Back To Basics:

Have we forgotten how to be supporters?

‘Something’s clearly not right.’

‘There’s tension, you can see it in their body language.’

‘They just didn’t look interested. Have they gone on strike?’

‘Something’s happening behind the scenes.’

I’m as guilty as the next person of over-analysis of the football psyche. The journalists and the pundits all do it. Now, it’s common place for supporters to proffer their amateur sports psychologist-speak as an answer to why their team aren’t playing well. I’m not knocking professional sports psychology. I think it has much to offer. But most of us haven’t studied sports psychology, so maybe we should get back to being supporters.

At Chelsea, our fans can probably be forgiven for going down the ‘something’s not right’ path every time our team has a bad run. We sometimes feel the club’s being run like a soap opera. Or a funfair. Roll up, roll up, all the fun of the managerial merry-go-round. It’s little wonder that when an ex-manager is spotted watching a game, the media go into overdrive. Chelsea have form in this respect. Our owner is infamous for pressing the ‘Sack’ button – sometimes a justifiable decision, at other times bafflingly so – at regular intervals. And, given the fiasco of two seasons ago when it did appear some players had stopped playing for Mourinho, we sort of expect it to happen again, and continually brace ourselves for the latest instalment.

I can’t help feel, though, that we supporters are feeding back into the perceived drama a bit too much. We tweet about every kick of the ball. We tweet about players as they come out of the tunnel. Do they look ‘up for it’? What was Cahill’s sniff of all about? Was it a sniff of contempt? Complacency? Clue: He could just have been suffering from a common cold. Or was it not a sniff, but a sneer? And then the tales get taller and taller.

Chinese whispers have always been a part of the beautiful game, but before the advent of social media, they were confined to print journalism and the two stalwarts chatting over a pint down the pub. One of them had a neighbour whose sister was tea-lady and she saw the manager and his centre forward have a brawl after the 4-0 drubbing. But contemporary football supporters are saturated with news, fake or real, any time of day or night that they care to peruse it.

It’s hard to get my head around the fact that in 2007 when Jose Mourinho was sacked in his first spell at Chelsea, I didn’t know till I heard the news on breakfast radio. No smart phones then, no Twitter to be perpetually connected to. Whilst things weren’t going so well early that season, the news was still a bit of a shock for those of us not party to The House Of Roman. In hindsight, I would probably have preferred a little forewarning. But I think it’s gone too much the other way since.

Being amateur sports psychologists, means we can’t have a single day where we don’t predict what’s going to happen, or fret about what already might be happening. Last summer, after winning the league but losing the FA Cup Final, the constant rumours spoilt the enjoyment of the season. I hardly had a day where I could revel in being being Champions of England. Conte had apparently had a rift with the board over frustration at the lack of signings. That may have been partly true, and given our current situation with injuries and a wafer-thin squad, it could prove to be our downfall during this campaign.

Of course we all want – and are perfectly entitled – to voice our opinions on these issues. But I feel we’ve reached saturation point. Our brains can’t cope with the constant stream of rumour on social media. I can’t count how many amateur sports psychologists, would-be journalists and budding football managers I have had to block on Twitter, as they spread their opinions and ‘analysis’ from their bedrooms in Zachoalia. Or Upper Piddlington.

I would love to read good old fashioned match analysis and a bit of a grumble.

Well, we got three points but we’re still not on form. Bit crap at times. Defence is looking wobbly, needs sorting. Anyway, UTC. Buzzing for Bournemouth mate!

I’m a bit weary of : You can tell he’s not happy, he went straight down the tunnel after waving to the fans. Clue: He could have been desperate for a slash.

Or: He was smirking. His head’s not right. Did you see the way he pouted just then? Yea, definitely gone in January. Clue: If we were filmed continually during a game, how many different facial expressions do you think we’d have? I have seen screen shots of myself during matches. At times when we’ve been winning comfortably, I’ve looked decidedly angry. At times when we’ve been losing, I’ve looked as happy as Larry. I must be plastic, then!

As I said, I am as guilty as anyone of over-analysing. But I’m trying to do less of it. I don’t have any control over what happens during games anyway, other than getting behind the team as much as possible. Like, when we’re losing or playing badly, urging the team on, rather than bad mouthing individual players. Players can, and often do, respond positively to crowd encouragement. Now that’s real sports psychology!

© Carol Ann Wood
Sunday 22 October 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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Lazy Players Don’t Work Hard

In response to Paul Merson, who called David Luiz ‘lazy’

Lazy players don’t work hard, they languish on the bench,
Or gamble all their wealth away amid a media stench.
Lazy players don’t play through a barrier of pain.
Instead they drown their sorrows or perhaps they take cocaine.
Everyone deserves a second chance, I will agree,
But your attack on Geezer does not resonate with me.
Lazy words from a bitter man is how you come across.
So please cut out your nasty jibes, we’re sick of all your dross.
Dear God, Merse, you are laughable, so what, you won a lot?
But it doesn’t mean you’re justified to venom-spew. You’re not!
Geezer is a real man and a better one than you.
From in your cosy studio, you probably know that’s true.
You’ve clearly never watched our games, you cannot see his fight.
For every ball, for every pass, our warrior, in flight.
And yes, mistakes are sometimes made, he’s human, after all.
But at least his life is clean and good when he’s not playing football.
So think on, Merse, before you judge, and pick upon his flaws.
Our man Luiz defends the line, but you just snorted yours.

© Carol Ann Wood
October 2017


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’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:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’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


Index of Posts:


Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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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:
Links:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’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:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’s fun look at the lives and loves of the characters from the Australian soapNeighbours


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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:
My bespoke poetry service, Diverse Verse
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 Erinsborough Carol Ann’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.