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Rhyme and Treason

Chelsea 2015-2016 A Season in Verse


FrontI came up with the idea of writing a poem per game for one Chelsea season, just before the 2015/16 campaign. Why not, I thought; we’d just won the premier league, and everything seemed pretty rosy. A few games into the new season and I wondered what I’d been thinking of. Everything was unravelling. Fast. There was drama off the field, and alarmingly bad results on it. But I’m a die-hard supporter, and there was nothing for it but to plough on, my raw emotions spilling out as I, like most other supporters, became increasingly frustrated and bewildered.

BackMark Worrall, a Chelsea friend, author, and proprietor of Gate 17 publications, approached me after I tweeted one of my poems which had attracted considerable attention. I elaborated on my planned project, and so this season-long collection was born. It reflects my feelings as I was navigating through what was an unpredicted drop from glory to despair. But football supporters are made of tough stuff, and regardless of what team you support, you will identify with the sentiments expressed. Not always rational. Not always unbiased. But always passionate.

If you appreciate the writing on this blog, take a look at Rhyme and Treason: Chelsea 2015-2016 a season in verse.

Click to view


Love Letters From The Stand


If you’ve enjoyed this season’s book, take a preview of Love Letters From The Stand, the forthcoming book for Chelsea’s 2016-2017 season.

The preface will be available throughout the season here.

You can preview selected chapters here, here, here and here, each for a limited time.

The collected letters will be available in print and ebook formats after the season ends.


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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The Transfer Troll Is King

It is the silly season and the meltdown’s in full swing.
It’s all going off in Twitter-land where the transfer troll is king.
The fanboys in their bedrooms are a-weeping and a-wailing.
They say our club is going bad, and at transfers we are failing.

The sky will soon fall in, they tweet, if we don’t hear some news.
They cannot stand this untold stress of following ‘da blues’.
The toys are falling out of prams, when a player joins a rival.
‘WE’LL FAIL!’  they write in capitals, ‘WE’LL BE FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL!’

They tell the world what they would do, to them it’s such a breeze.
They play their Fifa 17 with skill and expertise.
It is the silly season and the fanboys feel the sting.
They’re hurt, affronted, wounded, and the transfer troll is king.

The clickbait-fodder swallow every story they devour.
The tales get taller, all the time, with every Twitter hour.
As ‘sources close’ have inside news about a ‘breaking deal’
And the fanboys wet their beds again and tell us how they feel.

‘Announce! Announce! Announce!’ they say, as they tweet their chosen star.
‘Come join us, bro,’ they tell a man who knows not who they are.
The rest of us just roll our eyes – we’ve heard it all before.
The silly season’s full of shit and likely there’ll be more.

Supporters have no power, no say, in who we sell or buy.
The board won’t listen to a word, so cry you fanboys, cry.
In ninety minutes of each game, we can chant, and shout, and sing.
But, in the silly season, it’s the transfer troll who’s king.

© Carol Ann Wood
July 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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The Night The League Was Won

The night the league was won, the Chelsea gathered in their blue.
At West Brom, where we hoped our boys knew what they had to do.
The Tottenham had been saying that they were coming for us soon.
We waited but they never did. Oh Tottenham, change your tune!
We Chelsea sang our hearts out and we urged our players on.
A Pullis team is stubborn but we roared our love in song.
And Michy stepped up to the task to bring us all such joy.
He’s not had many chances, but he is a lovely boy!
The night the league was won we were ecstatic and elated.
It felt so sweet, and most of us had not anticipated
The changes that Antonio would bring that club of ours.
Last season we had thunderstorms. This year, just hearts and flowers.
And sunshine, sunshine, all the way, from a man with such a passion.
He celebrates each goal as if they’re going out of fashion!
He’s charming and he’s dignified, endearing and a gent.
He’s taught his squad his methods and they’ve warmed to his intent.
The night the league was won, we laughed as Luiz danced and smiled.
He’s proved his critics wrong and driven all his geezers wild.
We watched as Victor Moses went from loan king to a star.
We watched as Kante bossed midfield by running near and far.
The night the league was won, we all remembered loved ones gone.
But they were with us still, we knew, to urge our blue boys on.
To win the title on the road, and on a Friday night,
It is a strange experience. To some, it’s not quite right.
And yet, we had to get it done, so we can celebrate
Back at the Bridge, our home sweet home.
The feeling’s simply great.
The night the league was won, we felt an era new was dawning.
Each day is blue and when we wake, each morn’s a Chelsea morning.
Let’s hail the great Antonio and seasons in the sun.
For we were WORTHY champions,
The night the league was won.

© Carol Ann Wood
May 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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A die-hard Chelsea Woman

A die-hard Chelsea woman doesn’t follow many teams.
She has our crest inside her head, one club is in her dreams.
A die-hard Chelsea woman doesn’t re-apply her gloss
When there is action on the pitch, and when the weather’s dross.
A die-hard Chelsea woman doesn’t care for camera’s gaze.
What matters is the team’s result, each game that Chelsea plays.
A die-hard Chelsea woman laughs when rain destroys her hair.
She doesn’t mind if she looks nuts, what matters is she’s there.
A die-hard Chelsea woman is the one who’ll never leave,
She just has Chelsea in her heart, her passion on her sleeve.
What matters are the friendships and the laughter down the years,
The wins, the comebacks and the joy, the heartache and the tears.
A die-hard Chelsea woman knows the offside rule and more.
She simply can’t be patronised, this woman knows the score.
A die-hard Chelsea woman may be tall, or may be short.
She may be large, she may be small, but die-hards can’t be bought.
A die-hard Chelsea woman won’t be judged by how she looks.
She’s not an It girl wannabe in magazines or books.
She’s smart, she’s clever, and she’s lived
Through many, many things.
She’s real, not plastic, just herself, she swears, she shouts, she sings.
A die-hard Chelsea woman comes from near or from afar.
What matters not is distance, but instead, how loyal you are.
She doesn’t need to preen or pout, she’s comfy in her skin.
It’s how she loves the Blues that counts, not what she’s covered in.
If you’re a die-hard Chelsea girl, young, old or in-between,
Be proud and loud when in that crowd.
Be vocal and be seen.
For glam may sell a TV show, but glam is quickly gone.
It’s us who are the backbone that the club relies upon.
It’s us the Chelsea die-hard girls who, when the going gets tough
Will stick around through stormy skies and still can’t get enough.
A die-hard Chelsea woman suffers fools not well nor gladly.
So cross her at your peril or you’ll find it could end badly.
Good Chelsea men all know our worth, beyond our arse and tits.
For plastic’s only temporary, but we’ve got proper bits.
We’re die-hard Chelsea women and we’re worth as much as you.
We love our this club, we’re here to stay,
We’re Chelsea through and through.

© Carol Ann Wood

March 2017

Breaking News on PieGate 

breaking-news

The FA have announced, in the light of the recent PieGate scandal involving Sutton United reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw, that they are to investigate a similar historical food-related incident. They are launching an enquiry into former Chelsea goalkeeper William ‘Fatty’ Foulke’s time at Chelsea, during the 1905-06 season, when it was reported that he ate the dinner intended for the entire first team squad, ahead of a competitive Boxing Day game.

A spokesman for the FA said ‘We cannot rule out the possibility that this was a stunt in association with a betting ring. Foulke was a notoriously eccentric character, but we cannot allow anyone to get away with a breach of the rules, even if he died in 1916. As we cannot interview Foulke himself, we will be contacting his descendants, and questioning both them and Chelsea Football Club regarding this matter.’

I asked the FA spokesperson exactly how they would go about collating evidence of foul play. They explained that they are working in conjunction with undercover reporters from The Sun on this matter. ‘The Sun newspaper are especially keen to rid the game of scandals such as this,’ the spokesperson explained. When I pointed out that The Sun appeared to be launching a campaign to get Wayne Shaw reinstated at Sutton United, the spokesperson retorted, ‘Ah, but Wayne was clearly a club legend, doing his best for his cash-strapped local side. Foulke played for Chelsea. They’re rich bastards. They deserve all they get.’ I reminded him that Foulke’s meal-eating feat allegedly took place in 1906, Chelsea’s second-only season of existence, and a long time from the Abramovich-era of ownership. He thought for a minute and said, ‘Yea, but breach of the rules is breach of the rules.’

I enquired of the FA spokesperson what they thought the outcome would be, were the FA rules found to have been broken. The spokesperson replied, ‘Well, there is the possibility of a hefty fine, or perhaps even a points deduction. If Chelsea football club have known about any betting incident and not declared it, then they must be punished accordingly.’ As the spokesperson walked away, they were heard to mumble, ‘There is a way of stopping these irritating ruiners of football from winning trophies. We won’t let them get away with it.’

© Carol Ann Wood
February 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Chinese Puzzle

More unsettling news for Chelsea, according to SkySports sources. Antonio Conte has today sensationally axed the entire first team squad after lacklustre display against Leicester, excepting Diego Costa. More details below.

Conte was confronted earlier today by approximately 50,000 Chinese journalists, a man from the local restaurant and the chairperson of the Chinese Whispers Association, as he went to put Costa through his paces. Conte explained that there was no row with Diego. ‘He injured his back’ the Italian elaborated. ‘He was bending down to pick up fragments of a broken china cup that Bella the dog had knocked off the table with her tail. I was a bit frustrated about that. So I shouted ‘Mama Mia! Why do you go and get china? You have a lively dog, you should use more sturdy crockery! Diego cried a bit but he was fine after a cuddle and a chocolate biscuit, and promised to try and get to Ikea as soon as possible.’

Conte went on to say ‘As for the rest of the squad? They were awful on Saturday! We are so far behind United, City, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool that it is a joke. We have no chance of a trophy with this lazy lot. They didn’t look as if they wanted to bother during the game so I told them not to bother coming in for training. China can takeaway all they want.’

There was a stunned silence previously unheard of from journalists, followed by the sound of hot air escaping. Conte then smiled politely and said ‘may you live in interesting times.’ Mr Conte added that should the club miraculously manage to turn this season around and finish in the top half of the table, there would be a complimentary serving of Humble Pie provided for all sections of the media at the last press conference in May.

© Carol Ann Wood
January 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soap, Neighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are placed there by a WordPress algorithm. They are not indicative of any endorsement by the author.


Older Fans Matter

Carol Ann Wood
Cambridge
CB1 KTBFFH
Friday 30 December 2016

Mr Roman Abramovic
C/o Chelsea Football Club
Stamford Bridge
Fulham Road
London
SW6 1HS

 

Dear Roman,

I don’t really have a lot to complain about, currently. So this isn’t a letter of complaint. It’s more a few words for you to reflect on. We know how much you love our club. We know that you are not the man that many predicted – namely the sort who would get bored after a few years and sell up. You are a supporter too, passionate about winning, just like the rest of us.

I would like you to think about your staff at Chelsea TV, Roman. Whilst I understand we are seen as a global brand, we are also a club with older supporters who have lived and breathed Chelsea for many years. They have tales to tell. Interesting tales. The past wasn’t all about violence, Roman. You don’t have to feel worried that if Chelsea TV speaks to older supporters, they are all going to reveal things that would damage the club’s image. Many of them have amusing and emotional stories about their journeys following Chelsea.

I went to the megastore recently to meet Michy and N’Golo. I don’t often get the opportunity to do this kind of thing, but a friend alerted me to the fact they were appearing, and I was free that day. So off I went, feeling especially upbeat, given that it was shortly following the Spurs game at the end of which I was the happy recipient of David Luiz’s shirt. What an exciting week, I thought. I purchased my obligatory photos of the signees, then joined the growing queue outside the megastore. Hot chocolate was dispensed to us, as it was a freezing cold day. (Thanks for that, by the way. A nice gesture.) Chelsea TV people came along to speak to some of the fans in the queue. Now, let me make it clear that I am not against foreign supporters. That would be hypocritical of me on every level. But I will say this: The first ten people in the queue ahead of me were asked if they wanted to say why they were there. (Wasn’t the answer a bit bleeding obvious?)

Roman, none of the first ten people in the queue could speak enough English to participate in an interview. They had less English than Diego Costa, if that’s even possible. (Although I think Diego understands more than he lets on, but he’s perhaps not confident enough to speak in front of the cameras.) The TV people then walked along the line, completely ignoring me – a little old lady, if the Daily Mail are to be believed. Just ignored me. Now, I am not normally one to push myself forward. I don’t seek the limelight, but to be honest, I thought blimey, this is going to look embarrassing if they don’t find anyone with enough command of English to interview. And as I had something nice to report, namely getting David’s shirt, I actually called to one of them that I would be happy to speak. I hate the camera! Whilst I get that a pretty face is more appealing to the wider audience, surely someone who has something to say makes for interesting TV?

I think your TV people seem to look for the prettiest face rather than the old-timers like me who have had their mugs ravaged by the worry lines Chelsea helped put there in the first place. I feel like we are being written out of history to an extent, in the same way that some of the ex-players have remarked upon. Not all the older fans will put themselves forward like the fan-girls who hang around the East Stand vying for attention. (Some of whom are seeking fame, a free ticket or possibly access to Pedro’s pants.) Older fans have memories and knowledge of the club that should be celebrated. Such as the stalwarts who go to midweek away games. I can’t always go to them myself, unless I can get home by public transport, but I have one friend who survived on two to three of hours sleep after the Sunderland game, before going to work the following day. She does that because she loves the club. I have two friends who were once involved in a car accident en route to a game. Thankfully, they were not badly injured, although their car was a write-off. Guess what? Another Chelsea friend turned back on their journey and picked them up so they could still get to the game. Tell your TV staff to seek out those sort of supporters, Roman. They won’t be coming forward voluntarily, as they are not courting fame. But they are important to our club and they need to be celebrated as such. It’s too late when someone passes away and they get a little obituary in the match day programme. Speak to them while they’re still alive.

On Boxing Day, I happened to be killing time after visiting the megastore, waiting to see which pub my friends were going to. I watched the Chelsea TV crew walking around the ground. I wasn’t seeking an interview, but it was noteworthy that I wasn’t approached to speak about the forthcoming game, whereas a much younger overseas visitor was. I believe that this is as a result of unintentional bias. Again, nothing wrong with overseas supporters if they’re genuinely passionate about Chelsea. However, while it’s important to have an ethnic mix of people featured, it is also important to have a wide age demographic. Speak to the older guys and gals who have been knocking around for a few years. Make them feel that they are still of worth. Because, whilst a large proportion of the once-a-season/once-a-lifetime attendees were having an online hissy fit during the awful days of last season, the stalwarts were resolute. We didn’t like what was happening but we’d seen worse, so we gritted our teeth and carried on.

Roman, there is a lot that you have done for the travelling fans, and I praise you for your introduction of discounted club coaches and trains. It’s something I can’t often take advantage of, living 55 miles out of London, but many of my friends use it regularly and it’s appreciated. It goes some way to compensate for the fact that the TV companies don’t give much thought to supporters who attend games, preferring to concentrate on their global audiences for ‘Super Saturdays’. Somehow, that analogy reminds me of 1970s kids TV. I half-expect Chris Tarrant to appear and shove a custard pie in Jamie Carragher’s face. (Actually, that might not be a bad idea.)

If you could just take a look at what Chelsea TV are doing on match days, who they’re speaking to, and why, many of us would be very grateful. All supporters are of value, wherever we are from, provided we are genuine and here for the long-haul. Of course the younger supporters are crucial, because one day, the oldies amongst us won’t be around. But before we pop off, we’d really like to to pass on our love of the club, our knowledge, our special memories. People (well, a few whinging scousers to be exact) say we haven’t got any history. We have. Some of us are part of it and we’d like to share it, if that’s ok.

Yours sincerely,

pinky-sig-1a

Carol Ann Wood

PS Would you like to hear about the time I missed the train home from Manchester when we’d won the league in 2005, and had to spend the night on a railway bench with a transvestite scouser who’d been working in a fetish club?

PPS Or maybe you’d like to hear about my overnight coach trip to Munich when someone swore they’d seen a lion at the side of the road? Those are the sort of tales that you couldn’t make up. And they need to be told widely.


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Bradley Lowery’s Goal

Carol Ann Wood
Cambridge
CB1 KTBFFH
Friday 16 December 2016

Bradley Lowery
C/o Sunderland AFC
Stadium Of Light
SUNDERLAND
SR5 1SU

Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
(But, also: Sunderland 1-0 Chelsea Goalscorer for Sunderland Bradley Lowery)

Dear Bradley,

I have never met you, but during the last week, I got to hear all about you. I learnt about your story via some Chelsea friends, and also John Terry, who posted it on social media. You are five years old and you have a horrible illness. The treatment for this illness has made you very tired and poorly. You are crazy about Sunderland, and it was your dream to score a goal for them.
I understand all about being crazy for your football team. I feel the same about Chelsea, and have done ever since I was a little girl. (Which was a very long time ago!) Despite your horrible illness, you have grown to live and breathe every moment of every game, and to feel that you are kicking every ball with your team. Like all football fans, you will feel sad when they lose, and happy when they win. You love wearing your team’s replica shirt, and you love shouting and cheering in the crowd.

I couldn’t go the the Sunderland versus Chelsea game on Wednesday, Bradley. I live in the city of Cambridge, over 200 miles from the Stadium Of Light, and it would have been impossible to get back home again on the same night. But many of my Chelsea friends were there. They are talking about the banner that some of them made especially for you and your family. They are talking about how everyone sang your name on five minutes. They are talking about your special moment when you stepped up and scored a goal against Asmir Begović. He dived for the ball, but he dived the wrong way, so it was a well-taken penalty. I think you fooled him there! I saw the footage of you as a mascot, leading your team out, and I saw Diego Costa paying you special attention before kick-off. He looks like a fierce man when he’s playing, but as I’m sure you and your family will have seen, he is really a very kind man. There are a lot of kind people in football, and Wednesday night brought that home to supporters everywhere.

You won’t know how much good you have already done for the football community in your short life. You have touched more people’s lives than even your family will be able to take in right now, as they take care of you and try to make your Christmas really magical. The most important thing that you have done is to remind a lot of grown-up people that football is a game. We all love that game, and we all want our teams to be champions. But it’s a game and sometimes we don’t win. It’s not as important as being well, and having people in our lives who love us.

I get in a bad mood sometimes when Chelsea lose. I go about in a grump, and blame the referee if we don’t get decisions awarded. I often blame a particular player for missing a chance, or an opposition player, for committing a bad foul and getting away with it. But after I’ve calmed down, I start to look forward to the next game. On Wednesday night, you were the perfect example to grown men and women who often come out of stadiums saying lots of bad words. Some of them even wish horrible things to happen to the players they are angry with. That’s not nice at all, is it. All clubs have those sort of supporters, who don’t think carefully about what they are saying when their team have lost. I hope that now, they will do so. The world of football has seen you, one brave little boy, smiling through your horrible illness, showing your pure delight at your special evening. Okay, so we know that really, Chelsea won that game 1-0. I know you’ll understand that I am happy about our result. But really, you were the winner on Wednesday, Bradley. You won people’s hearts, and I hope, their minds. I hope that by your family and Sunderland AFC telling your story, you have reminded people of what’s important. Well done Bradley, you are a star, and on Wednesday night, you scored a winning goal that all of Sunderland and the wider football world will never forget.

Much love,
pinky-sig-1a
Carol Ann Wood

PS When I was a little girl, Sunderland won an FA Cup Final against Leeds, of which I am sure your family have lots of memories. But I think your goal was even more important than that winner a long time ago.

PPS A lot of my Chelsea friends have said that if they have a bad day at the football or at work, they will try much harder not to grumble about it, and that they will think of how brave you are instead. I will do the same.


Index of Posts:


Links:
About the author
Contact the author
Follow Carol Ann Wood on Twitter
NOT Just Saying: Carol’s comments on feminism, fashion, food and folly
Only in ErinsboroughCarol’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


Please note that any advertisements which appear below these posts are placed there by a WordPress algorithm. They are not indicative of any endorsement by the author.