Paolo Di Canio takes Sunderland to Stamford Bridge on Sunday for a routine outing against the side that has just turfed Man Utd out of the FA Cup and has top four written all over it. Or will the fear of PDC make them all play as they did at Southampton? A baptism of fire for Di Canio, maybe, but no members of his squad will be under any illusions about how passionate to win he will expect them to be once kickoff comes. Del Oldfied* is a London cabbie and Chelsea nut. He thinks PDC’s appointment is risky but already thought we had “enough quality`” to stay up. That said, Del also expects us to face a confident bunch of Blues …
Salut! Sunderland: What do you make of the FA Cup victory over Man Utd coming so soon after a poor league performance at Southampton – and which Chelsea should we expect to turn up on Sunday?
Chalk & Cheese is the best way to describe the last 2 games. Absolute rubbish against the Saints, and wasn’t too impressed with the first half against Utd, but grew into the game and ended up, in my opinion, deserved winners on Sunday. You could possibly see a resurgent Chelsea on Sunday as that top 4 is of the utmost importance now above all else.
Sunderland’s appointment of PDC was even more of a shock than the strange timing of the O’Neill sacking. Do you have any thoughts on this and on Di Canio?
Strange appointment as PDC is untried at the top level, so I see this as a bit of a gamble. Seems to want to rule with an iron fist, and that sort of managerial style doesn’t necessarily work at this level. I like O’Neill as a manager so I’m sorry to see him go, but the Premiership will definitely be a brighter place with PDC in charge now.
The word on everyone’s lips when they think of Chelsea is Rafa. The point’s been made so are the continuing protests not a bit wearying and also counter-productive?
The Rafa Rants are a bit pointless now as he has already stated he is leaving at the end of the season. With so many games still left to play it only makes sense to get behind the team in a positive way.
Do John Terry, Frank Lampard and for that matter Torres have futures at Stamford Bridge?
JT & Lamps have futures at the club for sure. Even if they don’t play as many games, it will still be good for the club to have them around to help new and young players get used to the Chelsea way. JT’s antics haven’t exactly helped our cause over the last couple of seasons, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he is shown the door by the owner. Torres has definitely got to go, full stop. He wasn’t exactly at his best when we paid £50m for him and for whatever reason, it just hasn’t happened for him at Chelsea. The Club and especially the Fans have given him every encouragement to do well, and unfortunately he hasn’t been able to repay the faith shown in him. A cash plus player swap deal for Falcao would ideal for us in the summer.
Is there a feeling that shabby ways of the club, especially over Roberto Di Matteo, but also in the Mark Clattenburg affair, ruin the goodwill success – grudging in some quarters – with attractive football as well as success had brought CFC?
I’m not exactly an admirer of the way the club is run. It starts at the very top, and Mr Abramovich hasn’t exactly lead by example with the constant firing of managers every time we have a little wobble. Stability on all fronts is the key to making Chelsea just as successful off the pitch as we have been on it.
And what do you feel are the five-year plan and prospects?
With regards to a five year plan, for starters we need a manager to be there that long to help implement and spearhead it. Mourinho is the only man for me that has the vision to oversee such a thing and understands what the club and the fans are all about.
Does your support go back to when the club was much less successful? If so, and this is a question I ask Man City fans, do you ever miss those days when it was not expected that the club should win every game?
My support for Chelsea stretches back to my first game when I was 4 years old against Grimsby at home in the old 2nd Division. Being almost 38 now, I’ve seen the club for from perpetual Nearly Men, to Champions of Europe. The thing I miss the most about the old days is the support. Stamford Bridge is so quiet now compared to how it used to be. My 11 year old son even refuses to sit in the East Stand anymore as he wants to be amongst the atmosphere and noise of the Matthew Harding.
Where do you need strengthening and is there, hand on heart, any Sunderland player who’d even make your bench?
We definitely need a top class striker in the summer, maybe two, along with a right back. I’ve always been a fan of Adam Johnson, so maybe he could make our squad.
Any thoughts on Sunderland – the club, the fans, the region?
Sunderland are a great club with great fans. I like Martin O’Neil and feel given time that he [would have] worked his magic.
What are your high and lows as a Chelsea fan?
Highs are easy, winning the Premier League and Champions League, which I honestly never thought I’d see. The Lows have really got to be this constant managerial merry go round and the fact we haven’t got anywhere to build a bigger stadium.
Who are the best you’ve seen in Chelsea colours – or wish you’d seen from the past – and who should have been allowed nowhere near them?
The best, lots of them, and probably far to many to mention. But the very tops have to be Zola, Lampard & Drogba for me. I do wish I’d have seen Ron Harris and Peter Osgood though. Those I’d wished had never come are Shevchenko, Torres, Lambourde & Mikel.
What will be the top four in order. WHo’s going down and where, assuming you have Chelsea in the first category and hoping we’re not in the second, will we finish?
Top 4 I hope will be Utd, City, Spurs & Chelsea. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t make the top 4. I think Sunderland have enough quality to avoid relegation for sure.
Cheating: so widespread we should accept it as part of the modern game? If not, what form most annoys you and what do we do about it?
The diving and play acting grate on me the most. I would like to see players punished retrospectively, as I feel it may eradicate it most of the time as they will know they are being monitored. No form of cheating should ever just be accepted in our game.
Club vs country. Who wins for you and why?
Club wins over Country 100%. Not that I feel any player should ever ignore his Country when called upon. I’m extremely patriotic but your club is with you week in and week out.
Will you be at our game and what will be the score?
I don’t get to many games unfortunately as I still play on a Saturday myself, but when I eventually hang my boots up, the first thing I’ll do is apply for a season ticket. I’m hoping just for a Chelsea win and any score line will do.
Del with son[/caption]* Del Oldfield on himself: I’m 38, a London taxi driver, married for 10 years and dad of two. I have supported Chelsea since my first game as a four-year-old against Grimsby, when I sat in the old West Stand on some wooden benches with my Dad. I attend matches when I can, but still playing myself and availability do restrict how many times I go.
Interview: Colin Randall