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If you believe what you read in the newspapers?


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?then Chelsea TV?s Paper View program is right up your street. The latest edition got an airing a few weeks ago and featured Ian McGarry (The Sun) and Duncan Castles (Sunday Times) and provided a platform for the journalists to give viewers the ultimate insight into Chelsea ?goings on?. For those who haven?t seen it, the show is hosted by Gigi Salmon in a relaxed manner that pretty much gives the guests a free rein and she started by asking if Editors ever insisted on seeing something anti-Chelsea included in each and every issue and ended by giving them thirty seconds to explain why we should believe the guff they come out with anyway. In between they were given enough rope to either hang themselves or their so-called sources - an offer they simply couldn?t refuse.

As befits the bandwagons of their respective newspapers, McGarry quickly turned his into Roman Way and drove it well past the opening question. Pooh-poohing the notion that Chelsea baiting was prevalent, he nevertheless admitted that we were tops when it came to newsworthy items, but, taking Abramovich as an example, we brought it on ourselves. Apparently, in Roman?s case, this was achieved as soon as he stopped going into the team dressing room post match, after religiously doing so since Day One. From that moment on crisis ensued, presumably giving the Sun just cause to expand the theme into a vitriolic personal attack on his character - well you would, wouldn?t you?

Castles, on the other hand, got on his usual hobbyhorse - the future of our manager. Egghead he may be, but Duncan has always employed a loopy scattergun approach when answering questions on the Life and Times of Jose Mourinho. Since the beginning of the year his articles have had Jose going to Juve, AC Milan, Real and Barca and, if you were one of those who believed him every step of the way, it would have been a giddy experience. There is a lot of research required when compiling such incontrovertible evidence, or so Duncan told us, and it often involves trips abroad. On this topic Gigi didn?t need to probe too deeply for, like a shy schoolgirl owning up to a first kiss, Castles readily divulged the fact that he also wrote for a Portuguese newspaper. At this point it became crystal clear that viewers had to believe his every word, what with all those foreign connections and the resultant insider knowledge at his disposal.

Insider knowledge also proved to be the mainstay of McGarry?s thirty second summing up. It seems that verification of his printed words is somehow guaranteed by a personal friendship with Frank Lampard. This is outside of football, you understand, but a nudge is as good as a wink (he didn?t actually say the last bit, so I?ve used a bit of journalistic licence to spice it up a little - as you do). Funny how Ian is prepared to go public with this revelation on Chelsea TV and yet he?d never thought to mention it within the august pages of his newspaper. Still, at least we now know that Frank wants to stay, contractual problems are down to the club not sorting things out properly and previous Sun talk about him going to Barca was a figment of our imagination - from another planet, you might say.

For his part, Duncan had already used the Good Source Guide and therefore had to fall back on the quality and depth of knowledge argument, which, to be honest, was beginning to wear a bit thin. He needn?t have worried, though, because Ian came to his rescue in the closing moments, reminding every sceptic on Planet Chelsea that both journalists had worked for the same newspaper last year and, against all the odds, jointly predicted our purchase of Michael Ballack - so there! After this bombshell how could we doubt their credibility ever again?

Incidentally, at the weekend the globe trotting Duncan came close to completing his ?Round the World of Jose in 80 Days? by declaring that Roman was having second thoughts over ditching the boss and was thinking of keeping him on under Guus Hiddink, who would be installed as some sort of factotum. Now I wouldn't mind believing this, rather than hitch a ride with any of the other stories, but my instincts tell me that Castles has a few more Magical Mystery (Coach) Tours to make before the end of this particular season and, like everybody else in his line of business, he hasn?t got a clue where he?s going.

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Great read as always, Dorset.

On the subject of what the papers say/ make up about us, this is an interesting article from a consistently anti-Chelsea rag:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/a ... ge_id=1779

Exactly what caused the rift between Mourinho and Roman Abramovich remains something of a mystery but the cold war most certainly continues. Still they refuse to talk to each other. Still Abramovich stays away from the dressing room and even sometimes the games.

"Business in Russia" was the official reason for failing to attend Tuesday night's extraordinary encounter at the Mestalla, but nobody really believed it. Least of all Mourinho, one suspects.

What Abramovich needs to realise is that everyone at Chelsea would lose if an almighty clash of egos results in Mourinho's departure. Even if a successor spends his money wisely and adds to the recent haul of trophies. Mourinho is so much more than a football manager at a club that needed a big personality the moment Abramovich parked his Russian tanks on the lawn, as David Dein once put it, and started firing ?50 notes at Manchester United and Arsenal.

They needed someone who could shoulder the burden of resentment. Who could take the attention away from the oil billionaire and earn respect, however grudging, for what was happening on the pitch. Who could win silverware.

He hasn't always got it right, his win-at-all-costs mentality inviting some of the most scathing criticism ever witnessed in the modern game. It is not every day, after all, that a Premiership manager is branded 'an enemy of football' by UEFA.

But Mourinho has learned from those mistakes and evolved as a man as well as a manager, employing a touch more charm and a little less arrogance to even earn the adoration of those who once abhorred him.

While doing that, however, he has somehow managed to turn his employer against him. Through no real fault of his own, perhaps, but probably because of a bullish response to what he saw as interference.

Mourinho wants autonomy over all matters football at Stamford Bridge - and rightly so - but Abramovich owns the train set and he also expects to have some influence.

When Frank Arnesen arrived as academy director Mourinho didn't like it but, because the Dane was not involved in first team affairs, the Portuguese let it go.

When, however, Mourinho was told he had to accommodate Portsmouth's Avram Grant in his coaching staff there was suddenly a problem.

Mourinho lost his cool, stories began to emerge from Portugal, Abramovich got angry, all plans for the January transfer window were cancelled and then the Russian stopped going to matches.

He has been back to see his team, but he still refuses to venture into the dressing room and his absence on Tuesday night was described as "bizarre" by one insider yesterday. "What's the point in owning a football club if you then miss moments like that?" he asked.

Mourinho wants to stay, and while he is now thought to have given his blessing to Grant being appointed in some kind of technical role in the next few weeks, he clearly suspects he is beyond salvation.

"What I want is to remain in England and remain with Chelsea," he said after watching his side become the first English team to win at the Mestalla in 40 years. "But sometimes in life you cannot get what you want. If I cannot train here I will train another team."

The team don't want another trainer and nor, for that matter, do most members of the Chelsea hierarchy. Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, who has tried to hard to heal the rift between owner and manager, embraced Mourinho with genuine affection in Valencia and so did John Terry.

After benefitting from another demonstration of Mourinho's tactical mastery, Frank Lampard described him as the best in the business.

"Huge credit to the manager, there's no doubt about that," said Lampard. "You can't talk highly enough of the moves he makes. Many times they work for us and he is the focal point, the leader of our group and the things he does make a big, big difference. He did it tonight. Of course the players have to go out and perform but the manager's fantastic.

"He's the best I've played under, for sure. He's one of the best in the world. I don't see many better than him out there. I love working with the man."

They all do, it seems. They love working with him as well as for him, and they never stop fighting for him. They proved as much against Valencia and they have proved it in the 25 goals they have scored in the last 10 minutes of matches this season.

They have also proved it in their public declarations of support. Terry, Lampard and Didier Drogba have been chief among those who have called for Mourinho to remain in charge.

Footballers can be fickle, as the England players demonstrated when Steve McClaren was heralded as everything that the once-loved Sven Goran Eriksson wasn't. But Chelsea's players are loyal to Mourinho and they will not let go easily.

Trouble is, there may be nothing they can do and there may be nothing Lord Coe can do either. When it comes to getting through to Abramovich, they probably have about as much chance as the old Polish gentleman who arrived at Stansted Airport with Tottenham fans last week.

He asked a television reporter for Abramovich's phone number in the belief that the Russian would provide him with a bed until his appointment at the immigration centre in Croydon a few days later. Not knowing quite what to say, the reporter directed him towards the information desk.

This for me was the interesting bit, that links in with Dorset's post:

"Mourinho lost his cool, stories began to emerge from Portugal, Abramovich got angry, all plans for the January transfer window were cancelled and then the Russian stopped going to matches."

There you have, it seems, the basis for this ongoing Mourinho's-going-to-be-sacked saga. JM - who all along has pledged his loyalty to the club and his players - was unhappy at transfer policy and possible changes to his coaching team, people in Portugal wrote things, RA - who had a huge divorce settlement to deal with, not to mention the odd bit of business - didn't go so many games or to the dressing room. That's it. Nothing else to tell so let's just write what the hell we like for a few months.

It's weird that the Mail is actually putting the case for JM to stay on, having spent the last three seasons doing everything in its power to undermine him and damage his image in this country.

"He hasn't always got it right, his win-at-all-costs mentality inviting some of the most scathing criticism ever witnessed in the modern game."

There he is owning up to printing unprecedented anti-Chelsea vitriol.

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It's not that strange for the Mail to be putting the case for Jose in their perceived battle, Backbiter, because, in effect, all it means is that they are putting the case for us to dislike, or at the very least, mistrust Roman. Any sort of divide means that neither party can rule either the playing or the business side of things properly, so why not accentuate the negative - something the Mail always does where Chelsea are concerned. Fuelling the debate keeps our opponents fans happy too...Abramovich must be mad, Jose's gonna go etc, etc.

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One of, maybe the Mail's chief football reporters is a raving Manc called Steve Currie. Every time I've heard that particular pillock being interviewed, he's displayed a bitter hatred of anything to do with Chelsea FC. I'm not saying that he alone is responsible for the Mail's anti-CFC stance, just that he goes out of his way to stick the knife in at every given opportunity. A true scumbag if ever there was one is Mr Curry.

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