There’s been a lot of debate on the CFCnet Forums over whether William Gallas should be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge or given a heavy booing (http://forums.cfcnet.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=34210).
Those in the ‘warmly welcomed’ corner, with the sort of deranged smile that Jack Nicholson exhibited in The Shining, state that Gallas formed part of the best defensive partnership ever seen at Stamford Bridge. Because of this, they say, he should be welcomed back like a long lost prodigal son, especially as that defensive partnership with JT helped win us two back-to-back league titles. Let’s show some gratitude they say.
Billy and JT did indeed form an awesome partnership, probably even better than the current one with Riccy, simply because Terry’s lack of pace was covered by Billy’s awesome speed. It was a perfect defensive marriage, which when complemented by Jose’s tactics gave us the best defence in Europe. Nobody could beat us, except for a dodgy goal at Anfield or ten men against Barca. We were unbeatable.
CFCnet has been friends for many years with Newcastle’s fans magazine, The Mag, and we read an interview with Craig Bellamy back in 2005. Within that interview, Bellamy was asked who he felt was the best defender in the Premier League. The answer? “Chelsea’s William Gallas is the best defender by a mile, he’s unbelievably quick and sticks to you like a limpet”. Bellamy thought that Billy was almost unplayable.
So why shouldn’t Billy be warmly applauded back onto the Stamford Bridge turf? Don’t we have any gratitude? Are our memories that short?
Are they heck.
At the end of 2005/2006 Season, Billy Gallas decided that after sweeping up two Premier League trophies, he wanted a new challenge. Enter Arsenal and Arsene Wenger who tapped him up by asking whether he’d like to join Thierry Henry at the all-new Emirates Stadium. Billy, bored with playing out of position at left back and playing second-fiddle on occasions to Riccy and JT, decided that it was time for a move.
That happens. It’s football. It’s not ideal, it hurts the fans, but it’s the way the football world works.
However, and this is the problem, Billy declared that if he didn’t get a move, he’d go on strike. Bleating like a lamb ready to be given the halal treatment, Billy started putting his foot down and in a temper tantrum akin to his recent display at Birmingham City, told the Club that ‘I’m going, and you’re not stopping me’.
That in itself is not that unusual. It’s football, it happens. Players put in transfer requests, they have temper tantrums…..
But, where Billy burnt all his bridges in one sweeping ‘shock & awe’ gesture was when he told Chelsea that if he was made to stay at the Club, he’d promptly score an own goal. WHATTTTTT???? An own goal? Against the very fans who pay him £55k A WEEK?
When Chelsea sent out a press release stating exactly this fact, Billy stayed silent. Our sources at the Club told us unequivocally that Billy had threatened to score an own goal, and said it in front of a dozen witnesses. Because of that, Billy couldn’t sue for defamation. He was caught.
At a CFCnet hangout, the Chelsea Ram in Burnaby Street, I was talking to a mate about Billy. He said, “look, it’s a bit like having a five year marriage with a beautiful woman only for her to turn around one day and say, ‘I’ve had enough, I’m leaving’. That in itself is sad but it’s still possible to split on good terms.”
He continued, “it’s the same situation with Billy except that he basically said that ‘if you don’t divorce me right now I’m going to sleep with your best friend in front of our son’. Basically Billy’s a cnut”.
Who can argue with that? Billy’s burnt all his bridges and deserves everything he’s going to get on Sunday. Not because I don’t appreciate him for what he gave us, it’s just that I’m not partial to seeing someone get £15 million over the course of his Chelsea career only for him to whack me in the face and threaten an own goal whilst under contract. Only an apology in front of the Matthew Harding Stand on one bent knee can spare Gallas an absolute mauling. Forgiveness doesn’t come cheap. Can’t say fairer than that.