Well if you were to do a poll of the three most hated clubs from an NUFC fans perspective, I would suggest Chelsea feature strongly. I for one cannot abide that bunch of nuevo-riche cockney winkle eaters. Champions of Europe they are, as they rightly sing. But how and at what price has this success arrived?
The club was bought in June 2003 by a multi billionaire Siberian with sketchy background and rumours of corruption and profiteering. This takeover saved the club from collapse, it was within hours of going completely tits up and their crown jewels being punted for the highest price to appease creditors. If you believe the rumour at the time – a certain John Terry was on a train bound for Newcastle Central Station, before news broke of the Roman Invasion and he returned from whence he came.
Abramovich was the first of the super-rich owners. The Forbes list had his pockets as deep as 12.5 Billion. That’s Twelve Billion, I am not even sure how many noughts that is, but put it this way not even Doctor Evil wanted that much when holding the earth hostage with his moon based laser. This started a trend of overseas owner Sugar Daddys funding the dream. Coming into our Football League, the Home of Football and pumping so much money from their seemingly bottomless pits and reserves that no doubt Fort Knox and bank of England blushed.
Roman who never speaks in public (remind you of anyone?) uses the club as his play-thing, and has changed more managers than pairs of socks over his short tenure. He has bank rolled the club to a height never before reached, buying every player in sight (with or without the managers consent), sending the transfer market into meltdown and pushing player wages so ridiculously high that clubs have stupidly attempted to follow suit. This has resulted in clubs of history and standing going to the wall. But amidst the managerial sackings, the meter of spending ticked past £2billion, and his obscene team continued to win. All sorts of accusations can be thrown at the enigmatic Russian — but scrimping on wages and transfers is not one of them.
Now that for me brings the conundrum. The angel on one shoulder – the devil on the other. From afar I loathe who they are and what they stand for, a club of medium stature all of a sudden proclaimed as a massive club. After all, our top scorer Demba Ba has just jumped ship and signed up to the Chelsea project citing that he couldn’t turn down the chance to join such a “massive club”. The other side of me, the jealous fan, deep down would love the Toon to win even one trophy, never mind the Yachts galley full that old Roman has bagged. It poses the question, what do you want from your club? Is it worth the risk to push if your owner is rich enough? Man City have just went and won the FA cup and League in the last two seasons on a similar strategy of money no object tactical warfare. Ask their fans what they think.
It’s interesting to compare the two clubs all time history. Let’s do a Daz doorstep challenge pitching Abramovich’s new and improved CFC versus your ordinary brand NUFC.
All time club history Chelsea Newcastle United
League Championships 4 5
Second Div/Championship 2 3
League Runners Up 4 2
FA Cup Winners 7 6
FA Cup Runners Up 4 7
Top 5 finishes 20 24
Champions League 1 0
Europa League/Fairs cup 0 1
UEFA Cup winners cup 2 0
Average attendance 41365 49636
Now on inspection of these figures would you say historically that Chelsea are a massive club compared to NUFC? You would not would you?
Look deeper into these figures and the grotesque reality is that 52.38% of Chelsea honours have been scooped since June 2003. Including 3 PL Titles, 4 PL Runners up, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and of course 1 Champions League win.
In that time Newcastle have won what exactly? Come on, you can do it – that’s right the Championship title following relegation in 08/09. Now that is not pretty reading. Makes you sick doesn’t it?
Although I think the whole thing stinks, think of the memories created for these cock-er-ney fans by Abramovich. Memories of FA cups, League titles even Doubles, Champions League Titles no less. Imagine NUFC had the potential to serve up these memories. The Unfortunate thing is, the last time NUFC won something will soon be out of living memory and I fear that I will in my lifetime not see my team win any honours. Does not seem fair does it.
Regardless of how the two histories compare there could not be a bigger chasm in how the two clubs stand currently. The policy, the squad, the ambitions. I suggest the title of big club now = the club who pays the big fees and wages. It is the uncomfortable truth.
What can we do about it? As fans, not much, back the lads as always. This ball is firmly in Fat Mikes court. To be fair to our Glorious Leader, he has surprised everyone and shot NUFC to the top of the January Spending Charts. Let us hope that this is the sign of promise, and future memories yet to be claimed.
Back to Saturdays match – we all love the underdog don’t we, and like it or not, even at home we are most definitely that. So when they do come to town we need to make them hate every minute of their trip and send them packing back to the smoke with their savaged tails between their legs. We lost the corresponding fixture last year 0-3, but I thought we were unfortunate. David Luiz should have been off after 3 minutes and the scoreline flattered them. However they have a quality squad and are lethal away from home, though a few of their better players may be absent. Hazard is suspended following his red card for tickling a ball man’s tummy with his toes in the League Cup, while Moses and Mikel are at the ACON. Cech and Luiz are both doubtful, and Mata has an ankle problem – though I bet he plays. If Cech misses out and they have that lump Turnbull in goal, we have got a chance as he is definitely not what you would describe as reliable or even a top flight keeper.
Their last league game was away against Reading when they got the double Le Fondre treatment, only they were two up and succumbed to a draw unlike our sickening loss. That was their third draw on the bounce, including the 2-2 draw at Brentford, so we have to attack them with the mentality that we can win.
I am looking forward to the game, get another glimpse of our very own cast of Allo Allo. Sissoko, Gouffran, M’Biwa Et al – the scene is set for the French “Resistance” to overcome the invading enemy in Blue, the conquerors of Europe (they know who they are). Hopefully we will be left standing proud as the dust settles with three points and maybe even the “Stolen Madonna with ze big Boobies!”. See you on the other side friends for jelly and ice cream. HTL
You can follow me on Twitter @JamieSwan1 and I would love your comments and NUFC banter.