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Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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I recently had a conversation with a Gooner about our respective clubs and he was regurgitating the old classics like "where were Chelsea before Abramovich took over?" (erm...4th in the Prem)..."Chelsea had no fans before 2003" (despite the fact Chelsea were averaging just shy of 40k the season before Roman came)..."what are you gonna do when he gets bored and leave?" (I've heard that one for 10 years now...I'll worry about it when it happens).


I'm sure you've all heard the same a million times. However, if we look into Arsenal's past, we find some interesting occurences.


For those of you that don't know, Arsenal used to be a small nothing club who played in South East London (in an area which was technically in Kent back then). They won nothing (actually, they won nothing for the first 44 years of their existence but a Gooner won't share that with you...or most probably won't know), were often a second division side and when in the first division, struggled to finish above mid-table. So really they were something akin to Charlton Athletic.



By 1910, the club were averaging a paltry 11,000 home attendance (compare that to Chelsea's crowds back then which were among the biggest in the country...or the 40k we were averaging pre-Roman) and were also facing bankruptcy. Charlton, sorry, Arsenal, then went into voluntary liquidation being bought out by a consortium of businessmen, the largest shareholder being property magnate and from what I understand shady character Henry Norris.


Norris tried to merge the club with Fulham but it was blocked by the F.A. He then decided to relocate the club to Islington in order to attract bigger crowds, make more money and fend off the spectre of financial ruin. So they went from being Charlton to MK Dons. Class, dignity, history, tradition, integrity etc.


This is from wiki:


"Despite objections both from Woolwich-based fans and residents of Highbury,[13] Norris tenaciously saw the move through. He reportedly spent £125,000[14] ( Historic Opportunity cost of that project is £12,530,000.00, Labour cost of that project is £42,450,000.00, Economic cost of that project is £88,070,000.00[15]) on building the new stadium"


In the long term this worked and the money generated from the stadium move would enable them to attract top players and the top manager in England in Herbert Chapman. They became the best side in England in the 30's and the rest, as they say, is 'history'. They would become known as 'The Bank of England Club'. Would this transformation have been possible without Norris' financial imput? Was the money organically earned? Of course not. The historical success of Arsenal (domestically at least...they're still chasing that elusive European Cup  :128: I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Steaua Bucharest, Red Star Belgrade and Nottingham Forest  :WavE: ) is solely down to that intervention from moneymen.


Now they pontificate to Chelsea about buying success. That they have class and dignity...as they play in a stadium named after an Arabic airline. Brainlessly lapping up the board's boasts of 'balancing the books' as they get charged the highest ticket prices in World Football to watch a club not challenging for the major honours.




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Excellent post. In reality all the historically successful clubs have benefitted from cash injections at some point in there history.

It use to wind me up 10 years ago, but I don't care what other fans think or say anymore. All the hate we get just comes from jealousy, and it makes our triumphs that bit sweeter.

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Great post mate. Everyone bags us out about being supposedly being a plastic club ever since Roman bought us in 2003 but I'm proud of our traditions, our identity and our values as a club. We've always had the same identity since 1905 as being known as Chelsea Football Club and played at the same ground since 1905. That means something to me!


The success of 1997 and 2000 was brilliant in the FA Cup. The FA Cup success of 1970 was magnificent with Ossie being our hero and for those who remember 1955 that must have been a thrilling moment in our club's history when we won the championship that year. I also remember the sadness and the jubilation of relegation and promotion into the top flight in the 1980s and the sadness of being smashed against Manchester United in the 1994 FA Cup Final, so it's insulting when someone suggests that any of us are not true supporters. The success of 2003-2014 has been just as enjoyable as those before 2003. I've always enjoyed what the club has done for us for so many years and I can't wait until our next success which is hopefully not too far away with this current side. 


I love this club and will forever love them until the day I die. Great post and a big round of applause to you:



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Who cares what they think? It's just jealousy and pure hypocrisy.

It's good to highlight the hypocrisy. I can only presume a lot of Goons don't know about their past (being bankrupt and then bailed out by a wealthy businessman) or they wouldn't spout the s*** they do.

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It's good to highlight the hypocrisy. I can only presume a lot of Goons don't know about their past (being bankrupt and then bailed out by a wealthy businessman) or they wouldn't spout the s*** they do.

A lot of football fans don't, it's like Liverpol, they were buying the best players in the 70s & 80s, when they had their success. The talk about glory supporters, yet that's when most of their fans started supporting them. Football is full of jealousy and hypocrisy.

Don't get me wrong George it was a hell of a post, I just think let them whine, it's funny to laugh at them.

Edited by Bobbywoodhogan
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I remember telling an Arsenal friend that they were subject to a Roman-style takeover in the '20s (maybe the wrong decade) and he funded Arsenal. He point blank refused to believe me, he didn't have a clue about his club's past.

None of them do. I had a gooner piss head giving me grief about roman I asked him did he know you owned arsenal he hasn't a clue

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FourFourTwo did a go article on him a while ago




He actually bribed the league and its members to prevent Arsenal getting relegated.


And who was chairman of the Football League at the time? John McKenna, who was also chairman of Liverpool! Around the same time Liverpool were caught up in a big match-fixing scandal along with Man United.


All three have some pretty grubby chapters in their history that they tend to airbrush out.

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  • 6 months later...

Given recent events, a good time to bump this thread I think.


Let's have a look at Arsenal's biggest criticisms of Chelsea....a history of racist, neo-nazi fans. Well I've found this picture of an Arsenal nazi banner which was hung at Highbury during the 80's:




If it doesn't work, here is a link: http://www.gettyimages.es/detail/fotograf%C3%ADa-de-noticias/february-1987-arsenal-v-tottenham-hotspur-fotograf%C3%ADa-de-noticias/186606386

Edited by George Mills
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This brought back memories. Many years ago I roamed Woolwich, Plumstead, Catford, Erith and sometimes Lewisham. I knew some, very wealthy yet fairly ordinary, Norris descendents, who although living north of the water spent a lot of time 'down the Roman'. I think I'm right in saying a branch of the Norris family was actually Jewish.

(We were looking at a property in Catford fairly recently and could not believe the price!)

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