Tag: Chelsea

That’s Entertainment – Or Not, As The Case May Be

For the modern football supporter, there are two types of investment associated with their role in going to matches. The first is emotional, a desire to win, a bond with the team or with the club. The second is, in the modern game, financial. Attending a football match is, for a majority of supporters these days, no longer a matter of pitching up at five minutes to three on a Saturday afternoon with a handful of coins and paying an insignificant amount of money for a couple of hours’ cheap entertainment. There are logistics to take into account, and then there is the small matter of the fact that, in the Premier League, a season ticket is a sizable investment against which supporters might hope to make some sort of return. Last night at Old Trafford, both Manchester United and Chelsea failed in their quest to entertain, but as professional football increasingly becomes part of the entertainment industry it becomes easier to forget that this concept of “entertainment” remains riddles with qualifiers in sport. As we are perpetually reminded, professional football in the twenty-first century is a results business, and neither Jose Mourinho or David Moyes will have emerged from last night’s match considering the result to have been disastrous. But that small matter of entertainment – especially in an era during which it has clear that the interests...

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The 200% Premier League Pre-Season: Chelsea

It says something for the levels of expectation at Stamford Bridge these days that winning a European trophy and improving on the previous season’s league position may still be considered by many within the club to be the end of a disappointing season. The club had ended the season before that as the champions of Europe, a state of affairs which was in itself indicative of the extent to which fortunes, in professional football, can stand or fall on the slimmest of margins. That win against Bayern Munich in May of last year was enough to earn Roberto di Matteo a permanent contract as the replacement for Andre Villa Boas as the club’s manager, and that the excitement of that night at the Allianz Arena was also enough to blind many to the fact that di Matteo had only led the club to a sixth placed finish in the Premier League that season, its joint-worst league finish in fifteen years. Di Matteo, though, was a favourite amongst the fans, and when the following season continued in much the same vein as the one which had immediately preceded it – only with the Champions League miracles of the that season conspicuous only by their absence – there was outrage amongst the supporters that has seldom been seen anywhere before in the entire history of English football over a managerial appointment....

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Hazard Vs The Ball Boy Shouldn’t Have Been Last Night’s Main Talking Point

With so many people standing on either side of it screaming at each other, there is no room for sitting on the fence in modern football. So it is that we have to take sides over the tiny incident that will,by the time you read this, have swamped the football media to the exclusion of anything else. So, here’s a viewpoint on the matter, for what it’s worth. The ball boy involved in the incident during last night’s match was acting like a little scrote, and there is something about ball boys seeking to deliberately time waste towards the end of a match that is a little galling. But here’s the thing about teenage boys: they frequently act like little scrotes. It’s kind of what they do, up to a point. Eden Hazard, on the other hand is a fully grown adult. A young adult (only five years older than his momentary nemesis last night), but an adult nevertheless. Moreover, he is one of the most successful employees in a high profile business that pays its star performers lavishly for their abilities. He, for better or for worse, has little excuse for allowing himself to get into the position in which he found himself at the Liberty Stadium last night. It was a rush of blood to the head, and it has been reported that apologies have been offered...

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