GO BY TRAIN… GO BY CAR…
There are plenty of Chelsea chants that fill me with mirth. The contemporary lyrical reworking of the Only Fools and Horses theme tune, ‘He stuck a Veron in his pocket, he nicked Glen Johnson from West Ham, cos if you want the best uns and you don’t ask questions then Roman he’s your man. Where the money comes from is a mystery, is it from the drugs or the oil industry? So come on Chelsea chuck some celery, cos we are the famous CFC … tra la la la la la’ still brings a watery tear to my eye. As does an entertainingly obscure play on the fabulous Clash track Rock the Casbah which surfaced for a couple of months during the Special One’s managerial tenure at Stamford Bridge. The original chorus of the shareef don’t like it … rockin’ the Casbah, rock the Casbah riotously became Mourinho don’t like em … F*ck the Arsenal, F*ck the Arsenal! Quality!
There are plenty more, and everyone reading this article will have their own personal favourites. Those who follow Chelsea over land and sea will regale you with tales of how all the old chants get a decent airing on European away trips. There is much fun to be had watching the quizzical expressions on the bemused faces of the local townsfolk of whichever town or city my Gate 17 posse pitches up in as we invariably end up regaling their delicate continental ears with a stirring rendition of the all time classic Go by train, Go by car … go and laugh at QPR … Q P R ha ha ha ha ha. Poetic genius or what?
And so after more than a decade of waiting (by R’s fans it has to be said, rather than Blues supporters) the opportunity will come to direct the Go by train chant at the 6000 visitors from Loftus Road who will congregate in the Shed on Saturday 5th January having prayed for an unlikely miracle which might see Luigi Di Canio’s men surprise the FA Cup holders. The last time QPR played Chelsea at the Bridge was in a Premier League fixture back in March 1996 when a crowd of 25,590 saw John Spencer score for the Blues in a dour 1-1 draw. A couple of months earlier Gavin Peacock and Paul Furlong had put paid to the R’s FA Cup hopes scoring in a 2-1 4rth Round victory at Loftus Road. The season ended with QPR being relegated from the top-flight of English football whilst the Blues fought their way to the FA Cup semi-final and a mid-table league placing.
The marked contrast in the fortunes of both clubs in the intervening years has been well documented. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has seen his huge investment in the Club pay dividends whilst long suffering Rangers followers will be hoping that the recent takeover of QPR by Formula 1 magnates Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore coupled with billionaire steel baron Lakshmi Mittal’s heavyweight 20% stake ‘buy in’ will herald a new dawn of success for their team. At the time of writing this article it appears however that R’s fans are still living in murky darkness with QPR currently loitering at the wrong end of the Championship.
It wasn’t always doom and gloom for the team my old man laughingly used to refer to as Quarter Pound of Rubbish. Blues fans of a certain age will recall the tail end of March 1986, ‘Black Easter’ as it became referred to in later years. The weekend preceding ‘Black Easter’ Chelsea had played matches on both Saturday and Sunday. A 1-0 away victory over Southampton at the Dell had re-established the Blues credentials as First Division title contenders on the Saturday and the following afternoon Colin Pates, who’d capped a superb display against the Saints with a rare goal, marched up the old Wembley steps to lift the Full Members Cup aloft after Chelsea had triumphed 5-4 over Manchester City in what remains to this day one of the most remarkable games of football I have ever witnessed.
The euphoria of victory lasted less than a week. On Easter Saturday, West Ham visited Stamford Bridge and trounced Chelsea 4-0. On Bank Holiday Monday, the Blues made the short trip to Loftus Road … or was it the local branch of Sketchleys? Chelsea were taken to the cleaners. The 6-0 massacre which ensued was made even worse by the indigestion I’d suffered during the second-half of the game after an over zealous member of the local plod had given me no option but to eat the seven stalks of celery I’d endeavoured to enter the ground with. ‘You’re not coming in here and tickling anyone’s bum with that stuff sonny,’ he’d said priggishly. ‘Drop it on the floor and I’ll nick you for littering,’ he’d continued, a smug grin forming on his porcine face. ‘Fair enough,’ I’d replied, weighing up my limited options. ‘I don’t suppose you’ve got any salad cream on you officer have you?’ Hurriedly I’d chomped my way through the lot, a feat which drew gasps of amazement and a loud cheer from the Blues fans in my company at the turnstiles. You’d have done the same now, wouldn’t you? Anything to see the Chels! But 6-0, that really was painful.
QPR were a complete nightmare for Chelsea that season. Having already dumped the Blues out of the Milk Cup at the Bridge back in January, Chelsea custodian Eddie Niedzwiecki damaged his knee ligaments in the reverse league game with the R’s which not only kept him out of side at a crucial time but subsequently brought his playing career to an untimely end.
‘Black Easter’ is one of the first things that springs to my mind when we Chelsea fans endure the tiresome taunts of where were you when you were sh*t? I’m sure our super hooper friends from down the road will treat us to more than a couple of choruses of this unimaginative dirge before they are finally silenced by an Andriy Schevchenko hat-trick. I was there when we were sh*t, which is why I’ll be singing go by train … go by car with some gusto as the Blues go marching on on on.
See you at the game!
Mark Worrall is the author of cult terrace classics Over Land and Sea and Blue Murder … Chelsea till I die. His new book One Man Went to Mow is published on January 15. For further information and the opportunity to purchase copies of Mark’s books, signed if you wish, with free UK postage please visit http://www.overlandandsea.net/