a minor footnote in our proud, topsy turvy, chaotic History...

 

We won't be going back to standing in the Shed end, ankle deep in other peoples urine any time soon, but if the club was sold we could be plunged right back in the "good" old days of extreme debt, as any consortium would probably have to borrow loads to buy us...

 

Anyway in order to appreciate the good times we have to ride out the bad times....We are in a bad moment, tmCarloAncelotti (have you noticed how that phrase is so widely used now, forget winning the double in his first season, "bad moment" is truly Ancelottis legacy to the Premier League) but come the end of May we'll all be looking forward to the new season, with a new manager....Hopefully

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I don't think anyone's actually calling for a return to the Good Old Bad Old Days. However, in replacing Robbie with Benitez the owner and board have managed to emphasise just how far removed they are from the hopes and fears of the supporters.

 

I'm sure it wasn't the intent, but in appointing Benitez, the board come across as arrogant and contemptuous of the fans, and of the very traditions and history of the club. Look through any number of football forums, including this one, and you'll see no shortage of comments from fans who feel a sense of disconnection from football in general, disillusionment with the Premier League in particular.

 

So in wanting our Chelsea back, there are no demands for a return to the terraces, no desire to bring back a decrepit old stadium, no matter how beloved it was. All that's being asked for is for the actions of the board to acknowledge that the sensibilities of the fans DO matter.

 

In appointing Benitez you could say that the board and owners crossed a line, a betrayal of trust, if you like. They've created a them and us situation with a vengeance, casting themselves as the villains of the piece.

 

They (the board and owner) have created this situation, and so they need to make moves to repair the damage they've done.

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I agree that the board have royally f*cked up over appointing Benitez, but in that they are no different from any other board, as I said before, Bates was quite trigger happy when the mood took him. Very rarely would a board at any club bother to take the fans feelings into consideration when making a decision...The percieved popularity or unpopularity of an appointment probably doesn't even occur to the suits who make these decisions...

 

I personally cannot wait until Fergie retires, providing Man Utd don't get Mourinho that is, as I am curious to see how the Mancs would cope with trying to bed in a new manager/succession of failed managers, whilst having a board that is intent on screwing every last penny our of that club...

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Definitely, will be very interesting to see who comes to the position at Old Trafford, mega pressure and a virtually impossible task to get anywhere near the bully's tenure.

 

Maybe they'd welcome Benitez? 

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