It would be fair to say that a number of our regular readers are heavily involved with Twitter, or any form of social media come to that, so it would not have escaped your notice that, in the lead up to a match day and especially post-match, the level of abuse that club captain Gary Cahill receives.

So called supporters/fans & fan pages, fan pages with over 200k followers no less, seeking to level abuse that stretches far beyond that of passionate support, and to a player that has given the level of commitment and performance that Cahill has given.

Twitter is a fantastic outlet for supporters to interact with club, players, commentators and journalists alike, to receive news, updates in a modern ever-moving world but it also has its drawbacks, drawbacks of the most ugliest kind, yes you’ve guessed it – Trolls.

Imagine this, Chelsea have lost an important match, to a title rival, a Champions League Quarter Final, FA Cup Semi whatever, imagine being so enraged that you have to fill 140 characters (soon to be 280) with the most awful industrial language that has been created, to seek out a player, or players that have given their all for the club, but please don’t for one second think this column is labelling this to be the majority, far from it, Chelsea are one of the most loyal supports when it comes to the club – just look at the reception Petr Cech receives when he returns with Arsenal, the away end rising as one for Frank Lampard after he equalised for Manchester City in 2014, so this is a minority issue.

A minority issue that seems to raise its ugly head on a consistent basis, we saw an element of this creeping into Stamford Bridge, in the Sunderland home match after Jose Mourinho had been relieved of his post, there was a placard labelling Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa as ‘rats’ for seemingly getting the Special One the sack. Yes, these fans have paid for their ticket and have a right to their opinion the same as any other supporter, but it just doesn’t sit right that you take the time out of your life to sit down at the kitchen table to make a banner about a footballer(s)– ‘Kids pass the red marker, I’ve got to write RATS to finish off the banner’ – there must be other ways in which to voice your opinion.

On the subject of Gary Cahill, here we have a player who has won every domestic and European honour a footballer can win whilst playing for Chelsea – Rio Ferdinand cannot say that, or Steven Gerrard for that matter, while Cahill may not have had the best of starts to the season, his level of commitment, passion and support for Chelsea Football Club cannot be questioned. While he may not be held in the same regard as John Terry, Cahill has been an important member of some the best times in the history of the club – think of his performance in Munich in the Champions League Final.

This brings us perfectly on to look at some of the less popular defensive choices Chelsea have signed through the years – imagine if social media had been around when some of the players were at Stamford Bridge.

Winston Bogarde – 2000-2004 – Appearances 12 Goals 0

Winston Bogarde arrived at Stamford Bridge with a sizeable reputation as well as a Champions League winners’ medal in his back pocket, signed by Gianluca Vialli on a four year deal for £40,000 a week.

Unluckily for Bogarde, the manager who signed him was sacked just over a week later, being replaced by Claudio Ranieri. Making 11 of his 12 appearances in his first season at Stamford Bridge, it was deemed by Claudio Ranieri that Bogarde was surplus to requirements, and in the early noughties before the Abramovich era, money was a little harder to come by for the club, so to get a player who wasn’t going to be playing, Chelsea decided to get the player off the wage bill, but frustratingly for Chelsea, Bogarde was not for budging – ‘This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them’ Bogarde was quoted as saying. ‘Few people will ever earn so many, I am one of the few fortunates that do’.

So rather than seek an opportunity to play week in week out at another club, Bogarde wouldn’t budge from the money that he was contractually owed.

Bogarde was quoted in 2015, telling the Guardian that he did want to play ‘They had to cut costs’. My situation was not very good and we tried to solve it many ways. Like to go out on loan, but it didn’t work out’.

While Bogarde insisted that he was ready to play if given a chance, the whole situation left a horrible taste in the mouth and is a negative inditement on a player who had a great career until he came to SW6.

Tal Ben Haim – 2007-2008 – Appearances 13 Goals 0

Signed by Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2007, after a successful spell at Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea required back up to John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Alex in the centre back positions, it is fair to say that he didn’t live up to expectations.

It could also be said that criticising the club’s management at a time when you are pushing for a starting berth isn’t the best method of getting into the side. Jose Mourinho had been sacked following a lacklustre start to the season to be replaced with Avram Grant – Ben Haim’s comments reflected that of the fans ‘If I had known Avram Grant was going to be the coach, I would have signed for another club. Ben Haim told The Sun ‘I knew nothing good would come for me with Grant as coach’.

To be frustrated at not playing is a natural feeling as a sportsman, but to air your grievances in a national newspaper may not have been the smartest way to go about your business – Ben Haim signed for Manchester City barely a year after signing for the Blues.

Ben Haim would appear again before Chelsea fans, featuring in the 2015/16 Champions League stages where Chelsea were pitched against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Ben Haim was dismissed in the away leg in Israel for a horror first-half challenge on Diego Costa.

Khalid Boulahrouz – 2006-2008 – Appearances 13 Goals 0

The Holland defender arrived at Stamford Bridge with quite the reputation back in his home country, so much so that Jose Mourinho splashed £14million to secure his signature from Hamburg in 2006.

If you hadn’t been aware of his incoming transfer and just tuned into the press conference, you would have presumed that Chelsea had bought a new striker, given that Boulahrouz was given the number 9 shirt, usually reserved for a striker.

Boulahrouz got off to a fairly solid start to life at Chelsea with assured displays against Liverpool and Barcelona in the Champions League, however, the defender suffered a setback with a recurring knee injury which sidelined him for four months.

Upon his return to full fitness, it was plain to see that he was not going to shift the colossal defensive partnership of John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, who had both cemented their places as the heart of the Chelsea defence.
In looking for a place to fit in Boulahrouz was placed at right back, and from his early displays as a full back it was evident that this was not his natural position and he struggled to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, with average opposition wingers getting the best of him down the right-hand side and in one on one duels.

His form melted away to such an extent that he only played 13 league matches in his two years at Stamford Bridge, perhaps the final straw that broke the camel’s back was Mourinho’s decision to play Michael Essien as a replacement centre-back despite Boulahrouz being fully fit – the writing was on the wall from this point and in 2008 Boulahrouz went back to the creature comforts of the Bundesliga with Stuttgart.

Papy Djilobodji – 2015 -2016 – Appearances 2 minutes 


There are more defensive woes in the history of Chelsea Football Club, like there is at the other 91 league clubs but you have lives to lead, and you don’t wish to spend a considerable portion of that reading about the likes of Dale Jasper.

The minority which take to Twitter to abuse Gary Cahill before and after every Chelsea match seem to have small memories, it wasn’t always Premier League titles, Champions Leagues and Eden Hazards, a generation of Chelsea supporters can clarify that most of the time it was a bloody struggle to watch, but it was still Chelsea, and blue blood courses through our veins.

Maybe before you reach for that keyboard to spew some more hate on one of Chelsea’s most decorated players, cast your mind back to the past, the recent past even and you will come to the realisation that life isn’t so bad – cast your mind back to the Champions League Final, Gary Cahill’s performance that night summed up his Chelsea career – committed, passionate and determined, all the attributes of a consistent player and the attributes of something that Cahill has grown accustomed to at Stamford Bridge – a winner.

That night tells you all you need to know about Gary Cahill.

For me and most of you reading this:- ‘There is only one Gary Cahill’.