Stamford Bridge hosted title pretenders Arsenal on Sunday. The Blues fans helped back the team in our bid to regain top spot, as well as show our unwavered support for our club captain. Terry played his first home game since hitting the front page headlines, our fans stepped it up and as many newspapers acknowledged, if anything the events of the last fortnight have strengthened the relationship held between JT and our fans. Our following were magnificent against Burnley, the support for Terry that day was absolutely outstanding and again versus Hull, we showed him that we’re all 100% behind him.
Hull came up with some good songs in midweek, and I remarked to a mate before the game that I’m glad it’s Arsenal we’re playing, because I don’t think their fans have the capacity to come up with anything funny. I didn’t anticipate the inverse of this happening though. Something unbelievable happened not long before the end of the first half, Terry had just clashed with Fabregas, flooring the Spaniard in the process. Whilst we sung for our skipper, Arsenal fans soon came up with something that highlighted the stupidity of their fans. If ever there was a time to demonstrate a lack of awareness and to highlight ignorance, I thought it was them singing ‘Liverpool’ repeatedly when they played at home against us in the 1-1 draw in May 2007, because the scousers got to the CL Final at our expense. Forget for a second that they were singing about another Premiership team, that’d be a CL final that Arsenal weren’t even in themselves, having got knocked out at home in the last 16 to an Alex header for PSV.
They almost matched this level of stupidity last season. We played them the weekend after the Barca debacle and they sung to us ‘One nil and you fudged it up’, forgetting that they also didn’t get to the final, and more embarrassingly both in their midweek CL game and on that Sunday afternoon they all left on the hour mark (ironically our reply to their earlier taunts was ‘three nil and you all went home’ and little did we know that it was going to be proven in a little bit). People in glass stadiums and all that…
But this was even worse, it’s not often we have even one example of the opposition fans singing a song that embarrasses themselves, but Arsenal fans managed to do something that the woodwork stopped Didier doing on Sunday, they completed the hat-trick, and this one managed to trump their previous efforts. Having run out of elementary songs about John Terry, they started to sing ‘There’s only one Wayne Bridge’! You simply cannot write this stuff!
There is no namesake, they were paying homage to the same Lee Evans lookalike that set us out of control and sent Arsenal out the Champions League whilst playing for Chelsea. The very same Wayne Bridge that we sing two different songs about scoring said goal against them.
They say these days that nothing surprises you in football, but I have to admit that this moronic display did. The reply was simple, fairly quiet, and fairly quick, singing the Bridge song quickly to remind them of who he is. I still can’t comprehend it, Wayne Bridge didn’t knob Terry’s missus or get one over him, Wayne Bridge is a victim who hasn’t contributed to Terry’s downfall, he is a passenger in all this.
Such was the predictability of their fans, members of our forum mentioned prior to the game that they’d chant ‘You’re not captain anymore’ to the Chelsea skipper. It sounds eerily similar to when we played Arsenal and taunted William Gallas for the same reason, with the same song. Except Gallas really wasn’t a captain anywhere anymore, and worse for him it was for footballing reasons, the one thing the club employ him for.
Personally I thought our support was fantastic, ten minutes before kick off, choruses of John Terry’s name already began. Neil Barnett was stirring up trouble too, before announcing the teamsheets he mentioned that only one of the two teams playing could go to the top of the league with a win. This lead to the Arsenal fans chanting ‘Wenger’ or something similar sounding at him.
Once the players were out on the pitch, there was only ever going to be one player the fans would pay tribute to first. Terry inevitably acknowledged us, as did Frank and Didier when their names resounded around the stadium. There was also a chant of There’s Only One John Terry to demonstrate the extra support we had for him, with some of the MHL also singing there’s only one England captain.
The match kicked off and both sets of fans were up for it, Arsenal fans went through the entire Arsenal song book, Super Arsenal, Arse-enal, Arse-enal, yeah, we heard them both.
Drogba took just seven minutes to find the net courtesy of a Malouda corner. Whereas when we go a goal down (It does happen occasionally), there’s always a vociferous rendition of Carefree bellowed out by our fans, as we sung for the Ivorian you could see the Arsenal section sitting there in inevitable silence.
Our fans continued to be in fine voice from here onwards, but in a brief spell where our fans had quietened down a bit before the second goal, with Arsenal having not been singing at all since before the first goal, they oddly mustered up a chorus of a slightly more colourfully worded version of you’re support is not very good.
A counter attack saw Drogba latch onto a Lampard pass, the Ivorian chose not to go for a right footer first time from the edge of the box, instead he brought the ball forward, cut inside Clichy, past Vermaelin and rifled a shot on his weaker foot past Almunia.
This lead to us taunting them with chants of ‘One more, and you’ll all go home’. They continued their silent protest. To the same tune there were chants of ‘Five Years, and you’ve won f*ck all’ throughout the match.
During the second half there was a scuffle in the Arsenal section in which a host of stewards and police steamed in to remove some of their fans. Then an odd moment came from within the offending section, I’m not sure the internet equivalent of saying something through gritted teeth, but whatever it is needs to be applied to the next sentence. One of the Arsenal fans brought a bloody flare into the match, and managed to have it lit for what seemed like well over a minute, as the fans around it bounced about singing, the police got nowhere near them for ages. It looked superb. Eventually it was confiscated, and I don’t see the instigator being too disappointed when he gets his inevitable three year plus ban for the offence. For Arsenal are not Chelsea, he doesn’t look to be in danger of missing any famous ‘I was there’ moments in the coming years, merely some infamous ones.
As the referee Mike Dean finally called time on the game after playing well over the five added minutes, we had regained our spot at the top of the summit. The DJ kicked in with One Step Beyond, something he never got to do against any of the ‘Big Four’ last season.
So hopefully that drew a close to hearing the empty buoyant and smug boasts from their fans. Every August we here that it’s their season, we all watch them get off to a fairly decent start, and everyone talks about how they’ll falter in the new year and laugh off their title challenge. You remind yourselves that they’ve not even come runners up in five years, that three of the last four years they’ve finished fourth. But they’re still optimistic, almost oblivious to the familiar sequence that emerges. No one moreso then their manager.
Terry applauded all the stands, running over to the Matthew Harding end, kissing his shirt and thumping his chest, he threw his shirt and armband into a section next to the goal as a thanks for all the support he’d received from us. As one of the papers reported, his wife and kids may be escaping much of the media by jetting off to Dubai, but his Chelsea family is certainly going nowhere.