(Note: the opinions expressed in this piece are entirely that of the author, who along with being a neutral fan of football, has successfully coached Under 11 boys and girls teams and played on a competitive basis in the local district men’s league. The relevance of this to this article should be irrelevant, but it is being expressed as a means of communicating to the reader that this is not some crazy rant, although to the untrained eye it may come across as one. Conversely, it is the measured views of a long-time football stakeholder, who has had enough of the shenanigans of this particular club and would like to express them on behalf of those supporters who feel the same. (Which, I imagine, are quite a few).
As I sit here and try to articulate an introduction to this piece, it strikes me that the title – in particular, the word hate – is quite vitriolic and possibly a bit too strong. Should we really be talking in terms of love and hate, when it comes to football? Hate, or hatred, as defined by dictionary.com, is to “dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; or detest.” It is a word that in the realms of history, has led to wars, massacres and genocide. On this scale, no – I do not hate Chelsea. Although I do detest them, or to be more concise – Chelsea in their current guise. And with this in mind, the title stays the same.
So, as always, the question that follows is ‘why?’ I mean, how can it be that as a proud Brit, you can come to detest a club that has recently won the European Cup? A club that throughout its history, has produced legends of the game, England internationals, and memorable moments? Let’s investigate.
1. Roman Abramovich
Ah, Roman. The original football billionaire. The quiet man from Russia, who made his fortune through controversial oil exports (well, he is from Russia after all).
It’s actually hard not to raise a while when speaking of Abramovich and his billions. The yachts, the million pound transfers, the shady background, the revolving door of managers…it’s almost as if Abramovich is the benchmark for Fantasy Football, the real-life incarnation of that infamous question, “what would you do if you had a million dollars?” And yet, it strikes me as strange that we have come to accept this man’s actions as sacrosanct – above that of the reasonable man, if you will – for he is Roman Abramovich, and he does what he wants.
Well, I’m here to tell you that I despise the man and everything he stands for. For one, he was the catalyst that has sparked the ridiculous boom in Premiership transfer fees, salaries and as a result, ticket prices. He is the man who indirectly has put clubs out of business, by skewing the competitive landscape and forcing clubs to spend beyond their means to compete. He is the man who, despite employing a series of quality managers, has used a club with a vintage history as a personal toy, treating trophies like Lego pieces and in the process devaluing every single one of them. Jog on, Roman, jog on.
2. The English Contingent
It may strike you as strange that I haven’t given John Terry his own category. Make no mistake about it, this pitiful excuse of a man is probably the main reason why we hate Chelsea, but I felt it necessary to put him with those other two English bastions of arrogance for the purposes of compare and contrast.
Let’s start with Cashley…I mean, Ashley Cole. If there’s two things we can forgive him for, it’s his football ability and lack of intelligence (not necessarily in that order). This is the man who, when negotiating his contract with Arsenal, nearly swerved off the road when hearing from his agent that the club were refusing to offer above £55k a week – “I was trembling with anger,” he wrote in his autobiography. (An autobiography before the age of 30 – another reason to detest footballers in general). Yes, humility is not Ashley’s strong point, although in his own words, no one could ever call him a prima donna (!).
Then there’s Frank Lampard. Once voted the second best player in Europe, there is no doubt that Lampard has had a great career, showing a prowess from midfield that has been as conspicuous in its proficiency for Chelsea as it has been in its absence for England. But nonetheless, he is well respected by the media for his humility, intelligence and longevity.
But that respect does not extend to fans (other than those of Chelsea). Why? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly – some have put it down to his arrogance in questioning managerial decisions. Maybe it’s his relationship with Christine Bleakley, which instantly turned the ex-One Show host from a loveable primetime TV presenter into an annoying WAG. Or perhaps it’s to do with his perceived favouritism with successive England managers, which has blinded them from doing the bloody obvious and playing Steven Gerrard as the undisputed focal point of the midfield. From the author’s perspective, I think it’s more to do with his unabashed alliance with Mr Chelsea himself, John Terry.
What can be said about the man that hasn’t already been said, or thought? Despite his undoubted defensive qualities, Terry has managed to carve out a reputation of his own, through a mix of selfish, arrogant means together with sheer incompetence and disdain for others. His track record includes: being charged for affray and assault in 2001, as well as being fined for making inappropriate comments and gestures to American tourists at Heathrow airport in the wake of 9/11; an alleged extramarital affair with the wife of his ex-team mate, Wayne Bridge; a one-man mutiny at the World Cup in 2010; and of course, found guilty by a FA disciplinary committee of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in 2011.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is enough to sum up that if this man is the personification of Chelsea, it’s a club that is based on poor morals, ethics and ultimately a bad example to those who follow it or have to put up with it.
In the next article, we look at more reasons to hate Chelsea, including Jon Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba and of course, the Chelsea fans whose through eyes, these people can do no wrong.