A Chelsea Fan On Why It's Great To Be Hated

We were despised when we were rubbish, and the bile that poured forth following our Europa League win fills me with nothing but joy...
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We were despised when we were rubbish, and the bile that poured forth following our Europa League win fills me with nothing but joy...

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Just when you thought life as a Chelsea fan could not get any better, it did.

On May 15 the Blues won the Europa League, their 11th major trophy in 10 years - and their 15th in 17. Yes, really, there was life before Roman Abramovich.

It was also the day when it became clear that Frank Lampard, arguably the greatest player in the club’s history, would not be leaving Stamford Bridge after all.

And as midnight beckoned in Amsterdam and London, it was the day when an unprecedented level of bile was poured on the Blues.

The amount of vitriol hurled in the wake of Branislav Ivanovic’s deliciously slow-motion header was extraordinary – and, viewed through blue-tinted spectacles, hilarious.

Chelsea were lucky, apparently. They fluked yet another big piece of silverware. They have no class, no style, they are rubbish to watch, and don’t even get us started on John Terry.

For what it’s worth, I loved the fact that our non-playing captain, who was slaughtered for wearing his kit and joining in the presentation of the Champions League trophy in Munich last year, did exactly the same thing all over again.

It was as if he was saying, I know I’ll get battered again and I just don’t care. It just doesn’t matter.

Because it doesn’t. All that really signifies is that Chelsea have won another trophy to add to the growing haul that none of us who watched them in the Seventies and Eighties could ever have foreseen, even in our most ridiculous dreams.

It is not as if Chelsea were particularly popular with fans of other clubs even in the days when there were up to 40 teams above us in the league ladder.

The propensity for violence and right-wing proclivities of some fans, the antics of the chairman, the general awfulness of the experience of visiting Stamford Bridge, they all combined to keep Chelsea high on any national list of least-liked teams.

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So it’s not as if the antipathy that attends the club in a more successful era comes as a culture shock.

I remember attending a match between West Ham and QPR in the mid-Nineties when both ends started singing about Chelsea and what we could do with our blue flag.

This is great, I thought. We must be doing something really good if fans of other teams want to have a go at us at a game in which we’re not even playing.

And all these years on, reading the outpouring of fire, brimstone and Amsterdamnation that followed the Europa League final, it’s still not going to make a dent.

It comes down, in the end, to envy. Perfectly natural, entirely understandable, old-fashioned envy.

And if you are doing something to make fans of other clubs jealous, you must be doing something right.

So do I mind if part of the experience of seeing Chelsea win a trophy is to read the stunningly bilious outpourings of rival fans on twitter and Facebook?

No I do not. Bring it on.

Because what the haters intend to be bitter rocks of derision are in fact sugary, sweet roses on the icing of the cake of glory.