Chelsea ‘Who are You?’: on idolising Zola, hating Newcastle

We want a re-run of Dec 4 1999 so please let the Everton cup game have tired them out; he wants Malouda to clinch a 1-0 revenge win. David Harding*, a Fleet Street foreign editor, has supported Chelsea since early boyhood and has written a book about a special hero, Gianfranco Zola,. After yesterday’s sampler, this is the full interview with refreshing thoughts on money-driven success, this season’s Premier shakeup, the Darren Bent transfer and Sunderland players he’d welcome in Blue …

Salut! Sunderland:
Thrashed at home by Sunderland. We were ecstatic, but did subsequent results for Chelsea make it less an achievement than it seemed?

Not at all. I am not saying this to be polite but Sunderland’s performance that day was one of the best by an away team at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons. The passing and movement was wonderful. Onuoha’s goal would be replayed constantly if his name was spelt Rooney. Welbeck was sensational that day. If I was a Sunderland fan the thing I would have cherished most after my joy/laughter at the scoreline had finally died down was the performance. It showed there is a real team there, not an XI capable of fashioning a one-off result. It ranks alongside the Inter Milan (0-1, though it should have been more), Everton (3-3, Fellaini was magnificent) and Liverpool (0-1 in 2008) games in recent years in terms of away teams’ performances at the Bridge.
I don’t think our other many defeats this season should diminish the achievement. We were dire against Liverpool and Wolves, lucky at Blackburn but Sunderland thrashed us. It was notable also that it was the first time I can remember a Steve Bruce team coming to Stamford Bridge and attacking.

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The Chelsea interview: ‘sacrilege, but Kerry Dixon left me cold’

For the latest feature in Salut! Sunderland‘s “Who are You?” series, David Harding, a Chelsea fan who has written books on Gianfranco Zola and, er, A**n She**r, covers a lot of ground: from his club’s Unloved status and Abramovich’s billions to his thoughts on cheating and Sunderland (positive) and Newcastle (not). He sympathises with the late Ian Porterfield (our hero, less successful as the Blues’ manager) but drools over another of those Sunderland lads who never played for his home town team …

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