CFCnet is not in a good mood – it’s been a bad seven days with the shabby ticket office high on our list of gripes.It all started with the astonishing decision by FIFA to ban Chelsea from registering any new players (bought or loaned) for the next two transfer windows. As things stand, we won’t be seeing any new players at our Club until 2011.

With an ageing squad and the risk of injury ever present for all our players, Chelsea could actually lose squad members yet not be allowed to replace them! CFCnet has covered the issue in great detail and our latest article on the topic can be read here.

All we would add is that the timing of FIFA’s decision, coming a few days after the latest transfer window, could at best be described as unfortunate and at worst malicious.

If our mood was already dark, it took a turn for the worse last Friday as CFCnet queued for FC Porto tickets at Stamford Bridge ticket office. A bitterly cold morning, many of the waiting fans were caught out by the sharp wind that whistled around the shed wall and embedded itself into our limbs like a thousand miniature shards of glass.

It was a surprise therefore, as we huddled closer together for warmth, that the ticket office had only one selling window open and in a scene reminiscent of a lazy branch of HSBC, had seven windows shut. Eh?

With nothing else to do except freeze, CFCnet calculated that if one more ticket window had been open our wait would have been cut by fifteen minutes. Multiply that by the dozens of fans waiting and we estimate that for every window open, ten hours of fans waiting time would be saved.

The icing on what was a rather distasteful cake – customer care in reverse if you will – was the sight of the Stamford Bridge ticket office enjoying piping hot mugs of hot chocolate whilst enjoying cosy bonhomie as we stood silently shivering.

Whilst CFCnet was pleased to see staff morale so high, and the hot chocolate did smell delicious, we were rather less happy to queue for half an hour in a biting wind. If this is a vision of a winter to come, we’ll come armed next time with a thermal wrap and a flask of hot chocolate. We would though humbly ask the ticket office to mail us their winning hot chocolate recipe to hotchocolate@cfcnet.co.uk. Thanks Eddie B, you know it makes sense.
To try and rescue a rather disastrous week, we then decided to lift our mood by choosing one of the plum Champions League away ties to watch. Always up for a bit of culture and visiting foreign lands with our blue flag, we opted for a trip to Porto to take in a few Douro vineyards, baccalau salted cod and a Chelsea win.

With flights to Porto priced at £130 return, the smiles soon returned to our faces only to be wiped off by the requirement, at the end of the booking process, for our passport numbers. Working from a remote terminal, we didn’t have our passport numbers with us and by the time we retrieved them the flights had doubled in price. Damn.

Why the UK government requires passport numbers for online flight purchases is beyond us. After all, you have to show your passport three times at Heathrow and once in Porto. How typing it again online helps national security is perhaps best left for MI5 but it still cost us £100 extra.

How CFCnet, like all other Blues’ fans, can be considered a terrorist threat is a mystery. Still, with one per cent of our site viewings coming from the US military, either we are being carefully studied as a dangerous and subversive website or else thousands of US troops are laying down their weapons and visiting CFCnet instead! Maybe we’ll change our strapline: “CFCnet, doing its bit for world peace.”

Overall, not our best week.