For younger fans, and we mean any fan who started following the Blues post 1994, our current form is a cause for serious alarm. One look at the CFCnet Forum shows thread after thread of fans poring over our on-field troubles in the hope for a quick solution, all the more so after the deep disappointment against Villa.
Their concern is not unfounded. Our form has taken a swallow dive off an Acapulco cliff and rather than hit open water has crashed onto the rocks below. Poor displays, individual mistakes, collective weakness and more than a few injuries have combined to see us even sit outside the Top 4. Yes, it’s serious alright.
But wait a minute. For older fans, schooled in the old days of relegation, Division Two nail-biters and the odd thrashing or two, our current form is nothing to be too concerned about. That might sound idiotic, but look, for many older fans our average form season after season was one win in three. The other two results would be one draw and one defeat.
The ‘one win in three’ rule was all we could expect year after year, in fact if we gave a good account of ourselves and ended the season mid table we’d have all settled for that – and we did. One of CFCnet’s top guest writers, Tony Glover of Chelseafcblog.com, sums it up perfectly when he says:
“mature fans will take solace from recent success, nostalgically recalling far worse times than November/December 2010 whose results would have been enough to summon up street parties and bunting bedecked houses in SW6 during the more desperate times in the 70’s and 80’s.”
Rather than panic and set about blaming all and sundry, Tony makes a strong case for the need for team re-building in a new financial framework. In a drive to create a sustainable future, the task is one of developing a strong youth product alongside a few judiciously bought world-class players.
To do this, however, will take patience and there will be more than a few bumps in the road. We’re not talking about six years of patience that the Goons up the road have had to endure, but we’re talking patience nonetheless. In today’s ‘instant gratification’ culture that’s not something that’s easily achieved.
The bottom line is that the current team is still essentially built on the foundations of Jose Mourinho. Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba were the spine that saw us win the league five years ago. Now that spine is ageing there doesn’t seem to be anything worthy to replace it. But replace it we must.
Perhaps I’ll leave it to Tony Glover to sum it up:
“Yes, this policy (of nurturing young players) does smell a little of Wengerism. It also means that the new generation of Chelsea fans is going to have to get real when it comes to current continuously heightened expectations…..But for now, it’s about getting the seeds sown for a self sufficient future without the paucity of success seen in the red part of North London.”