Hopefully, by the time you read this, the Luiz deal will have been completed. If it has, I imagine it would not be thanks to the way we conduct our affairs if the Pienaar debacle is anything to go by. More details emerged this week about how Chelsea negotiated on this deal and it has to be said, were I a player, I wouldn’t join us either.
Putting aside the vulgar subject of money, I imagine that a player wants to know that the manager rates him – that he is going to play – that he is an integral piece in the future of his prospective club. It seems that at no time did Ancelotti get involved – not only that, but Abramovich stooge, Emenalo, was offered to the player to discuss playing matters. I hope no one at Chelsea is actually surprised we didn’t land this player?
As I said last week, I really wasn’t bothered one way or the other whether we landed him or not, but if this really is a glimps of how we conduct ourselves in the market, then we’d better hope some of our kids mature and quick.
The dreary surroundings of the out-of-town Reebok stadium have been the scene of some notable Chelsea triumphs over the past decade – none more so than that glorious second half Lampard double which gave us the first title under Mourinho. What an age ago that seemed as we trekked up the M6 Monday afternoon.
I was a little bit concerned with the news that Lampard had not travelled as I think since his return we had played more positively. I had also read some stat that basically said that on average we scored twice the number of goals per game when he played than when he did not. All that said, I was quietly confident and so it seemed were most of the other Chelsea fans that started converging around the ground prior to kick off.
Because our histories have been inextricably linked for so long, Bolton fans are probably those I dislike the least in the Premiership. They seemed genuinely pleased that day when we swamped their ground to celebrate our first title win in half a century. I also remember sending them down in 1998 at The Bridge; it was one of those surreal days where the two Chelsea goals by Jody Morris and Gianluca Vialli were booed by the home crowd who would rather that Everton had taken the drop. A lot of the Bolton fans had come in fancy dress, and as their fate was conformed the big screen showed grown men dressed as women, ducks, pandas and vicars crying their eyes out. It was a pretty bizarre day.
Monday too was a pointient day for the Bolton fans it being the day they paid their tributes to Nat Lofthouse – all the flags around the stadium were at half mast, the tributes laid at the front of the ground were plentiful and included a number from Chelsea; the two team captains laid wreaths and the crowd watched a montage of the great man on the big screen. This was followed by an immaculately observed minutes silence – always the mark of a player universally admired. They did him proud.
Perhaps the Bolton team sensing the need for a good display on such a day were a little over-keen. The first ten minutes they piled into us – not always legally – I thought Davies’ early tackle/assault on terry was going to see JT side-lined for the rest of the match – but he ran it off – probably just another broken bone.
Bolton soon drooped when they came against a side who had obviously been hurt by the recent articles outlining their imminent demise. Chelsea rode the hard tackles and stuck to their game – they had to, the referee offered little protection.
The difference in this game compared to many of the others where we have played badly, is that our strikers actually got involved and were taking shots. Drogba’s sublime goal would not have been scored previously as he wasn’t even attempting them. Anelka too was running at players – asking for the ball – getting into good positions – it made all the difference and in reality we could have scored 6 or 7 – and we were denied a stone wall penalty.
The difference in attitude was plain for all to see. At the final whistle the players came to the fans and Drogba and Malouda even climbed over the barriers and came into the fans to hand over shirts despite protestations from a jobs-worth steward.
I was also pleased to see the fans chanting Carlo’s name – small respite for a man who has to endure the alienation that those at the top seem to be subjecting him too, but I bet it was welcome all the same. I hope that it also sent a message to the upper echelons at the club – not that they have ever taken much notice of us.
The Chelsea crowd had a night off from nail-biting and hand wringing too – instead using their humour to chant songs to the Massy-gate Sky pair – I do hope they were listening. They have never been particularly complimentary about Chelsea and so by my thinking I like the fact that they are getting so much grief – a woman’s trait I do have is that I never forgive.
Come on Chelsea!