A former Chelsea supporting colleague informs me that ‘The Blues’ have always been bigger than Spurs. And he says that he can prove it.
In football, the past is in a permanent state of being re told out of context and I think that this has confused him. The demand for this ‘new history’ is driven by over exposure, one eyed punditry, an expanding army of hired bull _______ to push it onto the millions of cultural grazers caught in the headlights and who suck it all up to satisfy their own immediate desperation to smell like a winner.
But even without the sure footedness of the real past, we still have an understanding of how great and legendary things sometimes are, how real footballing ideals develop, how clubs grow and the difference between things being won and things being bought. Every now and then, under good leadership that is backed by the board and fans, the energy and will of a whole ideal can gather momentum and become something bigger.
In these instances you are more than just a witness, you have a responsibility to be there in the moment because you know that without your intention and emotional input things just might be different. It is a calling where you can no longer be a mere supporter but something different, something both logical and weirder at the same time – a sort of gonzo supporter. By making this ‘self’ your personal gift to your club, you become as integral to your team’s story as your team is part of yours.
In manufacturing their continued momentum with money and a production line of Europe’s elite managers, Chelsea no longer require this personal gift from their own supporters. The is no need for the ‘self’. The faithful no longer have any sway on the guts, reasoning or imagination over what was once their own. It has been taken from them and they haven’t realized. What will happen will happen, whether they remain interested or not. The required new role of the Chelsea supporter is to watch matches, buy merchandise, sing the TV friendly songs, and bow to the icy wisdom of the board. Just like at The Emirates. The future for Chelsea is Arsenal. It is their ultimate prize.
What is amazing is that both sets of supporters see themselves as being different, when in fact they are quintessentially the same. I give you Charsenal. Charsenal – A football supporter whose sole function is to increase the revenue of a football club through the procurement of merchandise, match day tickets and over priced snacks. And nothing else.
Stadium Meat – See Charsenal.
My thanks to Bill for a great read – HH