After a few weeks off due to international breaks and facing sides nobody really cares about—or ones we simply find too distasteful to bother talking to—Tea and Crumpets decided it was about time to shake off the rust, so we headed out for a bite and a chat with Graham MacAree of We Ain't Got No History, one of the more approachable Chelsea sorts out there and also our boss. Sitting down, we considered that it might be best to take things easy so as to avoid having him pull the plug on our entire operation, but as we took the first bite of our prawn sandwich we figured that if we weren't going to do things right, well, we might as well not do them at all…
Most would agree one of the best moments in football in recent years was John Terry's penalty miss in Moscow, where he lost his club the Champions League final and subsequently broke down crying in the rain. It should have been a heartbreaking moment, the club's long-serving captain, only days removed from a serious injury that had seen him stretchered off the Stamford Bridge pitch, losing his footing and the match. And it would have been were that long-serving captain not England's brave John Terry. It would have been a perfect moment, too, were it not for Manchester United being beneficiaries of one the biggest penalty misses in the history of football. Was it this crushing moment that forced the tearful defender into the arms—and into some other things rather south of arms—of a teammate's girlfriend? Also, does Ashley Cole still like to carry around an air rifle at the club's training grounds? Or has he switched to something with more stopping power to go along with his recent return to form?
|John Terry, brave.|
To be honest I'm not entirely sure that Terry needed much of an excuse to be sleeping around, although for accuracy's sake I should point out that Vanessa Perroncel and Wayne Bridge had broken up when the alleged indiscretions happened1. The penalty miss was pretty awful and it certainly drove me to a lot of drinking, but I doubt it made Terry an everything-shagging alleged racist. He's only got himself to blame there. As for Ashley Cole, I have personally seen to it that he's been upgrade to a shoulder-launching Stinger missile array designed to wipe Andy Carroll's greasy ponytail off the face of the earth. There might be some collateral damage, but I think we can all agree that that would be worth it.
This seems a dangerous time to speak so poorly of any minority; perhaps it's best we move on quickly. So, as it's an offence to impersonate a Chelsea pensioner, does that mean there's a history of people attempting to impersonate Ray Wilkins for financial gain? And is he hurt that there are apparently enough people out there trying to do just that for specific laws against it to have been enacted? Or has the whole People are out to steal Ray Wilkins' pension thing been blown out of proportion by the London media? Also, has he ever made his views known on the club putting an end to its old the Pensioners nickname in favour following Everton sixty years on and switching to the Blues?
Are people really interested in Ray Wilkins? This confuses me—his time at Chelsea as a player came before the Premier League invented football and therefore doesn't count and then he was only around for a couple of years as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant. I'd suspect the rule is actually to prevent people from impersonating Frank Lampard. Steven Gerrard could probably to do with it being reversed though—he could do with faking being an active, goalscoring professional footballer again.
Morocco has claimed the poor and largely barren Western Sahara as part of their territory since the 1950s, and since Spanish withdrawal from the region they've devoted billions to a now nearly forty-year military campaign to secure a patch of sand with a handful of phosphate deposits that aren't economically viable. There could be oil or natural gas off the coast, but at this point that remains an unknown, as does Morocco's ability to exploit any such deposits even if they were discovered since the UN has never recognised their stewardship of what is still deemed a disputed territory. While at this stage the military campaign is largely a holding action, frequent protests still take pace in a region whose internal borders between Moroccan and the native Polisario-controlled regions represent one of the most heavily mined areas in the world. Anyhow, has Andre Villas-Boas been fired yet?
|Just don't lose to QPR in a final, son.|
No. You'd probably know about it if he had been.
Are Chelsea fans still upset that referee Lubos Michel decided not to give Petr Cech a red card and Liverpool a penalty kick when the two sides met in the Champions League semi-final in 2005? And is it reasonable to speculate that Michel Platini probably snuck into the English FA's offices to rig the recent League Cup draw because he couldn't stand to go another year without seeing the two sides face off in the knockout rounds of a cup competition?
Yes, to both. I'm not really sure why we're all so cranky about that one. Probably because back in the days when we were miles better than you at everything—wait, we're still miles better than you and Manchesters United and City at everything—it was easier to just agree with whatever Jose Mourinho said rather than thinking about things. As for the second, I'm not entirely sure why Platini would care that much about a youth cup competition. Perhaps he's an Arsenal fan?
I'd say both us and one of the Manchesters is at least better than you at taking penalty kicks, though I can't speak for City. In any case, there's been talk in recent years of Chelsea needing to move to a larger stadium if they're ever going to become financially self-reliant instead of depending on yearly not any more but okay just this one last time cash infusions from everybody's favourite Russian oil billionaire, though it's rarely mentioned that the club's ability to legally refer to themselves as Chelsea FC is tied to staying at Stamford Bridge, which is currently owned by the not-for-profit Chelsea Pitch Owners and not the club. This has led to a situation where the club has lately moved to acquire the grounds and, with it, the naming rights that would allow them to move while remaining Chelsea FC—though all along they've claimed they don't ever want to move. How do the fans feel about supporting a club that might end up being called the London Abramoviches? And more importantly, with the current 41,000 seat Stamford Bridge often less than full for non-marquee fixtures, in what world would a new stadium to match the Emirates' seat-count be a good idea?
|Can we still make disgrace jokes?|
Chelsea won't move if they can't re-acquire the naming rights, although I'd quite enjoy rooting for the London Abramoviches. If I had a choice of team name it would be The Continuing Adventures of David Luiz! though. If we take a break from the amusing back and forth banter2, the conceit that Chelsea won't sell out a bigger stadium because they don't sell out the Bridge is insane. Tickets to see Chelsea play at home are ludicrously expensive because the club spends so much money and don't have enough seats to charge normal people prices, and that makes fans whine about not buying Luka Modric (we got Raul Meireles instead, which is ok I guess) and then complain about ticket prices. If you have 20,000 more seats and can't fill them, lowering the prices compared to Stamford Bridge's means more people coming in and more money anyway. It's not a problem.
Give us back Raul Meireles.
Raul says that between Porto and Chelsea he's got used to playing for bigger clubs, so I think you're out of luck there. Don't worry, though. Jordan Henderson might be anywhere near as good as Phil Jones, but he's totally alright I guess.
Well, he does have better hair than Phil Jones, no matter what else anybody might say about him. But in any case, it's getting to the time when we should both be moving on, so I'd like to thank Graham for taking the time to talk to us about stuff that will probably have nothing to do with the match on Sunday. Be sure to visit him at We Ain't Got No History if you're into charts, graphs, and Chelsea. Or even if you're not. And maybe tell him it's about time SBN sent some of those blogging billions and a mansion or three on the riviera our way.
1I should also point out that the relationship between Terry and Bridge was apparently closer than just teammates—they very good friends, which makes the supposed betrayal even worse.
Wait, a bit of banter gets footnotes now? This is just going to get confusing…
2Yours is amusing, even if mine isn't.
Easy now. Let's leave the mind games to a certain Mister.