Monday, 24 December 2007
A tough away trip to Blackburn on a freezing Sundy afternoon but we're back to winning ways in the league with Joe Cole finishing off a sweeping counter attack in the first-half to settle what always looked like a trickey fixture. Blackburn pressed hard for an equaliser but only really looked threatening once Cech was subsititued with a hip injury to be replaced by the cross-flapping Hilario. He did however pull off a superb save late on to deny Roque Santa Cruz and keep Chelsea in touch with the Arse and Mancs.
Chelsea 4 - 4 Aston Villa 26/12
An 8 goal thriller for the neutral but 2 home points dropped if you're a blues fan (even though its now 72 games unbeaten at home). In a woeful first half, where the Sheva / Pizzaro partnership was as ineffective as the Cole and Kalou wing play, Chelsea were already 2 down when Ballack (on for the injured Lampard) was pushed in the area in the 44th minute. Zat Knight was sent off and Sheva buried the resulting penalty giving hope for a better second half
Within 15mins of the second half it was 3-2 after a Sheva pile driver and a sweet finish from Alex (Sheva was having his best game - OK his best 20mins - to date) . But the drama was just beginning. Rickey C is rightly sent off for a 2 footed lunge on Agbonlahore and Villa came back into the game to score from a whipped in kree kick whilst our defence had a boxing day snooze - but there was evem more to come. On 88mins Joe Cole was felled in the "D" and Ballack curled in a low free kick for 4-3. Surely it was 3 points now but no - in the 91st minute a floated ball into the box once again caused panic in our makeshift defence and Ashley Cole was adjudged to have handled when heading off the line. He is sent off and, even though the replays are far from conclusive, that'll surely be a one match ban. Garreth Barry nets the resulting penalty and its 4-4.
More pantomime than football match and now the issue will be, with 9 first team players injured or suspended, who will AG put out on Saturday against Newcastle.
Chelsea - Newcastle 29/12
That we can put a reasonable(ish) side out at all is amazing with no Cech (or Carlo), Ash, JT, Carvalio, Maka, Lamps, Malouda, Sheva or Drogba. So its Hilario in goal - a back 4 of Belletti, Ben Haim, Alex and Bridge - Ess, Ballack (capt) and Jedi in the middle - with Kalou, Cole and SWP up front. So its no surprise that Newcastle come out all guns blazing, looking for an early break. The home fans sing "stand up if you're not in jail" for the banged up Joey Barton and the Blues look to have weathered the early storm.
The first good chance of the half falls to Kalou on 18mins after a mazey run from SWP but its well saved by Given, and 2 mins later Jedi has a deflected shot equally well saved. Its all Chelsea now and Alex has a header from a Joe Cole free kick saved but a minute later we're ahead after Essien pounces on a loose ball in the Newcastle box. The lead should have been doubled on 44mins when a whipped cross from Cole is headed into the side netting by SWP but the half ends 1-0.
The 2nd half starts with Butt almost putting through his own net from outside the box but he makes amends within 10mins by bundling in an N'zogbia cross. Chelsea have a chance immediately to restore the lead but Kalou heads tamely at Given and Newcastle press again - its all got a bit frantic. Strangely, and to a chorus of boos, Pizarro comes on for Joe Cole on 65mins - Kalou goes out wide. But Newcastle are back in this game and we're struggling. Duff almost makes it two as first Rozenhal and the Owen comes on for Smith and Martins. There's only one side that look like wining this .... and its not us. Now AG really has us confused as he takes off Ballack and brings on Scott Scinclair. Sections of the the crowd chant "you don't know what you're doing" and they may be right. However with 2mins to go, a shot from Jedi is deflected by Pizarro into the path of Kalou who slots the ball home (... though he looks well offside in replay). Sidwell comes on for SWP as there's 4 added minutes but its not enough for Newcastle and the Blues scrape home to the news that Man U have lost to West Ham - Game On !!.
Friday, 21 December 2007
Thursday, 20 December 2007
Goals from Lamps and Sheva sealed a good win against the Scousers and passage into the Semi finals to play Everton - but the match will be mostly remembered for an absolute horror tackle from Peter crouch on the Jedi for which he was rightly shown a straight red. A two footed, off the ground, studs showing lunge that would not have bee out of place in a kung fu movie or Eric Cantona video. That Rafa Benitez could come on TV and claim that he thought Crouch had been provoked and that worse challenges go unpunished is as laughable as it is disgraceful. You can be sure that if it would have been the other way round, jedi wold have been vilified in the press for weeks to come.
Liverpool never looked threatening and in reality it was heading for a pretty comfortable 1-0 win for the Blues even before the sending off. Sheva sealed the tie with a late strike from acute angle after a pass by substitute Michael Ballack playing his first game for over 6months.
Monday, 17 December 2007
Though the Gooners will never admit it, a draw would have been a more realistic result given the manner of their goal - a rare howler from Cech to let in William Gallas to head home unchallenged from a 47th minute corner - and the golden opportunity that SWP missed to equalise from six yards. Almunia also saved well from Lamps in the first half and pushed over a Sheva free-kick in injury time. Arsenal did have the ball in our net twice more but both were ruled out for offside and fouls respectively.
Six point off the leaders now and a disappointing day all round - lets hope JT's injury isn't as bad as it looked.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
Still, group winners at a canter .....and we weren't expecting that when JM left after Rosenborg.
Sunday, 9 December 2007
Its a very young Gary playing with Colosseum II (with Don Airey on Keyboards, Jon Heisman on drums and John Mole on Bass). This was where I first heard/discovered Gary Moore and the video is from a BBC "sight & sound in concert" broadcast. Its incredibly self indulgent jazz rock from the seventies - who ever gave Gary that stage gear should be shot - but his playing is a taster of what was to come.
Saturday, 8 December 2007
The opening 10mins is a relentless blue onslaught with 5 corners and Kalou hitting the crossbar. Both Sheva (coming too deep) and SWP (getting caught in possession) look out of sorts but its Sheva who settles first when on 20mins he gets on the end of a floated Kalou cross to head the blues ahead. Its 32mins before Carlo has to make a save and it comes from a scuffed Kenwyne Jones (their only real threat) shot. The half ends 1-0 and its almost too easy.
Second half begins with no changes, the continuing Blue torrent is matched by the now torrential rain. Its coming up to the hour and Sunderland are getting back into this game - loads of Blue possession but no cutting edge and the visitors are growing in confidence. Pizzaro comes on for Kalou on 66mins and that signals a change to 4-4-2 but Sheva's a passenger now and his touch is getting worse. SWP is still not doing enough in middfiled and keeps loosing the ball in dangerous midfiled possitions. We're gonna struggle without Drogs, maybe buying Anelka in the window is not such a daft idea.
On 73mins, and from a whipped in Lampard free kick, Alex is pulled back by Higginbotham and Lamps buries the resulting penalty 2- 0 and its all over now. Joe Cole goes off on 85mins to be replaced by Sidwell and its back to 4-3-3 with Pizarro on his own with Sheva and SWP on the left and right..... and that's how it finishes (despite Lamps hitting the post from a last minute drive).
Another home win, the unbeaten streak continues and no doubt we'll see a few kids (and maybe even Ballack) against Valencia on Tuesday night.
Come on u Blues.
Monday, 3 December 2007
A superb away win and qualification as group winners, with Drogba effectivly killing the tie in the first 20mins with two superb goals. It was an hour before Rosenburg even got into the game and by then it was all over. Alex and Joe Cole chipped in with the other goals.
Chelsea 1 - 0 West Ham
a tough old London dery - a scrappy and bad tempered first half gave way to a much better and more fluid second half performance from the Mighty Blues and was ultimately settled by an excellent Joe Cole goal from a Drogba flick.
Not a classic by any stretch but 70 games unbeaten at home
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Very sluggish start and nothing much happening until 17mins when a beautiful end to end move is finished off with Sidwell sliding in Kalou for one nil. Plenty of movement between SWP and Kalou and on 29mins SWP skins Griffin and snakes into the box but fires straight at the keeper.
The boos ring out anytime JT, Lamps, SWP or Ash touch the ball and frankly, even though we're all pi**'d by the England result earlier in the week, this is a bit pathetic - Derby are sitting deep, hoping to avoid a drubbing and that's just making their supporters even more restless. They're nearly punished on 38mins when a cross from SWP is headed straight back to Kalou by Derby's Claude Davis but Kalou skys it high over the bar from 10 yards out when it would have been easier to score. That's the end of a scrappy firts half and it really should all be over by now - let's hope this is not another Everton.
No changes for the mighty Blues in the second half but its Derby who start the brighter with a good chance for Fagan after just 5mins. Suddenly the Derby fans are singing rather than booing and Chelsea are rocking a little. On 64mins, JT gets caught napping and Kenny Miller loops the ball over Carlo but its (wrongly) ruled offise - we're extremely lucky to get away with that one and need to get a grip !! With 20mins to go it looks like the grip's gonna be coming from Essien, but Sheva goes down heavily (yes he is still playing - though you might not have noticed) so the change is delayed. In the intervening 5mins, Sheva chases back, wins a dodgy tackle and then releases Lamps who takes an age to get a shot away which hits the post only for SWP to slot in the rebound.... and now Essien comes on for Sidwell for the last 15mins.
Lamps comes off (for Pizarro on 89mins to predictable boos from the Derby fans only to be replaced with a loud chorus of "super frank" from the travelling Blues fans. But there's a final twist as Essien gets a straight red in the 92nd minute as he fended off Kenny Miller while attempting to shield the ball by the touchline. Its a sour end to an otherwise workmanlike away win.
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Monday, 12 November 2007
Firstly, whilst there seems to be a fair level of activity and some well intentioned chest beating and lobbying, there is a distinct lack of agreed process and structure to many initiatives - which is surprising from IT folks. If there is one thing we're supposedly good at, it’s all the 'metrics, process and standards' stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not diminishing the commitment or intent, but from what I saw, there seems to be only aspiration targets being set and no common method for measuring or comparing progress.
As you would expect, the most successful initiatives have a positive business case but most of these reached their tipping point as a result of the available subsidies and not from an underlying commercial commitment.
Secondly, and perhaps more worrying, is the spin around the IT industry about being "seen to be green", which extends to the shameless re-branding of existing solutions as "Green technologies". The most blatant is the current spin around virtualization. This is great technology, be it VMware, Solaris Containers, SWsofts cross platform solution or whatever flavour you like, but its hardly new and was only recently classed as 'green'. If I recall correctly, it was originally about improving utilisation and speed to market.
Now as an industry, IT is an easy target - hell we still have Y2K and he dot com bomb to live down so the last thing we need is being seen to be jumping on a green bandwagon. So let’s be sensible here. The technology community has a huge responsibility here to both reduce our current consumption (by our, I mean our organisation - IT footprint might go up to deliver overall corporate savings) and drive innovation to find new power sources and processing options/methods. Let’s make sure however as technology and business leaders we measure effectively and realistically, take justifiable credit for the right things, avoid the seductive voices of a 're-branding quick fix' and accept the challenges of this inconvenient truth.
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Chelsea start the brighter but its a scrappy first 15mins. Stephen Pienaar misses his kick to waste a great chance for Everton and at the other end Drogba has a neat free kick move with Lamps charged down. Rickey goes down heavily on 20mins and then spends the next 10 minutes hobbling around as a midfield passenger whilst the bench work out what to do - eventually he makes way for Tal Ben Haim. Everton are hanging on now as first SWP then Lamps have two great chances - the second bringing an equally great save from Tim Howard. Right on 45mins, Bridgey and SWP break from no-where down the left and the ball finds Drogba 5 yards out from an open goal which amazingly he misses.
Out for the 2nd half, no changes for the Blues, but Everton bring on Anicheb and McFadden for Neville and Yakubu - Everton are going with two up top but again its Chelsea who start the brighter of the two. SWPs having a mare - good positions but his crossing has been woeful and its no surprise when he's replaced by Kalou on 63mins. Lamps chips Howard from 25yrds and brings another amazing save from the Everton keeper and from the resulting corner the ball is cleared off the line - it looks like one of those days - its all Chelsea but the ball just wont go.
And then, just wen you though it would never come, Drogba comes to the near post on 70mins from a Kalou corner and he buries the header past Howard and its 1-0 to the Blues !!!
This is the new Chelsea, so no sitting back, on we press, looking for more, Lamps goes close from a mazey Joe Cole run and then Drogba does likewise but hits his shot tamely at Howard ... but yet you're always worried that the old Chelsea will return and throw this away. And then it happens. To be fair, an amazing overhead from Tim Cahill beats Carlo with two minutes to go. That's the price you pay for not taking your chances. The home record stays intact but it feels like a defeat.
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
All in all a tough night in Germany, far from impressive, very lucky at times (save twice by the woodwork) but Chelsea scrape through with a vital away point.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Here are the text flashes from BBC online
1450: TEAM NEWS Chelsea make three changes from the side that beat Man City 6-0 last week. Shaun Wright-Phillips comes in for Joe Cole, left-back Wayne Bridge replaces the injured Paulo Ferreira and Florent Malouda starts ahead of Salomon Kalou. Wigan drop striker Antoine Sibierski and bring in midfielder Michael Brown in their one change.
1511: GOAL Wigan 0-1 ChelseaDidier Drogba finds Shaun Wright-Phillips on the right flank and he crosses for Frank Lampard to finish into the bottom corner.
1517: GOAL Wigan 0-2 ChelseaJuliano Belletti runs from well inside his own half and is allowed to advance to the edge of the Wigan box where he unleashes a glorious 25-yard shot which flies past Chris Kirkland.
1541: The Chelsea fans are happily singing the Great Escape as half-time approaches at the JJB Stadium. Victory will leave Chelsea three points off the top.
1546: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-2 ChelseaEasy for Chelsea.
1600: Chelsea's players are already out at the JJB Stadium. Bit keen but the games underway at 16:03
(ed) Second half under way and Wigan are pressing hard to get back into this game. Chelsea are not making much of a fist of the second half and its all Wigan
16:32 Kalou on for Drogba (who's carrying a yellow and is flirting with a red given his antics) and Sidwell also comes on for Essien
(ed) Looks like Wigan have run out of steam and Chelsea are happy to see this one out as it stands.
Chelsea move within 3 point of the top two (Man U and Arsenal) with their 7th consecutive win - Come on you Blues !!
Thursday, 1 November 2007
Chelsea 4-3 Leicester
Before Wednesday Lampard had not scored since AugustCarling Cup holders Chelsea needed two late goals to reach the last eight as Frank Lampard grabbed a hat-trick.
Gareth McAuley's header gave Leicester an early lead, but the home side went in at the break in front, thanks to two calm finishes from captain Lampard. Keeper Marton Fulop kept Leicester in the game and DJ Campbell's header set up a tense finale at Stamford Bridge.
Carl Cort's tap-in put the Foxes ahead, but Shevchenko with a rasping shot and a Lampard header turned the tie. Leicester gave an early taste that they had not arrived as sacrificial lambs when their captain McAuley rose unchallenged to head home a free-kick.
Before Wednesday Lampard had not scored since August, but the England midfielder got back in the goalscoring groove when he finished off a three-man move to equalise. Scott Sinclair played a key role in that goal and the youngster set up Chelsea's second when his cross bobbled loose to Lampard, who volleyed home. Fulop made three crucial saves, twice denying Claudio Pizarro and pushing an effort from Sinclair on to the post. But the home side lost Paulo Ferreira just after half-time. The right-back was stretchered off with an injury to his right ankle. Campbell punished Chelsea's profligacy in the 69th minute when he headed Levi Porter's chip over the advancing Cudicini and into the net. Five minutes later Alan Sheehan's free-kick was missed by everyone except Cort at the far post and the former Wimbledon striker swept the ball home. But Shevchenko levelled for Chelsea in the 87th minute and in the dying seconds Lampard's header squeezed over the line to provide a dramatic winner.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Belletti, Alex, Ben-Haim (Essien 80), Ferreira (Malouda 52), Wright-Phillips, Sidwell, Lampard, Sinclair (Kalou 78), Shevchenko, Pizarro.Subs Not Used: Hilario, Obi.
Booked: Sidwell, Ben-Haim.
Goals: Lampard 20, 29, Shevchenko 87, Lampard 90.
Leicester: Fulop, Stearman, McAuley, N'Gotty, Kisnorbo, Sheehan, Newton (Porter 60), Chambers, Kenton, Cort, Fryatt (Campbell 62), Porter (Maybury 80).Subs Not Used: Henderson, Hellings.
Booked: Newton, Sheehan.
Goals: McAuley 6, Campbell 69, Cort 74.
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Saturday, 27 October 2007
The Blues get off to a flyer but the first real chance goes to City when Stephen Ireland get in behind but his header drifs wide but the panic is short lived as, on 15mins, Lamps and Essien link up on the edge of the City box before Ess buries the opening goal. 1-0 to the Blues !! City come back looking for a quick reply and Petrov goes close again with a free kick but almost on the half hour its 2-0. Lamps picks out Drogba with a wonderful pass and Drogs fires in low beyond Joe Hart in the City goal. That's how the half end s and The Blues are cruising
Second half is away and with 10 minutes its 3-0 as the City keeper can only parry a strike from Super Frank and Didier Drogba is on hand to drive a shot back through the goalkeeper's legs. Despite his comments, you cant question his commitment. Its flowing football with a blue swagger and within 2mins its 4-0 as Drogba heads on to Joe Cole who dances past the city defence and slots the ball home. I cant recall us pushing on like this since the first few months of Jose's reign but this is tremendous stiff. City are really poor and on the Half hour, Essien puts Kalou through for number five - yes 5-0. Droggs goes off to a standing ovation to make way for Pizzaro as we look for six. Sheva comes on for Joe Cole to test his "10 minute legs" and makes it six with 2 minutes to go connecting with another great ball by Essien.
And so it end Chelsea 6 Man City 0 and the mighty Blues are back
Thursday, 25 October 2007
It all started so well. On 4mins Malouda broke down the left, cut into the box and drilled a lame effort straight at the keeper who fortunately let it slip though his legs. 1-0 and here comes the 'sexy football'. Well not really. Not if 20 square passes that never came near the opposition box counts as sexy football. To be fair, there was the odd flick from Drogba and Lamps but it never really had a cutting edge. Malouda kept coming inside way too often, Joe Cole and Essien looked pedestrian and the only bright spark was the return of Wayne Bridge and his marauding runs. So no surprise that the half ends without any more goals
Second half, no changes and it looks like its over as a contest within 2mins.. Ferreira crosses the half way line (almost gets a nose bleed being so unfamiliar with being this high up the pitch) and after what seems like an eternity, he finally crosses to where Drogba has been frantically pointing and his glancing header makes it 2-0. Surely now we'll get the sexy football - i mean AG is up on his feet and out if the dugout. But no, same old same as. Schalker huff and puff and miss sitters (they also have what looks like a good goal ruled out for offside) whilst the Blues press but with no real penetration. As the half draws to a close, Alex drags back one of their strikers on the edge of the box but miraculously the ref waves play on and the game peters out.
AG will say its early days and that the result is thats important whilst the attractive footie is developed. True enough, but it was merge fare for an almost full Stamford Bridge. Lets hope for better things on Saturday against City.
Monday, 22 October 2007
It was a crowd full of people of a 'certain age' - me included - but we were treated to a blistering 'greatest hits and more' show with Sting, Andy and Stuart belting through their back catalog with remarkable aplomb. Message in a Bottle, Walking on the Moon, Don't Stand So Close, Every Little Thing, and I Can't Stand Losing You had everyone on their feet. The lights went red to set the scene for a great version of Roxanne and tee-up the two encores which featured 'King of Pain, So Lonely, a roof lifting version of Every Breath you Take and finally the rocking Next to You.
Stings vocals, given that the previous date had to be cancelled due to throat problems, were assured and majestic as ever and, though he's showing his years a little more than the rest, Andy Summers can still cut a jazzy lick or three. Stuart was just Stuart - switching his drum styles in an instant and loosing more sticks in a set than most drummers use in a lifetime, he kicked out tight reggae and rock beats that drove the band forward.
One of the London free papers noted in review that "... considering the band was only together for six years 20 years ago, they produced some of the most peerless pop songs in the world" ; hard to argue with that.
Full Set List
Message in a Bottle
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
Truth Hits Everybody
Hole In My Life
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You
King Of Pain
Every Breath You Take
Next To You
Saturday, 20 October 2007
It’s a bright start for the Blues with Drogba and Lampard linking up well in the first few minutes. Mido is playing upfront on his own for the Boro and for a home team they show little ambition so its no surprise then that we’re ahead on 8 minutes and with almost dramatic irony its Drogba who slots the ball home. It looks like he wants to prove a point on his 150th appearance and its all Chelsea. A Mido header on 20 mins seems to galvanise Boro and suddenly its all falling for the home side and Chelsea seem to be losing their grip. Fortunately, they are pretty wasteful and Chelsea end the half the stronger of the two sides but they took their foot off the gas and need to do more in the second half.
Chelsea start unchanged but its Boro who look brighter and Mido tests Cech with a strong header, however with 56 minutes gone Chelsea get a free kick quite a way out. It looks way too far but Alex steps up and almost breaks the net with an absolute rocket - two nill Chelsea. Maybe its a sign of the Grant era but the Blues are not sitting back and go looking for a third as space opens up while Boro chase to get back into the game. SWP comes on for Malouda with 15 mins to go only to be followed by Sidwell for Essien and Sheva for Drogba - Chelsea are cruising and it ends 2-0, its Boro so "we always win 2-0". Now on to Wednesday and Shalker in the Champions League
Come on you BLUES !!!
Sunday, 7 October 2007
After an early Blue flurry in which Kalou goes close with a header, Bolton get into their stride and its another pretty frantic first 20mins, though initially the ref seems strangely obsessed with doing his school master impressions - excessive verbals and figer wagging to both Ashley Cole and then JT for doing nothing obvious. Joe Cole is looking very lively and getting kicked up in the air - first by Diouf and then Campo for his troubles. On 21mins Kalou puts Malouda through for a great chance which until skys over Jaaskalinens' crossbar. Chelsea are playing with plenty of pace and width with Ashley Cole, Malouda and Kalou linking up really well. The problem with this more flowing style though is that the three in midfield always look a bit vulnerable and a better team that Bolton would drive straight through (Bolton just want to go over them). On 29mins Diouf sets up Campo for a strike from the edge of the box and Cech makes his first (and very good) save. Its then end to end stuff for the final 15mins of the half as first Anelka (one on one with Cech) and the Kalou both go close, then on 40mins, and at the end of a straight forward route-one attack, Kalou slots home to put Chelsea ahead.
Second half sees Pizzaro on for Kalou but within seconds Cech has to save from Diouf as Bolton look for a quick response. It's pretty dire stuff from then on, with a Joe Cole screamer and an assault by Davies on Ashley Cole being the the only highlights (?).... but hang on its the 72nd minute and Sheva comes on for Malouda - the Bolton fans sing "wot a waste of money" and we wonder if his legs even have 20mins in them !! Sidwell gives away a stupid handball on the edge of the box trying to chest the ball away - he's tried that too often - but fortunately Anelka plants one in the top row. Ferreria comes on for Joe Cole (who's looking knackered) in the 83rd minute and Bolton through on Stelios for one last push but its Belletti who's checked on the edge of the box for a Chelsea free kick. Lamps does slightly better than Anelka but its still well wide and Chelsea hold on for a good away win and a well earned 3 points.
Thursday, 4 October 2007
Second half and Valencia came out looking a bit subdued, almost as if 1-1- would do them and we started to boss the play, plenty of good controlled possession - something we've failed to do in the league to date. JT was a giant at the back (as usual) and as we approached the last quarter of the half a beautiful Chelsea counter, stunning outside of the foot pass by Joe Cole and Drogs muscles past the last defender to drive us 2-1 in front.
It was a nervy last 15mins, but you sensed that Valencia weren't gong to get through. Bodies thrown across shots, plenty of saving tackles and Rickey almost growing a second head (go see the video to be amazed at the size of the lump that came up after a clash in their 6 yard box). A slight downer - someone must really teach Kalou how to finish and how to hold up play. Twice he needlessly gave away possession when we needed a breather and worse that that he put a reasonably simple chance to go 3 - 1 up, and bury the game, over the bar.
Still no Sheva (good) loads of spirit (great) towering performances (JT - bl**dy hero, Drogs, Ess), a highly animated owner(nice to see) and a wonderful result.
Saturday, 29 September 2007
The opening 15mins echos the positive tone with lots of movement but sadly very few clear cut chances. The problem is that there's no end product. Sheva still looks way off the pace and Drogba is clearly not match fit. Kalou is our best player and is the main supply line for the few early chances. By the way, what is it about us and set pieces; free kicks from distance look like a pantomime farce and corners rarely beat the first man. It gets a bit better for the last 10 minutes but the half ends with Keller not having made a save. Lots of effort, lots of mistakes and not much quality. I wonder what Grant is like with half time hair dryers because we need more quality in the second half.
Second half starts with Alex on for Terry (hurt early in the first half) and gets worse when Kalou has a certain goal miraculously saved by Keller in the first minute. Things peter out after that initial flurry of excitement and on 54mins Grant at least shows he's not afraid to do the right thing (or afraid of big Roman) as he drags off the hapless Sheva and sends on Pizzaro. Kalhou misses again with a free header on the hour and its starting to look like its not going to be our day. I can't recall so many wasted set pieces of passages of clear possession.
Last quarter and Fulham are feeling confident. They throw on two forwards - Kamera and Bouazza as Drogba is sent off for a crazy high challenge that results in a second bookable offence. Two reds in two league games and now the home record is in seriously doubt. In response, Malouda comes on for Ashley Cole as Chelsea go to 3 at the back. Avram Grant clearly wants the win - brave or reckless - you decide. However, its Fulham that have the best of the remaining time and have two clear chances on 90 minutes to take all three points but the Blues hold out for a draw.
The home record is intact but the boo's ring out at Stamford Bridge and no one can feel confident about a trip to Valencia.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Many will say it was only Hull City but it was a banana skin waiting to be slipped up on and one that the pre Jose Blues might well have struggled with. So it was nice to see the post Jose Blues dispatch Hull and knock in a few goals to boot.
It wasn't the most flowing performance and not the the sexy football that Roman seems to be after but a good team performance and with some notable individuals - Scott Sinclair's first goal for the senior team stands out amongst them all.
A nice post match touch from Avram Grant when asked why Roman wasn't at the game .... "when he's here you say he picks the team and when not here - you ask why; I think he missed a very good game" .... all delivered with a rare smile.
Onwards now to a tricky home derby against Fulham and an unerring sense that maybe our invincible home record might be in doubt - I hope not.
Come on you blues
Monday, 24 September 2007
The result was almost irrelevant, though 11 against 11 and a decent bit of time keeping might have at least made it a contest. What was needed was a display and by and large we got one. We were never going to just roll over and there were some positives from the game however what is clear is that the post Jose era is going to be tough on Avram Grant who already has the demeanour of 'dead man walkin'.
It actually doesn't matter that the personnel in the Chelsea dressing room haven't changed. At this level its all about mentality and Jose had the winning mentality. Sure he was arrogant and his comments were often poorly chosen but things were black and white - you either loved him (and us) or hated him (and us). The football was not THAT dull - to a fan, winning is never dull - but the style question became a stick to whip us with.
Winning ultimately breeds respect, even if it doesn't come in the short term. Could Arsenal really be where they are now if it wasn't for the "1-0 to the Arsenal" days of George Graham and co ?. Would people respect Man U if they hadn't won so many premier league titles ?
We have sacked a winner and as fans are now the object of pity in many quarters. I heard Henry Winter saying that he felt sorry for Chelsea fans who had got used to "visiting great stadia and picking up trophies over the last 4 years".
I / We don't want anyones pity. I want my Chelsea back.
Friday, 21 September 2007
Thursday, 20 September 2007
The ability for my beloved blues to implode never ceases to amaze me. OK so we were rubbish on Tuesday and haven't had the best start to the season but in the last 3 years ...
Back to back Premiership Champions
Runners up last year
FA cup winners
League Cup twice
Champions league semi finals twice
.... hardly sacking material but make no bones about it this was not "mutual consent", this was "last straw" time from great uncle Roman and he sacked the most successful manager we've had in the last 50 years.
Jose was not to everyone's taste but I thought he was great for Chelsea and great for the Premiership. It will be dull without him.
Many thanks Jose, not just for the success but for ALL the memories
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Saturday, 15 September 2007
It’s a scrappy first 20mins with nothing to write home about unless Sheva heading over from 15 yards on 15 minutes gets you going. It’s a full 25mins before Essien tests Freidel with a wonderful swerving drive and Sheva is wasteful again, this time from a one on one with the keeper. Chelsea close the half a little more brightly with Joe Cole coming close from an SWP corner but overall it’s a disappointing half with only Essien and Belletti coming away with any credit. It looks like there’s plenty for Jose to rip into during the break.
An unchanged Chelsea attack the Mathew Harding in the 2nd half and a chance falls to Sheva within 5 mins which is well blocked, apart from this it looks like more of the same. It takes JT charging out of defence to create the first real excitement. Just about an hour gone and Malouda and Obi the Jedi come on for Sidwell (very poor) and SWP (looking tired). Within a minute, Belletti and Joe Cole combine to send Kalou through and the ball’s in the net ..... only to be ruled offside – Clarke and Mourinho are furious as it looks well onside. Sheva looks way off the pace, he’s not got much service but equally he’s not grafting for it either, however Chelsea are controlling possession.
Last 15 minutes and Blackburn are starting to push on and stretch Chelsea. Chec saves brilliantly from Savage after a Malouda mistake. At the other end, Kalou and Sheva link up well but Kalou’s shot shaves the post as it skips wide. It’s all end to end now as the Blues push on for a winner – its times like this that you really miss Lamps and Drogs. Five mins to go and Sheva finally does something useful and gets a good far post header on target but it’s saved by Friedel. Christopher Samba takes a kick to the head on the way down from his challenge on Sheva and play stops for what looks like a serious head injury. Chelsea throw everything but the kitchen sink at Blackburn for the remaining minutes, playing 3 at the back and Terry as a centre forward, but Blackburn hold on to take a share of the points.
Once again, Chelsea are short changed from a game they have dominated. All the talk will be about the offside that never was but ultimately we’re not looking anything like the team of the last few seasons.
Friday, 7 September 2007
From the opening medley, that lasted for some 25mins – who can manage that !! - it was clear that this is a guy who just lives for the performance. Some call him arrogant, self obsessed or just down right strange but no-one can deny this mans talent. Whether he was dancing, singing, soloing on his symbol shaped guitar or just sat paying solo at the piano you couldn't’t take your eyes off him. His pre gig video had his bands saying that he could and does play all their instruments and you get the idea that he probably can play them as well or better than any of them. He is the ultimate showman and works an audience with consummate ease. Let’s go crazy sets a blistering pace, Little red corvette is delivered as a piano solo and Purple Rain takes the roof off. Prince tells us the “dis is mahhhh house” and frankly we believed him.
It all got me thinking, particularly in the light of the recent “controversy” about giving away his album in the Mail on Sunday, about the measure of talent and value. Some people had complained about the length of the Prince set. He played with no support and the show itself was well under two hours – less if you deduct the encore gaps. However this misses the point. Seeing Prince live is a rare event and frankly I'd rather see 100mins of pure genius than 3 hours of padded out dross. JP Rangaswami posts on the subject of the because effect in this context and rightly observers that ".... the point is that Prince understands how he makes money, what’s scarce and what’s abundant about it. Digital downloads are abundant. Concert appearances are scarce. He makes money because of his CDs and not with them". This is spot on. Seeing Prince is a rare event, one that I was fortunate to be at and one that I hugely enjoyed.
I'm off to see The Police in a few weeks - a gig that will no doubt further underscore my views on abundance, scarcity, talent .... and probably the because effect.
Monday, 3 September 2007
....... well you have to say it was coming. A really poor display against Portsmouth last weekend and a lucky penalty at Liverpool - frankly the mighty blues don't look that mighty at present and we need to work out how to play for more than just 30 minutes a half. Our once solid defence looks shaky to anything thrown in high and we can't carry on giving teams a one goal start - as was shown yesterday.
Sure in the first half there was plenty of movement, again Malouda looked good as did SWP (just wish his end product was better), but it was just lots of huff and puff before the sucker punch.
Lets hope that the week off gives Jose a chance to work on things
Friday, 31 August 2007
Under the title Facebook Revolt forces HSBC U-turn the article reports that ...
"....HSBC on Thursday reversed its decision to take away students’ interest-free overdrafts as soon as they leave university after it suffered a consumer revolt by graduates on the pages of Facebook, the cult social-networking site.
The bank said it was not “too big” to listen to customers and that it would freeze interest charges on overdrafts up to £1,500 for students who graduated this summer, repaying any interest charged in August....... "
"......The move would have cost a graduate who had the maximum interest-free overdraft of £1,500 nearly £12 a month, or more than £142 a year. But a group set up a month ago on Facebook by Wes Streeting, a vice-president of the National Union of Students, called “Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off”, attracted strong support from members of the social-networking site which is hugely popular with students and graduates.
The group, which attracted more than 5,000 members, caused acute embarrassment to HSBC at a time when all high street banks are busy marketing their services to young people arriving at university for the first time this September.
Mr Streeting said: “There can be no doubt that using Facebook made the world of difference to our campaign.
“By setting up a group on a site that is incredibly popular with students, it enabled us to contact our members during the summer vacation far more easily than would otherwise have been possible.
“It also meant that we could involve our former members – the graduates who were going to be most affected by this policy.”
"..... On Thursday Andy Ripley, HSBC’s head of product development, announced the climbdown and said the bank would work with the NUS to “enhance our new account offer so that it fully reflects the needs of recent graduates”.
Members of the group celebrated the bank’s U-turn by posting messages on the campaign’s Facebook page..."
As Wolfie Smith would say - power to the people !
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
I posted a long time ago about Second Life and Facebook and how I didn't really understand the attraction of either. Just to recap, I considered Second Life to be an unsatisfactory role based gaming experience and I didn't understand why we needed yet another way to interact and communicate online using Facebook.
I was of course deluged by people who would gleefully tell me that "I just didn't get it". As was my wont back then, I listened carefully, read diligently and then simply concluded that everyone was wrong :-)
Well it turns out that I was wrong - I didn't get it ..... and the worrying thing is that my generation (if you don't know me, I've slipped into the wrong half of my mid forties) don't get it and in all probability may never get it.
The "it" that I'm referring to is what happens when someone immerses themselves completely in an experience. I realised this when a colleague (of similar age) and I were discussing our Second Life and Facebook experiences. What became clear was that we used them as you would use any other computer applications or game. We started them up, used them for a while, shut them down, went and used something else, came back etc etc ..... which is a very structured and detached relationship. My kids, and those that I know, use these solutions very differently. They immerse themselves in them. In the case of Second Life, adopting genuine persona's, constructing new relationships/interactions and behaving in a new way as a result. Actually, if you watch committed gamers playing the current genre of networked computer games they do the same. It seems to be the same with Facebook. Of course my daughter could phone, txt, IM or email her friends to tell them how shes feeling - but she doesn't - she updates her status in Facebook to reflect her mood and then interacts with her friends using it (and its associated application)s to communicate all manner of related feelings, information and activities as a result.
And maybe that's the point, and the real reason why 'grown ups don't get it'. We've forgotten what its like to be immersed in something and to engage at that level. We are too thoughtful and practical. We are looking to use something to get something done. We are academically interested and deal in practicality rather than allowing ourselves to become immersed in the emotional impact.
Maybe its just part of growing up ....and maybe, if we really want to understand this stuff, we need to stop behaving and thinking like adults. Now, what would that bring ... ???
Just a thought ...
Monday, 20 August 2007
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Jose made an 'interesting' (translates as weird) choice today in playing Essien at right back and SWP in a midfeild slot behind Drogba. All it seemed to do was make the midfield look pretty lightweight. .... and within 15mins Torres skins Ben-Hiam and Liverpool are ahead. Still, Terry does go close just before the break so maybe the second half will be better for the mighty Blues.
Second half brings changes with Pizzaro on for Kalu and a more traditional 4-4-2 with SWP out wide and within 3mins Pizzaro misses a sitter. Liverpool come back with bright quick football and suddenly its all end to end, a bit frantic and just a little bit bad tempered. On the hour the ref gives us a crazy penalty which Lamps buries apparently for a foul on Malouda. But it only adds to the frantic and scrappy second half. Joe Cole comes on as the clock hits the 75min mark but its same old same as up to the final whistle.
Liverpool fume about the penalty that should never have been but Jose looks happy with an away point.
5 reasons why I play the way I do
1. Let It Be - the Beatles
the first guitar solo I ever learned note for note
2. Suffragette City - David Bowie
the first solo I payed live back in 1975 (yes I did start playing quite late) and I think I played it better than this (and had better trousers)
3. Live and Dangerous - Thin Lizzy
Still probably the greatest live album even and I learnt the whole thing, from track1/side1 - Jailbreak right through to the close of side4 - The Rocker. The only trouble was that I learnt the whole thing half a tone down so "Ab" instead of "A" as I never knew they tuned down by a half when playing live to help Phil Lynott's vocals. Still it taught me some interesting shapes :-).
4. One more for the road - Lynyrd Skynyrd
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlCMZ5AlNys - T for Texas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GyOgVFDocs - Gimme 3 steps
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1140NzFo5A - Freebird
I went to the "One more for the British Road" tour and saw one of the last shows before the fateful plane crash that prematurely ended the lives of singer/songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, and vocalist Cassie Gaines, as well as seriously injuring the rest of the band and crew.
Anyway, in the late 70's the band I was with had a local residency where the Landlord was a huge Skynyrd fan and insited on our set being closed with Freebird. Gimme 3 Steps, Sweet Home and T for Texas occasionally made their way into the set but Freebird was always the close or encore
5. Strangers in the Night / MSG - UFO/ Michael Schenker
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aatjerFCRP8 - Lights Out
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrRBHO28iLY- into the arena
A hugely underrated talent, many of today's uber flash players owe a huge debt to Michael Schenker who with his trademark flying V (or arrow as he called it), Marshall 50W stack and use of wah wah as a tone effect completely change my ideas of melodic soloing.
Beyond these "five reasons", here are some other awesome guitar talents that I wish I could get close to.
Joe Satriani - just the absolute best - bar none
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yc8xyL0Xxo - always with me always with you (still my favourite)
Gary Moore - fastest (and most emotive) right and left hands I'd ever seen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWp-Mazmf88 - from the Montreau jazz festival (a Roy Buchanon number that sounds like an inversion of Parisian walkways)
Eddie Van Halen - wrote the book on tapping, the first and the best
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULEBSxP725w - Eruption (from 1994)
Mike Petrucci - Dream Theatres wonder player, probably the best of the techno players and does just about everything
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsRatZykj8M - hollow years
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4WEAHRLorM - Erotomania
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Anyway, I always said I'd never be like my parents when it came to music. If I had £1 for every time my father came upstairs to tell me to "turn that bl**dy racket down" when the Marshall was cranked up and I was practising along to something suitably heavy, I'd be a wealthy man right now.
I'm sure his comments were more often than not directed at the songs rather than my skills as a guitarist (I hope) but recently I have caught myself doing the same thing and its quite a frightening experience. So imagine my surprise when my 19 year old daughter gives me a CD and says "just put this in the car and drive".
We'll I'm 9 tracks in, haven't heard a duffer yet and I'm suitably surprised. The band are Fall Out Boy and I'm sure lots of people know them. Now this doesn't make me 'down wiv da kids' or increase my cool / street cred one iota but hey - it made me smile
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
..... and so it does. Jose brings on the Jedi (Obi Mikel) and Pizzaro for Ferrera and Sidwell - SWP goes to right back and within 5 minutes its 2-1 with goals from Lamps and Drogba. Suddenly the Blues are all over Reading for about 10 mins before it settles down to some exciting end to end stuff .... but still not the solid dominant Chelsea that we're used to.
After Reading go down to 10 men, its all Chelsea again but a third goal doesn't come and its the usual last 5 minutes scramble to the final whistle.
OK, so yes its another win, its maximum points from the first two games but if things aren't tighter by the time we play Liverpool at the weekend, it will be a very different story.
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
there are reports in the Spanish media that claim that Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign Daniel Alves following extensive negotiations with Sevilla.
Peter Kenyon was supposedly in Madrid this week, to hold talks with Sevilla vice-president Jose Maria Cruz and their director of sport Ramon Rodriquez Monchi.
It has been reported in Spain that the two clubs have now concurred on a fee of around 32 million euros (£25million).
...... and if this means that Glenn 'toilet seat' Johnson is shown the door then its money well spent.
Sunday, 12 August 2007
Second half and an Essien guided missile makes it 3-2 and normal service is resumed before the appearance of Drogba just after the hour. However 4-4-2 still looks, at times, an uncomfortable formation and there are way too many gaps in midfield that a better team will surely exploit if they are not addressed. On the bright side however Malouda looks like one hell of a good buy, its a 3 point start and 64 home games unbeaten - that's Liverpool's record overtaken - almost inevitably.
Its gonna be an entertaining season .....Come on you Blues
Friday, 10 August 2007
... just a view
Friday, 20 July 2007
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Works for me ... Drenthe looks like he's already made of stronger stuff than our fagile Mr Robben. Though it still leaves the Wright-Phillips situation up in the air
Friday, 13 July 2007
Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido insist on the official club website "We have not received any offers for
I'm not sure he's worth the £17m that's being touted around but we sure do need some cover at right back .... and I don't mean Glen Johnson and his hookey toilet seat.
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
After months of the farcical "we've only spent $1 on make-weights but we really have strengthened the squad - honest guv" chatter its now clear that Chelsea are investing further - but once again not in the areas most fans would suspect - a left back (Paulo Ferreira had a great FA cup final but is not good enough) or a central striker (nuff said about Sheva to date). No we're going down the flanks again with the arrival of Florent Malouda.
That makes it Cole (J), Malouda, Robben, Kahlou and Wright-Phillips as genuine wide players and you have to believe that if itwas all about form and flair then SWP should be looking to the exit. Indeed, when you listen to Jose today..... "When you specifically talk about Arjen's name I want to make it very, very clear that the fact we have signed Malouda does not open the door for him to leave," Mourinho told Sky Sports News"..... its hard to see how Sean has a future at the bridge at all.
I've always thought Robben was an incredible talent if only he could bulk up and get some steel. There is no doubt that he has all the skills and talent and whats more, scares defenders whit-less when he's running at them - who else a Chelsea does that ?? According to press quotes this is the first time he's started a pre-season rested and fit in the last 6 years (not bad for a 23 year old??) so if he genuinely has the stomach for a fight and wants to stay then lets hope we see half a dozen top notch performances from him whilst FM is finding his feet. That would make for an interesting set of choices.
As for SWP, there's no doubt he has many gifts but he is too wasteful and seems to need consistent football to get the confidence to perform even at an average level (Robben can do that coming off the bench). I doubt he'll get that at he Bridge so its probably a case of Wright-Phillips, wrong time, wrong place
Monday, 9 July 2007
I'll do my best to justify the position so keep an eye out here on the "On about being a CIO" tag for some little snippets and my views on stuff
Monday, 2 July 2007
Now maybe I'm just too old for festivals - I did Reading and Kenbworth in the 70's and 80's - I'd seen The Who when they still had fire in their bellies (Keith was alive), Zeppelin when a Jimmy Page riff could stop time and a whole host of other bands / artists now consigned to the 'dinosaur category' by today's version of angry young men, but still I desperately wanted to be enthralled by this years Glastonbury. Getting a ticket turned out to be as likely as hearing an unspun sentence from Tony Blair, but never mind ..... so I contented myself with the next best thing - dipping in and out of the weekends broadcast coverage from the comfort of my living room with a few beers. How could the line-up fail to impress - Strong staples like The Killers, The Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys; bands I'd heard but not seen - Bloc Party, Gulliemots, Damien Marley; and some old boys who might still cut it - Paul Weller, Iggy, The Who. It was a line up to drool over.
Well no - sadly not. Apart from Damien Marley who's set shone with inspiration, it was a truly disappointing affair. The "big acts" - Killers, Kaisers just failed to deliver and the new kids didn't live up to the promise. Poor sound and an over reliance on attitude to overcome naive stage craft and a lack of underlying talent. Someone needs to tell these guys and girls that the odd hit single, catchy riff and smattering of swear words is not enough. Until the climax. .....
I really wanted to hate The Who's set. As I said, I'd seen them nearly 30 years ago when Keith was alive and really kicking and John would dominate the "bottom end " with an mixture of technical grace and breath taking (...the hit to your chest really did take your breath away) simplicity. Roger and Pete surely couldn't kick it up in this company. Well I was wrong and thank the Lord I was. They were the stand out act by a country mile - great songs, great musicianship and the irony of hearing a 60 year old sing my generation after the damp squib performances that had characterised the weekend was not lost on me. Maybe I am getting old but .....meet the new boss - same as the old boss ... listening to you - I feel excitement at your feet.
If you did, and apparently squilions of people round the world were tunning in to see the broadcast from the BBC, I assume you were as appalled as I was at the inept display from the BBC. Woeful sound mix, shocking production, appalling editing and presenters who seemed to receive their links to and from VT, interviews and stage appearances as if they were hospital passes in an England Vs Argentina football match. To call it rank amateur would be to insult amateurs.
Some of the artists performed admirably given the circumstances that were stacked against them - Joss Stone (Tom J, why did you call her Josh ??), Kanye West, James Morrison, Roger Hodgeson and even Elton's last set ..... but who, in their right mind gave Ricky Gervais the nightmare slot to fill for Elton. Ricky is probably one of the most talented writer/ comedians around at present but to witness him being continually being asked to fill 2 more minutes and the 2 more minutes and then 2 more minutes but a muppet stage hand with a peice of scrappy paper was plain embarrassing.
And how is this world wide extravaganza brought to a close - a poignant montage of early Dianna footage followed by ??????? yes nothing !!!! just the sight of people streaming out of the stadium with a bemused Elton John left on stage. Even my 9 year old could work out that you run the VT before the final number which is then used as the rousing finale
Oh well, good idea and good causes but another example of the incompetence of the amateurs at the BBC who continually waste our license fees.
Rant over ..... for now :-)
Sunday, 1 July 2007
......shamelessly lifted from my work with David Taylor, Author of the Naked Leader series and someone who I am privileged to consider an inspiration, a colleague and friend. His blog on IT leadership is here
The future is your choice – so seize the moment …
- Approach - Be “business first and business always
- Language – Remember that you are the business - make sure everyone speaks "Business English".
- Service Levels - trusted customer relationships are more important than “service levels”
- Technology - Focus on what it does - people don't care what it is
- You – Take control of your personal brand – People ask "What's she/he like?"
Please try to stop using the term "the business" which in itself creates separation - you are the business. “Users” is a term reserved for drug addicts – avoid it – we have customers !
Don't, that's don't use IT terms and acronyms that your customers don't understand. Explain concepts in the language of business, based on the key drivers/metrics that concern our customers (ie revenue, profit, cost, etc)
Please focus on what technology can do to drive revenue, create new capabilities, automate processes, attract new customers and delight existing ones - talk about what it does, not what it is (unless you're a technology company, no-one cares what it is .... especially your customers).
Development must be flexible - project life cycles have to get shorter. Accept that people have the right to change their minds and turn on a sixpence. The time line for projects is weeks and months, not months and years.
Run your projects as if they were a profit centre - every project (even infrastructure development) must be a business project and you must take on the role of ensuring benefits are realised.
Remove the negatives around IT. Whenever I want something from the IT Department, why is the answer "No" - make it "Yes" and we'll start from there
…….and most of all.
You are all your own “shop window”. Be visible, honest, open and transparent. Remove the smoke and mirrors, take personal ownership and deliver and exceptional IT experience. Take personal pride in everything you do.
During the game, just in front of me (albeit in the now ludicrously expensive West stand - can this really be the same West stand that used to house the kids enclosure where I stood as a spotty youth back in the early seventies?) were two noisy, suited city types extolling their credentials. The first turned to the second and said "... I just cant stand these damn Johnny-Come-Lately's to Stamford Bridge". "I know" said his colleague, "we go back to Kerry Dixon."
Kerry bl**dy Dixon. Now don't get me wrong, KD is a legend. I've been fortunate to watch him bury 30+ goals in a season and have also spent some time in his company (along with a good many others) but he's hardly the yardstick for a Chelsea heritage..... and certainly doesn't represent the temporal starting point for bragging rights.
What is odd though, is our current need, and I'm just as guilty as anyone, to say "I'm a Chelsea fan AND I go back to ....." ....in my case 1967.
But it gets worse. I now find myself boring people with the fact that I was drawn to the mighty Blues when we were almost great in the late 60's and hooked by the 1970 cup campaign and epic final. I stood in the West Stand Enclosure and then the Shed when we were hugely fashionable and a joy to watch the early 70's, in free fall through to the early 80's - yes I really did go to Hull and Grimsby away when we languished in the old second division. I cowered in the shadow of the infamous money pit called the East Stand and watched Dixon, Speedie, Nevin and Spackman carry us through the "oh so nearly..." end of the 80's, only for us to be relegated yet again but bounce back with nearly 100 points.
I held my breath as we made it into the young upstart of the Premier League with Hoddle at the helm and a little and large strike force of Mark Stein and Paul Furlong (surely the oddest couple in the league) and then gasped through the 90's at the influx of talent. First Hughes, then Gullit, Vialli, Di Matteo, the one true footballing G-d Gianfranco Zola .... the list of stars just went on and on .... and oh the football we saw. First the FA cup, rightfully secured by a Chelsea true blue - Eddie Newton - after the Di Matteo wonder goal. Then the League cup and my own personal moment of synchronicity. On 13th May 1998 at about 3pm my daughter Amelia was born and at around 21.15 that night, as she lay curled up in my lap, Zola came on as sub in the European Cup Winners Cup to score the winner with his first touch.
It looked like things were just getting better and better. I was behind the goal when we dismantled the mighty Barcelona in our first proper shake at the the European cup (the cup that we weren't allowed to enter back in 1956 - what might have happened if that team had played in Europe ?) and watched Wise go uo to lift the FA cup at the last ever final at "the old" Wembely. But it didn't last and the standards started to slide - I liked Ranieri but again the play was typical Chelsea, flamboyant one minute and infuriatingly abysmal the next. How ironic that he would loose his job at the end of our most successful league campaign since 1955 but that was ultimately down to the same Mr Abramovich that I mentioned earlier.
So what has this journey taught me so far - well, I don't need to justify my Blue Credentials and I'm going to stop. I know where I've been and I've felt the highs, lows and every shade in between. If the saying goes that you can choose your friends but you cant choose your family, then in football terms you cant choose your club - it chooses you and once that choice is made there's no going back - you're there through thick and thin. So when people talk about all the money at Chelsea now I simply smile and say "well, I've already been to Hull and back - so that nice Mr A can spend as much as he likes - I've earned it"
Come on you Blues