Living rooms throughout Europe erupted on Wednesday night when Thiago Silva’s extra-time header sent Chelsea Football Club crashing out of the Champions League. Given the decline of a famous team from the red side of Manchester, it appears the ABUs (Anyone-But-United) have evolved and are now clothing their voodoo dolls in the famous blue of Jose Mourinho’s side.
We discuss the five reasons behind world football fans’ disdain for the current Premier League leaders.
1. Jose Mourinho
We begin with the most divisive character in world football. ‘The Special One’s’ ability to ostracise himself from all football clubs no matter the situation is impressive in its own right.
From eye-gouging the late Tito Vilanova during El Clasico to his constant harassment of UEFA officials, Mourinho is rarely out of the headlines. While one cannot question his success, the Portuguese often leaves his management posts in the most acrimonious of ways, often falling out with the board.
However, it is Mourinho’s constant ‘parking of the bus’ that continues to incense lovers of the beautiful game. His insistence on protecting a lead and neutralising his opponents’ threat, despite a vast armoury of attacking riches, has not endeared himself to neutrals.
2. The Players
Jose Mourinho’s teams have a record of acting flamboyantly and falling down after the slightest gust of wind, just ask Celtic fans. However, this current crop are undoubtedly up there with Mourinho’s worst.
Between Eden Hazard’s propensity for hitting the deck, Diego Costa’s flawless interchanges between throwing a headbutt or throwing himself on the ground, and Didier Drogba’s general lack of balance, this Chelsea team infuriate fans at every opportunity.
Coupled with their playacting is the general behaviour of their captain, which includes racist comments, attempted bullying of referees and incessant infidelity. Terry is one of those rare players who is respected for his commitment, heart, and will to win on the pitch, but is far from a respectable individual.
We could spend hours devoting column inches to the transgressions of a certain section of Chelsea’s supporters, but they do not deserve it.
Those fans in particular are a disgrace to football.
4. Roman Abramovich
“He did once say, I think it was to le Monde, that the only difference between a rat and a hamster is PR.” -Quote from Dominic Midgley, author of Abramovich: The Billionaire From Nowhere.
Chelsea’s billionaire owner revolutionised the fortunes of the Stamford Bridge club, spending £2 billion in over a decade. His incredible looseness with cash led Chelsea from an above average side in England, to the champions of Europe.
However, the origin of Abramovich’s cash is surrounded in uncertainty; his murky past involving a number of questionable oil deals and a rise to power after choosing the correct side in a failed coup attempt on Boris Yeltsin.
The flippant manner with which Abramovich disposes of managers means he is disliked by football fans throughout the footballing world. Just ask Roberto Di Matteo, he found himself out of the job in the same year that he led Chelsea to an unprecedented FA Cup and Champions League double. Incredible.
As mentioned earlier, the ABUs have turned to ABCs (Anyone-But-Chelsea). The price of success in modern football is the barrage of vitriolic abuse that champions-elect tend to receive at every ground other than their own, and this is the case with Mourinho’s side.
Having already secured the League Cup, the current crop of Chelsea players are on the brink of a fantastic Premier League success. Prior to their much publicised Champions League exit, talks of a treble were beginning to gather momentum, but David Luiz and Thiago Silva punctured those hopes.
This Mourinho side are a nightmare to watch, but boy are they talented. They may be the most hated club in the world at present, but come the end of the season Chelsea will be Premier League (and League Cup) champions.
…And then we’ll hate them even more.