As the former editor of the Chelsea Fanzine ‘RedCard’, Alan Collis makes the transition from the printed page to website.  

 Tales of the Unaccepted – So called because clubs never liked fanzines. They believed them to be too critical. But we weren’t, they were just a printed a version of the fans views. Good and bad – honest!

Am I Bovvered Tho? Part 2

In part 1, I wrote that players have many similarities to women. You meet; grow to like them, become fond, complacent, and bored, until you finally part.

Supporting Chelsea for so long, I’ve seen countless players sign or come through from the juniors. But in over 40 years of watching, there have only been 4 players that I have ever been upset about, when they left.

The first two were Osgood and Hudson, both juniors and both exceptional players. I remember thinking that we would be nothing without them and was proved right. The following season, Chelsea were relegated and spent 7 of the next 9 seasons in division 2. Osgood and Hudson were virtually ignored by the England manger. Alf Ramsey didn’t approve of their behaviour on and off the pitch. 4 caps for Osgood and 2 for Hudson was a disgrace.

Towards the end of their Chelsea careers, a growing midfield player named Ray Wilkins, made two substitute appearances. After their departure he played 4 full games.

By the end of the 74-75 season, Wilkins was captain aged 18! McCreadie’s young side spent their first season in Division two quickly maturing. The following year they won promotion as runners up.

A contract dispute saw McCreadie leave and two seasons later Chelsea were back in Division 2. Even the return of Osgood couldn’t prevent it.

Before that season began, Wilkins was sold to Manchester United. The club blamed its financial situation forcing the sale. Under Geoff Hurst we missed an immediate return in the final game. Sunderland beating a hung-over West Ham on the Monday following West Ham’s FA Cup victory. In 1981 Chelsea failed to score in our final 11 games! And in 1983 only a win at Bolton with 3 games remaining kept us up at the expense of Bolton who dropped to division 3.

In the summer, a mass clear out of players with 8 new signings saw Chelsea win promotion as Champions. Alan Hudson returned to Chelsea but never made the first team and moved to Stoke again. Also joining was Kerry Dixon from Reading. 34 goals in his first season, and 36 the following year. Chelsea had a new hero, our new number 9.

Those four remain the only 4 players I’ve ever been bovvered when they left. I’ve been fond of many others but never upset to see them go.

Rory Keane said players aren’t people, they are positions. As soon as a manager becomes attached to players he starts picking them out of sentiment rather than ability. The new season will see new players and former favourites playing everywhere.

As good as most of ours are, I wouldn’t be bovvered if any of them left. I trust the club and the manager to do what’s best.

And as I click through the photos on Facebook, deleting them as I go. Another relationship over, I ask myself, am I bovvered?

Yes and no but not as much as when Osgood left. That did break my heart.