Chelsea aren’t doing so great, and everyone seems to love it. It’s not uncommon for football fans to revel in respective success droughts of rival teams, but this time, the whole country seems to enjoy it. But why?
These days, you have to have an iPad to check where Chelsea are in the Premier league table, a normal smart phone won’t allow you to locate them, unless you wish to scroll down until you get repetitive strain injury.
In other words, Chelsea are 16th. With 11 points from 12 games. Chelsea are 16th in the Premier League table.
Now for some reason, typing that, reading it, and reading it again, feels great. Does it not feel great? Unless you’re a Chelsea fan, reading that is like having your eyes marinade in silk, but why? Why does every self-respecting football fan dislike Chelsea so much? I think there are a few reasons, and I’ll try to start with Mourinho.
FUNNY FUNNY JOSÉ
Once the golden boy of the tabloid world, who used to be able to harness controversy, who thrived on it, has appeared to have lost his authority in the English press. Treating the journalists like gullible toddlers by dribbling out watered down wit from an untamed tongue, which clumsily translated into tabloid headline gold, isn’t working anymore.
His identity is changing in the public eye, he’s gone from the cheeky, loveable chosen one with the grin of a Bond Villain, to an embarrassing moaning Dad who blames the teacher for his kid not being able to sneeze properly.
His post-match interviews have gone from his after parties to his purgatory, and now he just wants to moan. It starts with the scapegoating, blaming the referee boasts the status of a fraudulent ‘Get Out Of Jail Free Card’ when it comes from the manager. When it happens it’s spiteful, cynical and easily the most transparent way of covering up the short comings of your team.
The occasional outburst is justified in a career with such high intensity, but confronting officials at half time, and publicly implying a conspiracy where referees are “scared” to give you decisions, is not justified, it becomes malicious, childish and embarrassing.
Was it the referees who force fed Diego Costa in the summer?
Did Mark Clattenburg sprinkle holy water on Coutinho’s left foot in their loss against Liverpool? Which ref was it that suggested Hazard adopt a Halloween themed work ethic and method act as a ghost for the first quarter of the season?
Blaming the ref isn’t enough. People are getting bored of it.
Where Chelsea and Mourinho are intrinsically tied in the way they represent each other so strongly, he has a responsibility to act on behalf of a prestigious football team with dignity and respect, but he doesn’t, and it rubs off on the club.
WINNING THE LOTTERY
It’s partly down to José that Chelsea seem to be the team to hate right now, but it doesn’t stop there.
It’s an argument as old as Chelsea’s history, and it’s about money.
The money argument is the most common, it’s thrown at Man City and it will be thrown at West Ham at some point in the future. It’s the great footballing fairy tale. A genie arrives on a magic carpet, floats around a foreign land and points to an arena of his choice.
Okay I’ll start that again, a Russian arrives on a private jet and thinks the grass at Stamford Bridge looks pretty. He decides to consider his options.
– Queue flash back – (“Fulham or Chelsea?…Fulham…or Chelsea?” The business man utters to himself. “What about that QPR a bit further up the road? Hmm, okay, I’ll play rock paper scissors with my own reflection to settle this.”)
And BANG suddenly the mid table mediocrity that was Chelsea Football Club gets shot up into the spotlight.
With the impressive transfer deals carried out by current Leicester Manager, Claudio Ranieri, the man who bought in players like Joe Cole, Claude Makalélé and Hernán Crespo, and then the the arrival of the Portuguese Prodigy, Chelsea wedge themselves up there.
“Ahh, no fair.” Sighs the rest of the table. And so their journey begins.
This is symptomatic of the cancerous trend in English football, and as long as teams like Chelsea and Manchester City continue to dominate the league because a foreign investor decided to throw their pocket money around, trivialising and killing years of tradition and class, they won’t be respected as clubs, and in turn breed resentment.
Football fans know that it’s wrong to buy trophies. Accusations of bitterness and jealousy often greet the rival fans who state it, but in reality it’s not just rival fans. It’s everyone.
Anyone who understands the basic values of football culture and football etiquette, is not going to admire a club like Chelsea. It alienates and spits in the face of the working class roots of football, monopolising the most cherished sport in the Britain, turning passion into pay cheques and pride into plastic. It’s not okay, and surprisingly enough, people hate it.
The fact that they have banners with the face of Roman Abramovich up in their stadium speaks volumes, for example, instead of banners of Ivan Gazidis, London neighbours Arsenal have banners and statues of Herbert Chapman, the Invincibles and George Graham. Sentiments that celebrate history and success crafted with years of class and integrity, not pictures of the Premier League equivalent of Daddy’s credit card.
BORING BORING CHELSEA?
So, after all this, what could possibly make Chelsea easier to dislike? Oh of course, the way they play.
Not to mention their classy on-field antics with John Terry’s blatant UKIP allegiance slipping through the net, and Diego Costa’s more recent current lack of professionalism.
In saying that, it was a nice gesture from Diego against Stoke, seeing as his manager was serving a one match ban, it was very sporting of Costa to not show up as well.
Mourinho’s teams play for points, which is fair enough, but it’s not sustainable, English fans want entertainment, and playing the way they do won’t give Mourinho any longevity at Chelsea.
We’ve seen it with them celebrating a draw at Stamford Bridge against Arsenal, we’ve seen the countless one nils secured against big teams after parking the bus and attacking on the break.
To criticize this style of play has an air of desperation, because last season it allowed them to see out winning a Premier League title, and I’ve spoken to Chelsea fans who claim they are just happy to win. They won the league with outstanding resilience, discipline and tactical solidity, but it merely solidifies their status as boring boring Chelsea, which instantly deflects any admiration from fans.
To summarize, Chelsea are the club that won the lottery, and decided to use their unconditional monetary funds to price out the best players around. Once they got to the top, they begun to play football that provides the same entertainment value as having staring competition with a sock. It’s no wonder why their current position has been met with delight by football fans.
The team that represents the parasitic financial hijack of the game we love has taken a blow, and it feels like a victory for football fans all over.