What a week it’s been at CFCnet. We could write numerous blog posts covering a multitude of topics but in this post we want to focus on just two.
The first point we’d like to make is how heartened we were when we read the latest issue of cfcuk, the print fanzine sold outside the ground by David Johnstone and cohorts. The fans who write and contribute to this black & white fanzine comprise some of Chelsea’s most loyal supporters and the recent issue goes in-depth over our Champions League exit.
The fanzine’s findings? We were beaten by the better team and we should have no complaints. No gripes, no moaning, no hysterical ‘sack the manager’ rants. Just a balanced view over our shortcomings and a reminder how far the Club has come since the dark days of the ‘80’s when all of us stood together on the Shed watching our beloved team get relegated. When you’ve witnessed something as devastating as relegation, you tend to take games in their stride, particularly when our team is now regularly challenging for European Cups and League titles.
The patience shown by CFCUK and its contributors’ outstanding support for the team has been rewarded by a return visit to Old Trafford. The prize? Top spot and a chance to retain our Premier League trophy. It’s now in Chelsea’s hands, something we thought we’d never be able to say when just a few short months ago even 4th spot looked in jeopardy. It’s the sort of come back not seen since Lazarus poked his head round the kitchen door and asked for a croissant.
The point we want to make is that real fans will keep supporting and encouraging our team, not taking banners to Cobham or booing Mikel when he misplaces a pass. It’s about vocal support, patience and taking moans to the pub after the game, not during it. All CFCnet can say to CFCUK is….’respect’.
The second point discussed during the long afternoon pre-Spurs was the non-advert for football that was Barcelona v Real Madrid (Champions league first leg). To say CFCnet was disappointed would be an understatement and, from our view, it was a shameful exhibition of diving and play-acting. We felt desperately sorry for Jose Mourinho who retains a special place in our hearts and to go down to ten men in that manner was shocking.
CFCnet’s bulletin boards have been busy with post match analysis and the general feeling is that the Champions League perpetually throws up mystifying referee decisions each and every season. Barcelona only appear to beat Chelsea when we’re down to ten men and there are a few teams and managers who could say the same thing (Mourinho, Wenger et al).
What perplexes CFCnet is that when we took a straw poll of readers who can remember a bad Premier League referee decision go against us, no one could remember an incident quickly. When the same question was asked about the Champions League, dozens of controversies came to mind immediately (Ramires penalty anyone?). As a fans group we feel strongly that something needs to be done to retain the integrity of the Champions League because, amongst the fans, doubts are surfacing about the the competition.
The solution? We don’t know, but allowing a team to ‘question’ a key decision via video-replay three times during a game might put a stop to the shenanigans. Three times would be enough to protect a team but not enough to break up play. CFCnet feels it’s something to think about because, as it currently stands, we’re starting to lose faith in the Champions League and so are many of our 90,000 readers.