I USED to like Scott Parker and was disappointed we let him go. He’s the kind of player who gives 100% and that effort usually wins over the majority of fans.
The quality we have in spades at Chelsea brought out the best in the midfielder and he didn’t look out of place in their company.
However, put him in an average side and his shortcomings are laid bare to see. It must be frustrating for him. That said, it does not excuse his attempt to redress the balance in class by some pretty thuggish behaviour.
It was a pretty dull game at Upton Park on Saturday. Chelsea achieved their mission quickly and with the minimum of fuss. The match was effectively over at the break and thereafter the Chelsea players exerted the minimum energy possible ahead of tonight’s game in Slovakia.
The usually rabid Hammers were subdued and short on numbers having failed to sell out this London derby. I don’t know if this was due to the recession, the Tube engineering works which made it nigh on impossible to get to the match or the certainty of defeat. But walking away their fans sounded far from inspired by the team, tactics, or Grant.
As you are reading this, I will be making my way across Bratislava to Zilina for tonight’s Champions League game. To buy my ticket, I have had to supply the police with the following information: my season ticket details, date of birth, passport details, my route (including flight numbers and times) and even my hotel details. I should point out that I have never been arrested, yet I’m made feel like a potential criminal because I enjoy seeing my team play abroad. No followers of any other sport are treated like this.
Many will state that this is due to football’s violent past, but that is exactly that — the past. The height of the hooligan era was 30 years ago. You may get the odd disturbance nowadays, but no more than any other sport. And why should the actions of a few determine how the majority are treated? The police are forever patting themselves on the back on how they have eradicated football violence and know exactly who the trouble-makers are — so why not leave the rest of us alone then? The tide is turning with Stoke fans this year successfully winning nearly €250,000 in compensation from the police for locking them in a pub prior to a Manchester United game then putting them on coaches back to Stoke before kick off. But there is still a long way to go.
There will be British police there at tonight’s match — “observing” — but they are never of any use to fans who get attacked. Yet, should an English fan become involved in an altercation, even if he/she is defending themselves, you can bet the individual will be banned from their club unless they can prove their innocence.
As someone who lives not far from Twickenham, I have seen dozens of fights in pubs after rugby matches — the police invariably turn up, have a word and leave. If a small fracas occurs at a pub outside a football ground, the individuals concerned could very well find themselves facing a custodial sentence and at the very least a lengthy ban from attending matches. It’s madness. And typical of England.
Speaking of fans being treated abominably, the great majority of Zilina fans will be boycotting tonight’s match after their club put up the prices of tonight’s tickets by a whopping 550%. Scandalous.
I expect that there may be a similar stay away at Stamford Bridge if we reach the knock-out stages as the club has doubled the ticket prices in some areas. We will have to no doubt suffer the embarrassment of a half-empty stadium and read about the fickleness of the Chelsea fan, while the real reason is ignored.
It’s strange that this column has come out in such a depressing fashion while everything seems to be so encouraging at the moment. Scratch the surface of any Double-winning Chelsea fan and you will still find a depressed mid-table mediocrity sufferer. It will take a fair few more seasons of success to eradicate that completely.
* Contact Trizia on Trizia_f@hotmail.com
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved