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Will Roman’s Lab Brats Finally Cure Media Malaise?


Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Whether Chelsea fans pay heed to it or not, the press and pundit party line for our club has always been negative in outlook from the moment it came under the oligarch ownership of Roman Abramovich. At its best, there is a rancorous acceptance of our presence in their world of stereo-typically ’great’ football clubs and at its worst Chels- inflicted imbalance on the hierarchy is treated with disdain and resentment. Last week the stigmatic nature of it all was summed up perfectly by a dejected Lee Dixon, at the end of our comeback against PSG, with the words “They just don’t go away.†Not the longest of [grudging] acceptance speeches, I grant you, but it did encompass the sheer frustration felt by many since the Roman’s arrival and the subsequent rise of his empire. 

 

Of course, his tenure is not always seen in a shady light and the passing of a tenth anniversary in control was hailed as a success in many quarters. But it has never been hailed as hearty, nor as being beneficial for the game as a whole in this country. Far from it, in fact, as the media in all its forms never ceases to emphasis the destabilising effect his millions have had, both in the short and long term. Guilt by association also exists, with players, managers and fans alike, tarred by the same sweeping brushstrokes, painting an overall picture of self-indulgence on the part of everyone concerned. Indeed, post-Dixon despair saw Jose stands accused of putting pressure on match officials to send off Swansea’s Chico Flores, while television cameras guaranteed that he could not shy away from the absolute shame of it all. To make matters worse, John Terry was deemed guilty, by his own admission, of telling referee Phil Dowd “It’s a second yellow for meâ€, the captain’s undue [albeit duty-bound and quite amicable] influence so heinous as to warrant mass recall of past ballboyo-bashing, yet no mention whatsoever of the welsh hordes surrounding the incompetent otherwise known as Chris Foy and his compliant sending off of Eden Hazard. Little wonder Jose has shunned conferences ever since  

 

So, no welcomes kept in hillsides for our benefactor, or much love shown towards him over the alleged disgraceful handling of that Thibaut Courtois loan move to Madrid - a complete cock-up in its own right according to the hacks, pundits and self-styled barrack room lawyers drawn inexorably into the legal maelstrom. An everyday story of loanee folk suddenly turns into something ugly and unacceptable due to Chelsea’s involvement, resulting in a very wrong situation crying out to be exposed in print. Unsurprisingly, this has left many observers asking how we can possibly have the effrontery, not only to help another club out, by giving them an outstanding player to use for a considerable length of time, but also expect a contract, happily entered into by that club, to be actually honoured as well. Yet enough of that shameful distortion of values and on to the nastiest of the Russian’s crimes to date, epitomised as it was in the Youth Cup semi-final games over the last fortnight… 

 

Not even the opaqueness of almost total non-publicity can hide the truth of this story, though neutrals everywhere will still be left in the dark over its significance. Witnessed by ChelseaTV viewers, never mind around 10,000 fans, plus Arsene Wenger and Liam Brady, you can imagine the scene, if you did not see it live, and the expectancy surrounding a second-leg, with the tie standing 2-1 in our favour. The possibility of a redemptive overhauling of the scoreline for Wenger’s fledglings against their ever-grinding rivals was enough to guarantee the level of interest shown and for an expectant audience it was the ultimate in glimpses into the future - a measure of the Arsenal passing game, so beloved by the media masses, matched against Mourinho’s Methodology, instilled in these kids from an early age at the then newly-created Roman Academy and now, years of development and several managers later, here they were pressing for all they’re worth to feature in the maker’s dastardly plans for the future.

 

 A single goal win and 3-1 aggregate victory said it all really and what made it even sweeter, if for no other reason than it was deservedly achieved, was a masterful level of control in both meetings that bordered on domination. Gone was the customary carping that generally haunts fixtures between these two clubs, as there was literally nothing for the hosts to complain about, so superior were we in almost every department - except between the posts, where the Gunner’s keeper was exceptional. He needed to be, just to keep them in it, but nothing could hide our comfort on the ball and skill in transmission from defence to attack. Except, and it was ever thus, the blanket non-coverage it has been given since, seemingly lost in space taken up by the Scouse-fest that is going on, a phenomenon destined to span the weekend fixtures, before spilling over into the build-up to our ‘decider’ at Anfield, a venue that has now become the Fourth Estate’s new home of unparalleled, beautiful football.

 

Time for us to batten down hatches, don tin hats, and set ourselves against the storm of discontent that’s brewing. Expect more ‘Fenway’s the right way’ nonsense than you have ever seen before, more loanee litigiousness than you can shake a stick at, accompanied by loads of references to that stick having s**t on it and being comparable to the football a certain club plays in order to get into the later stages of the Champion League. Then, just when you think it safe to raise your head above these paparazzi pets, don’t forget to duck back down again to avoid forthcoming Costa-lot stories laced, as they will be, with unsubstantiated Financial Fair Play innuendo aplenty. 

 

One day this derisory double-sided backcloth depicting Chelsea‘s standing in the modern game, this media-choreographed choice between blatantly skewed perception and dumbed-down-to-nothing insouciance, will be consigned to the bin marked ‘trash‘. And when it happens it will be due in no small part to the likes of Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alex Kiwomya and Dominic Solanke performing as they did in midweek and showing all those who are prepared to look and learn exactly what Roman Abramovich has achieved over the last decade - the unrivalled development of talent at grass roots level, not only for us, but for the undoubted overall benefit of football in this country. 
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good post as always dorset, it summed up my feelings exactly, especially with regards the youth cup tie, in which clarke Carlisle and co mentioned the mail story about christiansen, without once informing viewers this 'alleged' story had been heavily rebuffed by the club, and the boys dad/agent.

In a tie in which we played them off the park in both games, there was also suggestion that this was a grinded out victory down to a slight average age difference between the 2 sides. Totally ignoring the fact we fielded a 15 yr old and played a possession game the arsenal first team would be proud of.

I can not wait for a couple of the youngsters to make a serious breakthrough into the first team, just to put an end to the 'evil chelsea are only club in history to buy the title' nonsense, that has been an undercurrent in the media for the best part of 10yrs!

A title win this year, will push the negativity into overdrive, and I will absolutely love it!

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