Stand up to the Champions

Last updated : 03 May 2005 By Brian Dawes
Kenyon - Mostly talks bollocks
Mourinho isn't there to entertain; he's there to win trophies, so well done Chelsea. I even managed to stay awake through some of their games, the ones when Robben was playing. Mourinho has by and large been good for the Premiership because he's helped livened things up. Ardent England fans can also point to the fact that Mourinho has done Sven-Goran Overpaid a major favour by converting Joe Cole from being an up-his-own-arse show pony to something approaching a thoroughbred. But at the end of the day is Chelski's achievement of any lasting good for the Premiership or football in general? Is the sound of money talking what fans want to listen to? Are their overly aggressive poaching and destabilising policies really suitable for anyone outside the Mafia?

Peter Kenyon, the hugely loyal ex-Manchester United chief executive, enjoys riding rough shod over all and sundry whilst simultaneously talking out of his arse. Kenyon is perfectly happy to palm off the media with any old bollocks and he relays his verbal diarrhoea with a commendably straight face. One of his more laughable quotes is "I think it would be unjust to Jose and the players to say we've won this on the back of money". Well it's an argument I suppose, but can anyone within a million miles of Stamford Breezeblocks care to back that up by explaining to me exactly what Chelski would have won without spending £200 million plus (or whatever the current running Rouble count is) on players? Noxious, smarmy spin is the norm for Kenyon, as of course is his talking total bollocks.

Kenyon, who pisses on Premiership rules for a hobby and claims coincidental meetings with big name players from rival Clubs are a complete mystery to him, is adamant that Chelsea's success has not simply been bought by Roman Abramovich's huge wad. Well of course not, how could anyone possibly think such a thing? "We took some real pain and grief in reducing the squad size." That I imagine would be ‘we' as in Mourinho saying I only want international players but two-dozen tops and I don't want some of the crap I've been left by the last Italian in charge. What absolute ethical and financial torture it must have been for Chelski to subsidise other Clubs by offloading the likes of Crespo, Veron, Carlton Cole and Forssell. Not only do the likes of Brum, Villa, Milan and Inter now ‘owe Chelski one' but the blues effectively reduced their squad by ditching some high-profile, overpriced failures. Only Abramovich can afford to do this, no other Club in the world can ditch failures as lost leaders because no one else has an indefinite budget. Even in Madrid they sometimes live in the Real world.

Chelski won the Premiership fair and square and I don't for one minute suppose that anyone at Chelski considered the prospect of attempting to destabilise the opposition. But if they had, their targets would probably have been Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Surely no one at Chelsea would have suggested "while we're at it we might as well destabilise any reactionary political opponents in our way, sorry I mean sweeten the Politburo, no, I mean control the Mafia, no, no, what I mean is destabilise any competing clubs!" This is just too far fetched isn't it? No one in their right mind would consider highjacking a chief executive and then poaching key players from such illustrious Clubs as those mentioned. There would surely be an outcry.

There are some punters I've spoken to who remain enormously suspicious of the role played by Sven-Goran Overpaid in the seemingly obscene prospect of Chelski buying up the entire England squad. Was he really just another prospective Chelski employee or is there some other agenda going on? Who is Sven-Goran Overpaid really working for? Are the Russian Mafioso buying up the entire England squad as their Club team or is this merely coincidental. Some might regard it as the sort of move that only a major international crook might undertake should he have designs on endearing himself to a nation.

Now you might regard buying the England squad as being fanciful, you might call it purely coincidental but I certainly can't be alone in noticing this somewhat obvious trend. As you may recall Chelsea can claim to have started buying in from their feeder Club (the Shammers) before Abramovich's arrival when they purchased Fat Frankie. Post Abramovich they went back for seconds when they added a grossly underpriced Joe Cole and a ridiculously overpriced prospect in Glen Johnson, suspiciously silly money was paid over in a buy-one-get-one-free scenario. Next was another England prospect in left-back Wayne Bridge, followed by the acrimonious transfer of the unsettled (totally unsettled by Chelsea that is) Scott Parker. Steven Gerrard was the next for the unsettling treatment and was lined-up as a racing certainty, but somehow this was put on a temporary hold. Ashley Cole has already been tapped big-time but the Rio Ferdinand saga is obviously nothing more than just a pure coincidence. Yeah right, we all believe Kenyon don't we! Like Kenyon says why would they possibly want Ferdinand when they have Huth? So who's next? Care to wager a few bob on Shaun Wright-Phillips or Michael Owen? This may well assist England's cause, like I give a feck, but will it make anyone love Chelski? More importantly if the guts are to be ripped out of their only serious rivals at a drop of a fat Russian wad will there be any future for the Premiership as a contest?

If Chelski continue to filch players from all and sundry in an snide, underhand way there will be those who will pose the question as to what else they might be doing in a crooked manner. Now whatever opinion I have of referees in this country, and its generally quite a low one, it does not include the premise that they have a susceptibility to bribes. But how long do you suppose the question will go unasked? If Chelski were to win another major European tie, for example, due to an unspotted block on the opposition keeper, as happened against Barca, will questions be asked? Abramovich comes with a considerable amount of deserved baggage, as do many of his fellow Oligarchs. He certainly didn't get where he is today by being an outstandingly upright citizen all his life as can be seen by even the briefest perusal of his rise to fame and especially fortune. And I shouldn't think for one minute that he left Russia for health reasons. Well actually it's not inconceivable that he may have left purely for health reasons.

So what can be done? Well charging Chelski triple the going rate for existing Premiership players is only a short-term fix because no Clubs can stand the loss of their top players, no matter how much their kitty gets topped up. For the mid-table teams like Manchester City Wright-Phillips is the type of player they need to build around not offload. For the bigger Clubs, such as Liverpool, losing top players such as Gerrard, is an admission of failure and a capitulation to the dark forces. So just how anyone will be able to stop Chelski buying more trophies remains a problem for everyone outside SW6.

I don't have an answer, do you?