If there is one thing hotter than the breath of Roman Abramovich down Carlo’s neck, it is the reception Drogba will receive when he’s next at Stamford Bridge. As if being allowed onto the pitch early to soak up the home fans acclaim wasn’t enough, at the end of the match he threw his Chelsea kit to the same fans in the Curve Sud. He didn’t even raise a hand to the Chelsea end (unless we missed it), despite spending six years with us in contrast to his solitary 2003/04 season in Marseille.
It was a disappointing end to another poor performance which can be best summed up in a single word: merde. The only highlights of a bad night were Terry’s towering defensive performance and Josh McEachran’s imperious midfield display. For a 17 year old to be Chelsea’s best player is either a testament to our youth development or a damning indictment of the form of the rest of the team. It’s probably the latter with Essien, Ramires, Ferreira, Kalou and Drogba having the sort of game they’d best forget quickly.
Whilst the mood amongst the older fans is relaxed – if you were there in the 80’s then our current form is nothing new – there is a growing feeling that Ancelotti needs to rebuild confidence quickly if we are to save our season. It’s also obvious that more reinforcements are needed in January with a few players simultaneously being asked to sling their hook – Kalou being a notable example. As one wag pointed out, “if Kalou was any softer they’d have to keep him in a fridge”.
The shit game aside, the Marseille trip has been a good craic. With most of Europe suffering the sort of weather Siberia would be proud of, Marseille is as toasty as a balmy spring day in Egypt. With the old port littered with slumped Chelsea fans drinking triple espressos on café terraces, the warm weather has been a welcome relief and put everyone in a good mood.
CFCnet decided to take the Eurostar all the way to France’s largest urban conurbation in a bid to keep Ms Austerity at bay. We thought we’d be in a minority of one but there were plenty of Chelsea on the train, exemplified by the bar running dry shortly outside Paris. As luck would have it we ended up in the same carriage as the Chelsea Supporters Group and we spent a lot of the trip swapping notes about our season so far and the various gripes we had with the Club.
One thing we both agreed on is the shocking, despotic attitude of the Chelsea ticket office. Taking a leaf out of Stalin’s manual of customer service, the only word that the ticket office knows is ‘no’. With Arsenal letting their fans even buy European tickets from one another, Chelsea’s policy is so rigid more than a few fans have had to travel without tickets simply because of the absurd attitude of the ticket office. Apparently, the next step in Chelsea’s drive towards customer service is a free strip search at Calais. What a load of bollocks.
The various fortunes of the different supporters groups could be seen by our choice of accommodation. CFCUK were nicely ensconced in an apartement in the chic new port whilst CSG were nicely resting in a four star hotel in the Vieux Port. CFCnet on the other hand were left in a one star hotel in a tenement building in some god forsaken area. AS CSG said when their taxi dropped us off, “it’s like Beirut mate”. Mildly accurate perhaps but after three days here we tend to think of it as more like a scene from ‘Black Hawk Down’.