This, said our second Chelsea ‘Who are You?’ interviewee this month, ‘is coming to you from the Acela Express from Boston to NYC’. David Millward* – commonly known as Sid in honour of an uncle who was a 1950s and 1960s bandleader – recent moved to the US from London, where he was transport editor of The Daily Telegraph, his career having survived three decades and card-carrying membership of the Labour Party. He was such a fixture at Stamford Bridge that the club feted him before his departure. He probably expects an easy passage to the Capital One Cup semis when Chelsea return to the SoL tomorrow night but forgot to say so …
Salut! Sunderland: Mourinho was gracious enough to say Sunderland would probably have gone on to win 5-4 had the game stretched on a bit longer. Do such defensive frailties sit easily with a title challenge?
To my shame I didn’t realise the league game was midweek. I came back to see Chelsea chat going on about Hazard and the score Sunderland 3 Chels…
Only opening up the page enabled me to realise that this had been another famous CfC victory.
We have the special one back and thus far he has lived up to the billing. The revolving door of managers has been to say the least rather odd. Somehow the trophies keep coming. The Ancelotti side was probably the best to watch, playing football with a smile and scoring goals for fun. Jose first time round was perfect for Chelsea, the outsiders gatecrashing the corrupt G14. He became a hero for his remarks about Anders Frisk. Forget the hype and hysteria, the basic facts were true Rijkard did try to influence the referee and surprise, surprise Drogba was sent off as UEFA played their favorite game of handicap to protect Barcelona.
What do you make of the managerial goings-in at Stamford Bridge in recent years? Was Abramovic right on Di Matteo, does Mourinho’s appointment suggest a period of stability?
The big question now is whether the same abrasive approach is necessary now – perhaps grudgingly – Chelsea have been accepted as part of the European establishment.
His tactical acumen however is second to none. Man City have better players, but the game at The Shrine (aka
Stamford Bridge) showed he is a far better coach than Pellegrini.
Salut! Sunderland’s incomparable Pete Sixsmith was chuffed with the reference to your uncle Sid’s band (see his comment at your “Who are You?” interview of five years ago: https://safc.blog/2008/03/who-are-you-were-chelsea-4/). But Pete was a lot less complimentary about Chelsea FC: https://safc.blog/2013/12/sixer-says-why-i-still-find-it-hard-to-like-chelsea/. Mount your case for the defence
Pete Sixsmith’s broadside has echoes of Terry Collier in the Likely Lads. Chelsea were always “flash”. I am the proud owner of a T-shirt with Raquel Welch in a Chelsea kit after here memorable visit to the The Shrine in the early 70s. By then the team was in sad decline, the hooligans starting to flex their muscles and Peter Osgood – think Ibrahimovic but thinner and far better – well past his pomp.. Ms Welch, who apparently had enjoyed – perhaps over enjoyed – then lavish hospitality sashayed along the touchline in front of the building site that was the East Stand, shouting and waving to Ossie. To this day we do not know whether Ms Welch succumbed to his charms.
The process of yuppification has forced Chelsea’s core support out of Fulham to a quadrant reaching deep into the arse-end of suburban Surrey. This is not the Surrey of lawns and golf clubs, but of Young Offenders Institutions and dodgy geezer scrap yards. Ken Bates was pretty charmless but he was sharp enough to keep Chelsea afloat when the club was under attack by not only property developers but a Tory council who wanted the club out of the borough.
Contrast this with Arsenal who were given a huge helping hand by their local authority, which even used Compulsory Purchase Orders to drive businesses away to make room for the Emirates.
So do I feel guilty about Roman’s riches, no. If he was going to spend the money somewhere, I am glad it is us, though there are some questions how well the cash has been spent. The ridiculous money shoved into agent’s pockets is a matter of concern. The stockpiling of good players including some outstanding youngsters is not altogether a good thing. I fear young Josh McEachran could see his career crumble because of the loadsamoney approach.
Jozy Altidore won a lot of praise after the Premier League game and seems to be a favourite among followers of the US national team. You’ve just moved to the USA. Is it still largely a football/soccer-free zone and have you come across much mention of Altidore in the American media?
My first memory of the guy is a hilarious video, probably on YouTube, from his Hull City days when his leisurely drive through rural Yorkshire was interrupted by a large flock of sheep. This is not something he was used to in the depths of industrial New Jersey, where – if I remember rightly – he developed his footballing skills. Alas have been too wound up in the bureaucracy of settling into the Land of the Free to follow his progress.
I believe you have vivid memories of a Milk Cup game between our sides at Stamford Bridge at which hard-of-thinking home fans decided a pitch invasion might be a good idea.
Salut has still refused to accept that the police horses were interfering with play when Sunderland scored. I remember the atmosphere being evil even before kick off with the police clashing with Chelsea fans entering the ground. “We are not the f******” miners” was the response from the assembled throng as they made their way into The Shrine. Just before I left the UK, I was given a VIP reception at Chelsea, where I met Clive Walker whose memories of the encounter are vivid. The nicest surprise was not only was he once a great footballer but, as I discovered, an engaging and intelligent man who was delightful company.
What about your memories of the team? And what have been your own highs and lows as a supporter? Who are the greatest players you’ve seen, or wish you’d seen, in Chelsea colours and who should have been allowed nowhere near them?
Too many, so here is a few. Seeing Chelsea beat dirty Leeds in Manchester, showing they could kick even harder than Don Revie’s assassins. There was some real poetic justice in seeing the biter not only bit, but chewed and spat out.
Bit soppy this, but seeing us win the Champions League with Robin, my long-suffering American wife, who has traipsed around the country watching some dire Chelsea sides over more than 30 years. It was, as she said rightly, more fun than our wedding.
Players I wish I had seen in a Chelsea shirt. Dead simple, Jimmy Greaves who never wanted to leave and George Best who wanted to join his mates Ossie and Alan Hudson. Of course I would love to have seen Charlie Hurley in a Chelsea shirt. Donkeys, too many to mention. We spent money on Adrian Mutu but did no due diligence about his extra curricular activities. I would love Torres to come good, but fear that the may not have been as rigorous as they should have been.
If money were no object … correction, since money is no object, who would you buy for the club to make Chelsea invincible?
In theory Messi, but would love young Josh to come good. There is still a bit of the romantic in me.
What will be this season’s Premier top four in order and – being as brutal as you must – who is going down? If not mentioned, where will our clubs finish?
Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City Liverpool
Palace, Fulham, West Ham.
This is not spite. Hull look halfway decent and as for Sunderland, have a lot of time for La Radio (Gus), would love him to succeed and think he will. So lower mid table, but above Newcastle (what is he on and can we all have some? – ed).
Brazil 2014: already excited or too obsessed with Chelsea to care?
Will be able to enjoy and watch on the same time zone. Not that fussed who wins. Be glad to be away from the hysteria and hype in England.
Which features of the modern game most inspire – and appal – you?
Really have got the hump about agents. They are leeches who line their pockets while destabilizing the game, pocketing huge amounts of money and creating a South Sea Bubble which will burst.
How will you keep tabs on our match and what will be the score?
Assuming I can escape the churn of becoming a real person in the USA, will try to find the game on NBC. Dear old Rupert Murdoch, having been outbid for what they call the EPL over here, squatted on the station slots. Poor old NBC footie to be found on somewhere around channels 1580 to 1590, probably sandwiched between Korean cookery shows and Mexican shopping TV (no score prediction – ed).
*David Millward on himself: Saw first game in April 1963, when Chelsea beat Grimsby in the same season as Tommy Harmer scored the goal of the season at Roker with a 35 yard thunderbolt (or something like that). When to a reunion dinner for the Docherty side and got the programme signed. Have fled London to live in Ogunquit, Maine – a state where men are men and moose rather nervous. Sort of semi-retirement, but will still be working for the Telegraph three days a week.
** Playimng for the Mob in Las Vegas: David’s story of his uncle, Sid Millward, leader of the Nitiwts: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3622543/So-what-was-Uncle-Sid-up-to-in-Vegas.html
Interview: Colin Randall