CFCnet always feels it’s better to wait a day before analysing a knock-out defeat by a Champions League rival. Otherwise, riding high with emotion, we often say things we regret. Representing the views of our website readers is also something we have to keep in mind as without them we wouldn’t be here penning these notes.
Having said that, and with immediate reactions carefully consigned to the World’s End Estate trash bin, we want it on record that we remain steadfastly behind both our manager and team. Yes, there are disagreements within the CFCnet crew and both The Anglesea Arms and Kings Arms’ pubs saw some heated debate this week. We’d be lying if we said some of our members didn’t want to see wholesale changes from the management down.
But, as a fans group, we have to ask what would wholesale changes achieve? Football is one of the few sports where knee-jerk reactions often result in the very opposite of what they are intended to do. With decades of standing (and sitting) on the terraces behind us, all we’ve known is loyalty and patience – 26 years of it by the time our 1997 FA Cup victory arrived.
People might disagree but wasn’t it less than seven years ago that our then manager, Claudio Ranieri, left Stamford Bridge with a standing ovation and a players’ guard of honour after four trophy-less seasons and the biggest Champions League capitulation of all time in Monaco? If we can show that level of appreciation to Ranieri, how anybody can call for Carlo to go after winning the Double last year is beyond us. CFCnet will always support the manager and, in this instance, particularly so.
In saying that, there is no question that we are now witnessing the final dying embers of Jose Mourinho’s great team. At the very elite level of sport small details make a big difference and even a wafer-thin drop in performance levels can drop a team down a whole level or two. From being regular Champions League semi-finalists we’re now struggling to even reach and come through the quarter final stages. That’s a decline, pure and simple.
Given this article was written for the official Club website it doesn’t feel right for us to mercilessly pick out players and tell them they’re not wanted, neither would the Club let us for obvious reasons. It’s also a delicate situation when any player who has given and contributed so much starts to drop a notch in performance terms – at what point do you say “enough’s enough, now sling your hook”?
For the above reason we’d recommend that any readers who’ve managed to endure the last 400 words take a short hyper-link to The Evening Standard’s analysis of our current team. We’re not fans of The Evening Standard at CFCnet, we’ve had some run-ins with them over the years, but the article in question is an excellent analysis of our current squad and, to be blunt, is almost a carbon copy of what we’d write. Whilst we don’t want to embarrass the reporter in question, we do know he is a season ticket holder in the MHL so we’d vouch for the fact that ‘he knows his Chelsea’.
It feels odd to finish off this piece with little optimism over our near future, but try as we might we’re a little deflated. Perhaps the only bright note we can think of is that since 1966 our record at Old Trafford is 14 wins as against United’s 13 (and 16 draws). We’re still better than them, even on their own patch. That’ll do.