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Last Argument Standing


Dorset

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The Media fallout from the Villa game could not have been friendlier, as evidenced by my only grouse being a rather odd criticism of Ivanovic’s performance by, of all people, Martin Samuel of the Times. So rarely of late does he give Chelsea Paranoia Inc cause to complain that I had to read it twice to believe it, but confirmation did at least make me think a little bit more about the changing perception of CFC now that Scolari is at the helm and three separate ’perceptions’ over the last few days suddenly fell neatly into place for me. Let me explain by giving them to you in chronological order, just to see if you agree with the conclusion…

1. Listening to a Chelsea match on BBC Radio 5 Live is not to be recommended when Alan Green is on and noisily finding something to get annoyed about, but, as luck would have it, he was otherwise engaged at the weekend and the replacements, Mike Ingham being one, were tolerably fair throughout. Star billing of ’expert analyser’ went to Steve Claridge and a fine job he made of it too. So much so that all Chelsea fans listening had to be basking in the glory of his praise of the team for virtually the whole of the ninety minutes.

Towards the end of game, with Villa hardly being given a kick or a Claridge word of encouragement, the co-commentator tried to redress the balance with this icy little rhetorical question “I suppose in reality there is no way that Villa can compete with the big clubs when you consider the amount Chelsea can spend?†A moment’s pause for thought from Steve and then this gem of a reply hit the airwaves “How much have Spurs spent this season?†Further pause while colleague tries to fathom out where the hell Steve’s going with this one, but he persists, “Seriously, do you know?†Eventually this scrambled reply gives Steve the chance to explain himself - “What, you mean the difference between what they spent and what they got in?†- the Claridge response is both measured and triumphal “Nope, never mind the sales, what did they spend on players…I’ll tell you…it was £70 million, so money hasn’t helped them much, has it?†Absolutely priceless.

2. Once the final whistle blew, knowing full well who was on their Soccer Sunday panel, I switched to Sky to hear Paul Merson’s comments. Chelsea fan that he is, his praise was not only fulsome, but lengthy and right in the ears of Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicolas, who could nothing but sit there and take it all in sombre silence. Judgemental Ed Chamberlain presided and, as with 5 Live, the haven of last critical resort was once again Chelsea’s spending power cited on Villa’s behalf. Merson slapped this argument down as being ridiculous if you compared the signings made by both clubs over the last couple of seasons. And all the while JFH, new to the commentary team, sat next to him with a big grin on his face, no doubt enjoying every second. Absolutely priceless.

3. Fast forward to yesterday morning, to Radio 4 and to their item on the Today program known as ’Thought for The Day’, which at one time was no more than a God slot for clergymen to preach from, but now features anyone who wants to pontificate from its pulpit as long as they cover world affairs. On this occasion it was [inevitably] all about the financial crisis, but you can imagine the Chelsea Paranoia Inc anger generated when the description of the bad guys to blame included “Rich Russian oligarchs who flaunt their money.†Now I don’t know how many Radio 4 listeners there are, but I’m willing to bet that the first Russian oligarch that springs to mind for virtually all of the listeners is Roman Abramovich and, even though he flaunts his money about as much as Silas Marner and Howard Hughes combined, the seed was sown, it should not have been, and I turned the radio off in pyrrhic protest. Absolutely mindless.

Then, sitting in silence and calming down a little, it dawned on me that the perception of CFC through its benefactor will never change in the eyes of those who know next to nothing about the game and whilst it is frustrating to hear attempts to sound knowledgeable, such as Inderjit Singh’s pathetic pronouncement, it is the likes of Merson and Claridge who hold the key to changing perceptions on the pitch and that is where it really matters. Felipe has been the catalyst for change in this respect, but he can do nothing to alter the obsession of commentators who see foreign ownership as a threat, especially if it is Eastern block based. In stark contrast, American money, in the form of the oft quoted ‘mighty dollar‘, is exempt from criticism unless, as in the case of Hicks and Gillett, it proves to be insufficient for an English club’s needs. Oil rich backers, if the Abu Dhabi boys at City are to be seen as an example, will also get a far easier ride in Media circles, probably for no other reason than they must never be upset in the political field, let alone on a sporting one.

If it wasn’t such a contradiction in terms, you would have to say that poor old Roman must continue to be cast in the role of villain purely because he is Russian and, no matter how much money he ploughs into football in this country, perception of him as some sort of enemy of the game has to be fostered even if it is a ridiculous distortion of the truth. Commentators on the wider stage love to perpetuate the Cold War myth in times like these and should Chelsea succeed both at home and abroad this season Scolari will be the major beneficiary from everything achieved. Thankfully, this will not matter to Roman Abramovich and he will not flaunt his or our success should we have any, but he is the man responsible for making the right decisions at a crucial time in the club’s development. Credit is due, it should be given to him, and it should come from every quarter.

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A great read, and once again, spot on.

Felipe is doing nothing to harm us, both on and off the pitch.

It was also pleasing to hear that Villa were 3rd biggest spenders in the transfer market, behind only Man City and Inter when the obvious argument of Chelsea's money came into play.

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Pretty sure Merson did grew up watching us in The Shed, don't think any sarcasm was involved by Dorset.

Great and interesting read as ever.

im 99% sure hes a blue. i remember him saying on soccer saturday he`d watched from the shed many times.

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Dorset,

I respectfully disagree with many of your points.

We are a truly big club at the moment because of Abramovich's wealth and that is an obvious and undeniable fact. He and his millions is the main reason Chelsea is in the position it is in today.

That doesn't mean it is a bad thing - to anyone who says it, F*** 'em - that's how you become and stay big nowadays.

There a lot of clubs which can never compete with us on matters of spending power and, in the long term, allure to footballing talent. Very few indeed can and the likes of Villa are not among them.

That being said, having a better manager and more talanted players will, other things being equal, guarantee you wins over clubs of the like of Villa and, hence, a higher positions on the table. So in light of this using money and spending power as an explanation (or excuse if you prefer) for us thrashing teams of lesser talent AND finishing above them come May is perfectly reasonable and one to which I cannot logically object. We have beaten, are beating and will beat most teams and the reason for that is Abramovich's money.

There is nothing wrong with that, nor should we look for something wrong. That's how everyone does it. No major club in the world today depends entirely on home-grown talent and foreign talent is brought with money. Liverpool does it, United do it, even Arsenal do it to an extent.

Now any pundit who uses it as an excuse to express their ill-begotten bitterness that it is US who have it and not others is a bloody w*****r and can f*** off.

But financial prowess is a reasonable explanation for our success and dominance over smaller teams and we shouldn't be ashamed of it.

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We will always be accused of setting the trend for foreign investment and the name of Chelsea will always be regarded as the enemy of football, along with Roman . Questions have been raised concerning Abrams money and if all is legal in his business dealings , and a large amount of jealousy is the order of the day with most within the game.

As for Merson, i watched him on Sky on Sunday , ex Villa but the smile across his face was a joy to behold .

People like Thompson and Nicholas get on my t**s , you can feel the hatred for Chelsea without even looking or listening to them.

Great read Dorset.

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By the way , we have a journalist here who writes for The Sunday World , its a Sunday tabloid rag with mainly stories about z list celebs and underworld criminals but Roy Curtis is a nasty piece of work . Every opportunity to have a slimey dig at us and his hatred for anything non Man yoooooooooooooo is bound to get him into trouble . Sooner rather than later i hope.

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We dont beat teams like Villa because of money, we beat them because we have a better team. I know that seems like a stupid thing to say. We only have a better team because we spent the money, what came first the chicken or the egg?.

The point is Money does'nt cross the white line at the start of the match, 11 players do. Its unfair on those 11 players to discredit anything they and the management achieve by throwing Romans wealth at them.

We hav'nt been the biggest spenders for a couple of seasons now. I heard them talking on the radio and the point Claridge was trying to make about how much spurs had spent seemed a little lost on the other guy who kept mentioning net outlay as if that meant something.

We of course never get talked about in those terms, even the money Roman spent when buying the club gets added to the 'grand total' when our spending is mentioned. And they never of course mention anything recouped in player sales.

What Claridge said about Spurs spending £77m and sitting bottom was true. It does'nt matter how much they got for Keane/Berbatov because at the end of the day they have £77m worth of new talent, players somebody at the club thought were worth buying and where has it got them, bottom?

Even Fergie when refering to Europes biggest spenders this summer Man City stated that money does'nt buy success. Money does'nt even buy a team, it only buy players and that does'nt garuntee anything.(Its an opinion i share, but one that he kept to hinself when we were spending big) There are numerous examples of this over the years at clubs all over the country for it not to be the case.

As somebody else mentioned Villa were one of the biggest spenders in Europe this summer, they have their own billionaire chairman who is spending big and they came to the Bridge to play a Chelsea team missing several first team players sitting third themselves and brimming with confidence.

They were duely sent back to Birmangham with their tails between their legs having been soundly beaten. They were beaten by an excellent performance from an under strength team, they were beaten by 11 men and our manager and his tactics/motivation etc. They were not beaten by Romans wallet.

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We dont beat teams like Villa because of money, we beat them because we have a better team. I know that seems like a stupid thing to say. We only have a better team because we spent the money, what came first the chicken or the egg?.

The point is Money does'nt cross the white line at the start of the match, 11 players do. Its unfair on those 11 players to discredit anything they and the management achieve by throwing Romans wealth at them.

We hav'nt been the biggest spenders for a couple of seasons now. I heard them talking on the radio and the point Claridge was trying to make about how much spurs had spent seemed a little lost on the other guy who kept mentioning net outlay as if that meant something.

We of course never get talked about in those terms, even the money Roman spent when buying the club gets added to the 'grand total' when our spending is mentioned. And they never of course mention anything recouped in player sales.

What Claridge said about Spurs spending £77m and sitting bottom was true. It does'nt matter how much they got for Keane/Berbatov because at the end of the day they have £77m worth of new talent, players somebody at the club thought were worth buying and where has it got them, bottom?

Even Fergie when refering to Europes biggest spenders this summer Man City stated that money does'nt buy success. Money does'nt even buy a team, it only buy players and that does'nt garuntee anything.(Its an opinion i share, but one that he kept to hinself when we were spending big) There are numerous examples of this over the years at clubs all over the country for it not to be the case.

As somebody else mentioned Villa were one of the biggest spenders in Europe this summer, they have their own billionaire chairman who is spending big and they came to the Bridge to play a Chelsea team missing several first team players sitting third themselves and brimming with confidence.

They were duely sent back to Birmangham with their tails between their legs having been soundly beaten. They were beaten by an excellent performance from an under strength team, they were beaten by 11 men and our manager and his tactics/motivation etc. They were not beaten by Romans wallet.

You wasn't even there....so shuddup :D

Who is the irish fella on talk sport? if i ever meet him I'll chin him. Last week a calller, who was a Chelsea fan, commented on the abuse Sol Campbell took from the Spurs fans. He said that Campbell had not only let them down by leaving, but he went to their closest and most bitter rivals, and the abuse was fair game. It may have been a bit homophobic but there wasn't any racism. It was compared to the abuse Lampard takes week in week out - he's even booed by his own fans when representing his country but doesn't complain, he just gets on with the job in hand.

The irish bloke said it's OK for Lampard to get slated by WH fans with the big fat Frank jibes because it's a bit of fun, but slagging off Sol Campbell the way Spurs did is just totally out of order and unacceptable.

The man is anti Chelsea and a c*nt of the highest order!

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Thanks again Dorset, a great read as always

We will forever be branded as "having bought our success" and the way we came in and upset the status quo will undoubtably irk some of the pundits who follow our rival clubs

However, what they need to realise is that we came in and spent big once when Roman first came in, and again when Jose was put in charge. However, Liverpool, Man U, and the yi*s have all spent a lot more than us in recent seasons. As you say, though, they will not be lambasted as hard seeing as we know the source of their money.

It's pathetic to hear Liverpool fans cry foul over our monetary advantages, and then in the same breath they cry out for foreign investors. When they get what they ask for, the instantly ask for their benefactors to be ousted as they didn't get the success as imediately as we did. Again, pure jealousy.

What we did, like it or not, was with our money, we bought a great manager. Not a manager who would have the press adoring us, but a manager who would, and did, bring us immediate success. Now we have Scolaro, a genuinely nice manager, with a great team that has merely been tweaked over the past season or two, but we still will be viewed with jealous eyes. They hurt because they don't have our success even though they have tried themselves.

Leeds, Liverpool, Villa and now Spurs. They all prove that throwing money at the problem doesn't always guarantee a solution, you need to have the right personel in place. We have that, and with more efforts being focused on the development of our youth program, I think we will continue to "tweak" our team, rather than splash large amounts at our squad every season.

The political origins of our money versus their money is laughable. You hear people say "Damn Yanks!" But both Liverpool and Man U, the beloved sons of English Football are backed by American money. We are at war in the middle east, and the human rights, or lack thereof, in some of those countries are glossed over because the ADU are here to "upset rich Chelsea." Roman, a private man whos money origins are a little shady and has a penchant for large boats will always be seen as the enemy due to the old "iron curtain" days.

It's not going away, and we will always be seen as the first club to have set the standard of foreign investment. As wrong as that is, it will always be the case, as no one did it on such a grand scale, and with such success

Sincerely

Scott

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We bought our success because we have success. If the others have any success it will likely be seen in the same way. You have to keep in mind, only Man Utd and Liverpool were "born" great. I mean, how lucky that things can work out for you without any money involved.

Cheers,

Butch

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