Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Gaffa Benitez’s Story

Posted: December 12, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Benitez, Chelsea, Random, Rants

rafabenitezchThere is someone you hate. That person has a girlfriend who openly mocks you in front of people. Your “enemy” and her break up. She potters about with a small job here and there but gets sacked by her bosses. Things go very hush hush for her. Nobody hears anything regarding her whereabouts or what she does anymore.

Then all of a sudden and out of nowhere, she is your girlfriend. Life is tough with her. She refuses to apologise for what she said about you many moons ago but you then realise she may have valuable uses for a few months.

You know she won’t be your long term partner but you try very hard to see past that. You know who you’d like to marry but you must firstly get through this patch.

She then brings out certain strengths in you, ones you thought were deep and buried and lost forever. You are not sad, but not happy. You’re in a state of limbo.

Your mind is so focussed towards the future and what that may bring that you forget about the present. This moment – now.

But Rafa won’t be here for long. He’s here on a short term basis to try and salvage something for the season. Benitez has his disadvantages and the demons of his past heavily strained on his shoulders, however he also has his advantages. He is the controller of a strange muffled light at the end of a darkened tunnel.

His job is to expose that light and to keep it shining for as long as possible. Then one day, he will be gone…

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Tell me your views on Twitter @GaryCRobertson.

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Wonderful Times To Be A Chelsea Supporter

Posted: August 27, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Random, Strikers, Torres, Transfers, Youth

I don’t know about you but I am extremely excited at all these signings Chelsea have made recently. Marin, Hazard(s), Oscar, Moses and Azpilicueta. Not a bad bunch to sign in one transfer window.

With the added inclusion of Ryan Bertrand who seems to be enjoying more minutes in the first team as of late, a creative but potentially tired Mata (at the moment) and a reignited Torres, things at Chelsea seem to be taking a really good turn for the best. There are so many classy players to name that I would be here all day trying to describe them in the best manner possible.
Where to start then. Well, first of all I’m over the moon that Torres is showing everyone what damage he can really do with the right players behind him. Hazard has connected with Torres almost instantly and they seem like the making of a truly deadly duo.

There are murmers that Mata will be rested for a few games soon after playing a bit of football at Euro 2012 and the Olympics. This is no bad thing. I love Mata but this will give Oscar the perfect platform to slide into the side and, like Torres, show the world what a talent he is.
When Mata returns, there will be big competition for places in the team. Again, no bad thing. We’ve got players of a high calibre who will be battling it out amongst each other to be in the side; Ramires, Mata, Marin, Hazard, Sturridge, Torres, Oscar, Lampard, Mikel, Meireles, Essien, Romeu, Moses and, if they stick around, Malouda and Benayoun too. So much brilliance. All these players will be needed as there are a lot of trophies to be fought for in this season like the Club World Cup and the Supercup on Friday.

What do the new signings show? They indicate that either/both manager and owner are fully backing Torres as the main man to lead Chelsea’s front line. This apparent support from the hierarchy has brushed off on Fernando. Just have a look at his recent performances for evidence.

If all this isn’t enough we also have McEachran and Lukaku on loan in the meantime. Lukaku scored on his debut against Liverpool – nice way to bow into the West Bromwich Albion team. Middlesbrough fans are holding McEachran in high regard as he too impressed on his debut and was seen as an integral player for their win over Burnley recently.
I’m excited about our prospects this season. Are you?

Mmmm…what’s going on here?

Posted: September 17, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, midfield, Random, Youth

McEachran, Malouda, Meireles, Mikel, Mata, Michael (Essien?).

What do these players all have in common? Aside from each of them currently playing for Chelsea? Yes, they are all midfielders with names beginning with ‘M’ (you can probably tell I’m short on writing ideas!).

Magic, majestic, marvellous, magnificent. They are all ‘mazing in their own special manner:

McEachranmature: Josh has shown great awareness and near perfection when called upon to feature in the first team with minimal fuss.

Maloudamusical: There was a lot talk last year about Flo and Drogba forming a band with Terry and Joe Cole as the singers. Not sure what happened to it but maybe we’ll be hearing them on Radio 1 before long.

Meirelesmohawk: Isn’t it obvious? The Portugeezer has the hair of a punk and the tattoos of Michael Scofield. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Raul owned a motorbike too.

Mikel – mischievous: There’s something about his smile that gives the impression that he’s a right ol’ joker. Maybe it’s just me who thinks this?

Mataminted: An overall, utterly, indescribable man. I think he’s some sort of long lost son of Villas-Boas.

Michael (Essien) – mammoth: His surname begins with ‘E’ but it’s difficult to miss out the bison. Massively unfortunate and unlucky through strings of injury but a mammoth nonetheless.

Other fairly recent (m)idfielders:

  • Makelele (retired)
  • Mancienne (Hamburg)
  • Matic (Benfica; part of the David Luiz deal)
  • Mineiro (TuS Koblenz)
  • Morris (St Johnstone)
At this point, you may be wondering to yourself, what was point in reading this? All I can think of is you were (m)onotonously bored.  Who knows, maybe it will remain in your (m)emory for years to come?
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If you liked this, you can follow me on Twitter @GaryCRobertson. And if you didn’t like it, you can still follow me if you want.

Essien Biting The Dust?

Posted: September 15, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, Essien, Random, Rants

It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything on the blog here, so I thought I’d put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard and write a bit about a certain Monsieur Michael Essien of Ghana.

When I first heard Essien was injured again, I was gut wrenched, heartbroken and grief stricken. Yet another 6 months out. I really feel sorry for the guy. On his day, a true quality player to have on the field, but some would say he’s now running out of gas.

Nicknamed ‘bison’ makes the matter even worse for me. The image in my head of Essien these days is that of a dying animal; trying ever so hard to pull through hard times but nothing going his way.

Michael, Michael, Michael.

Two of my favourite goals in recent years for Chelsea were scored by Essien. THAT goal against Arsenal and THAT goal against Barcelona.  It’s almost as if some football god in the sky doesn’t want him to do well in the bigger picture. The phrase, “too good to be true”, springs to mind.

It’s ironic that such a tough player can also be so fragile.

(*cue violin music*) Life isn’t fair, blah blah blah, but football god, if you’re listening, work your miracles and help Essien come back stronger. I begeth of you. After all what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. I certainly hope that this is the case for Michael but I’m beginning to fear the worst.

Tears of mixed emotion will fill my eyes when I hear the news that Essien will hang up his boots. Likewise with a number of other current Chelsea players. An era is ending while a new dawn begins. Essien, in my opinion, is still in between the two. Does he still have a chance, a last shot at giving it his all one more time? When he returns from injury, will Villas-Boas provide Essien with gradual integration back into the team? Or is his Chelsea career really coming to an inevitable end?

Not everyone will agree, but I do wish that Michael Essien will pull on the Chelsea shirt dozens more times. Injuries may have taken their toll but I believe a miracle (if I can call it that) can happen. He’s too nice a person to just go past his expiry date.

I leave you with a quote from Malcolm Forbes, which I consider to have some significance in Essien’s eventual departure, as well as another few in the present squad who are getting on a bit:

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”

To put it into football terms:

“Too many people overvalue what they have [in their team] and undervalue what they have [and don’t appreciate it]”.

The Ultimate Chelsea Player

Posted: September 3, 2011 by chelseachadder in Chelsea, English Premier League, Random, Tales of the Chadder

The current Chelsea squad is full with young players, international stars and world class players. Each of them have something to give to the blues, whether it’s Frank Lampard’s goals, Didier Drogba’s power, or Josh McEachran’s skill. However, there are some things us Chelsea fans could do without, such as Salomon Kalou’s finishing, Jose Bosingwa’s crossing, and Henrique Hilario’s kicking.

If you had the chance to make your ultimate Chelsea player, mixing the attributes they have, what would you include? The two players I have demonstrate this.

Ultimate Player

Right foot: There are many players to choose from, but for different reasons. Lampard has a fine range of passing and an eye for goal. Essien keeps the ball moving and is accurate in his distribution. Alex has a thunderbolt of a freekick, which we have all seen for its ferocity. However, the right foot I would choose is that of Didier Drogba. He has the power of Alex and can cross a ball better than most of the players in the team. For me though, his greatest attribute is his ability to control any kind of pass instantaneously. I have to admire the way he is able to bring down a long punt by Petr Cech, hold up the play, and cause havoc amongst the opposition defence.

Left foot: It seems as though Chelsea have collected a surprisingly large group of left footed players, although I’m unsure whether this is intentional (probably is). These players include McEachran, van Aanholt, Bertrand, Kakuta, and Sturridge in addition to the established first teamers. Ashley Cole is widely regarded the best left back in the world. I think most people would agree with this, and also agree that he is very left footed! However, the player I’m going to select is Florent Malouda. Yes, his performances over the last few years have been very up and down, but the Frenchman certainly creates chances as well as scoring goals.

Head: John Terry is a man mountain in the Chelsea defence and is often seen towering over opposition strikers (except Peter Crouch). His determination to win the ball is one of his strongest attributes. Didier Drogba is also great with his head. In fact, over the last few seasons, he is one of the top goal scorers in the Premier League for headed goals. He can also be found in his own penalty box heading away the opposition’s corners. However, the player that I think has the best of attacking and defensive heading is Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian defender has chipped in with his goals over the last few seasons (including against Liverpool) and is rarely beaten in the air.

Work rate: This was a tough choice for me. The emergence of Ramires has really boosted Chelsea’s performances, especially in the last 15 minutes. Essien (when not injured) covers a lot of ground and, when in the Defensive Midfield position, works tirelessly without the ball. However, my choice for fitness would be Frank Lampard. His box to box mentality and immaculate fitness has been the driving force behind the plaudits he has gained from fans, fellow professionals and the media. However, we all know this fitness will not last forever, and I can see Ramires being the next ‘engine’ in midfield.

Skill: Again, a tricky one for me. Gael Kakuta has so much potential. Although he has had a limited number of appearances for Chelsea, his exploits with the French youth teams have really highlighted his talent, especially in the final third. Nicolas Anelka has very good close control, however, his persistence in holding on to the ball frustrates many fans. Chelsea’s new midfield acquisition, Juan Mata, has already shown a glimmer of his ability in his brief cameo. He is the signing that most blues fans are excited about, and we await to see if he is the ‘next Robben’ (or better). However, although he is still very young, Josh McEachran seems to have a natural ability to hold on to the ball, find a pass, and take players on. Therefore, I have chosen the skill of young Josh as my skill player.

Cult factor: There is always a player that the fans take to their hearts. Players like Zola and Osgood are obvious choices, but it’s players like Petar Borota, Mickey Thomas, Pat Nevin and Mark Hughes that really got the crowd going. There seems to be an appreciation for John Obi Mikel amongst Chelsea fans, although rarely gets the fans on their feet. What about ALEX, ALEX, ALEX. This chant can be heard whenever there is a freekick around the box. However, ever since his arrival in January 2011, David Luiz has gained a massive following. He is the reason why #IWantCurlyHairToo and #SideshowBob start trending on Twitter. His ‘crazy’ style of football is matched by his personality, especially the practical jokes he plays, often for the viewers of Chelsea TV.

Worst Player

Right foot: Ashley Cole

Left foot: Henrique Hilario

Head: Jose Bosingwa

Work rate: Florent Malouda

Skill: Paulo Ferreira

Cult factor: Salomon Kalou

Who would you submit as your best/worst player when looking at the current squad? Please put your ideas in the comments box below.

If you liked this article then please follow me on Twitter: @ChelseaChadder

An Open Letter To AVB

Posted: August 5, 2011 by superjourno in Andres Villas-Boas, English Premier League, Random

Dear Andres Villas-Boas (AVB)

FANS, more especially football fans, are a fickle bunch. In more ways than one, they have a love/hate relationship with managers of clubs they would kill so see win – most of the matches. It would then be to your (our new Chelsea manager) benefit to find out just how “fickle” the Stamford Bridge fans are, with just over a week before the club’s first match. That’s an away clash against Stoke City on August 14 and I know you are aware of this.

A win away from home is still important, but not as crucial AVB’s first league match at Stamford Bridge a week later against West Bromwich Albion.

Managers – they won’t ever admit this – but can’t stand the fans. They feel they don’t have to answer to them, but sometimes they forget that club presidents give the supporters some power to have their say. So, up until now, the fans have loved you and showered you with praise. The more patient of the lot will allow you time to settle in and play around with a few ideas, chopping and changing the line-ups here and there. Fernando Torres or Didier Drogba upfront, it’s up to you, but a few defeats down the line, then you begin to feel the might of the Chelsea fans.

Your predecessor, Carlo Ancelotti, won the double (Premier League title and the FA Cup) in his first season and we absolutely loved him. His second season was marked with major disappointment and a full campaign without a trophy, we still kind of loved him. But the easily heartbroken (and rightfully so) large number of us hated him for allowing us to be the butt of jokes among our friends. AVB, we are just a few years apart and we know some of the players are older than you are. If this was going to be a problem for you at the club, you probably wouldn’t have taken the job and left your beloved FC Porto. Roman Abramovich would not have paid so much money to re-unite you with top players such as John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba. We hope the age debacle doesn’t surface sometime during the season as the reason why you aren’t getting results at Chelsea this season. And God forbid we are lying outside the top four by Christmas.

You have a lot on your plate and we get that, but please deliver us to our Holy Grail – the European Champions League. I doubt many of us were as obsessed with the Champions League as your new (there’s that word again) boss. But seeing our rivals Manchester United reach the finals was a bitter pill to swallow. It all brought back memories of our players being robbed of a victory against Barcelona, John Terry slipping and missing a crucial penalty in Moscow and Drogba, Michael Ballack and Jose Bosingwa being banned by Uefa – not necessarily in that order. I have a mouthful to say ahead for your first official match in charge of Chelsea this season, but let’s hold it right there for now. My last words are: No matter what you think of the fans, don’t hit us or end the season without silverware, heck even the Carling Cup will do.

Yours truly,

Mazola J. Molefe (@superjourno), one of many die-hard Chelsea fans.

The Kalou Enigma

Posted: August 2, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, Kalou, Random, Rants, Strikers

Salomon Kalou. Loved by some, despised by others. A player who can do all the difficult stuff but rarely pull off the simplest things. In a word: unique.

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The Ivorian forward scored 10 league goals last season (the most he has in a season at Chelsea since joining from Feyenoord) leading many people to believe it was his best season with the blues. The fact of the matter is, Kalou could be scoring a lot more. In his Feyenoord days he scored 20 goals and then 15 in back to back seasons. Obviously the Dutch league is on a different level to the Premier League but it does show that he wasn’t finding it difficult to hit the back of the net.

Positives:

  • Can score vital goals when you least expect it.
  • Has a sense of humour (yes, I know it doesn’t benefit much but it’s still something).
  • Has pace which some other Chelsea players lack.
  • As previously mentioned, he had a good season in 2010/11 with 10 league goals.
  • Can be an impressive substitute option.

Negatives:

  • Does the impossible by missing open goal opportunities.
  • Has the reputation to lose the ball often.
  • Speaks too much to the press in a way which could put players at unease in the dressing room.

Now from those two lists, there are 5 positives and 3 negatives but don’t let that fool you. There’s another negative that I find difficult to put into words. Basically, it’s like there is something missing from Kalou’s game. Maybe consistency would be the best word to use.

Kalou can be a useful player to have in the squad but a key player? Not so much. It’s hard to make a decision on whether it’s wise to keep him or let him go. He’s a player that doesn’t come around too often.

However, if it was between Kalou and Sturridge on the right flank, I’d have to pick Danny boy.

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What are your thoughts on Kalou? Feel free to leave a comment below with your opinions.

If someone had told me 24 hours ago that McEachran would score within the first minute against Aston Villa and that Torres would score with his first touch as a substitute, I’d quite gladly admit that I probably wouldn’t have believed them.

However, Chelsea have done it again by catching me completely off guard. After just getting prepared to watch the game, I was instantly shocked/amazed/open mouthed/in awe at witnessing 18 year old Josh McEachran score his first senior goal for the club in just over 30 seconds post kick-off. Undoubtedly a huge day for this English hotshot. Everyone could see the joy on his face and maybe even a hint of surprise to go along with it.

And if that wasn’t enough, the towering figure of one Fernando Torres sneaked himself a goal too; a confidence boost that will no doubt have him scoring freely next season; his body language was far superior than in prior games. It’s there to be said that our number 9 could well be on his way back to stardom in no time. Add in the fact that Drogba was also on the pitch, will have every Chelsea fan dreaming of the type of partnership they could form in the near future.

But let us not forget that Daniel Sturridge is deserving of a chance. Genuinely, I believe that Danny could quite easily be the solution to our right wing ‘problem’ of recent times. Yes, we have Kalou and Anelka (who deserves a mention after a good first half display today) but, as many recent posts on the blog have explained, Sturridge needs his opportunity now. He has worked in a determined and enthusiastic manner, which alone warrants a chance.

Bottom line : Do we ‘need’ big signings? No. Does Andre Villas-Boas need to rotate the squad more effectively than his predecessor? Yes. With all that in the equation, it is only minor tweaking that is needed. The current Chelsea squad is more than capable of challenging for every competition they’re a part of and (fingers crossed) even win.

The type of players that Andre Villas-Boas has at his disposal is enough to frighten any manager, so it’s time to up the gear-stick and utilise every player in the way they were originally intended.

 

The schools are out for summer now which for many parents means are trying to find things to keep their children entertained for 6 weeks. I’m not a parent myself but I can imagine it is a lot harder to manage than you think. Well, unless you don’t mind your children staying in and playing computer games non-stop.

When I was 14 (many years ago) my parents faced a similar situation. What could they arrange for me to do during the summer weeks? To be fair it wasn’t that hard. They gave me a football and said why don’t you go and play with your friends. I spent most of the summer playing football for hours on end. A game of headers and volleys for hours on end was the only entertainment I really needed. If you haven’t played this game you are really missing out!

Anyway, one day I returned from playing football when my dad said he had a surprise for me. What could it be? He showed me a bit of paper. It was a registration form for a week long soccer school at Battersea Park, run by Chelsea Football Club. I think it was from 9am to 3pm each day. Brilliant!

Now, I live about 60 miles away from London so it would mean getting up really early to get there in time. No problem. The only challenge was convincing my mum that I was grown up enough to travel on the train each day on my own. The compromise was that I would always sit in the carriage where the ticket collector was based in case something happened.

Anyway, I ended up going to the soccer school and had so much fun. What I found a bit strange was the number of other Chelsea fans that were there. I suppose it’s fairly common if you live near Chelsea, but I didn’t. I lived near Brighton and so most children (circa 1995) obviously supported Man Utd!

Each day we did all kinds of drills in the morning and then played a big tournament in after lunch. I was surprised by the standard of the players, but not in a good way. To me, they seemed as if they had never played the game before or were missing a football brain.

My favourite moment was playing in defence. The opposition had a shot which my goalkeeper saved with his legs. The ball went straight up in the air. I headed it clear and chased after it. I managed to head it again before it touched the ground, and then again and then again. Before I knew it I was up the other end close to goal. I took one look at the goalkeeper and then volleyed it passed him. What a goal! Perhaps the best goal I have ever scored!

Friday afternoon came quicker than I could believe. My dad had turned up near the end as he worked in London at the time. I’m glad he did, especially considering what happened. Each age group had to sit in lines as the end of week presentation was about to begin. I was in the oldest group and so had to wait until the end.

Finally it got round to be my group’s turn. I was looking around me to see who I thought was likely to win the Player of the Week trophy. Before I knew it, Laurence Batty (former Fulham and Woking goalkeeper) announced that I was the winner. I was so pleased. I walked up in my Chelsea shirt with Wise 11 on the back. This was the best trophy I had ever won. In fact, it’s still my favourite.

A few months later I went to another Chelsea Soccer School at Battersea Park. This time I had a different coach, but the outcome was still the same. I was given the Player of the Week trophy. What did this mean? Was I better than I realised? What should I do next? The answer to that question is below.

Just like Peter Bonetti, I wrote to Chelsea asking if I could have a trial. The head of Youth Development at the time was Bernie Dixson. In fact, I wrote to all the London and South Eastern clubs. The only team to write back to me was…Chelsea. It was a letter from Bernie Dixson himself. He asked if I could send him a list of my fixtures and he would arrange for a scout to come and watch me. Wow! I was so excited. This could be my big chance. I could be playing alongside the likes of Frank Sinclair, Gavin Peacock and, of course, Dennis Wise.

Sadly, this is where the story ends. I sent my fixture list to Bernie, only for him to reply saying that their scouting network did not stretch as far as Brighton and so wouldn’t be able to send a scout down. Oh how things have changed! As you know, Chelsea’s scouting network now spans the whole world looking for the best talent there is to offer. I’m glad this is the case. I love Chelsea and want to see them bringing through the next superstars, or at least my heroes!

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If you liked this story then follow me on Twitter: @ChelseaChadder

Get Off My Land!

Posted: July 19, 2011 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, Guest, Legends, Random

Back in 1995, aged just 13, my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday. As a young boy I had so many ideas. Would it be the new Chelsea kit, new football boots, a computer game or just money? The biggest challenge was choosing the right present. However, my dad was on hand to offer an alternative suggestion.

“How do you fancy owning a bit of Chelsea’s pitch?” my dad asked. Wow! What a great idea. I had so many thoughts running through my head. I remember thinking I would ban Ryan Giggs from stepping on my bit of the pitch, or owning a penalty spot and refusing the opposition penalty taker to kick the ball. That was years ago but I’m sure many of you would think the same.

During Chelsea’s dark days the freehold to Stamford Bridge was sold to Marler Estates plc (later to be owned by Cabra Estates plc). The club was in financial ruin and property developers had threatened to build on Stamford Bridge. In 1993 Cabra Estates plc went into liquidation and Chelsea acquired the freehold to the ground again. The club decided to sell ‘shares’ in the ground to fans in order to keep Stamford Bridge safe.

The big question I was asked was whether I wanted the share on my birthday or whether I wanted to wait and have it presented on the pitch by one of the players. Er… I think I’ll have it on the pitch if you don’t mind!

I was told that I would be going on the pitch at half time in the Wednesday night Coca-Cola Cup 2nd round game against Stoke City. As a Chelsea member I was attending the game anyway but turned up early to find out what I needed to do. I headed to the old ‘Football in the Community’ building opposite Stamford Bridge but was told that I couldn’t go on the pitch that night.

I was gutted. I had waited 4 months for this experience only to be told I couldn’t do it. My parents had already paid the extra £25 for the privilege and were understandably not happy. Apologies were made and I was promised that I could go on the pitch at half-time in the next home game. That just happened to be Manchester United in the Premier League. Perhaps that was better than a cold Wednesday night against a lower league club in the Coca-Cola cup.

On the day of the game I headed up early excited about my experience. To put your mind’s at rest, I was given a pass so that I could go on to the pitch.

The game started but it wasn’t long before Man Utd scored. Paul Scholes got the first goal after 3 minutes and added a second 6 minutes later. I don’t remember much else of that half, but I remember getting excited about walking from the West Stand benches towards the players tunnel in the East Stand with my dad. I was told that I would be going on the pitch for the presentation in a short while and would have my photo taken. I was so nervous yet excited. I think the biggest thrill was the thought of walking on to the hallowed turf!

The time came for me to go on to the pitch. I remember looking at my dad with a massive grin on my face. I was then introduced to Nigel Spackman and Peter Osgood who were presenting the certificate. I don’t remember looking into the crowd or realising what else was happening in the ground. I remember having my photo taken and was told it would be sent to me in the post shortly afterwards. True to their word, the club sent me a lovely photo (which is in the loft somewhere).

It was great experience, but it got a little bit better. A month later Chelsea played Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. In my school (60 miles away from Chelsea) there were only two people that went and watched their club; myself and a friend who supported Spurs. The game ended 0-0. I saw my friend on the train home. After an initial chat about the game I asked him to look at a particular page in the programme. Why did I do this? Well, the photo they had taken was featured in the programme. Not bad, eh. On the pitch against Man Utd and in the programme against my favourite opponents, Spurs.

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If you liked this story then follow me on Twitter: @ChelseaChadder