As a Liverpool fan and Scouser (No, the two aren’t mutually exclusive!) most people would expect Manchester United to be the club I hate the most.
Well, they’re wrong.
Whilst I do indeed hate Man United I do respect them. I cannot say the same about Chelsea.
I don’t respect them because they have allowed themselves to become a billionaires toy. I don’t respect the way they have rode roughshod over the league ever since Abramovich came to power. I don’t respect the way they play. The have a collection of some of the most odious players in the league. I don’t respect their history, even with Abramovich’s billions, they have still only won as many top-flight titles as Huddersfield and Wolves.
The thing that I respect least is when something goes wrong; they come up with increasingly elaborate conspiracies. Like on Wednesday night.
Remember Mourinho, with the whole footballing world, and Paramedics, against him? Remember Avram Grant, with the fixture computer conspiring against Chelsea asa well as Sky TV?
Why don’t they go all the way and rename Stamford Bridge the Grassy Knoll or Roswell?
Yes, the referee made mistakes on Wednesday but nothing can excuse the behaviour of some Chelsea players after the final whistle. Nothing. There was no conspiracy, just a ref calling the game as he saw it, albeit badly.
The Malouda foul was in the area but the ref couldn’t tell if it was in or out and upon getting no help from his assistant, gave the cop out decision by awarding a free-kick, I can understand that. When Drogba went down, he went with the full theatrical force we have come to expect from him, so he only has himself to blame for not getting that decision.
The Abidal red card was incorrect; Anelka dived, if there was a conspiracy then why send a player off? Remember when Henry was brought down when through in the Nou Camp? Surely the great conspiracy would have brought a dismissal then?
No excuses about Pique’s handball, the ref missed it somehow. Eto’o’s handball though was not a penalty, he made no move toward the ball and it was struck pretty hard at him so he didn’t get a chance to move out of the way.
Chelsea still should have won, regardless of any decisions the ref did or didn’t make. They were playing against ten men for the last half-hour but retreated with a whimper. Barca were by far the better footballing team, even with ten men. Chelsea would have won, had Essien cleared that ball instead of miscuing.
The real disgrace was the reaction of Chelsea players after the whistle. Terry stormed over to speak to the ref, as captain he has the right to speak to him, but doesn’t have the right to do it in the aggressive manner he did. Ballack had no business speaking to the referee the way he did.
The worst was Drogba, who had been substituted earlier in the match. He stormed on in his flip-flops to berate the referee. He then behaved like a 2-year-old kid having a tantrum. He was belatedly dragged away but still found a TV camera where is could declare the referee to be a f***ing disgrace. It didn’t end there, his tantrum continued in the tunnel.
Jose Bosingwa went on Portuguese TV and declared, “This referee was bought. I do not know if he is a referee or a thief”.
John Terry, England’s captain, has defended Drogba. He has said that he is passionate and has a right to be angry. He said of the referee, “Six decisions went against us in front of 40, 000 people and for the ref not to give one of them is unusual” meaning what? Just because the home crowd want a decision they should get it? What does the crowd have to do with it?
Terry, as England captain has previously given his support to the FA’s respect campaign. After Ashley Cole’s behaviour toward Mike Riley last season he said “I do agree there has to be a line drawn and confronting the referee has to be taken out of the game." He apparently is in favour of respecting the referee unless he has to do it himself.
Drogba has apologised, but should get a huge ban. Ballack, Bosingwa and Terry (who hasn’[t apologised) should also be banned. Remember in EURO 2000 when Portugal played Feance. The referee changed a decision from a France corner to a penalty and some of the Portugal team went ballistic. As a result Abel Xavier, Nuno Gomes and Paulo Bento were given lengthy bans for confronting the referee although they got physical, where as Chelsea did not. Similar bans should be in order.
Chelsea themselves could be in trouble. A charge of failing to control their players could be headed their way. Also, why didn’t their stewards stop Drogba sooner? They allowed the situation to escalate.
Barca were furious about the refereeing in the first leg. However they didn’t charge after the referee or feel the need to harass him. Similarly, they were disappointed with Abidal’s dismissal but responded the right way.
The really sad end is that Chelsea ‘fans’/ imbeciles have made death threats against the referee. One dedicated Facebook group called itself Kill Tom Henning Ovrebo, and the range of abuse on others included the threat: "We [are the] group dedicated to the hunt for [and brutal murdering of] the second-leg champions League ref of Chelsea v Barcelona.". His home and work address was quickly available on the Internet, as was his mobile phone number. He and his family have been taken into hiding by Norwegian Police.
Chelsea has condemned this behaviour, saying they will ban any fan found to have done this and police are involved.
Unfortunately this has happened before. In 2005 Anders Frisk, one of Europe’s best referees retired due to death threats made by Chelsea fans after a game against Barcelona (where Drogba was correctly sent off). Frisk said people were phoning his house and even turning up at his kids school gates (classy) so was forced into retirement. England morons tormented Swiss referee Urs Meier after he correctly disallowed a Sol Campbell goal in EURO 2004. One downmarket tabloid newspaper printed his contact details and as a result he had to go into hiding, not being able to see his kids for over a week.
Respect for the referee has to be just that. Chelsea’s negative tactics and an Essien mistake are the reason they are out, not the referee.For the respect program to work, the FA must punish those found breaking it severely.
I believe John Terry should be stripped of the England Captaincy and be replaced with either Frank Lampard (who behaved in the right way) or Steven Gerrard. Chelsea’s players should be slapped with lengthy bans and the club severely fined.
Chelsea players and unfortunately an idiotic minority of their fans have brought English football into disrepute and that is why I cannot respect them.