FRUSTRATED AND BLUE ~ JUST LIKE ROMAN

Chelsea's Frank Lampard holds the Champions League trophy near owner Roman Abramovich during their victory parade in west London

CHELSEA FANS ARE FRUSTRATED AND BLUE THIS MORNING AFTER ANOTHER POOR 2ND HALF PERFORMANCE @ UPTON PARK

JUST LIKE ROMAN

WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT I BELIEVE ROMAN ABRAMOVICH HAS A DREAM FOR CHELSEA

~ TO SEE THEM WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, THE PREMIER LEAGUE, FA CUP, LEAGUE CUP 

AND OH YES THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY TOO!

BUT ROMAN DOES NOT JUST WANT TO WIN THEM BUT WIN THEM BY PLAYING THE BEST FOOTBALL ON PLANET EARTH …

HE HAS INVESTED MILLIONS IN OUR CLUB AND NOT REALLY ASKED FOR A BARE CENT IN RETURN – HOW WOULD YOU FEEL AFTER WE EXITED THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SO DISMALLY IN TURIN REALISING WE CANNOT ATTRACT THE BIG PLAYERS TO THE CLUB NEXT SUMMER

WE FEEL FRUSTRATED AND BLUE THIS MORNING

JUST LIKE ROMAN

~ SO GET BEHIND THE GUY ~ DON’T BELIEVE ALL THE JEALOUS, CYNICAL CRAP OTHER TEAMS ARE SAYING ABOUT US AND HIM – THEY SAID THAT ABOUT JOSÉ WHEN HE WAS HERE – I DONT KNOW MANY WHO WOULD NOT LIKE JOSÉ AS THEIR MANAGER TODAY OR MANY WHO WOULD NOT LIKE ROMAN AS THEIR OWNER WHATEVER THEY SAY – GET BEHIND THE RUSSIAN. I BELIEVE HE LOVES OUR CLUB AND MAYBE HIS REGARD FOR THE SUPPORTERS MADE HIM SIGN ROBBIE UP IN THE SUMMER AGAINST HIS BETTER JUDGEMENT – HE GAVE HIM A CHANCE AND HE CONSIDERED IT WASNT WORKING SO HE LET ROBBIE GO …

I HAVE NEVER HEARD A PAST CHELSEA MANAGER CRITICIZE ROMAN – PLENTY CRITICIZED UNCLE KEN

WE FEEL FRUSTRATED AND BLUE THIS MORNING

JUST LIKE ROMAN!!

 

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TROUBLES MAY COME TROUBLES MAY GO

BUT THEY’LL ALWAYS FIND ME READY

WHENEVER YOUR SAD WHENEVER YOUR BLUE

WHENEVER YOUR TROUBLES ARENT HEAVY

BENEATH THE STARS ….

…. COME ON EVERYBODY !!!

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COME ON BLUES WE ARE BIGGER THAN THIS !!!

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE FAMOUS CHELSEA SENSE OF HUMOUR !!! …

On the 20th April 1991 I stood with 2,000 Chelsea fans at the City Ground Nottingham when we lost 0 – 7 and the Chelsea fans sang louder and longer than the home fans … Forest fans couldn’t believe our passion, our faithfulness or our humour … we sang for nigh on 70 minutes

♩♫♩Always look on the bright side of life … ♬♪♩

No team has come up with funnier, cleverer or blacker humour than the famous CFC so whats with all this dumb Blackburn style protesting and stupid signs – It’s NOT our way

Make up a song about the fat, Spanish waiter and sing it till he gets the joke and laughs back but don’t resort to this … Disgrace … and while were about it a song for Roman too!

UN … BEL … IEV … A … BLE

WE ARE BEHAVING LIKE THE PLASTIC FLAG BRIGADE … WHERE’S THE CLASS … WHERE’S THE STYLE … WHERE’S THE HUMOUR … MY CHELSEA !!! … WEVE HAD THE PROTEST … NOW LETS BACK THE PLAYERS … THE TEAM … AND YES GOOD OLD FAT RAFA … YOU FAT, SPANISH …….

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THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE SUPPORTER.

On the 7th October 1967, Chelsea went to Elland Road, Leeds and were 0-4 down by half time, eventually losing the game by 7 goals to nothing. This result completed the singularly worst week in my up-to-then 4 year Chelsea fan career … I was devastated! … Only days earlier, my 1st managerial hero had stepped down as manager of Chelsea Football Club! … The ‘Doc’ had been appointed in February, 1961 taking over from Ted Drake as Chelsea manager from his role as player-coach while Chelsea looked in danger of relegation. Tommy Docherty was not able to halt the slide into Division 2 but then brought his youthful Chelsea team straight back up the following season. In 1964 Docherty introduced Chelsea’s current all-blue strip, a new badge and a new, optimistic and European style at Stamford Bridge. He is now therefore consequently and pretty universally accepted as the manager who had the guiding hand on the rudder at the beginning of the revolution that eventually produced the modern-day Chelsea.

Since that 1st disappointing departure and over the past 50 years, Chelsea Football Club have appointed a total of 25 first-time head coaches and managers, that’s an average of a new manager/coach every 2 years. The list of managers I have been sad to see go is proverbially as long as my arm and of course the seemingly unnecessary departure of a true Chelsea boy – Robbie Di Matteo has finally taken many Chelsea fans to the very brink.

While these Chelsea fans it seems are not prepared even to listen to reasons why Roman Abramovich might have decided to make the most recent change one has to consider that in view of the success Roman has achieved through his style of ownership you might say, well why wouldnt he? Its the pattern he has set and each time he has made a similar change it seems to have worked out.

CLICK HERE >> FOR List of CHELSEA MANAGERS – QUITE A FEW SURPISES HERE !!!

The general view of this repetitive turnover of coaches/managers is that this is not a good thing. That it is detrimental to the development of the club and the team and that it would be preferable for the players to be coached in a more strategic, systematic and balanced way but there is another view on this that I would like to present and that is based on the concept or idea that actually Chelsea have adopted this pattern now over a very long period of time and that this is indeed the very basis of their success over the past 50 years.

Rather than Chelsea’s fans and supporters consistently regretting the supposed profligacy that might necessitate the appointment of managers/coaches at such an apparent and alarmingly high average of exchange. Rather than bemoaning the supposed lack of stability and continuity at our club, a view proposed constantly by Newspaper journos, maybe Chelsea fans should after all now accept that this is actually our unique tradition and was our tradition long before Roman Abramovich and his much chronicled trigger-happy finger arrived.

If Chelsea fans were able to accept that this state of affairs is common to our aims and not detrimental then we could maybe replace the idea that our hallmark is shallow and lacking in history with the more lateral and modern view which embraces the success of Chelsea’s results and trophies, set alongside our growing managerial list. Real Madrid, for example who have the largest Trophy Cabinet of all, have appointed a whopping 34 managers in the past 50 years, they lead us by a staggering 9!

   

Sir Alex Ferguson runs the show at Old Trafford in a certain, specific way while Roman Abramovich runs the show at Stamford Bridge in his own very different but no less certain way???!!! Chelsea’s longer list of Trophies gained over any other Premier League team ~ including Man United, since Roman took over might  suggest Roman’s way is achieving better performance than even Sir Alex himself, food for thought?

The debate will continue but consequently Chelsea fans must weigh up whether they would rather have the continuity of managership at a club like Arsenal for instance or the unrivalled success that Mr Abramovich has brought to our club.

                                                                               . writtenbyedenbray25.11.2012

LIST OF ALL.TIME CHELSEA MANAGERS

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WHATS UP ROB?

NOW RDM MUST EARN HIS CORN FRITTER SO HE WILL STILL BE AMAZE-ING !!!

A PICTURE OF DELICIOUS CORN FRITTERS WITH DIP

ROBBIE’S TACTICS HIT THE WALL …What we might call the West Brom dilemma … I have to reflect and report that DiMatteo’s Chelsea are beginning to look more like Di Matteo’s West Brom  … Good going forward – lame at the back … and now a lack of confidence is setting in as we are reminded how much we miss ‘Our Leaders’ influence … Chelsea without the eternal triangle  COLE … LAMPARD … & CAPTAIN JOHN TERRY … look rudderless and emotionless … to be frank they look RUDDY AWFUL … sure we have plenty of great footballers and some nice football but where is the CHELSEA♥HEART that won us a CHAMPIONS LEAGUE … last evening it was carried off on a stretcher and as JT head-up but knee bent disappeared down the tunnel so did the ‘spirit of the team’ … For the 1st 50 minutes we looked more like our old selves and then clumsy Louis Suarez who plays football with a frightening and selfish abandonment of reason stumbled against John Terry’s leg … John Terry’s influence on the pitch and over the referee cannot be underestimated SOMEONE, ANYONE PLEEEEASE MUST STEP FORWARD and take some responsibility …

 

A PICTURE OF DELICIOUS CORN FRITTERS – THE FINISHED ARTICLE ROBBIE!

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MARK CLATTENBURG ~ PILLOCK !

… and then there waz Mark Clattenburg … totally anal pillock !

… being a football FAN is an irrational fanaticism that can make referees like Mark Clattenburg and ALL members of the FA, EUFA and FIFA seriously dangerous people … these officials may turn normal and responsible people into psychotic and dangerous psychopaths … I am considering becoming cereal killer and Clattenburg’s home-made Muesli is 1st on my breakfast list … tssss tssess tssss tsssss!

~ Silence of the Refs! …

PILLOCK

Dictionary entry overview: What does pillock mean?

• PILLOCK (noun)
The noun PILLOCK has 1 sense:

1. a person who is not very bright

Familiarity information: PILLOCK used as a noun is very rare.

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‘ALL IN BLUE – 1’

The anticipation is overwhelming ~ the games you want to win ~ the true fan has to be bold, brave, not boring ~ you’ve been hurt before but can you trust again and go again and believe? ~ for only then and then alone will you live the dream!

‘ALL IN BLUE’                written byedenbray 28.10.2012 (Chelsea versus Man United)

… and then there was Mark Clattenburg >>> Please Read POST

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WHY I STILL LOVE SCOTTISH FITBA’

Makes me really sad when people in England write off Scottish footie. No, it makes me mad!

Okay I’m a bit longer in the tooth than some and I do have the benefit of remembering the time when Scotland provided some of the finest, most creative players in England’s premier league of the time – The original Division 1 Championship.

As a Chelsea ‘sheddite’ I have even more reason to recall Scottish players with fondness. Until European players flooded into our leagues, Scotland provided a rich vein of quality and important members of past Chelsea teams right up to the wee wing wizard Pat Nevin.

Chelsea FC have always enjoyed good relationship with Scottish Football and especially the ‘Gers’

I can’t bear to think of a football history without memorable players like Dennis Law, Jimmy Baxter, Alan Gilzean, Jimmy Johnstone and his famous European Cup Winning pals who dumped the boring Mazzola and his Inter Milan compatriots on that most exciting night when a British team first won Europe’s blue ribbon trophy.

Dave Mackay, John White, Kenny Dalgliesh, wee Wullie Henderson, John Wark, Ron Yeats, come on join in …  John Robertson, John Greig, Archie Gemmil, Maurice Johnston, Billy McNeill, Ian St John, Alan Hansen and I haven’t properly started on Chelsea’s Scottish heroes yet.

Hughie Gallacher, Eddie McCreadie, George Graham, Charlie Cooke, yer and dont forget Doug Rougvie. ‘Didn’t I read something about him recently?’

Thinking about Scottish football and how important it is, let’s not forget about great Scottish managers – Bill Shankly, Matt Busby, the legendary Tommy Doc, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jock Stein, Walter Smith and George Graham plus Souness and Dalgliesh didn’t do too bad either did they?

… a hazy view of Ayr beach a bit like I remember it …

What about those great football clubs with names like Hibernian, Heart of Midlothian, Kilmarnock, Greenock Morton, Hamilton Academicals for goodness sake. If you love Scotland as I do then just ponder on the romance of names that conjure wonderful Scottish places – Dundee, Aberdeen, East Fife, Dunfermline, Arbroath and don’t forget Kirkintilloch Rob Roy or the wonderful seaside haven where Ayr United play which conjures for me a particularly fine memory of a hot sunny day in 1968 and a bikini clad slim and gorgeous raven haired beauty called Margaret, but I digress….

Historically you have to mention one of the earliest football clubs in the world. Queens Park F.C. who were founded in 1867, are the only true amateur team playIng in the Scottish League and still play their home games in the oldest football ground in the world – Scotland’s national stadium, Hampden Park in South West Glasgow.

… England’s 1st defeat after ’66 World Cup and Scotland declare themselves World Champions at Wembley …

Scottish football has a history unsurpassed by either of the two nations chosen to host World Cups in 2018 and 2022 and deserves every support at this time to keep it strong and healthy and I might add, as one who makes an annual pilgrimage to Easter Road in Edinburgh to see my beloved ‘Hibees’, still provides entertaining games free of much of the mercenary dominated, financially driven, Sky obsessed and abused football which is over-hyped and analysed. 

Despite a few flawed immigrants who could themselves do more to promote the beautiful game up and over the border instead of boring us with over used clichés and jaundiced football rhetoric (‘nae names, na pack drill’) I raise my glass and drink a wee dram with the pronouncement ‘Ach, Long live Scottish football, I love it! … And you’ll notice I deliberately never even mentioned Glasgow Celtic or Rangers.

Glasgow Celtic – ‘The Lisbon Lions’ ~ 1st British Winners of the European Cup – 25.05.1967

However, since I wrote this piece the world has fallen in on the world of one of those two ‘giants’ not only of Scottish fiba’ but the complete world game … A soft spot I have carried for the ‘Gers’ since following them in a surrogate capacity whilst best friends with a true Rangers fan back in the late sixties, early seventies has surfaced (see Wee Wullie Henderson and Tales of Ibrox Park )  during the pain and humiliation of the past few weeks and months while the sorry state of the Scottish game has been highlighted.

The Scottish League is still facing a dilemma as to how they should discipline this great club in a fair and consistent manner. The revenue Rangers bring to the other teams is necessary to keep the league afloat and their loss to the League also threatens sponsorship deals with media giants like Sky. Now, more than ever Scottish football needs our support.

(Watch-this-space! …. and to be continued … )

UPDATE ~ FRIDAY 13TH.

Feeling deep sympathy on this Friday the 13th as Scottish FA have to make a decision on the future of Glasgow Rangers and consequently probably the whole of the Scottish FA … NOT an enviable position to be in … Lets be fair they cant wipe the slate clean for the integrity of the League … but smaller clubs be warned – One day you might be in the same position and will you return? – RANGERS fans dont want false charity – NO SURRENDER for this proud, PROUD club who WILL return stronger than ever I believe  – Knockers of the Scottish game laughing with glee could be choking on their own vomit for the damage this situation might do for one of the earliest, natural Football Acadamies producing hundreds/thousands of great players – the streets of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and all over Scotland produced a stream of talent like Baxter, Law and Johnstone akin to the Brazilian beaches of Coco Cabanna where Pele, Rivelhino and Garrincha honed their skills!!! … ‘How are the mighty fallen?’ ‘Lay not your hand on the Lords anointed’ … the SFA should pray for the  ’Wisdom of Solomon’

(Watch-this-space! ….and to be continued … )

Time and ‘fitba’ wait for no man and as I write lying on my sick bed after a horrendous bout of GastrO Enterritis (you dont need any details …) I can of course report That the SFA made a correct decision and that the Gers slid down the longest snake of all which brings you back to Square No.1 … BUT ‘NO SURRENDER’ the GERS will rise … and are like a Glasgow Phoenix … Meanwhile back in the Premier League things IS getting intresting’ … The HIBEES have just been knocked off top spot by the CELTIC and theres a refreshing buzz about the whole game in Scotlund’ … Oh Yes – theres more to follow … ‘Follow, follow we will follow …’

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A PERSONAL DREAM REALISED ~ A PRIVATE PROMISE FULFILLED

1960     ☆    2012

TO BE HONEST NEVER BEEN A GREAT FAN OF TATTOOING – WOULDN’T MARK MY FLESH WITH ANY OLD ‘TAT’ … I WAS A ‘TAT VIRGIN’ … BUT IT SEEMED TO ME THAT SHOULD CHELSEA FC EVER WIN FOOTBALL’S ULTIMATE CLUB PRIZE I WOULD WANT TO RECORD THE EVENT IN AN ULTIMATE KIND OF WAY … SO FOR YEARS I PROMISED ~ ‘IF WE WIN ‘OLE BIG EARS’ I’LL GET BRANDED TO RECORD THE HAPPY EVENT … I’VE BEEN A FAN SINCE THE 1ST TIME I SAW THEM – A 2-3 LOSS AT CRAVEN COTTAGE IN 1960!! … WE DID IT … SO I DID IT … NUFF SAID ! ! ! 

BLUE HAS QUIETENED DOWN NOW!!!

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ROBBIE CAN BE NEXT GUARDIOLA …

CAN ROBERTO BE NEXT PEP GUARDIOLA?…

The ink is hardly dry on the contract that we understand assures Roberto Di Matteo at least a two-year wage packet from Roman Abramovich’s deep, tailored pockets. The press-men are tonight hastily sharpening their quills or finger-slamming their keyboards with their own particular view on this deal which after all the speculation of the past month has very nimbly and deftly silenced the critics and left them clawing the air for a new angle from which to attack the quiet Russian and his European Champions League winning team.

With hindsight, the timing of the announcement and the appointment of RDM itself shows a level of wisdom and strategy that belies the general and jaundiced view of most journos and certainly the wider footballing public, retained still from those early days of ‘Comrade’ Abramovich’s reign. An era where his huge spending power caused a negative and xeno-soccophobic response from rival fans who questioned why a side wearing blue should now be able to buy the best players as Liverpool, Arsenal, Man U. and all successful teams always have.

The footballing world has been so much quicker to accept and acknowledge the Arab sheiks commitment to the blue half of Manchester while Mr A’s strong and silent style of ownership still seems to evoke thoughts of a cold-war veteran moving through soccer’s underworld much like a John Le Carre character using ‘Moscow rules’ but in truth I can’t remember too many after-match interviews with the Glaziers, Sheik Mansour, Peter Hill-Wood or even Daniel Levy come to that.

Roman’s chosen anonymity could be said to avert attention from what he does or doesn’t say, to what he actually does and if actions truly do speak louder than words then his undoubted ability to make ‘the‘ difficult decisions at critical moments would support a perception not of a ‘mysterious’ undercover agent but rather a tenacious competitor with a determination to be a winner at least on a scale to a previous employee and incumbent of the Stamford Bridge hot seat, Jose Mourinho who if the ‘jive’ is accurate is still a close friend of Roman and maybe even an adviser. 

Whether Roberto was Mr Abramovich’s 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice will continue to live in the realm of journalistic speculation or even the cloak and dagger espionage of ‘Roman’s People’ but as it’s all turned out, in the end Robbie could surely not have asked or expected any more. A two-year deal is apparently double what Roman’s assumed 1st preference Pep Guardiola worked under during his entire career at the Camp Nou, long before he took his sabbatical from footballs stresses and strains.

‘Ole Big Ears’

Chelsea FC contracts have not given any great protection to previous starters on the merry-go-round that supports the particularly hot Stamford Bridge managerial berth but should Mr ‘A’ feel it necessary to terminate things before Robbie’s deal has run its course at least Robbie has the insurance of a reasonably substantial payoff equal to a pretty hefty win on the Euro-lottery. Roman surely owed him at least that for bringing home ‘ole big ears’ for the first time. Now, that all the fundamentals have been properly dealt with, what remains is the opportunity itself. An opportunity for Robbie, for Chelsea and for Roman which may now be clearly viewed.

Robbie was given such a chance as stand-in coach when AVB left and he rose to the challenge splendidly and came up with the goods. The terms of his new contract and this new opportunity have both increased the expectancy on him to deliver but he is already familiar with working under such a remit and in many ways, to quote a much over-used maxim he must now just ‘keep calm and carry on’.

Ruling a line under what he has achieved already at the club Robbie can start again from an intrinsically better position having laid his own foundation. It seems clear from the start of this new chapter in both manager and the club’s story that the name of Guardiola will not disappear or fade anytime soon and probably will not be erased completely until Pep returns to coaching somewhere else. Robbie will need to get used to being viewed by pundits and the press as a babysitter awaiting Romans 1st choice and should the team suffer any poor form or an early exit from either Champions League or Premier League contention then the vultures will no doubt gather, whispering Guardiola’s name.

Roberto Di Matteo is actually 8 months Pep Guardiola’s senior despite having finished his career 4 years earlier due to a horrific triple leg break in a European game in Switzerland, yet their managerial careers are of virtually identical length with Pep beginning as 1st team coach at Barca on June 21, 2008 and Robbie starting out at Milton Keynes Dons just 1 week later. Pep had 4 successful seasons with the Catalonians while Robbie has worked with mixed results at the Dons, West Bromwich and Chelsea.

Their achievements were distinctly dissimilar, that is until Di Matteo succeeded in securing Chelsea’s 1st Champions League alongside his 1st FA Cup success, something Pep also accomplished at Barca in his 1st season. Altogether, Guardiola’s Barcelona won 2 Champions Leagues, 3 La Ligas and 2 Copa del Ray, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 2 FIFA Club World Cups. Robbie’s only other success was as Championship Runners Up with West Bromwich which earned them a promotion to the Premier League but opportunities for major success are obviously dictated to by the resources of the club you are with. Milton Keynes and West Bromwich will not be amassing too many Champions League or Premier League titles anytime soon.

The real reason Guardiola has risen to such world-wide fame in such a short time has more to do with the ‘style’ of play he has encouraged. The passing game – the beautiful game where players with finesse and skill pass and move and players like Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta show the finer elements of a possession game where the opposition struggle to keep or retain the ball. This is what has attracted admiration and copycat tactics the world over and this is what Roman Abramovich had no doubt decided was the type of football he enjoyed watching and quite fancied down at ‘the Bridge’.

Di Matteo’s ‘start from the bottom and work up’ resumé holds water however on many levels that Pep’s ‘born with a silver spoon in his mouth’ CV maybe does not. Has PG had to work at football’s gutsy end juggling with a budget that wouldn’t pay Barcelona’s laundry bill? Has he put together a Championship outfit who actually ‘played’ their way back into the worlds Premier League Championship? Has he had to suffer the ignominy of being sacked and then humbly accepted a support role? Has he worked with an ‘out of focus’, apparently ageing and temperamental group of underperforming prima donnas and led them to the very top of the tree? Has Guardiola the tactical know-how and experience of the English game and certainly a far tougher and more competitive League than La Liga with its many flaky defenses and questionable attitudes? Has Guardiola ever had to work under the pressure of RDM’s past few months or had to relinquish his preferred tactics to benefit the team and still bring home the bacon? To my mind Robbie’s CV has certain qualities I do not find when analysing the Barca supremo’s back catalogue, entertaining as his teams certainly always have been. 

Guardiola has walked away from the game he purports to love apparently suffering from ‘burn out’. Excuse me, after 4 years!? … Haven’t seen Ferguson, Mourinho, Capello or many of the other supposed greats of football management complaining too much about ‘burn out’. Or David Moyes, Martin O’Neill, Arsene Wenger, Claudio Rainieri and a whole host of guys managing at a lot lower level and with a lot more stress than Peppy has had to deal with. Pressure, stress, ‘burn out’ – give me a break. O that’s actually what Pep asked for?!

Roberto Di Matteo despite his continental name and background has lived, worked and loved in the UK since he came to Chelsea as a Ruud Gullit signing, for a then club record £4.9 million way back in 1996. He married an English girl and they are raising a family. He has a ‘true blue’ history scoring two FA Cup winning goals for the ‘blues’ at the old Wembley and playing 119 times for the club before that tragic injury cut his career short. He has taken Chelsea to a European Champions League Final against all the odds and in the home of the beaten finalists he carved his name into Chelsea history forever. The story of Robbie Di Matteo and Chelsea still could continue to be the stuff of fairytales and legend for many, many years to come. Perhaps Robbie could build that ‘dynasty’ at Chelsea that José walked away from.

Roman Abramovich, despite continued and immense criticism and suspicion continues to make brave football decisions and for me deserves all the success he has brought to our club. He has contributed to football’s economy and tradition worldwide and now he has given ‘our Robbie’ the chance to become the new ‘Guardiola’. I for one will be hoping ‘us fans’ will get behind him and the team to see if the fairytale can continue and Robbie can collect a list of honours for Chelsea longer than Mourinho’s, longer than Pep’s was at Barcelona and longer than the arm of one Roberto Di Matteo. 

written byedenbray 14.06.2012

 

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THE LANKY LEGEND THAT WAS ‘OSGOOD’

OSGOOD WAS THAT GOOD

THE LANKY LEGEND THAT WAS ~ ‘OSGOOD’

FOOTIE LEGEND No.4 ( The Beautiful Game … BLOG )

★   ☆   ★

It was in 1971 at a time of personal change. I had just left my job in Leicester Square and was enjoying a month of liberty away from the ‘day-to-day’ of a work situation that I had known since leaving school at 15 years of age. The culture of the day was strongly hippy in nature, especially for someone of my years and on a trip to High Street Kensington to a Clothes Boutique Emporium I stopped off at their local W.H.Smith’s to purchase a copy of ‘Lord Of The Rings’ by Tolkien which was enjoying a cult status among teenage and hippie people at that time. I was recommended to it by a friend and after acquiring my copy I began to read the story avidly. I found the book freeing, it was part of my own personal ‘On the Road’ experience as I sought to ‘drop out’ and ‘tune in’ during my late teens and early twenties.

It was during this monthly vacation between jobs, that I determined to travel with fellow Chelsea fans to an away League Cup game at Carrow Road, Norwich. None of my usual friends were free that day and so I decided to go it alone with just my trusty new pal, my ‘Lord Of The Rings’ three-volume tome and a new philosophy on life. I sat reading of my mythical friends – Frodo, Tom Bombadil and Gandalf as Blues fans all around me in the tightly packed rail carraige were making the usual banter and customary ‘away-fan’ noises on the Football Special that sped us the 100+ miles between Norwich and Kings Cross.

♪ ♩ ♫ … One man ment to mow, went to mow a meadow …   ♬

 ♫ ♩… One man and his dog Spot went to mow a meadow …  ♫

The November night air was cold and icy as we loyal sheddites stood huddled together, at the open end of the ground behind one goal and a fine and freezing drizzle began to fall, reminding me I really should have worn more than a simple, round neck sweater and my black denim wasted blazer. The game was fairly exciting, a real cup tie, with action at both ends but I was very, very cold and my volume of Tolkien was now feeling particularly heavy. I was wondering, was this trip so worthwhile after all or should I have stayed at home, in the warm with my book? … Then out of the dark, bleak and wintry night stepped a hero, indeed a true legend and yes that word is used far too much. …. In a single moment of magic, a face recognisable and heart-warming, a touch familiar and unique, a moment of control and class that belongs to all true, football ‘greats’ who can take hold of any game by the scruff of the neck, at any moment and in a literal flash turn a game on its head and win the match. On this particular night the name of the ‘great’ was … Peter Osgood.

Its funny but Ossie’s football career collided with quite a few important moments in my own life, from the night of his Stamford Bridge debut, 10 days before Christmas in 1964 when as a 13 year old I kicked out at a plastic Umbro, regulation weight football while playing in the street. The ball bobbled, I missed it and connected full on with the kerb, shattering my right big toe so that I would spend the next two to three hours at the Hospital instead of travelling to Stamford Bridge with my pal, to see the new wonder sensation everyone was talking about who had scored 30 goals in 20 reserve games.

The 17 year old Osgood scored a ‘brace’ in his debut in a 2-0 home win on a very wet night at Stamford Bridge in a 2nd leg League Cup tie v. Workington Town. (Hard to remember that Workington Town were ever in the League at all I know! ) … Chelsea went on to win the League Cup that year and I spent a sleepless night in agony with a metal bed tray under the covers, ( my mums idea) to keep them off my pounding and swollen pollex pedis. In a very short time I would recover  and ‘Ossie’ was being touted as a real prospect not only for Chelsea but for England and that with the World Cup in England now only two years away!…

From the moment he arrived on the scene it was obvious Peter Osgood had a rare and special talent. ‘Will o’ the wisp’, tall and slender, with a waistline, slender hips and a sway most young girls would die for. Osgood really had it all ~ speed, balance, control, timing, an intelligent football brain and he was the most excellent header of the ball. Who can forget his 1970 FA Cup Final diving header versus the mighty Leeds at Old Trafford, which for me is still the finest headed goal the FA Cup Final has ever seen and yes I do speak as a Chelsea fan, but hey find me a better one ?!

… Talking of personal recollections, that wonder goal saw me fall in a ‘house of cards’ spectator collapse 40 feet down the Old Trafford terracing to the front of the bank, along with a few hundred others, but we just didn’t care!.. In the light of the Ibrox disaster which happened just one year later, Heysel in 1985 and of course Hillsborough in 1989 I suppose I should count myself lucky there was no disaster that night. As I say Ossie and me had a few special ‘moments’.

Who  can  forget  his  1970  FA Cup Final  diving  header?

Peter Leslie Osgood was born in Windsor on the 20th November, 1947 into a post-war Britain getting back on its feet after the deprivation and shortages of those difficult war years and like many who entered the swinging sixties as teenagers he had to face that time with the certain insecurity that goes with any time of great change as well as the many new-found freedoms and temptations of that particular revolutionary era.

Signed as a junior by Chelsea, Peter’s precocious talent thrust him into the limelight at a time when young footballers were not protected or prepared for life as a celebrity as they are today. In the early sixties, football was beginning to gather the momentum of popularity that we all accept today but in 1964 the game and its players were not quite ready for ‘the new Rock n’Roll’ tag that it had clearly earned by the turn of the decade. Young players like Osgood consequently had to ride the roller coaster of fame and recognition, with higher earnings than most of their peers, at a time of great change and largely unaided. Added to this, ‘Ossie’ would be plying his craft in one of the recognised epi-centres of the new ‘swinging sixties’ cultural revolution – the King’s Road, Chelsea. It was a fashionable era where the flair players like Osgood, George Best, Rodney Marsh, Frank Worthington, Ian Bowles and Alan Hudson lived hard and played hard and relished the bad boy/play boy image and lifestyle their rising popularity afforded them.

… players like Osgood, Best … and Hudson lived hard and played hard …

After the success of his 1964 debut ‘Ossie’ had to wait 9 months for his next call up, in a European match versus AS Roma. He went on to complete 47 further games in that 65/66 season and score 11 goals in all competitions including some rare and special moments. At one time he went on a 60 yard run past a trail of Burnley players. Osgood’s form in his 1st season earned him a place in Alf Ramsay’s preliminary 40 for the 1966 World Cup although he didn’t make the final 22.

Season 66/67 began with the wiry striker in excellent form, netting 6 goals in Chelsea’s first 10 games. An audacious finish in the 2nd half of a 4 – 1 drubbing of the talented and rising Man City at Maine Road is available on You-tube. Rare footage that indicates just how confidently the 19 year old was playing at the time for an unbeaten Chelsea team looking every bit prospective champions. On the Wednesday night, just 4 days later, in a League Cup match at Anfield, Liverpool – tragedy struck! ~ A scything tackle by Emlyn Hughes shattered Ossie’s leg finishing his season, effectively halting Chelsea’s title challenge and reducing their chances when playing in their 1st FA Cup Final for 42 years later that season. Spurs won the final and within a year of Osgood’s broken leg, Tommy Docherty Chelsea’s young manager was sacked! How different things could have been had Ossie avoided Hughes tackle that night, but sadly this was to become an epitaph to this unique English soccer talent ~ ‘If only’.

The ‘wizard of Oz’ was to return under new manager Dave Sexton a year later. Sexton recognised like none other the talent of Osgood, encouraging him later in his career to play in a more withdrawn midfield role for a while but it was as Chelsea’s No.9, leading the line that most Chelsea fans will remember him.

Ossie had returned from the leg-break still a sensationally skilful and adept striker, still as gracious a mover, as innovative and still with an electric burst of pace. Although physically stronger he was never quite as lithe. Osgood admitted himself that he had put on at least 1/2 to a stone in weight while recovering which he was never able to shed. He went on to play another 319 games for the ‘Blues’ scoring a further 131 goals for the club. He stands today as Chelsea’s 4th all-time scorer.

Raquel Welch, the glamorous movie star, a self-confessed fan of ‘Ossie’

The zenith of his Chelsea career came in season 69/70 with a haul of 31 goals from 48 games in all competitions. Eight of those goals came in Chelsea’s 1st ever successful FA Cup run, culminating in that Old Trafford replay with Ossie’s excellent diving header, ensuring he would be written into the history books as only the eighth player ever to score in every round of the FA Cup. Today, in 2012 and 42 years on no one has equalled that record since.

The following season Osgood scored the winning goal in the replay of the European Cup Winners Cup Final in Athens as Chelsea lifted their 1st European Trophy versus the famous Real Madrid. He had also scored in the original game, a 1 – 1 draw played just days earlier. One year later at Wembley in 1972, Ossie completed a three year hat-trick of scoring in major finals versus Stoke City in the League Cup Final. Stoke however ran out surprise winners, a defeat which heralded a growing realisation that Chelsea were past their best and a team in decline.

In March 1974 Sexton finally lost patience with Ossie and a few other Chelsea stars over indiscipline and they were put on the transfer list. Osgood was sold to Southampton in March 1974 for a club record at the time of £275,000. He went on to win his 2nd FA Cup medal there with a 1 – 0 win over Manchester United. He scored a total of 36 goals for the Saints in 157 games. Later he had a brief spell with Norwich City where I had seen him score on that cold, wet night back in 1971. He also had an unsuccessful spell with the Philadelhia Fury in the US before returning to finish his career briefly at Stamford Bridge in 1978/79.

 Chelsea’s admiring and bigotted faithful …

At his very, very best Peter Osgood was indeed very, very good, almost in spite of the super-cult status his lifestyle earned him among Chelsea’s admiring yet bigotted faithful. For this reason alone he is most definitely a football legend who had he played today, with the benefits of todays training, diet and improved, agent aided lifestyle there is no doubt in my mind would have become one of football’s super-greats with a list of honours and England caps as long as your arm. His only folly was that like so many of those larger than life personalities spawned by that marvelous and frustratingly liberal period between the war and Maggie Thatchers eighties, was being born at the time he was.

Some controversial years followed with Ossie and a few other Chelsea icons being banned from the ground by Ken Bates due to unnecessary criticism of the club but he was later reinstated by the Abramovich management and worked in a hosting role for the club for a few years. On 24th September 2010, Abramovich’s Chelsea finally set the record straight unveiling a statue to the great Chelsea man outside Stamford Bridge in memory of  ‘the King’ who died suddenly on March 1st, 2006. I’m sure Ossie would have appreciated that but also he would have felt justice had been done.

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