Off the pitch at Chelsea

Jamie Rainbow takes a look at the latest football developments on the internet

Ken Bates has made great play of the financial potential of Chelsea Football Club. They may not yet be the Manchester United of the south, but looking at the official club website, it seems only a matter of time before the off-the-field activities match their success on the field. Many of the club’s diverse range of activities are featured. 

For example, before deciding where to have your pre-match pie and chips, you can take a peek at the Chelsea Village’s four restaurants. Personally, I’m attracted to the Kings Brasserie, where the head chef serves up Duck Prosciutto with Endive Salad, Asian Pears, Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts.

While you’re there, you may even bump into one of the club’s celebrity supporters – helpfully listed on the site. Emma Noble, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Johnny Vaughan are just a few of the recent converts who’ve ensured that Stamford Bridge has now replaced the Groucho Club as the place to be seen, if being seen is important to you. Fortunately for them, and any other newcomers to the club, the site contains an invaluable list of Chelsea terrace favourites – music and lyrics included.

Simply download the song and listen to the Chelsea fans in full voice. A word of warning, though, unless you’re the dedicated type, avoid One Man Went To Mow; by the time ten men have gone to mow you’ll have gone to sleep. Jibes aside, it’s an impressive site with a healthy, self-deprecating feel, marred only slightly by the profile of Dennis Wise, described here as “the cheeky chappie who is playing the best football of his career, and has added discipline to go with the improved skill”.

There aren’t many organ­­isations that could lose a chairman, a chief executive plus a national manager within the space of a few weeks and still expect to be taken seriously; the FA are no exception. A fact reflected in the swift appointment of Kevin Keegan and the knee-jerk reaction to the Arsenal v Sheffield United fiasco.

However, such haste is not mirrored in their website, which has currently reached the “under construction” stage. Although for those of you interested in the workings of the game’s governing body, there is a nice three lions crest to stare at.

Less visually pleasing and marginally less interesting is the official Carling Premier site. The messy home page carries enough advertisements to cause envy in the offices of Exchange and Mart, while the content is just dull. Unfortunately, in order to access all areas of the site, the viewer needs to register, a tedious time-consuming process, but in the interests of research I ploughed my way through the registration forms.

Having provided information about my age, occupation, marital status, the team I supported, the number of games I attended, the number of children I’d fathered, how much I earned and how annoying the registration process was (very), I was faced with the line: “You should now be able to access the protected area of the site.”

I tried, only to be confronted with the message: “Your client is not allowed to access the requested object.”If you’re interested in checking out the official Carling site, don’t bother, life’s way too short for this kind of nonsense.

From WSC 146 April 1999. What was happening this month