I got over last Sunday’s debacle relatively quickly considering how angry I was when leaving the ground – it’s the hope that kills you as they say. But by the time we had negotiated the terrible traffic coming out of Manchester I had become quite philosophical about the whole thing. I even managed to laugh and the ridiculous calls for Harry Rednapp to manage Chelsea made by three delusional fans on the radio; and “seriously” debated by the menagerie of ex B rate players and shock jock presenters. I think you’d be hard pushed to find three Tottenham fans wanting him at the helm next season never mind putting him in charge of some players with some actual talent. Harry Rednapp/Avram Grant dream team for QPR would be good though.
I even had a giggle about Wayne Rooney surreptitiously flicking the V’s at us after a particularly loud chorus of a not particularly big or clever song calling him a rather vulgar expression for a ladies front bottom. We manage to get to him every time – at least this time he didn’t get us back by putting one in the back of the net – but then he didn’t need to did he?
At the end of the day, ignoring the first few weeks of the season, we haven’t looked a Premiership winning side at all – not even when we made up the yawning gap on United. United too, will be thanking their lucky stars that they had a couple of players who really stepped to the plate as they have hardly been their dazzling best either, Whereas the fact that our player of the year looks a toss-up between our goalkeeper and a defender tells you all you need to know about our season.
Predictably there is a lot of hysteria from various factions of the support, each having their own particular drum to bang – we need to buy, we need to sell, we need a new manager, we need stability, we need to bring in the young, we need more English players, we need creativity etc etc.
One thing that all the papers seem to agree on is that Ancelotti will not be manager of Chelsea next season. Now whether you’re a fan of his or not, it looks like yet another decent man has been treated very shabbily by a management who seem simply unable to conduct their business in a dignified manner behind closed doors. Instead journalists hint at more “off the record” briefings leaving them with more information regarding Ancelotti’s future than he has. It’s no way to treat an honourable man who has done little wrong.
Are we going to simply keep sacking managers every time they fail to deliver the European Cup? And then just to make an impossibly difficult job even harder, will Abramovich keep interfering in the transfer policy? It’s akin to telling a one legged man to hop round the world and then when he accepts the challenge, telling him he has to do it wearing an ice-skate.
I dread to think who will rock up at the Bridge next – I could make up a list of all managers around at the present time who have won the European Cup at some point in their career – but that will only worry me senseless as I try and work out the odds of how long we could dodge the bullet that is Rafa Benitez.
The question of who will actually be playing for Chelsea next season will also be somewhat governed by Abramovich I imagine. I’d bet that the team will not escape unscathed from another season without the precious such is the owners obsession with it. I hope the cut will not be as deep as some of the papers are predicting as rather than bolstering an ailing side, he may simply obliterate it forcing a period of re-establishing parameters and creating a new set up throughout – inevitably leading to a period of flux.
If you cut the sentimentality, that in itself perhaps would not be a bad thing, but could any big club now chance a season or two out of the Champions League and the lucrative sponsorship deals which naturally follow? Especially with so many new millionaire owners on the scene all wanting a slice of the big time?
But back to the here and now although no one is much interested in our two remaining games – as all involved have little to play for barring local pride. They are games we should win, but we have lost a lot of those games this season so I shan’t be making any predictions; but I do hope the team do play to the best of their ability as if Ancelotti is to go, he should go out on a high – the team owe him that much after having let him down for most of the season.