I was very sad to hear about the death of former Chelsea manager Dave Sexton who will always be the real “special one” to Chelsea fans my age. Before the club became the plaything of a Russian gazillionaire and started racking up the trophies, the “glory years” had been way back in the early 70s when Sexton was manager and the team contained names — nay, legends! — like Osgood, Bonetti, Harris, Cooke, and Hudson.
Chelsea and Fulham were my two local sides growing up but the latter seemed like the team of Brylcreemed old men going on about Johnny Haynes — the first player to make £100 a week! — while Chelsea were all King’s Road flash, sideburns, and Raquel Welch. No contest really, especially when they won the FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup (beating the mighty Leeds and Real Madrid in the process) which made them all heroes in my young eyes. Little was I to know they wouldn’t win another trophy for nearly 30 years.
Like those kids in the picture above I used to hang around outside Stamford Bridge waiting for the players to come out from training in the hopes of getting an autograph. A lot of them would just walk out of the ground on foot so it was easy to get an autograph, these days they’d probably zoom right past in their Bentleys and Ferraris, knocking over old ladies on their way to shag a Page Three girl or meet with their accountant. But player’s lives were less opulent then, I used to see Chelsea players in local pubs and our silky winger Charlie Cooke lived down the road from us in a regular terraced house. When they retired a player’s biggest dream was to have enough money saved to buy a pub.
The one autograph I still have is of Ray “Butch” Wilkins who was the golden boy of the team at the time, having been made captain when he was only 18 and being a bit of a handsome pin-up star (hard to believe when you see him now), so it was a real thrill getting him to sign my 1975-76 Fixture Card, like being a teenybopper and having David Cassidy sign your boob.
Thrilled though I was, I remember being a little disappointed that he signed his name Ray and not Butch which was his nickname back then. Who was this Ray fella? No one called him that!
1975 was a crap year for Chelsea (and there were many more crap years to come), Sexton had been sacked the season before and we were in the Second Division. Sexton’s replacement Eddie McCreadie eventually quit himself because the Chairman wouldn’t get him a company car (this after he had got Chelsea back to the First Division) so it seems like our owners have always been arseholes. But whenever friends talk to me now about how the money we have is destroying the game, the bad behaviour of our players, our owner changing managers like socks etc. etc., I always reply “Sure, it’s terrible. But what am I supposed to do, start supporting another club?”
Download: Pass, Shoot, Goal! – Gracie Fields (mp3)
I don’t think I’ve felt this happy since my kids were born, except then I didn’t jump up and down with the nurses screaming YES! YES! WE DID IT! WE DID IT! YEEAAAAASSSS!!!
Download: Happy Song – The Nips (mp3)
I don’t even like Manchester City but I went berserk with joy when they got the title-winning goal in the last minute of the last game of the season yesterday. Not because of any gentlemanly, neutral appreciation of the drama, but because it snatched the trophy from the grasp of that other team from Manchester, and schadenfreude is rarely more pleasurable than when it involves bad things happening to United.
Hopefully I’ll be going even more ballistic next Saturday.
Download: End of The Season – The Kinks (mp3)
That’s about as coherent as I can be after that unbelievable win by my boys. Bugger me, what a game.
Download: Hope and Glory – The Skids (mp3)
Yes, that’s Rachel Welch wearing a Chelsea kit.
Even though I know this picture is real because Raquel was one of the many celebrity fans Chelsea had in the 60s and 70s it still looks like something from a dream I had when I was 12 years old.
Download: When I Dream – The Teardrop Explodes (mp3)
I wonder if I’m the only one — apart from Dutch fans — who was happy to see Brazil get dumped out of the World Cup last week because, frankly, I can’t stand them.
My animosity started during the 1998 World Cup when the American television commentators would cream their pants over them and couldn’t let a sentence go by without some drooling reference to “samba football” and “the beautiful game” whenever one of them did some poncy step-over as if no other team had skillful players or played good football and I resented the implication that to be against Brazil (by wanting France to win that final for instance) was to be against life itself.
They’re often called “everyone’s second-favourite team” when what they really are is the Manchester United of international football, treated like Gods who have a divine right to win everything and supported by people who haven’t been within 1,000 miles of Rio in their lives just because they win a lot and it’s “cool” to like them. We all hate those kids wearing United shirts who aren’t from Manchester and you see just as many non-Brazilians wearing their yellow shirts too — glory hunters the lot of them who all true football supporters should want to punch in the face. It’s easy to support Brazil, any idiot can do it (and they often do) or make them their “second favourite” team, but it takes real commitment to cheer for a team that lets you down more often than not (eg: Spain and Holland) and keep coming back for more, and you probably have to be mentally deranged to keep believing in England.
Admitedly most of that isn’t the fault of the Brazilian players themselves but they do also have those childish one-name nicknames — Ronaldinho, Juninho, Kaka (snigger), Dunga — which I find ridiculous and reason enough not to like them. Imagine if the England team came out with Lamps, JT, Crouchey, and Stevie G on the back of their shirts, you’d piss yourself laughing at them, wouldn’t you?
So yes, I’m a joyless bastard who hates Brazil. I also hate puppies, small children, cakes, and nice sunsets.
Download: Mas Que Nada – Tamba Trio (mp3)