Friday, 1 June 2007

How will the capitalist, the communist and the fascist settle their football scores?

Jose Mourinho
No more inflated bladders and onion bags. Soccer all gone upriver for a few blessed months, with neither a World Cup nor a European Championship to fill the lock.
The back pages of Redtops will be filled with speculation on transfers and all the usual managerial sacking Hoo-Haa, but I will be taking a breather.
August will be round again soon enough, when the Community Shield season opener will be between cup winners Chelsea and league winners Manchester United, and we'll all be deja-vuing like there was no tomorrow.
This comes from a Chelsea fan, a happy Chelsea fan whose team, at the time of writing has both cup and manager intact.
I originally became a Chelsea fan simply because they were my Dad's team, and he took me to Stamford Bridge. Blood is thicker than water, and as I stuck with the Blues through thick and thin, relegation and promotion, there grew a deeper bond between myself and the club.
Over the decades I realised we were not the same as other clubs. No matter which idiosyncratic character is at the managerial helm; irrespective of which super-egoed players sporting bizarre haircuts and glowing reputations wore the blue shirt; sometimes despite and sometimes because of who owned the club at any particular time; permanence and consistency as a way of life had no place at Chelsea FC.
We are and always have been the Flash Harry superstars; mere Flash-in-the-pan success merchants; flashy with money and fashion and flashy with cars and birds.
On the pitch, Chelsea always had players who were capable of flashes of brilliance. Nothing that lasted, just a 'good cup side', which is a nice way of describing a team which capitulates to minnows, but might turn on the style against the big teams, on their day, when they could be arsed.
And then came Abramovich, Kenyon and Mourinho, and everything changed.
For the first time in their history, Chelsea were consistently beating the little teams as well as the big teams, home and away, week after week. It might not be pretty, but it's bloody effective, and along the way there are flashes of brilliance just so that you know you're still watching Chelsea.
Sure United and Arsenal are a lot prettier, but all they have to offer is a cantankerous purple-faced Scot and a melancholic delusional Frenchman.
We at Chelsea can offer the full Shakespearean drama, in which the players play only small parts, distant generals out in the field, occasionally appearing in cameos when their contracts are up or another vat of transfer money is to be made
Scene: Forum on stormy day: Enter Kenyon, dressed in white silk toga, the capitalist money-maker, who is also a self-avowed lifelong supporter of Chelsea's major opponents, Manchester United:
"Dollar double cook up some trouble... two giants of their Kingdoms come. All powerful are they within their own realms, and yet, without me, they have nothing (cackle). For all his power the Russian Bear needs my face to talk to our people. He needs my shoulders on which to launder his great wealth. And as for that Portuguese fascist, the pompous piratical pri-"
As Kenyon rambles, Mourinho approaches, somehow looking so good in a simple yet stylish brown tunic with gold and blue armoured trim. Sneaking up on Kenyon, he talks quietly into his ear from behind:
"And me? You say I need you too? Truly if you think that you delude yourself more than I do when I throw away medals into the crowd. I do not need either of you, you fools. I can go today and be welcomed by millions in any Kingdom in the world."
"And so you can my handsome moody and most mysterious Iberian pally boy, but the world today is a vile and unnatural place. The Communist Bear is strong, and even richer today than any capitalist, so for you to stay here you must please the Russian. Now take my advice (cackle cackle) you will never win Mother Russia 's heart by trying to make her look foolish."
"I do not need to make him look foolish. He does it very well by himself."
Enter Abramovich in flowing purple robes, with dancing ladies in entourage.
"Hail Money Manager man and Man Manager man. Hahahahaaar! I forgot your names again, but hahahahaaaar, it does not matter, because I am all powerful and can have you drown in a bath filled with boiling borscht should the whim attract me! Hahahahaaar! Did we win the Champions League yet?"
Chelsea have always been uncomfortably big yet brittle, brash yet belittled too often.
As one after another English Premiership team is bought up like the latest fashion accessory by foreign magnates of extremely dubious pedigree, should I fear for the future of my team?
During the games of the latter half of last season, Mourinho started to sit holding his left arm up against his chest, rather unnervingly resembling Dr. Strangelove and his efforts to restrain his Heil-Hitlering arm.
Kenyon is a slimy Iago slithering sycophantically from leader to leader, while Abramovich has built a fortune on the back of broken peasants, and will quite possibly get his full comeuppance when Putin is finally removed from power.
My beloved Chelsea FC will survive all these dodgy geezers along with their dark and dismal dosh. Diving up and down in fortune and fortunes, greatness will always ebb and flow from Stamford Bridge.
Attracted to the aforementioned flashiness of the club, gifted players and great characters have always entertained Chelsea fans on our road to oblivion and back.
Dazzling talents from Jimmy Greaves to Gianluca Vialli, from Ruud Gullit to Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke to Gianfranco Zola have graced the Chelsea shirt. Great team players like John Terry, Chopper Harris, John Hollins and Marcel Desailly have stayed the course while others have come and gone.
How will Chelsea's triumvirate of massive male egos finally settle their differences?
How will the capitalist snake, the communist capitalist and the charismatic fascist settle their scores?
Perchance we need to return to great theatrical tragedy, where by the final act the stage is inevitably strewn with bloodied bodies.
Enter John Terry, Frank Lampard, steam rising from their first team strip:
"Gaffer! Gaffer! We won! We bloody won, just like you - oh bloody 'ell Lamps! Looks like we're too late!"
"Yeh, JT! They'll never know now! It's a blue day!"

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