After Wednesday night’s capitulation at Stamford Bridge to Bournemouth, it seems that there is only one way that this is going to end; I wrote a piece last week highlighting that the minority could become louder should results get any worse. Following defeat at the Emirates when Chelsea were sent packing out of the EFL cup by Arsenal, a routine win at home Newcastle followed up to lift spirits and set up a fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge to Hull, Chelsea then turned in arguably their worst performance of the Antonio Conte era against Bournemouth.
To turn on social media after defeat on Wednesday was to witness and read some of the vilest and sickening abuse following a Chelsea defeat. Gary Cahill in particular came in for the worst abuse alongside Chelsea based journalists Garry Hayes and Dan Levene.
So the minority have become ever louder, the boos that have rung around Stamford Bridge of late were notably muted on Wednesday, this may be due to the fact that most of the minority long since left and were busy typing out their abuse on their smartphones on the trip from Fulham Broadway.
As Chelsea enter a season-defining period, isn’t the best course of action to stick together, rather than being split into two camps? Now I understand most fans, match-going or otherwise are indeed sensible human beings who deal with such situations with the understanding it deserves.
For the minority, it seems that Chelsea should be winning the league comfortably every single season, and that Chelsea should win almost every game they play, sadly, like life, football isn’t like that. Things change, and situations change, as pointed out in last week’s piece (thanks mum for reading), the summer recruiting did not go as planned, certainly not the way Antonio Conte envisaged and certainly not as supporters envisaged; if reports are to be believed, the relationship between Conte and Marina Granovskaia is virtually non-existent, which has been further strained after the recent transfer window, but also the way in which the Diego Costa situation was handled, were the first real signs of tense relations.
Having sifted through a number of Twitter accounts, it does seem that a considerable percentage of the accounts belong to those of the age bracket between 18-24. For those supporters in that age group, success and trophy parades along the Fulham Road is all they have ever known, and when a crisis does rise to the surface, the road in which is normally driven down results in the dismissal of the manager – only Guus Hiddink and Rafa Benitez have survived without being sacked.
Now while it is understandable that times do change, it may be worth noting those ‘so called supporters’ engaging with fans over the age of 30, for those fans can talk of relegation, successive mid-table finishes, electric fencing and concrete seating. Summer signings which included Paul Furlong, Mick Harford, and Mal Donaghy – but looking back, it was still a great time to be a Chelsea supporter, supporters still dreamed of a brighter tomorrow, a cup run or dare to dream of a top five finish.
The brighter tomorrow of which a generation of supporters could only dream of is the here and now, the present day, and putting things in perspective, a home defeat to Bournemouth which still leaves us in the top four may not be the worst thing to get heated up about, not when you consider that just over 25 years ago, tickets were being sold outside the ground to ‘Save Our Bridge’. So yes, things are not going as planned in our season of defending our title, but things could be a whole lot worse. But if you analyse the season as a whole, is it such a disaster?
Chelsea finished fifteen points above current leaders Manchester City and a whopping TWENTY FOUR points above Manchester United who sit in second. To bridge that gap, Manchester City have spent just over £400million, mostly on their defence to right the wrongs of last season and Manchester United have spent close to £300million to leap from sixth to second.
So Manchester clubs have spent close to £700million to bridge the gap to not only Chelsea but to Leicester, title winners the previous season – while Pep Guardiola has struck gold again and his side are currently 15 points clear, Manchester United are only three points better off than ourselves, and Chelsea haven’t had the luxury of spending £75million on a striker, £90million on a midfielder or paying a rival’s number one striker close to £400k a week to ensure that he snubbed their city rivals.
So while Pep Guardiola, as he did in La Liga and the Bundesliga previously, has moulded a team in his image and is dominating the league at an absolute canter, it is putting increasing pressure on the teams below, but to suggest Chelsea are having a disastrous season is nonsense, ok it isn’t the best defence of a title there has ever been, but City aside, Chelsea are within striking distance of the rest, and still in the hunt for two trophies.
So the time is for calm and togetherness, not panic and at loggerheads, Chelsea have been down this road before and will no doubt be down the same road again in the near future.
But for the majority of us, we can reflect on times of old and shrug off these issues as part of modern day football, for the minority it seems that every defeat is to be analysed to the point which brings out hatred.
Step back, look through the history of this great football club and maybe the here and now isn’t so bad – yes a 3-0 home reverse isn’t what anybody wants, but it is a lot better than having Mal Donaghy as one of your summer signings
I know which one I would rather have.