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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

AA040001I was looking forward to Saturday not because it was derby day – QPR aren’t the foe they once were (we don’t hate you, cos your shit), but for the return of Costa. The effortless manner in which he has transformed our team actually makes it look a little bereft without him. And from the off the Rottweiler was back – running, making a nuisance of himself, actively looking for the ball, keeping their defence busy – no goal this time but he made his mark.

But of course the main talking point of Saturday was Jose’s dig at the fans. As someone who travels everywhere with Chelsea I know we are no better or worse than any other team in the Premiership. There are certain clubs (and we all know who they are) who hold themselves up as a cut above us mere mortal fans & claim that they truly are the 12th man, the template to which we all must aspire – anyone who attends matches regularly knows that this is garbage.

Most teams have their good days & their bad days but rarely if ever do most achieve the noise of the good old days (or the bad old days depending on your point of view) and the reasons behind that are numerous, discussed to death & of no interest to the money men that run football these days.

The fact of the matter is that football has become, for the most part, sterile. You can’t stand, you can’t smoke, you can’t drink, you can’t swear – and if you do there is a good chance you’ll be spotted by the stewards & banned by the club. And if the stewards don’t get you, clubs have set up phone and text lines for fans to grass up their fellow supporters. AND then they’ll charge you anything up to £70 for the privilege of being treated like a child.

Most people will agree that football is, in the main too expensive. This has led to a change in the demographic of the match going supporter – this is no accident – this has been engineered by the FA and the clubs by their pricing model. They don’t want the kind of supporter that buys a season ticket and attends every game. They want the guy that comes, with his family, maybe once or twice a season. The family that will go and spend a load of money in the megastore, do the tour and hopefully also be staying in the club hotel and eat at one of the affiliated restaurants.

The other type the clubs chase are those cash cow corporates – who pay an extraordinary amount of money for a  padded seat, a match-day programme, a posh lunch and a guarantee that they won’t have to mix with the oiks.

Safe standing, unreserved seating and other initiatives will help, but we are already way down a path that leads to how sport is in America – with the traditional working class support watching in a local bar and the stadium full of corporates, the wealthy and global brand sponsors. Every successful club’s atmosphere suffers from these same issues and will continue to do so while money is the main driver.

The people that run the game don’t just want to make money, they don’t even want to make a lot of money – they want to make an obscene unfathomable amount of money – I imagine they do not even have a figure which they could define as “enough”.

Mourinho should have not have said what he said without at least acknowledging some of these points. He’s usually got much more to say on these verbal incendiary devices he sometimes throws out there – this time when pressed he just came back with a load of “don’t knows”

Mourinho should also remember that it was his decision to move the away fans – which put an end to the vociferous interaction between them and our most vocal stand. Instead they are now concentrated in enviable seats while our family section laments having the worst view in the house.

What confuses me is why Mourinho chose this particular game to make these comments. The atmosphere was actually ok in the main. Of course I should point out that his comments were taken a little out of context – he was actually talking about the first 20 minutes – before Oscar scored his audacious opener. A period where it could be argued that the team were actually playing in quite a complacent manner – as if the game had already been won.

Mourinho seemed in a spiky mood generally and has been for some time it seems to me. The laconic smiling Jose has been replaced by what looks like an agitated, bad tempered misery and I’m not exactly sure what the problem is. We’re top of the league (even though I don’t think we are yet playing to our full potential), his summer buys have settled in remarkably quickly and we’re going great guns in the Champion’s League – so what’s he got to be miserable about exactly?

I do wonder if the lack of controversy is getting to him. We all know that Jose likes nothing better than a bit of a bust-up – he feeds off the energy & uses it to somehow make the team more competitive. As far as I am concerned the FA, opposition managers & fans, referees and governing bodies are all fair game in my opinion, but you are playing a very dangerous psychological game when you start so publicly on your own fans. Both Ferguson & Wenger have done this in the past with no difference in crowd volume – indeed all it will achieve in my opinion is alienating supporters further. Let’s see how he would react if a fluorescent jacketed jobs-worth took his seat number every time he stood up

Anyway, this weekend we come against Liverpool – a game where often form goes out the window. Usually a bad tempered affair on and off the pitch and one which fans are desperate to win. They are going through a difficult period at the moment with Rodgers trying to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke & that they weren’t a one man team. They will also be well aware that it was Chelsea who effectively ended their title dreams last season – after they’d had the T-shirts printed & everything – which will give it even more of an edge if one be needed.

But a trip to Maribor before that so I’d better go pack…..

Posted by Trizia

(You can see all the Terrace Talk articles here)

DISCLAIMER: All articles written for the Chelsea Supporters Group 2005 (CSG)  are those of the author and do not represent the views of the CSG. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited in the article. The CSG do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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