Loan Roundup

August 31, 2008

Ryan Bertrand has been one of our most consistent players out on loan. He is well regarded at Norwich and has made the leftback spot his own. He was impressive in his loan spell last season and has picked up from where he left. During the last two seasons, he has slowly worked his way up the England ranks from the U17s to U19s and now he has been called up by Stuart Pearce for the U21s. He would face competition there from Middlesborough’s Andrew Taylor but having dislodged Joe Mattock from the U19 starting eleven, I don’t think it would be much harder. The key thing for him would be to keep on delivering consistent performances for Norwich while he is there and I am sure he would get the nod. Norwich fans believe he could easily make the step up to the premier league and has the right attitude and ability to carve out a name for himself. We could only hope it’s true.

Jimmy Smith injured himself in the pre-season but he has returned back to fitness and figured in a few games for the Owls. He hasn’t been anything close to impressive so far for Owls and hasn’t lasted a full league game. He would have to pick up his game and deliver some good performances otherwise he would be back on the bench. Championship is a hard division and there are no easy games. I don’t think he has a future at Chelsea but for his career I think it is very important that he makes a good impression in this loan spell.

Slobodan Rajkovic went to the Olympics to represent Serbia in the football tournament. His team couldn’t get past the group stages but he had a good tournament. He scored the equlalizer in their first game against Australia but in the next game against Ivory Coast he proved to be a villain as he headed back into his own net. He is still quiet young and learning his trade and going by that it would be fair to say that he had a good tournament. His involvement for Serbia ruled him out for the first leg of Twente’s Champions League qualifier against Arsenal. He was back for the second leg and came on as a substitute towards the end of the game but his team was already 6-0 down by that time. The Dutch Erdivisie kicked off this weekend and Rajkovic’s name was on the teamsheet but he was not brought on as he saw his team draw 1-1 with Roda JC.

Ben Sahar has not featured in any of the competitive games for Portsmouth this season though he has made the bench a few times. I was sceptic about his chances at Pompey back then and from the look of how things have gone I doubt he would get more than an odd game or two. May be when the UEFA Cup games start, he would get a game here and there in the league but that is a big ‘may be’. His chances of playing in the Carling Cup are already dashed as Pompey have drawn us so unless we lose there is no chance he would play in that competition. The FA Cup 3rd round games would start in January and by that time his loan spell would be over unless it is extended so it would take some optimism to believe this loan move is going to do any good to his development.

Shaun Cummings moved to MK Dons, managed by the Chelsea duo of Di Matteo and Newton on a month long loan. His first game for them, when he came on as a sub, was enough to impress the MK Dons faithful that this boy has talent and has got what it takes to compete at this level; his loan move was subsequently extended till the end of this year. He is a versatile player and has featured at left back as well as left wing for MK Dons and has become a regular starter for them in the last few matches.

Jack Cork moved to Southampton on loan this month and has already won the hearts of Saints supporters in his two appearances. He started at rightback in his first game when he came on as a sub and later in the week made his full debut playing in the heart of defence. Some said he was the next Alan Hansen and that is a big compliment for a player of his age. He was not in the starting lineup for the last league game against Blackpool as Southampton lost 1-0. His presence was sorely missed if you go by what the Southamton fans think so it won’t come as a surprise if Jan Poortvliet gives him a start in the next match.

Lee Sawyer moved to Southend United this month on a 3 month long loan deal. Unfortunately he has seen his team losing out in both the games he played in. His performance hasn’t gone unnoticed though. In the last league game, Southend fans were unanimous in their view that Sawyer was the best player for them. He stuck in everytime and always looked hungry for the ball. Injuries have disrupted his development in the last two years so a good loan spell would kickstart his career once again.

Tom Taiwo has been a regular feature for U18’s last season and also made a few appearances for the reserves. His loan move to Port Vale came as a bit of surprise to everyone but as it is a month long deal so it would be interesting to see how it all pans out. Taiwo has worked with Sinnott, the Vale gaffer before when he was at Leeds so he was quiet enthused by this opportunity. He came on as a sub in the last game and gave a tidy performance. It might be a co-incidence but two Vale goals came on just after he entered the match. I am sure there is a lot more to come from him.


Chelsea Reserves 2 – 2 Manchester United Reserves |Friendly| 26th August

August 31, 2008

It was a game of two halves where we did well in the first while Man United came back strongly in the second. We were by far the better team in the first half of the game. We kept the ball well and passed it around quiet nicely. We could have gone 1-0 up as early as the first minute but Tejera’s shot bounced off the right post. The first goal came off a corner. Tejera whipped the ball in and United cleared the ball but it fell at the feet of Sinclair just outside the box. He attempted a shoot but his mistimed shot fell at the feet of Bruma who brilliantly flicked it to Mellis and he slotted it perfectly past Ben Amos. The second goal came as a result of a good buildup play. Sinclair won the ball around the final third and passed it to Tejera who pushed it in the path of running Magnay. Sinclair continued his run and met the ball crossed by Magnay from the right with a powerful header which was too much for Man United goalie to stop.

The second half was mostly Man United. I was disappointed by the way we approached the game. It was there to be won but we sat back and got a bit complacent and paid for our mistakes. Both the goals could have been avoided. Nielsen lost the ball in the midfield and they caught us on the break. We gave too much time and space for one of the Silva twins and he struck a powerful shot which was out of Taylor’s reach. The second goal was all the more disappointing as it came just at the death. All they needed to do was to clear the ball but our players had other ideas. Bridcutt who I thought played well in the middle today fouled a United player in the box and referee had little hesitation in awarding a penalty. Gibson went up to take the stop kick and made no mistake.

I was impressed by our defence especially in the first half as they looked quiet assured. Mancienne looked too good for this level of football and brought the ball out of defence a few times. Magnay was our best player in the first half IMO. He defended well and went forward at every opportunity. One of the things I like about him is his strength and is not someone who can be easily knocked off the ball. Bruma and Van Aanholt, who was taken off in the second half after picking a knock looked decent and composed in possession. Taiwo came on towards the end replacing Van Aanholt.

The midfield trio of Mellis, Tejera and Bridcutt worked hard and were on top in the first half. You can compare the three to Lampard, Ballack and Mikel. In the second half Tejera and Mellis came off for Fernandes and Ferreira. Mellis was the pick amongst the midfielders for me though Tejera also had a good game. Di Santo had a relatively quiet game and was brought off just before the half time as he had picked up a knock. Sinclair didn’t saw much of the ball in the game and I have always been critical of this aspect of his game. He goes missing once too often for my liking. In the second half I think there was some 20-25 minute period where he had just one or two touches of the ball. Stoch was the pick of forward players. He was direct and quick and whipped in some good crosses. One of them fell to Magnay in the first half who headed it across but was saved by the goalkeeper. Nielsen was also disappointing for me.

In the goal, Hilario was hardly called upon in the first half but Rhys Taylor was tested as soon as he came on in the second half. I think he did well and made some good stops. I liked the one time when it was two Man United against Taylor and goal looked inevitable but before the United player could pass the ball, he came from nowhere diving forward and cleared the ball. Good performance from him.

The substitutions in the second half took away a bit of our flow but I think 2-2 was a fair result considering the performances put in by both teams over the 90 minutes.

Team: Hilario (Taylor 45), Magnay, Bruma, Mancienne, van Aanholt (Taiwo 72), Bridcutt (c), Mellis (Fernandes 80), Tejera (Ferreira 73), Stoch, Sinclair, Di Santo (Nielsen 35)

Goals: Mellis 30, Sinclair 45

Wigan Athletic 0 – 1 Chelsea FC |BPL| 24th August

August 31, 2008

Delighted with the result but disappointed with the performance. Wigan has never been an easy place to go and get results atleast for us since they have been in the Premier League. In ’05-’06 it too an injury time winner from Crespo to separate the two teams on a day when Wigan could have won with a little bit of luck. Just after Crepo’s goal, I remember Mourinho going over to to Jewell to give his commiserations before the match was over. Jose knew we had been in a game and Wigan deserved to get something out of that game. The following season was another match where Wigan dug in and fought for every ball. Robben and Heskey were the two players who made all the difference that day. We went up 2-0 in the first half but then an inspired performance from Heskey saw Wigan pulling two goals back. It looked like two points dropped before Robben scored at the death to give us all three points. We didn’t deserved to win that game too and Jose said the same in the post match interview. Last season was a relatively comfortable 2-0 win but Wigan did came strongly at us in the second half of that match. It would be fair to say that Wigan-Chelsea clash has lived upto it’s reputation of another tight physical game where we could have so easily dropped points but we didn’t.

When you score against a team so early in the game there are two things that could happen. Their heads might drop down and they get rolled over by the opposition or they might come back strongly at you. I am afraid the second was the case today. Steve Bruce has put together a very decent side and some of the players in his team surely know how to play football. Palacios and Valencia already gave a glimpse of what they had to offer last season and Zaki, the Egyptian striker made a strong case for himself today. They fought as a unit, chased every ball, pressed at every opportunity, closed down spaces and more importantly won the physical battle. It is on days like these when you look at the teamsheet and wish you had a player like Drogba to call upon. We needed a more direct approach.

We lost the game in the midfield today. It was there for everyone to see. Palacios was brilliant while our worldclass quartet of Lampard, Ballack, Essien and Deco had a bad shift. Ballack and Essien were not fully fit but still Scolari persisted with them for the full 90 minutes. I am not sure why he did that because we had a few players on the bench who we could have easily brought on. It was never going to be easy to play a slick passing game on the JJB pitch. It did look in a much better shape than last year’s but last Friday’s rugby game between Warriors and Rhinos had caused a bit of wear and tear.

I won’t criticize Anelka and Joe Cole much because they received little or no service from the midfield. We seemed a bit short of ideas in the middle today. Sometimes it seemed that players didn’t knew whether to push on or sit back. Anelka can’t hold the ball up like Drogba so we needed our midfield to link up play with the forwards more but it wasn’t happening. We should have subbed Ballack at half time and brought Malouda/Kalou on and went with a 4-3-3. Wigan have one of the biggest pitches in the Premier League so it was disappointing to see us not making full use of the wide areas. Essien surely had one of his poorest performances in a Chelsea shirt. So many of our players in the middle had an off day that I am not sure whether it was down to tactics or individual performances.

There were some positives from the game though. Petr Cech was brilliant at the back and some of the saves he made were top draw. MOTM for me. I won’t say we defended really well because we failed to close down on some occasions and at times gave their players too much space but I was quiet impressed with our defending on set-pieces and high balls. I was impressed by the way Terry bossed evertyhing in air. Deco though being not brilliant was one of the better players in our midfield today and he took his free kick really well.

There is no need to press the panic button. The important thing is that we won the game and we are top of the league. We have got an excellent group of players here who are capable of putting a much better performance than what they managed today. It is still early days for Scolari and I am sure today’s game would be an eye opener for him in terms of how tough the games are sometimes going to be against some of the so called smaller teams. It shows the strengh of the Premier League.

I don’t really go into that beautiful-ugly football debate. I believe that first you have to play well. The beauty and the beast thing follows. We didn’t played really well today which was disappointing but I am sure Scolari would sort it out. In a way it is good that people have seen both sides of Scolari’s management in the first two games. People who were going ga-ga over Samba spirit taking over this Chelsea side would take a back seat now. To win the league you need to show pragmatism, strength of character and resoluteness and even though we were not particularly good today we hung in there and got the three points. Onwards and upwards.

Chelsea FC 4 – 0 Portsmouth FC |BPL| 17th August

August 31, 2008

Great start to the Scolari era. The cynics might argue that Pompey didn’t played to their potential and I might not disagree with them completely however the way we approached the game it was evident that this was not a performance to be taken lightly. Redknapp said in this post match comments that our movement was too much for his team and they couldn’t stay with it. He also said that it was a mistake on his side to approach the game with two forwards and he should have relied on his tried and tested 4-5-1 which would have made our movements more difficult. It wasn’t a secret but we know how the other teams are going to approach the game when they play against us especially at Stamford Bridge and may be on their home turfs too going by his performance.

Getting to the game I thought it was an excellent all around performance from the team. Having said that I think there is still scope for improvement especially from some players. I am not exactly sure what formation we were playing as there was a lot of movement especially among the midfielders. Mikel was the only one whose job looked clear. He was going to sit back and keep the game ticking with his passes. The rest of the midfielders interchanged their positions quiet a lot and took turns in attacking and defending. Anelka was upfront all on his own and Joe Cole was seemingly in a free role behind Anelka.

Coming to individual performances, I thought Mikel was the MOTM today and showed a lot of composure and awareness in that holding role. His positioning was excellent all throughout and he made some good interceptions and tackles. I don’t think he put a foot wrong in the match. I checked his stats on the telegraph website and out of his 101 passes, 94 were good. I am assuming every good pass means a complete pass so the pass completion ratio was around 94% which is phenomenal and just what is expected from a guy playing in his position. If he is good the whole team would look good.

Deco had one of the finest premier league debuts you would ever see. He looked so relaxed and at ease that it didn’t seemed as if he was playing for the first time. He distributed the ball quiet nicely and his vision and intelligence was there to see. It looked like a lost cause when Bosingwa crossed and both him and Ballack went to the ball at the same time but somehow he managed to direct it goalwards and Anelka was there to head it in. He struck the ball really well for his fourth goal and though James might have saved it but what matters is that it went in and he added his name to our list of players who scored on their debut. He also did his fair share of defensive duties and tackled well. However, his first few tackles looked a bit rash in the first half.

I am not sure why Ballack played in the first place because he only joined towards the end of our pre-season tour and would have been short of match fitness. The reports said that he picked up an ankle injury and it might have something to do with lack of match conditioning. Anyways, he looked good during the time he was on the pitch and his pass which set up Joe Cole for the first goal was world class. Scolari reckons he would be back for next week but it is not so big a worry because we have other good players here.

The whole summer was about whether Lampard would stay or not and it was great to see him pulling on the blue shirt again. He and Deco combined well in the midfield and he was as much influential as Deco in the middle if not more. His touch was class and there was this one time I think when he received the ball on his left foot and then at the blink of an eye switched it to his right and played a through ball to Anelka. He took his penalty well and set the ball rolling for another 20 goals this season.

Anelka looks a more confident player then he was last season. He lead the line well and his overall contribution to the team was good. He dropped deep at times allowing others to run into spaces and linked well with our midfield. There were a couple of times last season where Anelka deserved a goal on his performance so it was good to see him heading the ball into the net and getting on the scoresheet. He didn’t seemed as averse as last season in putting his shooting boots on and I think if Scolari is able to accomplish what he spoke about I.e ‘putting fire in Anelka’ then we would see a lot more from him this season.

Joe Cole was playing in a free role just behind Anelka atleast till the substitution of Ballack after which he moved to the right side. He was a bit more direct today than he usually is and even though he had a great game I think he could have done more. He would relish playing under Scolari by the look of things and if he maintains his consistency levels then he would be a contender for end of the season awards. I have always rated him as one of the better finishers in the team and he took the first goal really well. He also won a penalty so it was a positive contribution from his side.

The defence didn’t had much to do in the 90 minutes as we retained the ball well especially in the first half. There were periods in the second half when we dropped our tempo a bit and invited Pompey to attack. The full backs got forward well and judging only by today’s performance it looks like the 16 million for Bosingwa was money well spent. He ventured forward at every opportunity and crossed the ball well. Apart from his attacking side, he did a fine job defensively. He tackled well and made some good interceptions. Ashley took off from where he left last season and it would take some performance from Bridge to upstage Ashley. JT was as solid as ever and there were a few times when he brought the ball out of defence which he normally doesn’t do. Carvalho looked a little shaky but it is still early days. Cech was solid at the back and looked like his old usual self. A few question marks were raised about his performances in the pre-season games but he looked really sharp and up for the match today.

Among the substitutes, I thought Malouda if not great was decent. He put in a few good crosses into the box. SWP did alright and his name goes on the assist sheet for that final pass to Deco! Ferreira didn’t had much to do when he came on for Bosingwa. Overall, a satisfying performance and we can certainly build on it. The next game away at Wigan is not going to be a walk in the park. I am not sure what’s the state of the Wigan pitch. They were going to relay it in summers so it might not be so bad but nonetheless we have to be prepared for everything and if winning beautiful was the motto today we might see the ugly side of Scolari in some of the coming games.

It’s Claret and ‘Blue’ now for Steve Sidwell

July 13, 2008

Steve Sidwell finally left Chelsea for Aston Villa last Wednesday in a deal rumoured to be around 5 million pounds. Considering Chelsea signed him from Reading last year on a Bosman, the deal makes business sense especially as we are already well covered in the midfield department. However there were one or two stories in the media a few weeks back that Sidwell was holding out for a compensation from Chelsea. Considering he signed a four year contract last year and is taking a wagecut in moving to Villa, it won’t surprise me if we have made a payoff.

Sidwell was signed by Jose Mourinho last year to add strength in depth to the squad as the midfield was going to be severely depleted in January due to African Cup of Nations. It looked a good decision in foresight as Ballack and Lampard both missed a sizeable part of the season but with Sidwell in the ranks we had someone experienced to call upon if needed. Sidwell knew that it was going to be the biggest challenge in his footballing career trying to find a place for himself in the Chelsea team but in Mourinho he had a manager who made him believe that he would judge him on merit and he was certainly not there to make up the numbers. Unfortunately, the manager who signed him didn’t stayed long enough, Mourinho left the club in September. Under him he did got chances to prove himself but he didn’t really set the stage alight with his performances. I distinctly remember that Reading game when we were quiet poor in the first half when he was orchestrating things from the middle. Mourinho took him off at the interval replacing him with Mikel and within no time our game improved and we went onto win the match.

Avram Grant replaced Mourinho as the Chelsea manager and it was back to square one for all the players especially the ones signed during the summers. Sidwell had to prove himself all over again. Grant was under pressure to deliver results right from the start and with the majority of the fanbase against his appointment, it was hard for him to make unpopular decisions. He preferred to stick with the experienced players and Sidwell was rooted to the bench, not even the bench at times. He played an important part for us in January when we were very thin on numbers. It would be hard to pick out standout performances of Sidwell in Chelsea colours but I distinctly remember two games, the one away at Wigan in the FA Cup and the League Cup semifinal against Everton at Goodison Park where I thought he performed really well. In his time at Chelsea he only scored one goal and that came against the Hull side who have been promoted to Premier League this year.

Sidwell during his time here didn’t gave any glimpses of his play which could make us believe that he was a genuine first team material but one thing you can’t deny about the lad is that he does work hard for the team. People don’t usually notice that and I know at times they have been too critical of him. Some even wrote him off before he played a game which is sad. At a club like Chelsea these days the pressure of winning is probably too much and players don’t get any honeymoon periods. They are expected to fire on all cylinders right from the word go and not everyone can live upto that expectation. Sidwell couldn’t.

I am not too disappointed about his departure to be honest because if not for the African Cup of Nations last year we were well covered in midfield which is still the case. Moreover it would be better if an academy players takes up his position as when you are 6th in the pecking order, games are not going to come your way every now and then. Sidwell is undoubtedly a good player and at a club where the level of expectation is not so high he would settle in well. I am quiet chuffed that he has chosen Villa because in Martin O’Neill he has a manager who has the ability to get the best out of his players. With Gareth Barry expected to leave for Liverpool, Sidwell would be the top contender to take his place in midfield.

It would be too harsh on the lad to label him a mercenary because if we use that criteria then every other football player on this planet is one. He was brave and ambitious enough to take the chance that came his way when Chelsea came knocking on the door even though he knew that getting into the first team was by no means a piece of cake. He got the chance to play at one of the top clubs in the world alongside the best players in the business which I believe any footballer worth his salt would have jumped at. Villa presents a brilliant opportunity to him to get back to playing football week in and week out and prove his detractors wrong. Hope he does well there!

Rajkovic loaned out to FC Twente

July 10, 2008

Serbian starlet Slobodan Rajkovic has moved to the Dutch club FC Twente on a season long loan yesterday. Steve McLaren the former England and Middlesborough manager who is currently in charge of the team from Enschede was quiet enthused by his signing. He said that he is quiet pleased with signing a young player with his qualities and also mentioned about his ability to play in different positions in defence.

McLaren further said that he had been keeping an eye on Rajkovic for quiet some time and when the opportunity to sign him came along, he acted immediately. He said that a lot of English clubs were also monitoring his situation so his signing is some sort of minor coup. The German club SV Hamburger were also amongst the clubs who were tracking Rajkovic.

Rajkovic was snapped up by Chelsea quiet early when he was only about 16 and the signing fee at that time was a world record for a player under eighteen years of age. As part of the deal, Rajkovic stayed at his parent club OFK Beograd till 2006-07 season. Subsequently he was loaned out to PSV where he spent the whole of last season. Chelsea has developed close ties with PSV over the last few years and have parked quiet a few of their players who are not eligible for workpermit in England at the time of signing. Alex and Alcides were the two Chelsea players loaned to PSV before Rajkovic who moved as a part of the deal which saw Alex coming over to Chelsea having secured a workpermit from the home office.

Rajkovic didn’t had the greatest of seasons last year with PSV and was involved more only towards the later half of the season. He didn’t get many chances to start at his favoured centerback position and more often than not was preferred at leftback. He did put in a couple of strong performances especially the one against Fiorentina in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup which caught the eyes of Steve McLaren. Having watched him on a few occasions for PSV and Serbian National Team I think he has the potential to go places. He is a no nonsense defender and has the ability to dominate aerially. He lacks a bit of pace but makes up for it more often than not with his excellent positioning like our own John Terry. He might already look like a man monster but he is still 19 years of age so he is a bit short on experience which shows sometimes in his game.

It remains to be seen whether he will in the first team plans for McLaren as it is still early days in his job and he would be chopping and changing his squad a bit in the summer. But considering that lack of first team opportunities was one of the main reasons why Chelsea recalled him from PSV, I have a fair reason to believe that he would get good number of games. FC Twente are also in the third qualifying round of Champions League and if they are able to negotiate the two legs successfully they would be playing against the big boys of Europe. Rajkovic already has some European exposure with PSV last season in the UEFA Cup so a chance to play in the Champions League would be a good learning experience for him. He is likely to be on duty for the Serbian national team in Olympics during the month of August which would prevent him from taking part in the qualifying matches. He is highly regarded at Chelsea and would be trying hard next season to impress the Chelsea management. Here’s hoping we might not have to wait too long before we see him in Chelsea colours.

Why Chelsea mustn’t let Lampard and Drogba leave?

July 8, 2008

Chelsea as a club has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years especially since the arrival of Roman Abramovich. However, the success has come not just because of one man. It’s down to a lot of people right from the players, the managers to the coaching staff but then there are always some who are cut above the rest. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are surely two among the later. To win matches in football you have to score goals and surely these two names must be on the top of anyone’s mind when you are looking for goals. Take away the two men and you take away nearly half of the goals. Take away half of the goals and you take away half of the wins that too some really important ones. It’s really simple, it really is.

Just shifting the topic a little bit towards history for a moment and I know the Scousers if they are reading would jump straight away with ‘You’ve got no history’ chants but anyways who gives a fuck about them these days. When we talk about history, it is not always the past glories and triumphs that we should look for. There are a lot of other things, glories apart, you can take a cue from. History teaches you lessons, lessons which may not be exactly valid in the context of today nowithstanding there is always something to look at.

Step back to the 60’s when Chelsea were the most glamorous team in the country and though were not exactly as dominating like today but were known for their stylish brand of football. It was probably the most successful era in Chelsea’s history up until the late 90’s when Gullit and his ‘sexy football’ took over Stamford Bridge. Some truly great players graced the hallowed turf during this decade and the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Cup Winners Cup were brought home for the first time in more than 60 years. It was a magical era indeed.

Just like today when we have an array of superstars at the club even back then there were players who were real icons of that era. Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson were two pivotal figures in this Chelsea team. Osgood, the goalscoring striker, and Hudson, the main man in the midfield. Got my drift! Both Osgood and Hudson came from the youth ranks at Chelsea, Osgood a bit earlier during the reign of Tommy Docherty while Hudson, born a stone’s throw away from Stamford Bridge, was blooded in the first team by Dave Sexton who succeeded the Doc.

Hudson and Osgood were a big part of the team that went onto win the FA Cup beating Leeds in the epic final which went to a replay and then a year later conquered Europe in Athens beating Real Madrid in Cup Winners Cup which incidentally too went to a replay. The club might not have finished above the 3rd place in the league during there time but there was something special about this group of players. The honeymoon didn’t last for too long though. After the 1972 season in which we got to the finals of League Cup, Chelsea went on a decline and the league position deteriorated. The club was crippling under the debt which came with the building of the East Stand and it forced the sale of a number of players. During this time both Osgood and Hudson fell out with the then manager Dave Sexton and were put on the transfer list consequently. Southampton snapped up Osgood within months of being put on the list while Stoke spent little time in paying 240,000 pounds for Hudson. The heart of the team was gone. The club went down a year later which was the start of a turbulent period in Chelsea’s history when we went up and down the divisions, finally returning back to the top flight in 1989 where we have remained since then. The supporters at that time wouldn’t have known that after the League Cup Final of 1972 it would take the club another 22 long years to reach another cup final (barring the Full Members Cup Finals ) where we were beaten 4-0 by Manchester United. For them the defeat was painful but it didn’t really mattered because they knew that Chelsea was once again back where it rightly belonged. Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson did return back to Chelsea like prodigal sons but they could never replicate the form they showed in the swinging sixties.

Coming back to today, things have changed in a way we could never have imagined before. Chelsea is in a very strong position under the ownership of Roman and even if he decides to leave us someday we would be attractive enough for another prospective buyer. We are in a position now to buy the best players in the world, pay them the best wages and give them the best conditions to train in. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba have been an integral part of our success over the last few years but they are likely to leave this summer. The conditions and circumstances surrounding their transfer are a lot different then the ones during the times of Osgood and Hudson but no one can deny the fact that Lampard and Drogba are as important to our team as Osgood and Hudson were back then.

It is highly unlikely that we may win nought for the next couple of years and go on a downward spiral from here on but then stranger things have happened. It might not be a long wait for another 22 years but going by today’s standards and the skyrocketing expectations of the fans, a two year wait might be too much for some. I am hoping against hope for their stay but at the same time I am prepared to resign myself to fate. However, one thing which I don’t want is to return back to this post a few years down the line and curse the history books because they gave us the cue but we ignored.