Not for the first time, the great game finds itself dragged into the news for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks to Ashley Young and his shameful theatrics for Manchester United we have calls for retrospective punishments for cheating –something I have always championed and fresh cries for goal line technology in the wake of yet another goal that never was. This time for Chelsea at Wembley.
Now both of these cases have two specific things in common. The first is that they resulted in goals and the second is that they involved cheating. In the Young case, it was disgustingly obvious but at Wembley it was less overt but equally shameful.
Post game and to their credit, both Frank Lampard and John Terry did the decent thing and admitted that the ball hadn’t crossed the line for the second goal. A fact that was proven by the numerous angles provided by the media. Yet if they knew that, why did they not point it out to the referee at the time? Indeed if Terry knew it wasn’t a goal, why was he actually seen claiming it?
Yes, I know there is an element of ‘win at all costs’ and like many football fans, I’d happily take a dodgy goal be it for Watford or England. But these were two former England captains remember and so is it that unreasonable to expect that they would have some concept of the idea of fair play? Especially since like all footballers they would have been instrumental in the establishment of the FA’s laughable ‘Respect’ initiative.
Of course having given voice to this ideal on Twitter I have now been accused of having an anti-Chelsea agenda which is exactly what happened
when I wrote about John Terry and the charges of racism levelled against him. Indeed, whilst I admire their spirited defence of their club and their captain I am always bemused by the reaction of Chelsea fans to anything said against them.
In many ways, the West London giants are the Samantha Brick of the football world. They have long considered themselves to be a cut-above the rest and always believed that not only are we all jealous of them because of their former status as the ‘glamour’ club but that these days we should all love them because of their achievements. However, what they have never understood is that it’s their very arrogance which is the reason so many people dislike them.
Liverpool are another club in danger of following the same path. Their refusal to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster is understandable in many ways but the petulant way in which both the club and the fans have acted in recent weeks has been uncomfortable to observe. Not least because if they insist on marking the anniversary of the death of 96 lost souls in this manner, why not the death of the 39 at Heysel? Were they any less worthy?
Equally, does this infer that the deaths as a result of the Munich air crash or the Bradford fire were any less important because those clubs do not refuse to play on the anniversary of those tragedies?
Let’s be honest here, football is in desperate need of a bit of positive PR at the moment and to have a top flight player actually playing fair during a show-piece game at Wembley could well have been it.
It certainly wouldn’t have done either Chelsea or John Terry any harm either. Who knows, maybe those of us who follow other clubs might actually have begun to start liking them again.
My next book Wings of a Sparrow is coming along nicely with a planned ebook release early in June 2012. Full details can be found on the official Dougie Brimson website. Just click on the link.
In the meantime, if you haven’t read it yet, why not download The Crew. It’s been at #1 in the Amazon soccer charts for over 6 months now and is totally free so what do you have to lose?
And finally, could I respectfully ask everyone who has read a book and enjoyed it to take a few moments and post a review on either Amazon or iTunes? They really are important and are a great way to let us authors know that we’re doing an OK job! Or as someone else put it recently, a fabulous way to say thanks!
One thought on “Chelsea FC – The Samantha Brick of football.”
As a Chelsea fan, may I say I agree entirely. I’d like to think that, had Chelsea been 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go and the game won, we might have seen an example set…but I guess no-one would stake anything vaguely important on that.
The problem is too widespread to blame one club in isolation, but I think we’ve seen enough from the way Chelsea go about their off-field business to have questions about the priorities of the club as a whole.
Referees have a huge role to play here. If cheating – of any description – were met with a straight red card I think we’d see the likes of Ashley Young’s theatrics wiped out in a season. The problem is, and always has been, that the FA nit-pick over trivial issues but won’t tackle those whose impact on the game reverberates most keenly.
Last-minute substitutions, for example, are, to my mind, another form of gamesmanship and should be outlawed. No substitutions in the final ten minutes. Period. Your central defender pulls his hamstring in the 84th minute? Tough. He either plays in pain or you play without him. I think we’d see very different player behaviour in the closing stages of key matches…