I was beginning to wonder if there was any point trying to go for a light-hearted and reasonably objective view of what’s happening at Stamford Bridge. As a general rule, no matter what the content of the article, ‘Big Four’ blogs get a large number of comments from fans of other ‘Big Four’ teams. The chance to soapbox, all sense of grammar and spelling thrown to the wind, is clearly too much of a temptation. It therefore probably makes sense to post something really nasty, dark and Machiavellian so you fellas can really stick the boot in. Don’t hold back. It’s probably therapeutic.
The single most worrying thing about the recent decline of the team’s fortunes has been the cohesion of the team. On a previous Chelsea post, someone left a comment in which they suggested that a team ethic – a group dynamic, as a business consultant might put it – was essential to success, and that Chelsea’s short-termism was responsible for that lack of ethos and spirit.
Er… exsqueeze me? Lack of team ethic? This is the team that won consecutive titles off the back of a management blueprint for togetherness. United may be grinding out the close games now, but the relentless charge of Chelsea’s 2005 League title was built on virtual impregnability. Athleticism obviously, but the mental toughness and the confidence that Mourinho engendered – keep going, keep doing what I tell you, and we’ll win – is probably unmatched in recent memory. 97 points tells its own story.
Anyway, that’s clearly a distant memory. The captain spilled the beans yesterday in one of the oddest statements I’ve ever heard a club captain make.
“He had my support that’s for sure, and two or three other players will say exactly the same thing, I’m sure.”
Let’s just say that again, shall we? Two or three other players, out of a squad of 26, supported the manager. If this was a political party, you’d be out of the Commons and onto the board of an armaments company before your red box hit the floor.
So who are the fiends in human shape plotting the downfall of the Chelsea project? A quick hunt online reveals 3 names. Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Per Cech: the Mammon, Belial and Moloch of SW6. And yes, you did read that right. One of those names was Petr Cech.
Say it ain’t so, Petr. After all, the other two practically have ‘trouble’ written all over them. Of Drogba so much has been written, both in vilification and in his defence, that I can hardly bring myself to regurgitate it all here. Suffice is to say that for many, he’s one of the archetypes of what’s wrong with 21st century football. As for Ballack, there’s absolutely something of l’étranger about him. I can’t imagine him joining in with team-building Playstation sessions or, indeed, taking kindly to an amusing snowball in the mush.
But Petr Cech? Surely not. He’s the nice quiet lad at the back, no? Smiles a lot. Softly-spoken. I haven’t met the chap myself, but a friend of CFCnet managed to get an interview with him a couple of years ago and couldn’t say enough nice things about him. The giant Czech as co-conspirator? I just can’t see it. Maybe he’s been corrupted. Maybe he was feeling down – scratch on the alloys of his new Range Rover Sport, or something – and Ballack’s intrigues ensnared him while his guard was down. A bit like Johnny Ola and Fredo Corleone, but with shin-pads. My advice to you, Petr, is to avoid rowing boats for the foreseeable future.