Is London Now Blue? by Dan Smith
I know I can’t be the only one who saw the irony that the season we don’t qualify for any European competition, Chelsea lift their second Champions League.
There will always be an asterisk against Chelsea’s success. A clubs whose history is essentially a billionaire Russian wanting to buy a football club and you happening to be the one who are about to go bust so he can purchase you on the cheap.
That normally gets you through a round of banter. I know Blue fans who don’t like that narrative, finding it dismissive.
Jose Mourinho was always agitated that his team never got the same credit compared to other Champions. This though is different.
This is two European Cups vs a team who will start next campaign with zero European Football for the first time in 25 years.
How has that been allowed to happen?
Why was no one keeping an eye on this and not watching how big the gap was growing?
When Wayne Bridge scored at Highbury in 2004 in the CL, they were the underdogs, now they are miles ahead of us.
Even when they dominated domestically, we seemed to have an ethos to be proud of. They were the ones who were buying success. As usual we were doing things the right way. We were building a squad by respecting financial fair play, by developing youngsters.
Financial fair play was key to our business model.
We naively trusted UEFA that they would ensure everyone was self-financed, which would have left us in a wonderful position.
The action plan of moving from Highbury to the Emirates didn’t include clubs being bankrolled by Billionaires.
A Chelsea fan explained to me that he felt their 4-1 win Baku never got enough credit for the significance it had on the rivalry.
Here were Chelsea beating their enemy in a European Final, ensuring we didn’t qualify for the CL in the process. For a Blues supporter who grew up in the shadow of the Gunners, watching them beat Arsenal in this environment was potent.
Now with 2 CL to our 0, in the same period when we haven’t won the Prem, we might just have to take our medicine for the moment. Because in reality it doesn’t matter what colour London is, that’s just for the fanbases to have some fun with.
Chelsea’s win on Saturday didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.
While not bigger, for last couple of decades they have certainly they have been more ambitious – and therefore successful than us.
The romance in me wants to say our owners were watching the scenes in Portugal with jealously. That they said, ‘that needs to be us.’
You hear that all the time, don’t you? Countless sport stories are influenced by adversity.
The sad reality is Stan Kroenke not just wasn’t watching The CL final, he wouldn’t be able to name who was in it!
I’m not justifying the hiring and firing model at the Bridge. They have had success in spite of being harsh on managers.
Could they have won just as much if they hadn’t sacked a Jose or Ancelotti? What we know though is Abramovich demands winning and won’t tolerate failure. That DNA starts from the top and rolls down.
Not even based in the country, he doesn’t simply accept that Man City are better. He acknowledges it, but simply demands another way he found to bring him trophies. Hence the year Chelsea struggled to finish 4th, they end up with the biggest prize of them all.
Our frustration is that our owner is just as rich as Chelsea’s owner but since 2011 has never gave us a cash injection when we needed help.
That attitude equally trickles down. It lets everyone know that there is no consequence for mediocrity. That’s why standards drop, and people get too comfortable.
First, it’s ‘as long as we are in top 4’, now gooners are trying to justify 8th!
When we suffer disappointment, we naturally showcase common symptoms – anger, sadness, frustration, etc.
When someone Is going through that, we don’t understand that’s half the page written, even if it feels like the end.
The story isn’t just your dealing with adversity but how you deal with it. That showcases your other characteristics such as strength and resilience. That’s why realising there is a problem is the first sign of finding a solution.
Insisting we had a good season based on form since Xmas, saying we have great youngsters or linking us with Sterling, does zero favours to anyone.
The reality is we were promised that by now we be competing with the likes of Bayern Munich.
We will start in round 2 of the Carabao next season because for first time in 25 years we didn’t qualify for Europe.
Meanwhile across the capital, Chelsea are champions of Europe … again.
Only when we say ‘enough is enough’ will the tide turn.
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