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Just Like Watching The Cruelly Impressive


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If there is one thing that is crystal clear after our stirring weekend display at the Riverside it is that we have still got some way to go to convince certain churlish hacks and their newspapers of the great stuff we’re playing - football that could one day even provide a challenge for the Gunners in the beauty stakes [nah, forget that last bit, it will never happen]. Now don’t get me wrong over this, I know we should be grateful for every little ray of Media sunshine that falls on Planet Chelsea and Scolari has brought the Brazilian climate to the Bridge like no man before him ever did, but there is still that undercurrent of disdain for us in certain quarters and it needs exposing for what it is - insufferably selective journalism.

Incidentally, it is easy to recognise the churlish hacks, they’re the ones who grub around 90% of their article avoiding Chelsea praise as if it were the plague and then in the dying embers of the piece tell their readers that, of course, ’it would be churlish not to acknowledge how good Chelsea were’ - an afterthought no doubt tapped through gritted keyboard teeth. Okay, that may be a show of blue paranoia yet again, but let me use the weekend report of Jonathan Wilson of the Sunday Telegraph as an example…

A fortnight ago the thought that Chelsea were moving in the right direction crossed the mind of many a pundit following total domination of the Villa, but, naturally enough, praise for our efforts was tempered by the fact that Martin O’Neill’s team, improving though they are, were obviously not yet ready to storm fortress Chels and bring an end to our incredible home record. Oh no, further proof was needed and no doubt it would come in the shape of a tricky away fixture at Middlesbrough. After all, last season Boro took four points off the Arse and United and in recent times this part of the North East hasn’t exactly been a happy hunting ground for us either. Yet when we arrive, shorn of at least seven first team regulars, and play them off the park Mr Wilson decides, for want of a better phrase, to move the goalposts evidence-wise, opting for the following opening paragraph -

“The charitable might describe this as an emphatic Chelsea win, which it was, but it would be truer to say this was a crushing Middlesbrough defeat. They were lethargic and insipid, occasionally shambolic, and Chelsea crushed them with all the effort of an elephant stepping on a sickly ant.â€

Stand up all you Chelsea fans who asked for Jonathan’s charity in the form of acknowledging our team’s performance. Anyway, who needs it after that 90 minutes was my first reaction, but fair enough, with no real reason to hold back from kicking the Geordies when they are down, let the big/small/crushing/crush metaphors begin, as I’m in no hurry and can wait awhile for the samba beat music analogies to tumble out later on. Perhaps the next sentence, let’s see -

“The ruthless way they added goal after goal in the second half was mightily, cruelly impressive, but it couldn’t alter the sense that this was like a training video put together to explain the term “routineâ€

Strange how Jonathan does not appear to be enjoying himself, despite the free-flowing attractiveness of our football, and we can all see where this turgid little article is going - I’m afraid it’s back to the Mourinho-esque times and matching descriptions. In fact, so much so I will not bore you with the rest, but simply give a list of the emotive phrases scattered across his shoddy workmanship so you can get the drift …‘brutally exposed‘, ‘icy blast‘, ‘concern (for the rest of the league)’, ‘obliterated’ and ‘thrashed‘.

And yes, we did get the obligatory reference to churlishness “…not to acknowledge how good Chelsea wereâ€, to which was hurriedly added “…but equally it should not be ignored that they were allowed to beâ€, which I suppose had to be inserted, lest we all got carried away with any happy thoughts of the lovely football played by one team at least.

The Telegraph have a history of reporting on Chelsea in this manner since Roman’s arrival, or more correctly since we became the main rival in the Capital to their first and only London love, the Gunners under Le Professor. Back then Henry Winter referred to Chelsea as ’a charm less club’ and Frank was a player who was ’not of England standard’, so I guess within their ranks old habits die hard, along with poor judgement, and even when we turn in a performance like that at the Riverside their journalists still search for spirit dampeners rather than superlatives.

Mentioning Winter’s discontent with us leads me to his ghost written part in Stevie Me’s biography and our upcoming clash with the Scousers. Fortunes have fluctuated dramatically for both clubs in recent years and the only certainty about Sunday’s game is the contrasting styles that will be plain for all to see. Whatever the outcome, newspapers throughout the land will have an opportunity to report on what they see fairly and accurately and if the Villa and Boro games were not true reflections of the changing face of our football, by reason of unprepared or grossly inferior opposition, then our performance in this fixture certainly will be. Win or lose, we know [or at the very least anticipate] that the Chelsea approach under Scolari will not be to brag or excuse. Can the same be said of what is likely to come out of the enemy camp or the agenda-riven written press? Don’t hold your breath.

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I had expected that old scroat Patrick Collins to do his worst to take the shine off Saturday's performance. But unless I've blinked and missed it, he's simply chosen to ignore the event.

Which in itself is perhaps a little victory.

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It was a media reaction that was entirely expected and one which they would never be ashamed of until such time as they are given strict orders that to change their slant and tell the story that the public now wants to hear.

Contrast with the Telegraph's article about Man Utd's win over West Brom (albeit not written by Wilson)

Although Ronaldo claimed his second league goal of the season as United destroyed West Brom at Old Trafford, this victory was all about Rooney

With Rooney and Berbatov once again showing signs of a devastating partnership against Tony Mowbray's team,

United's victory, courtesy of a second-half onslaught against Albion's overworked defenders,

What seems clear is that we will never be superb if we win by a margin but if only win by the odd goal in 3 it won't matter how well we play, we will have been taken to the wire.

However to not be liked by the Telegraph is, for me, to be considered a badge of honour.

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I had expected that old scroat Patrick Collins to do his worst to take the shine off Saturday's performance. But unless I've blinked and missed it, he's simply chosen to ignore the event.

Which in itself is perhaps a little victory.

This is what the old scrote had to say this weekend:

If wit, charm and mercurial flair were all it took to win the Premier League, then Arsenal would now be booking the open-top bus. No team in all of England would wear the title of champions with such style and grace.

Just the sort of stuff he normally writes about us. Shame he wasn't on duty up in Middlesbrough.

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