Bridge too far

David Stubbs explains exactly how he feels about the west London club

As Chelsea thumped six goals first past West Brom and then, as disappointingly as life itself, did the same to Wigan, hideous memories danced in my mind as the overbearing boys in blue hugged each other wreathed in boorish smiles. Memories of Margaret Thatcher leaning triumphantly out of the window in 1987, of John Selwyn Gummer being congratulated by the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate in 1992, or of David Mellor gurning and grinning like the Squire’s fat son who has just won the garden fête raffle. Every Chelsea victory, I realised, feels like a Tory landslide. Two games in, six points, 12 goals, none conceded. Just rejoice at that news, just rejoice.

I dislike Man Utd, but for all Alex Ferguson’s joyless will to win and whingeing, there is an unwilting momentum about them in full flight that’s hard not to admire. I don’t care for Man City, or the Manchester All Stars as they might as well be known, but they’ve yet to coalesce into any sort of identity, or win enough games, to antagonise the right-thinking.

I really dislike Arsenal but that’s principally down to the pain they put me through as a supporter. As for Liverpool, their righteous sense of entitlement is drooping forlornly away as their fortunes once again ebb. My loathing for Chelsea is unmatched in its ulcerous ferocity.

’Twasn’t always thus. As a boy, I relished the 1970 team spiritedly overturning favourites Leeds Utd in the Cup final replay, plucky panache overcoming clogging domination. I similarly enjoyed the continental flair of the 1990s Chelsea teams that contained Gullit, Vialli, Zola, who brought a pesto-like zest to a pie and mash Premier League. As for the hapless Chelsea in between, of Mickey Droy and Division Two, of racists, Ken Bates and electric fences, one might as well have hated the inmates of Belmarsh prison as hate them.

It’s not even their fans, so much. Granted, you look at the sea of belligerent, Caucasian half-shaven blubber in blue that constitutes much of their following and you retch, but most Chelsea fans I know have the decency to be ashamed of the Abramovich Chelsea.

They have no answer when you ask them to explain by what honest, entrepreneurial means their benefactor, who in 1987 was selling plastic ducks out of a Moscow apartment only to have acquired Sibneft a few short, mysterious years later, came into his vast fortune. They know they are tainted, that each time Chelsea score, a little Siberian orphan sheds a tear.

The managers? Not so bad. Ranieri, nice fellow, Mourinho, a swarthy anti-hero undreamt of by any soap opera, and now Ancelotti, blankly and metronomically gum-chewing yet who nonetheless has instilled some attacking enterprise into the team – although that only twists the knife.

The players? Now we’re really getting warm. There are the bit-parters – Alex, the sort of dull, chubby henchman without whose hulking presence any truly evil enterprise is impossible. Cech, still wearing that ridiculous headjoy as if fancying himself as Mr Prophylactic, the superhero who glows bright orange when danger is at hand. Ashley Cole, so sensitive to the slightest disrespect that you know he must live in a state of perpetual inner laceration, given the depth of his stock. Anelka and Drogba’s abysmal World Cups have exposed their budgie hearts at international level – now, they must take out their humiliation on Premier League ticks, like Flashman bullying first formers.

Really, however, the molten essence of true Chelsea loathsomeness lies in the bulldog duo of Frank Lampard, the increasingly absentee landlord of the midfield, and the increasingly loose cannon that is John Terry. Lampard, who despite his supposed high IQ chooses to be a Tory monarchist, Terry whose upturned chin and perpetually baleful expression makes him look like the sort of aggravating piece of work Dennis Waterman used to beat up on Minder each week so satisfyingly.

In real life, there is no Waterman to give Terry a beating. And so, on they juggernaut unpunished, this disfiguring, blue streak of Cameronite brutal inevitability, hoarding all the points, the players, the goals, while the poor proles whose teams have the misfortune to begin with the letter “W” scramble desperately for crumbs of consolation and survival. But the true consolation is this – that however many goals Chelsea rack up, or trophies or titles they acquire, it’ll be to a universal soundtrack of hissing contempt at their sheer, unmitigated Terryness, their Drogbafication, their Lampardiousness, their Coleitude. And to huge cheers when yet again they fall on their arses in wet grass crashing out of the Champions League.

From WSC 284 October 2010

Comments (1)
Comment by dogbeak 2012-03-22 20:04:04

"gurning and grinning like the Squire’s fat son who has just won the garden fête raffle"

good grief, that is delightful.