Time to stop hating Chelsea?

chelseaIt has become almost the stock phrase of every fan who doesn’t support Chelsea. Whatever they think or thought of Manchester United or anyone else, they especially hate Chelsea.

In truth, the attitude predates the moneyed years of Roman Abramovich, whose £7.4 billion fortune puts him in second place (ie after Lakshmi Mittal) among the wealthiest characters in Britain. There was always a feeling that despite its fashionable name and location, there was something spivvy about the club. Going to the Bridge was almost always an unpleasant experience.

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Chelsea 7 Sunderland 2: an appreciation


Niall Quinn and Steve Bruce are apparently the guests on Goals on Sunday, on Sky tomorrow. How will they explain away this humiliation? Colin Randall is still apoplectic after another shambolic away performance …

“Appreciate,” gloated the lippy teenager in blue as she walked past the Sunderland end on the way back to her front-row seat after a wander into the concourse nearly stopped her seeing the fourth goal.

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Bridging a gap of confidence before Chelsea away


At badminton the other night – I live on the wild side – a Chelsea fan accused me of gamesmanship. He wasn’t suggesting I’d tampered with the shuttle but that I was trying to lull him towards false feelings of security by expressing fears that Sunderland might be facing a cricket score away at Chelsea. I needn’t have worried, if one of these crystal ball gazers turns out to be correct …

Over at the Blackcats e-mail group that provides such wisdom and entertainment, Jeremy, in Ontario, was worried about the shortage of banter. Were we just going to fax Chelsea the points to save having to turn up?

If so, I replied, could someone please save me turning up, too, and let me know in advance what to say when The Observer comes on for the fan’s verdict at 5pm?

Back came two versions of the same game. Take your pick, though Sunderland fans will prefer the offering from the Scottish islands.

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Who are you? We’re Chelsea – and feel sorry for Newcastle


Since I do know Chelsea season ticket holders who never go to an away Premier game but consider themselves proper fans, Gill Brown* must be ultraproper. Saturday found her in Hull, ready for the game that was sure to be played – but wasn’t. Gill, who is also a useful badminton player (well, a lot more useful than me), offers refreshingly honest answers on Toon Doon (oddly sympathetic), cheating (oddly sympathetic), club & country (tightlipped but gives it away) and Gareth Hall (“who?”). Can she be serious in thinking we might get a draw at Stamford Bridge this weekend? …

Salut! Sunderland: Top of the Premier with many people tipping you for the title, winning in the Champions League, likely to put in a strong FA Cup challenge and yet still some Chelsea fans complain. What more do the boo boys – minority though they may be – want?

I think perhaps some of the fans get very frustrated by the style of football being played and the way we tend to grind out results. I hate the “boo” culture, I don’t see any point in booing your own team, it is totally counter-productive. I would never ever boo my team no matter what and it makes me feel sad to hear it.

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Just the ticket for Chelsea, or lamb to the slaughter (2)

Over the weekend we brought you the happy tale of the Toronto-based Sunderland supporter who travelled all the way from Canada to find “Britain Closed” signs up everywhere. Having missed out on SAFC v Bolton Wanderers, she managed to get a ticket for the sell-out game at Chelsea this Saturday. Here’s a follow-up from the North-eastern press …

Salut! Sunderland is indebted to The Northern Echo‘s Andy Richardson, who has caught up splendidly with our story of the Canadian SAFC fan promised a seat at Stamford Bridge this Saturday after being robbed by the weather of the game she’d planned to attend.

Andy informs us that the supporter is 39-year-old Sarah Harriman and that it was indeed a call to BBC’s Radio 5 Live’s 606 programme that led to the offer of a ticket for the Chelsea match.

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A Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs


Is Santa listening? Probably not, but Salut! Sunderland thought it would produce its own list of the presents it wants, the things it wants to happen not just for Christmas but for the coming year. Let’s see how many are granted. This is the first of three instalments. Come up with a better suggestion or two and you might win a prize …

A is for Arsène. The elegantly whingeing Alsacian – (“is that why they’re called Arsenal?” asked the daughter who knows nothing about football) – announces a new deal with Optical Express, suddenly sees things more clearly, apologises for his players’ occasional diving and heaps praise on teams that beat or draw against Arsenal as well as those that lose.

B is for Bruce: Steve wins three manager-of-the-month awards in succession and we’re not only safe but sixth.

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A search for football’s best, most passionate fans

Here is a reminder of the search launched by Sky Sports for the best football fans in the land. There will a league table, placing the fans of all 92 league clubs in order, and prizes are promised. Anyone got the answer? Naturally, we all think that answer is staring them in the face and comes from the Stadium of Light. Look at the video and decide whether you’d like to get involved and shout about your passion …

Imagine it. You support Chelsea, Arsenal, Man United or Liverpool. You’ve followed them for ever, or rather since you were old enough to work out they were quite good and won a lot. You may even have been to the city where they play.

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Niall Quinn: who else could make us like Chelsea?

Niall Quinn famously wrote: “I learned my trade at Arsenal, became a footballer at Manchester City, but Sunderland got under my skin. I love Sunderland.” From Colin Randall‘s mini-profile, we see that the Sunderland chairman’s powers appear to know no bounds. For as long as it may last, he’s even got us thinking well of Chelsea ….


One ofthe best things you can say about Niall Quinn has nothing strictly to do with the outstanding football he played for Sunderland, the way he has conducted himself as chairman or even the magnanimous donation of the entire £1m proceeds of his SAFC testimonial to hospitals in Sunderland and Dublin and an orphanage run by a pal in Calcutta.

It is that you know instantly he’s the sort of bloke you’d enjoy having as a friend, or even as an occasional acquaintance with whom to share a drink or two.

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Soapbox: I think I have seen the champions


Just as well we have Blackburn on Saturday, as good a chance as we could have to bounce back. A preview Rovers fan’s preview will appear by tomorrow. “Complete and utter massacre. Can’t ever remember us being so completely overrun at home by another side. Frankly depressing …” was one Sunderland supporter’s harsh verdict on the 3-1 home defeat by Chelsea. Pete Sixsmith takes a more philosophical view of the gulf in class between the two teams …

Well, it could have been worse. But for some dogged defending and our visitors taking their foot off the pedal with 10 minutes left, we could have been looking at a repeat of Saturday night’s fiasco at Goodison. As it was, we were privileged to watch a master class in how to swat awkward opponents when they are annoying you.

Again, we got off to a flier and Bent took his goal really well. He picked up the ball that Kenwyne had forced out of the defender, moved quickly onto goal and slotted it past Cech in a manner completely unbeknown to the likes of Chopra and Murphy. This was after Chelsea had started well but had been pushed on to the back foot by some ferocious tackling from Cattermole and Cana.chelski

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