It's a common problem nowadays that you need an iPad to check where Chelsea are in the Premier league table - a normal smart phone screen won't show you unless you can be bothered to scroll down far enough.
In other words, Chelsea are 16th with 11 points from 12 games. To reiterate: Chelsea, the Premier League champions, are 16th in the Premier League table.
Just reading that feels great, doesn't it? Unless you’re a Chelsea fan, of course - reading that is like having your eyes marinade in silk.
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But why? Why does every self-respecting football fan dislike Chelsea so much? Let's begin with Jose Mourinho.
Once the golden boy of the tabloid world, who used to be able to harness controversy and thrive upon it, Mourinho appears to have lost his authority in the English press, treating journalists like gullible toddlers by dribbling out watered down wit from an untamed tongue.
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His identity is changing in the public eye. He’s gone from the cheeky, loveable 'Chosen One' with the grin of a James Bond villain, to an old man who moans about just about everything in life.
His post-match interviews have gone from his after parties to his purgatory. It starts with the scapegoating, blaming the referee for each and every decision given against him, the most transparent way of covering up the short comings of your team.
The occasional outburst is justified in a career with such high intensity, but confronting officials at half time and publicly implying a conspiracy where referees are “scared” to give you decisions, is unjustified; malicious.
REFEREES ARE NOT TO BLAME, JOSE
Was it the referees who force fed Diego Costa in the summer? Did Mark Clattenburg sprinkle holy water on Philippe Coutinho’s left foot in their loss against Liverpool? Which official was it that suggested Eden Hazard adopt a Halloween-themed work ethic and act as a ghost for the first quarter of the season?
Blaming the ref isn’t enough. People are getting bored of it.
Where Chelsea and Mourinho are intrinsically tied is in the way they represent each other so strongly. He has a responsibility to act on behalf of a prestigious football club with dignity and respect, but he doesn’t, and it rubs off on his side.
It’s partly down to him that the Blues seem to be the team to hate right now, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s an argument as old as Chelsea’s history; it’s about money, basically.
The money argument is the most common, often thrown at Manchester City and likely to be thrown at West Ham at some point in the future. It’s the great footballing fairy tale: a genie arrives on a magic carpet, floats around a foreign land and points to an arena of his choice.
Okay I’ll start that again: a wealthy Russian arrives on a private jet and thinks the grass at Stamford Bridge looks pretty. "That's who I'll buy!" he says in Russian, obviously.
This is symptomatic of the cancerous trend in English football, and as long as teams like Chelsea and City continue to dominate the league because a foreign investor decided to throw their pocket money around, trivialising and killing years of tradition and class, they won’t be respected as a club and, in turn, resented and hated.
Football fans know that it’s wrong to buy trophies. Accusations of bitterness and jealousy often greet the rival fans, but in reality it’s not just rival fans.
Anyone who understands the basic values of football culture and etiquette is not going to admire a club like Chelsea. It spits in the face of and alienates the working class roots of the beautiful game, monopolising the most cherished sport in the Britain, turning passion into pay cheques and pride into plastic.
MONEY IS TARNISHING FOOTBALL
It’s not okay, and surprisingly enough, people hate it.
The fact they have banners with the face of Roman Abramovich up in their stadium speaks volumes. For example, instead of banners of Ivan Gazidis, London neighbours Arsenal have banners and statues of Herbert Chapman, the Invincibles and George Graham - sentiments that celebrate history and success crafted with years of class and integrity.
After all this, what could possibly make Chelsea easier to dislike? Oh, maybe the fact that watching them grind is literally the opposite of what football fans want to see.
Not to mention their 'classy' on-field antics, with Diego Costa currently the centre of hate for his attitude and inclination to bend every rule going.
Mourinho’s teams play for points, which is fair enough, but it’s not sustainable. English fans want entertainment, and playing the way they do won’t give the Portuguese any longevity at Chelsea.
We’ve seen it with them celebrating a draw at Stamford Bridge against Arsenal; we’ve seen the countless one nils secured against big teams after parking the bus and attacking on the break.
To criticise this style of play has an air of desperation, because last season it allowed them to see out winning a Premier League title.
They won the league with outstanding resilience, discipline and tactical solidarity, but it merely solidifies their status as 'boring, boring Chelsea', which breeds resentment and deflects any admiration.
PUBLIC ENEMY NO.1
To summarise, Chelsea are the club that won the lottery and decided to use their unconditional monetary funds to price out the best players around. Once they got to the top, they begun to play football that provides the same entertainment value as a staring competition with a sock.
It’s no wonder why their current position has been met with delight by football fans. The team that represents the parasitic financial hijack of the game we love has taken a blow, and it feels like a victory for football fans all over.
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