Well, we’ve now long past the end of a season which, although rich in promise at the outset has ended as a damp squib, particularly with Carlo’s departure, which although not unexpected was shocking in its suddenness.
I strongly suspect that the most disappointed amongst our fan base will be those under 25, who have grown up seeing Chelsea as an established Premier League force and for whom a season without a trophy is like a day without sunshine.
For those of us of an older vintage, however, we just count our blessings that we’ve avoided relegation, reached the latter stages of the Champions League (again) and that we had a shout with the league until the last couple of weeks.
So, in time-honoured tradition, and like any other hack with a few opinions, it’s time to hand out my brickbats and bouquets.
Hot spot of the season
Joint first – home games against the Wests, Brom and Ham, at either end of the season. Days which started with sizzling sunshine, and ended up with torrential rain, thunder, lightning and players aqua-planing. I preferred West Ham on the ground that I got slightly less wet.
Cold spot of the season
No competition – Copenhagen away. Freezing cold days, and even colder nights. Particularly the 25 minute walk back into town after the game. The temperature was officially -8, but I’m told by a friend who was there that the windchill factor made it -15. I’ll never forget the sight of frozen, discarded pints in the street.
You’ve made a schoolboy/girl error of the season
The northern-based friend, whose name I will refrain from publishing, who was so drunk at Blackpool away that he walked out of the ground at half-time and returned to the pub. He then realised that the game was still going on and returned to the ground, only to be refused entry.
He then crowned his achievement by falling asleep on the train after the game, waking up in Lancaster instead of Preston, and having to get a taxi home.
The Bad Moment of the Season sponsored by Carlo Ancelotti
1st December to 31st January. Inclusive.
Muppet of the season
There a few season ticket seats around me where the owners don’t turn up to every game, and the tickets circulate amongst their friends. This season’s king of muppets is the guy who bought his girlfriend to the Wigan match.
She was plainly not interested in the game, and when we took the lead, she remained in her seat. Didn’t even get up and clap. I turned to her and said “Aren’t you pleased we’ve scored? Don’t you care?” She shrugged and went on chewing her gum.
This enraged me so much that I said “If you’re not interested, don’t come again”. Her 12 year old boyfriend then got annoyed and started calling me out. I said to him “If she’s not interested, don’t bring her. Take her to Mamma Mia. She’ll enjoy that”.
He started down the “see you outside route” at that point and I simply said I didn’t fight little boys, and resumed my seat. They left 10 minutes before the end. He had probably lured her to the match on a promise she’d her she’d meet Frank Lampard or Ashley Cole, or something.
Chaps, there’s a lesson here. If you are tempted to take your girlfriend to the football, and you know she’s not interested, please don’t bring her. She’s not only depriving someone possibly more deserving else of a ticket. And if she can’t be arsed to even clap when Chelsea score, then the chances are she’s not the girl for you.
Runners-up – the heavy handed West Stand stewarding on the night of the Man Utd league game who insisted they couldn’t let me into the ground unless they saw the contents of a birthday present I’d been given. I refused to open it 10 days ahead of my birthday and they took it away and opened it to check it wasn’t a bomb.
When I pointed out that I was a girl, the present was wrapped in birthday paper, and did I look like a terrorist, it was greeted with the reply “how do we know what a terrorist looks like?” No application of common-sense whatsoever.
Hack of the season
And I mean this in an uncomplimentary sense. Admittedly he’s sometimes handicapped by headlines undoubtedly imposed by a sub-editor, but for negativity towards CFC, particularly from a supposedly London paper, I give you Simon Johnson of the Standard.
Awayday of the season
West Brom. Ticket prices remain comparatively cheap compared to other grounds, I can get a drink I actually like, and there’s a fast and efficient tram to Birmingham which takes 10 minutes. You’re much better drinking in town than out there (I’ve never forgotten a visit to the Royal Oak in 04/05 when I went to the toilets out the back and saw a curry being prepared in a giant aluminium bin).
Pub of the season
The White Horse, Parsons Green – I’ve had complaints from certain friends about the super-abundance of away fans here, but this is a serious, grown-up pub (albeit child-friendly) with a particularly big following amongst real-ale buffs. The food is absolutely sublime. Put it this way, if I want one drink and a decent meal, I’ll go there. If I want to get drunk, I’ll go to The Goose.
The Golden Baby
Runners-up – the fans who, in spite of the disappointing end to the season, embraced the spirit of the 80s in a good way with the re-institution of fancy dress at Everton on the last day. And boy did they need it.
Joint Winners – for persistently fighting Chelsea’s corner publicly this season against an often-hostile media, Pat Nevin and Graeme Le Saux.
Well, that’s all from me on the football front this season, but the Editor has tasked me with using my creative endeavours in keeping you entertained until August, so look out for me during the Summer, in my slightly off-beat stylee.