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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

I’M ALMOST loath to say anything as it may break the spell, but everything seems to be remarkably good in Chelsea world at the moment. The press is full of lurid tales of infidelity yet they don’t involve one of ours; there are clubs on the precipice of financial ruin — and we aren’t one of them; there are manager issues at a number of Premiership teams. We are more than happy with Ancelotti.

Add to that our great start to the season, a pretty decent Champions League draw and what seems a happy and settled squad and you have in Chelsea a picture of content which must be enviable to some.

If the papers are to be believed it looks like Rooney has been scoring off the pitch while his England drought continues — a cheap shot I know but I have taken an almost childish pleasure in this particular expose. Anyone with media links has known about this story for a long, long time, and knew that the paper in question were sitting on it as they didn’t want to “upset England’s World Cup preparation.” There was no such sensitivities when they hung John Terry out to dry was there?

Will Rooney’s alleged infidelity lead to daily character assassinations penned by journalist balancing personal agendas with obvious chips on shoulders? Will his sexploits be the main talking point on every chat show, radio programme, news item, interview and magazine article? I doubt it; what’s the betting that the line taken by most will be that his private life is non-consequecial as it’s what he does on the pitch that matters – but it’s nice to see some mudslinging not aimed at SW6 for a change.

When the transfer window closed last week, I let out a huge sigh of relief that Mourinho (or indeed anyone else) had not poached Ashley Cole from us. Even this early on in the season he is demonstrating both at club and country level why he is (to the thoughtful observer) the best left back in the world.

You non-Chelsea people hate the fact that he is so good don’t you? Are you really that bothered that he gets his jollies from sending pictures of himself posing in his under-crackers to various kiss-and-tell girlies? Or is it the fact that he cheated on the nation’s sweetheart that has you all in a spin? Whatever the reasons behind the hate campaign he has showed again and again that name calling and hostile receptions do little to interrupt his invaluable contribution to England, but more so Chelsea.

When you question people on why they hate him, the answers never make you any the wiser. One particularly bitter individual described him as a “chav” amongst other things. Does this separate him from many footballers? I think not. Another said he was thick but I dispute that.  He comes across well in post-match press conferences and I have met him on a couple of occasions and he has always been interesting to speak to with a good sense of humour.

It has to be, then, that he is a Chelsea player — he was never so universally loathed when he played for that North London mob was he? Really, how different is he from the majority of players in the Premier League, apart from being a markedly better player than most?  I imagine I will receive a deluge of e-mails (the majority from bitter Gooners) detailing exactly why he is so abhorrent. I will await them with interest.

Frank Lampard made a good observation this week about the hypocrisy that surrounds the constant reference to an ageing Chelsea squad.

He made the point about Paul Scholes having a great season – indeed, it seems everyone involved with football already has him crowned Premiership/English/World Player of the year, but the Chelsea squad is apparently too old (although not too old to do the Double last season). I’ve read the “fact” so often in the last three years that I was starting to believe it myself! Luckily, Ancelotti did not fall for it and used the experience in the team for that final push.

I’ve really taken to Ancelotti, which surprises me as I have always followed the blue side of Milan, so regarded Carlo Ancelotti as the enemy. Yet his work ethic, personality and jovial demeanour have won me over.

He can no doubt offer much advice to Ashley Cole on how to deal with taunts from the terraces having had to endure some in his time at Juventus where the tifosi used to chant “pig” at him and graffiti the city with images of him as a cartoon porker. Rather than rise to it, he declared himself honoured to be compared to such a noble animal — Ancelotti is from a farming family and did not consider the comparison an insult.

It is typical of a man who seems to be riled by very little. He works hard managing and coaching a high profile team; dealing with the Press; undergoing hours of English lessons every week and also frequently flying home to visit his sick father. This must all take its toll yet he never speaks of any difficulty or stress he has encountered. England must think they hired the wrong Italian.

This steady, dependable, individual has obviously imparted some of his personality into the squad and we have already seen the advantages of such a man in charge. He will come up against the very antithesis of his personality in Avram Grant this weekend — this is a game we simply CANNOT lose.

Come on Chelsea!

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