The Girls Are Back

August 14, 2008

Yep, it’s the summer holidays and my step-children are back home after a few weeks away with their family.
I am so pleased to see them. It’s great to have them back.

In my other news? Not much to be honest. I have just finished setting up my Guardian Fantasy Football Team in preparation for the start of the season. My bet I mentioned the other day didn’t come in but another did taking me into the black…

I have also started a new book. “Don’t You have Time To Think” is a collection of the brilliant, and sorely missed, physicist Richard P. Feynman. Excellent reading so far. I am also continuing with an audio book of the complete diaries/logs of Scott’s famous and doomed expedition. Amazing and stirring ‘read’.

The rest of this week is all about the build up to the start of the new Premier League.
Chelsea for the Quad!

Advertisements

Chelsea FC Pre-season

July 23, 2008

And so the new football season really starts to get underway. I have missed it greatly and am really enjoying watching the Blues play again, even if it is only against the second division Chinese side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical. Seeing the new signings, such as Deco, play for the first time gets me salivating for the start of the season proper.


It's over

May 23, 2008

At least for this season.
After the drama of the match, as usual, I couldn’t watch the penalty kicks.
I took my ipod and a can of beer (my first drink in six months) to the top of the garden and lay down on the ground looking up at the sky.

The minutes passed and the realisation that we hadn’t won dawned on me quite a while before my partner appeared over me to tell me the news.

I came in and turned the TV off, not seeing any of the celebrations and my hero John Terry crying his eyes out.

Laying down on the sofa in the dark I didn’t say a word to anyone and fell asleep awaiting the inevitable massive hang over.

So Chelsea finish the season having won nothing but achieved more than I would have imagined after our first Champions League match of the season last year when Jose was sacked.

Chin up JT. Next season we can do it all again.

My last thoughts are ones that came to me yesterday.

I have never watched a team I support win on penalties.


It’s over

May 23, 2008

At least for this season.
After the drama of the match, as usual, I couldn’t watch the penalty kicks.
I took my ipod and a can of beer (my first drink in six months) to the top of the garden and lay down on the ground looking up at the sky.

The minutes passed and the realisation that we hadn’t won dawned on me quite a while before my partner appeared over me to tell me the news.

I came in and turned the TV off, not seeing any of the celebrations and my hero John Terry crying his eyes out.

Laying down on the sofa in the dark I didn’t say a word to anyone and fell asleep awaiting the inevitable massive hang over.

So Chelsea finish the season having won nothing but achieved more than I would have imagined after our first Champions League match of the season last year when Jose was sacked.

Chin up JT. Next season we can do it all again.

My last thoughts are ones that came to me yesterday.

I have never watched a team I support win on penalties.


The Eve of the Champions League Final

May 20, 2008

The build up began the day after the semi-finals finished, but we are into the final push.  I have to admit that it is a very exciting time for us Chelsea supporters and no doubt for the reds too.

However this post is to be a simple dig at those who like to make a big deal of the fact that Chelsea ‘buy’ their titles and silverware.  It is always targeted at CFC, so lets have a look at the finances of Chelsea’s opposition tomorrow and compare them to Manchester United’s.

….According to the latest accounts of Chelsea Limited, the company which owns the football club, Chelsea owed £736m to all its creditors. United’s accounts, also recently filed at Companies House, showed total creditors at £764m…..

Funnily enough, 500+ million of that is a loan from our owner.  Kind of puts things into perspective, the league champions owe that sort of money outside of their own club, doesn’t it….. Maybe the fingers should be pointed elsewhere in future.  But, of course they won’t be….

Hopefully my next football post is about my joy at seeing my team win the Champions League for the first time in our history.  By this time tomorrow I will know the answer and Roman, if everything goes to plan, will have had his win in Moscow.


Chelsea FC, the reality

May 7, 2008

A positive take from The Guardian on the love of my life for a change:

 

Ghost of Mourinho is happy haunting for spirited Chelsea

The Blues’ current success has its foundations in the work of their last four managers

It is uncomfortable to listen to a man whose happiness is all a complete misunderstanding. On a May afternoon at Old Trafford in 2004 Claudio Ranieri was convinced he would be staying on as the Chelsea manager. No one else shared the delusion, but the Italian’s confidence had its apparent foundation. Following a 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Chelsea had just clinched second place, their highest finish since they were champions in 1955.

In nearly half a century there had been four plunges into the old Second Division and a narrow escape from relegation to the Third Division. You could see why Ranieri had a mistaken belief in his job security. His efforts were significant if unspectacular, so the rate at which Chelsea’s improvement then accelerated has been astonishing.

When the team won 2-0 at St James’ Park on Monday to ensure that their shadow still falls over United in the Premier League it was the act of a squad that expects to be in contention for the great prizes. This sense of their own position in football society is as important as the ability of the players. As any major club will confirm, confidence wins matches by deterring the opposition.

The very name Manchester United looms over their matches. Elsewhere in the top four that Kevin Keegan fears is a permanent elite, Arsenal have a hallowed eminence and from time to time Liverpool fans may just remember to throw in a reference to their five European Cups. Chelsea are the odd ones out. Arsène Wenger, with three titles, has won the league as often as the Stamford Bridge club ever has. Nine of United’s 16 were landed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

If Chelsea are utterly free of doubt over their status that is liable to be taken as the legacy of a character who was always entirely clear about his own special qualities. Despite impressions to the contrary, though, life at the club is more than an echo of Jose Mourinho’s resonant presence.

A project was under way before the advent of the Portuguese or, for that matter, the acquisition of Chelsea by Roman Abramovich in 2003. There was a conscious endeavour to accentuate a cosmopolitan glamour in the latter part of Ken Bates’ time. Ruud Gullitt and Gianluca Vialli would both play for and manage the club while the crowd also doted on Gianfranco Zola. There were trophies as well, such as the 1998 Cup Winners’ Cup and the 2000 FA Cup.

That period must have had its impact. How, for instance, could a 17-year-old John Terry not have had his horizons expanded when a lionised centre-half like Marcel Desailly signed for Chelsea in 1998? After the 2001 transfer from West Ham, it could only have been educational, too, for Frank Lampard to be in the company of the World Cup-winner Emmanuel Petit, fading as he was, and Zola.

Many clubs have spent heavily, if not quite to Abramovich’s extent, and wound up with a ragbag of a squad. Chelsea have evaded that trap and there is a well-integrated quality to the team that reflects well on the management of Mourinho and now Avram Grant. No one doubted these footballers had come to fight for one another at St James’ Park as, in the second half, they carried the battle to Newcastle.

The blend in the team is interesting. Some, such as Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Michael Ballack, were stars before they got to Chelsea. Others, like Michael Essien and Petr Cech, had not fully matured when Mourinho bought them. A few, including Mikel John Obi and Salomon Kalou, are just beginning to develop. The mixture, too, has those such as Terry, Lampard, Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole and Joe Cole who are steeped in English football.

As the beguiling second goal showed at Newcastle, Chelsea can play with slick style. In the same game there was proof, as if any were still required, of the tenacity. What fails to be appreciated is the rarity of this confluence of toughness and cosmopolitan talent. The reliability, too, is taken for granted. Winning the Carling Cup and downing Ferguson’s team in the FA Cup final while also reaching the last four of the Champions League was seen preposterously as underachievement by Mourinho in 2007.

United, with the title still to be decided and the Moscow final to come, will be part the minority with an acute awareness of just how remarkable Chelsea truly are.

Kevin McCarra

 


The Road To Moscow

May 3, 2008

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Video of Chelsea’s journey through the Champions League to Moscow courtesy of CareFreeChris.