Saturday, January 12, 2013


As Roman Abramovich continues his traditional January holiday in St Barts, Chelsea’s owner has been fully briefed about the discontent back at Stamford Bridge.

He is aware of the Twitter storm that erupted after last Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat by QPR and he felt the backlash again following the scandalous Capital One Cup semi-final first leg loss at home to Swansea two days ago.

Abramovich does not care much for the media perception about his £1billion investment but the unrest among the supporters is becoming a legitimate concern. Some fans even claimed there were scuffles in the stands. 

The mood around Stamford Bridge is militant again and the executives, along with some of the highest-earning players in world football, are beginning to feel the heat.

On the field the desire and application of Fernando Torres, who was booed off by Chelsea’s supporters when he was replaced by Demba Ba during the Swansea loss, is under scrutiny again.

In training, he appears disinterested and his team-mates have lost count of the number of times he has told them he wishes he was back at Liverpool. Some of the Chelsea players wish he was.

Torres felt alienated by Didier Drogba’s allies in the dressing room when he moved to the Bridge, but a £50million striker with his goal-scoring record should have been able to rise above that.

Even Benitez, the man brought in to get the best out of him, has failed to make any inroads into Torres’s state of mind.

In the continued absence of Abramovich there is an obvious lack of direction at the club and even Chelsea’s directors are beginning to feel the frustrations of the fans.

Minutes before kick-off against Swansea, chairman Bruce Buck was left shaken by the response of home supporters when he walked on to the pitch to present an award to Petr Cech.

He then made an awkward walk around the perimeter of the pitch, showered with abuse and chants of ‘There’s only one Frank Lampard’ as he made his way towards his seat, high up in the East Stand.

A week earlier, following Chelsea’s embarrassing home defeat by Harry Redknapp’s QPR, a corporate supporter apparently gave chief executive Ron Gourlay a piece of his mind.

Morale in the dressing room is also on the slide again and Benitez, the man brought in to stabilise Chelsea’s season, has only nominal powers.

There are long faces around the place and it is mission impossible for an interim manager to motivate some of the players in the squad.

The clock is ticking on the contracts of some top-class footballers and they are beginning to realise there is no way back under Abramovich.

There is the occasional moment of humour in the dressing room but they are few and far between as the players wonder what will happen next at this chaotic club.

Last Saturday, when Ba was asked by some of his team-mates in the dressing room at Southampton if he would have wanted the chance to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot, he replied: ‘There is no sentiment in football.’

Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s regular penalty taker, had just drawn level with Kerry Dixon on 193 goals and denied Ba the chance to take home the match ball.

Although Lampard has kept his dignity in the days after the meeting with Gourlay in which he was told his Chelsea career will be over this summer, he is genuinely upset.

Courtesy of Dailymail

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