After last night's anemic performance against Manchester United by Chelsea, I'm beginning to believe that £50 million is too much to pay for a sulking diver.
It’s ten minutes after the full-time whistle and I’ve sat down at my computer in an effort to write a match report that will express the sheer level of nothing a match like the one we just saw generates. A big black hole opened up in my living room, on the other side of the continent, and sucked every human emotion from it. In this black hole all the edges are smoothed out, and nothing really matters; when Rooney scored my only reaction was ‘that was a perfectly functional goal to give three-time European Cup winners Manchester United the lead at Stamford Bridge’, and when Didier Drogba was inexplicably substituted instead of Andriy... I mean Fernando Torres, there wasn’t even a flicker of outrage, merely a thought that in my considered opinion Torres represented poor value for money given his current level of performance.
I don’t even have any complaints about the penalty decision (and it was a blatant pen): frankly I’m so used to calamitous/comedic exits from European competitions now that a decision even this ridiculous generates little more than a wry smile; how can one get so het up over that after, beating viciously mugged and then tea-bagged by Barca in 2000 and 2009 (the less said about the latter the better – that was the peak of the bilious rage generated by this infernal competition, after which I started my slow slide into a cloud of apathy), ballsing up a golden opportunity in 2004 and 2008. And that’s without mentioning the likes of St Gallen throwing us out of the UEFA Cup all those years ago.
I’ve caught a few of Tottenham’s Champions League games this season and they remind me the first time we were in the Champions League, over ten years ago now. It all feels shiny and new, and you come up against sides you never thought you’d see in your lifetime. And when you beat them... I can remember playing AC Milan in the first group stage in 1999 (that season UEFA thought it a great idea to have double the number of dreary dead rubbers), and being utterly bewildered by the idea that we could be meeting them in anything other than a pre-season friendly. I can even remember when playing Barcelona was a novelty, and the sheer burst of pride I felt after we gave Rivaldo’s Barca a thorough shoeing. These days however, not even the tournament’s bombastic theme tune offers me any of that joy, and judging by tonight’s tepid serving at Stamford Bridge tonight, I can only assume that the players and the majority of the crowd feel the same.
This has a barely coherent, short, sub-standard and entirely solipsistic scrawl from a numb, exiled Chelsea fan. I thank you, it’s been a long day.
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