For reasons I’m not going to go into, I missed the first 45 minutes of the Liverpool game — and so missed both goals and anything of interest it seems.
Frustrating really as despite Jose’s press conference protestations about playing every remaining game seriously and to win, you could see by the team selection and tactics that he wasn’t really bothered about either of those things.
What was even more annoying was that Liverpool looked very ordinary indeed. Had Jose’s mind been that way inclined, he could, in my opinion, have orchestrated a hammering.
But he seemed happy enough to put out only a half-decent side who delivered not even a half-decent performance. But then this year’s Jose model doesn’t seem to be brimming with hellfire when it comes to Liverpool. Maybe it was just the odious Benitez which bought out the devil in him. Who knows? But I have to say, this recent fawning over Gerrard is beginning to turn my stomach.
I don’t hate Gerrard; not saying I like him either — just that I am ambivalent towards him. This has nothing to do with Gerrard in fact, it’s not even to do with Liverpool specifically — more about rivalry and how it’s being diluted. People will argue you can have grudging respect for players/teams and still maintain a healthy vociferous rivalry — I don’t agree. Mourinho spent half his pre-Liverpool press conference talking about Gerrard and has also in the past berated Chelsea fans for mocking Gerrard and that slip. That slip is exactly the kind of thing fans do/should seize upon and never let it go. Just as United do in terms of JT. As a Chelsea fan, it’s maddening to hear that “viva John Terry” song and as soon as United fans start to sing it, then we try and drown it out. That’s how an atmosphere is created. There are already too many rules which have rendered most grounds generally apathetic for most games now. We are not far off the day where goals will be greeted with little more than polite applause.
The applause by at least half of the Stamford Bridge crowd as Gerrard departed the pitch actually made me cringe.
When I voiced this opinion on Twitter, I was called “unsporting” by some. I countered by asking why Gerrard in particular — given some of the amazing opposition players we have seen — should get such a reception. Most suggested it was due to his outstanding England career. Did I miss that then?
He has been an exceptional player for Liverpool. Just as Henry/Bergkamp have been exceptional for Arsenal, and Giggs for United. I could go on. Did we give them standing ovations? No. Can we leave this Corinthian spirit bollocks for clubs who traditionally place themselves on the moral high ground and are already well on their way to a stadium with the rocking atmosphere of an accountants’ convention? I’m looking at you Arsenal.
There will be some of you reading this thinking I’m taking all this a bit seriously. You’re entitled to your opinion. The thing is I like being disliked, I like other clubs looking down on us, questioning our “class”. They only do that when you’re successful. No-one gave us another thought when we were also-rans.
Given everything I’ve written though, I do have to give Gerrard credit for one thing. Despite the sycophantic round of applause by many of our fans, he made no reference to it and in fact actually had a dig at us in his post-match interview. He knows the rules!
I better move on, I’ve probably upset enough people with my ramblings. Although sort of on the same subject i.e. rivalry, I hope these latest stories of Cech possibly going to Arsenal or Liverpool are just paper-talk. He deserves to go to a good side and it’s actually quite sad to see him sitting on the subs bench week-in week-out. I could never wish him anything but success but we can not/must not strengthen our rivals and Petr still has the capacity to do that despite his age.
Either way, I hope we know by the last game of the season whether it will be the last time we see this giant with the Chelsea crest on his chest. Because if it is — he does deserve a standing ovation. Part of the spine that won us everything. I wonder if Sunderland fans will join in?
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