AVB Suffering For Past Mistakes?

I was watching some old Chelsea videos at the weekend – well let’s face it, it was preferable to our highlights against Birmingham wasn’t it?

With everything that’s going on at the club right now, particularly the pressure AVB is under and the (mis)reported chants for the return of Mourinho, there’s definitely a feel that some of us are harping after the past, so, true to that form I revisited our relegation back to the second division in ’88 (because I’m obviously sadistic) and ended the evening with some old favourites from 1997 through to 2005.

Needless to say, the Middlesbrough game didn’t do much to pull my mood out of my boots but it did serve as a reminder of how it felt to be really gutted over games. Mind you, talking of ‘gutted’ I’ve still never once watched any footage from Moscow because whilst I might have a minor sadistic streak running through me, in spite of what I may say during some games, that streak doesn’t stretch to genuinely suicidal. But then that’s clearly a mark of how things have changed in terms of expectations isn’t it? Why is it I can watch us being relegated but still can’t stomach seeing us play in the Champions League final? Did I catch the dreaded ‘spoilt brat syndrome’?

I guess it could just be a case of time healing? Although if that was really true, the videos I watched of Gianfranco Zola’s last game wouldn’t still reduce me to tears would they? But then there’s never been a player for me at Chelsea either before or since who will have quite the impact on me that Zola did. He had everything I’d expect from a Chelsea player – more than I’d expect probably – and it rubbed off.

Watching back the videos this weekend was pretty humbling really. Yet again, oppositional tweets told me Zola was “too good for the 4th biggest club in London” but of course, that sort of thing just feeds the smugness that it was us he chose to play for. As for him being “a poor man’s Cantona”, they can keep Cantona and his karate kicks because I’d rather the little magician to Cantona’s arrogant brilliance (or brilliant arrogance) hands down.

Zola signalled a new era for us – an era where we were entertained by the likes of Vialli, Desailly, Di Matteo, Le Saux – great players, solid players, players unquestionably deserving of the shirt on their backs. Of course they didn’t win every game – we were still a way off titles then – but it wasn’t through lack of effort. Can you imagine Dennis Wise walking off the pitch after a 1-1 draw with such nonchalance if he’d played for us on Saturday? Of course he wouldn’t, he’d have been more likely to walk off bollocking everyone around him.  He loved everything about the club and could never have shrugged off letting himself or the supporters down even for 90 minutes, nevermind for weeks on end.

Yes, we had our critics even then for bringing in older players who’d end their careers with us but as long as they were playing, they were giving it their all. And when we needed to, we were bringing in the likes of Jimmy Floyd, Eidur Gudjohnsen and even (god forbid) bringing through John Terry because as brilliant as the players were, they couldn’t go on forever. And we reaped the rewards along the way, not just in terms of silverware but in the sheer pleasure of watching them earn it.

Of course, when players like Lampard, Makelele, Drogba, Essien, Cech, Duff, Robben, Terry et al graced our squad we inevitably moved up a step and along with some stunning football at times, came the titles – good times indeed. Ok, so it had taken Roman’s rubles to make the final step but we were furnished with the best footballing talent money could buy, they were out there wearing the shirt, winning for us week in week out and all was well with the world……until it stopped.

So what happened? Jose’s departure? I mean, if we’re going to hanker after the good times, he’s the reason they happened isn’t he? Well, considering us reaching our first ever Champions League final came after he’d left, that one remains debatable. Was it the final itself? Think about it, we might have won the double under Carlo Ancelotti (which could of course be used to negate this theory) but realistically, how much of our once trademark ‘fighing spirit’ have our players genuinely shown since Moscow?

In the season following Jose’s departure, our players rallied. They were full of that ‘us against the world’ spirit they’d acquired under Mourinho. Be it the injustice of his leaving or the even worse injustice of having Avram Grant ‘managing’ them, they worked their arses off as a team – particularly that night in Moscow (bloody word still makes me cringe). So did they run out of fight or just run out of steam?

My guess is the latter. You see, that time for me, would have been the perfect time for a manager to take a look at a squad that had fought its arse off season after season and realised, like our other squads before it, it couldn’t go on forever. We were never going to get the same value out of the squad after that – not because the game itself had devastated them (although mentally it won’t have helped) – but because physically, some of them had already given us the best we were going to get from them.

Of course, as I’ve said there’ll be those who would argue the 2009/10 double but realistically, we were probably fortunate not to have faced such tough opposition for that one as we had before and since – and given the opposition we have around us now, we won’t get that lucky again.

Looking back, during a ten year period from 1996 onwards, the one thing we did consistently as we became increasingly successful, is freshen up the squad. That’s not to say we didn’t slip back in the table here and there, but the team and our football was still making progress. That doesn’t seem to have happened in quite such a significant way since then – and yet some 5 years on, the current manager is taking the blame for Chelsea’s woes.


10 Responses to “AVB Suffering For Past Mistakes?”

  1. Totally agree – one hundred percent. Every season since that heart-rending night in Moscow could have been used to reinvigorate the squad – but wasn’t.

    Every season that has passed since then has been a lost opportunity, and every lost opportunity that passed has made the job even harder.

    In those post-Moscow days it would have been a case of refreshing a squad. Now it is a case of a total rebuild.

    The blame game is pretty pointless, but when managers are forced to win trophies or lose their jobs they can hardly be blamed. No, the blame lies with the board whose forward planning and intelligence appear to leave alot to be desired.

  2. I like this post. But I think you give chelsea less credit for the 09/10 season. Apart from some blips we seemed to ease past in that one if I recall correctly. Bit of luck too. Gladly take that team back then whatever the hell you call us now. Yes the game is always changing and every team now takes a stab at the so called top teams n results are more unpredictable, but we just got no spirit anymore like u imply. Don’t think defending AVB so much I’d the way to go because his naivety is why we are still looking no better. Surely he should of realised a bit of serious transfer activity had to happen but he did not do much. If RA is backing him and giving him permission to change it up, you would think he would of had the funds to get transition properly started. Now this season is wasted. Well be very lucky for top 4. Time for avb to actually make changes. Whether it be players or tactics, fucking do something.

  3. he cant change anything the players do not support him and it is visible on the field . I would not play for coach who makes this statement ” i do not need support of the players as long as the owner supports my project ” that was an “own goal “. How can players respect a coach who never played football and is little older than players and does not have any experience in EPL and promotes “Spanish” and Portuguese players who are not performing (merieles , torres, ) Now he want to bring kaka who hasn’t been so great lately . Putting on Mikel another mistake , loaning out mcechran who played way better than meriles when given chance . almost every game using 3 subs. The list just goes on and on . Nobody (the fans not Roman)expect for a new coach to win epl or champions league , but we expect to see team progress and play better throughout the season , we are seeing regress and its is getting worse by the minute .

  4. Against Napoli –
    2 holding midfielders and speed of sturridge and ramires to hit them on the breaks. Drogba can hold the ball and Mata for the quick release.

    ——————– Cech ——————-
    Iva — Luiz — Cahill/Terry — Bertrand
    ——— Essien — Romeu ————–
    Sturrdige – Mata – Lampard/Ramires
    ——— Drogba/Torres —————–

  5. Oh the joys of being a glory hunter eh?
    I cannot get over the amount of bitching and moaning I hear from so called ‘Chelsea fans’…..support the club through thick and thin….my arse, bunch of glory hunting whingers!
    We are still in the FA cup and Champions league and all the top clubs would love to be in that position!!!!
    I have followed this club all my life and at its lowest point was up at Bolton in 1983 when we won 1-0 to stay in the second division!!!! Did we whinge and bitch…..no we carried on following by getting our arses to the games and the players and manager were grateful of the support…..
    Its about time some people realise…Chelsea do not have a right to win every game, have the best manager on the planet, the best players….but the plain fact is sometimes we need to support the whole club when we seem to be lacking….not sit and knock it…..and especially if AVB turns it around as I hope he does……what will you look like then???? Fickle glory hunters….do really want Chelsea fans to be put in the same category as Mank Utd fans??

    Wakey wakey and back to reality…..we have a great club, a decent manager who has courage…let’s back all of them eh??

  6. Jockney, I resent being called a glory hunter. I’m a long time Chelsea fan, going back before the glory years. But I am certain, that if we don’t get rid off AVB within a week, we will be heading for dark times in Arsenal like dimensions. If we don’t get the fourth place, we will not get CL football, and we will certainly loose some of our top talent, and won’t get the top talent that we would like to see. Which in turn will make us miss out on top four next season. With financial fairplay coming in to play, we won’t be able to price players to chosing us over CL clubs.

    But the worst thing is, that nothing that AVB has shown in his time here is forward looking, he’s not using younger players, his tactics are defensive, and stupid (consistenly trying to nurse home narrow one goal leads, which never works out), his subsitituions are silly, and he keeps playing underperformers, he’s disrespecting players like Anelka, Alex, Lampard and Cole.

  7. Jockney yes we are still in the FA cup & Champions league, but after Naples how much longer!

    Yes through thick & thin support the club & the players efforts even if some of them are not worthy of wearing the blue shirt.

    But voice your opinions Load & Clear at the turmoil AVB is bringing to this club. In 1971 we voiced are opinions to Sexton about Ossie, he listend, 10yrs later we voiced are opinions to Mears, he listened. You were there then it was`nt about glory hunting for trophys it was about holding your head up high proud to be a Chelsea fan and not be the but of the jokes, well AVB is chipping away are proud armour and like the team allowing the opposition to score points.

    Well AVB has come in with a Project to change the club that`s ok but what is the Project. It`s Not Football, Not Communication eithier. It seem`s it`s a Blank Project & he is guessing what to put into the blank places.

    I know we can`t win everything & so did the Special One, but in the past weather Relegated, Mid-table postion the Managers & Players, played with pride & passion, yes pissed of with won nothing but still proud to be a Chelsea fan

    Sorry AVB is not doing that, his cupboard is empty he needs to go & restock it elsewhere.

  8. Not glory hunting eh…..comments like, if we don’t finish in the top 4 there’s no CL…..SO WHAT!!!
    You all sound like some chairman who has splashed the cash and expected instant results….WTF!
    Lampard, Terry, Cole,Anelka and Alex have all seen better days and have egos that are probably uncontrollable….in comes AVB…..they don’t like it….on 100K plus a week and spit the dummy…well so be it, no one is bigger than that club….let them go!
    AVB is now reacting to the pressure that you and the press have forced on him….and for that and the inconsistency that comes with it….you have yourselves to blame.
    I watched Paul Leguen try the same at Glasgow Rangers and he lost too….the players won…he was fired…he wanted them eating properly, acting properly, playing properly…..they wanted to turn up and get the salary….yet he still lost.
    Yes we won trophies under big gob, but a lot of the players were at the peak….now they are past their peak and playing on their egos and reputations….that’s why we need to get rid of them…..Kissing the shirt does not do it for me and nor will any amount of silverware.
    I am not a lover of Sturridge or Meireles, but you can see they put in the effort for AVB….just a shame a few more don’t put in the same effort for a manager they are meant to respect.
    If they are pissed off with AVB….why don’t they play for the fans…..why not….because they have no integrity, earn too much money and think they are better than they are…..you cannot think you are better…you have to show it and they are showing nothing!

  9. jockney your frustration at seeing Chelsea fans speak up and show their disappointment on AVB, must stem from your own club Rangers going into administration well lifes a bitch. Maybe you were hoping AVB would end up with rangers, well you know most failed managers in England end up there. Sadly AVB has’nt got that route since they bust & probably gone.
    As for your boyhood hero Meireles was he in Naples, oh he was site seeing looking at the Roman monuments, he wasn’t there playing football. Yet he will end up in Scotland probably Celtic for their Champions league campaign next year.
    Roll on next year.

  10. My own club is Chelsea…..very narrow minded for you to jump to conclusions, but I suppose that will go along hand in hand with the glory hunting 😉
    My boyhood heroes were Alan Hudson and Peter Houseman and then Mike Fillery…. Hudson was a bit of a showman, but skillful player…ego was a bit big but still played for the club in the correct manner. Peter Houseman was gentleman and unfortunately the Chelsea current team has not many…although on meeting Drogba in a Cairo hotel…found him decent enough…..but so would I be earning 100K a week!
    EPL is boring at times, more often than not actually…..week in week out same clubs at the top….I find that Boring….for me sport is about the team and participation….not about buying the best to win at all costs!
    Currently I live in Singapore and watch S league….nowhere near the same standard, but often not as boring as you never know who will win the league!
    Frustrated me….never. Airing my views is allowed….frustration at your views is narrow minded and not in my book as you are entitled to your views ….sorry.