Monday, 12 August 2013

A Fresh Season Approaches

So a new season is about to begin and I am already bored of people asking what Mourinho’s return means to me. Of course the risk is that his impact may not be as great as when he had his first stint at our club. His sporting a fresh tattoo on his wrist worries me further... as was his first attempt at mind games against the “wrong Ronaldo” which failed when the Real Madrid man did his talking on the pitch against us albeit in a friendly against a weakened Chelsea side.

We still have no real target man who can frighten defences since Drogba left. Rooney is not the answer and at Manchester United he plays a more attacking midfield role – a position for which we have plenty of cover. The only thing that Rooney could add that we miss in attack is strength and aggressiveness. We play attractive football in this area but appears a tad naïve compared to our peers. Nothing would please me more than to see Lukaku succeed but for now this seems no more than wishful, innocent child-like thinking. For a while now Torres has easily given up in matches – not even vociferously claiming for free-kicks which he has rightfully deserved when fouled. Perhaps even referees perceive him as an invisible man on the pitch too. Ba still seems the best option up front.

For Chelsea to really advance we need to be mentioned in the same breath as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and to a lesser extent the two Manchesters. Our initial two matches against Hull and Aston Villa should provide us with six points and no doubt will be followed by much praise. If we fail at Old Trafford before the European Super Cup Final in Prague (where flights from London cost an eye-watering £600) question marks will be raised before the season has even properly started.

Whatever happens we will support the side and shout for them… but the question remains if Chelsea’s support and more importantly our owner will be patient if results do not go our way.

On a different note, as the football league starts it is sad to see so many teams struggling. We can always look at the past with rose-tinted spectacles but to see clubs such as Coventry City having to play at Northampton and only sell 200-odd season tickets shows how important it is for genuine fans to still have a say in the running of a club. Although the away end at Highfield Road was a woeful part of the world, at least it felt like a football club in the traditional sense and we appear to be missing that heart and soul that makes this game so special.

Although the standard of football we watch these days is incomparable to that which we had to endure so many years ago, there are small parts of the game that we miss. For instance, I have been reticent to read any official news from the Chelsea website assuming that it represents propaganda – but when it comes to match reports for the odd game that I miss there is far more balanced reporting there than in newspapers which rarely describe what has actually happened on the pitch. Instead, they wish to concentrate more on other matters as if they were having a chinwag down the local boozer. There is too much pub talk and little expert opinion that is reliable or original – hence why Match of the Day is no longer a must see. Gary Neville is probably the only exception to this rule.

Back to our club. Hope is there – in an ideal world a young, talented team such as we possess should become successful. Time will tell but it is hard to really think that we can dominate the league or Europe for a while. Over the past decade, big name signings such as Shevchenko and Torres who were perhaps also signed with marketing intentions in mind were failures – this could easily happen again with Rooney should he join.

So a second honeymoon period for Jose. A man who I admire for his psychological as much as his tactical skill. Let’s hope our players keep their focus on the pitch and don’t let their guard down off it. Best of luck to the Blues this season and at present I will happily accept any trophy and a top-three finish. Anything better (including a decent run in the Champions’ League) will be seen as a result in my eyes with the long-term success of my club the most important thing – especially in context with the sobering thought of what has happened to the likes of Coventry City and Portsmouth over the past few years.

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