Date: 11th February 2019 at 4:58pm
Written by:

Contribution by Navid Deen

As many of you may know, I have advocated keeping Sarri and allow him time to develop his philosophy here at Chelsea. But after yesterday’s debacle, I must confess that even I am wavering.

I could blame Sarri.

I could blame the players.

I could blame the Board.

But what would be the point?

Who amongst us could change the thinking of the club, the philosophy of Sarri or the direction and business acumen of the Board?

None of us. End of story, surely?

Well no, it’s not.

We the supporters are also embroiled in this mess and are just as much to blame. Why’s that?

Because everyone has dreams and expectations. We are humans and therefore fallible. We all make mistakes.

Let’s share the burden of failure and the fruits of success equally.

Abramovich has spent a billion, yes a billion of his own money to realise his ambition. The players have been paid millions to produce the goods. The successive managers have by and large provided a platform for the players to reap substantial success.

We have had a strange, misunderstood and largely an extremely successful tenure.

Many trophies later including the Champions League adorn our cabinet.

The only team in London to have been able to touch the “Big Ears” trophy.

Chelsea fans are the only London club supporters to have been privileged enough to go and have their pictures taken with the Champions League trophy. Great times, great memories.

The flame of the Champions league burnt inside all of us and after the outpouring of grief having lost on penalties we then all rejoiced when in 2012 we achieved the ultimate prize. Champions of Europe, you’ll never sing that! (That’s a message to all other London Clubs that masquerade as contenders).

And here lies our problem.

You see, we reached one Champions League final in 2008 (Oh, how that still hurts) and then we reached another in 2012. Both times we had managers who were not managers at the start of the two respective seasons. Both came in as interim charges.

And whilst I loved Roberto Di Matteo, he was not a Chelsea manager. Avram Grant was never a manager.

No, neither were managers that had the standing or skills to fully lead Chelsea teams full of great players, great fighters and great skills.

And perhaps what was apparent to all of us, was that they had the one ingredient that is sadly lacking in recent teams.

Oh, we have players of great skill and guile. We have individuals that exude excellence.

But we don’t have leaders. Battle-hardened with a never-say-die attitude.

When I was a lad, we played football on pitches that were 6-9 inches deep in mud. We played on rock-hard surfaces and we played whether it was snowing, raining or scorching sun. If we got a cut (and I’m sure you’ll agree we all have), we used to sneak home and without our mothers noticing, we used to tape up the wounds with anything. I used sellotape.

The following day, we went back and played again. What great times. We still have the scars, but we also have great memories.

Sorry, I digress, but you’ll see what I’m driving at very shortly.

When we got to the Champions League final in 2008 and then again in 2012, we had one common denominator.


We have been spoilt with all the success of our recent past built on the will of the players to win.

When you have had midfield warriors such as Ballack, Makalele, Lampard, Essien, and defenders such as JT, Desailly, Carvalho, Ashley Cole led by Drogba and protected in goal by Cech, it is always going to be a hard act to follow.

These men decided what was best on the pitch, they decided how they would play and changed it if needed.

They didn’t need a manager and THEY DID NOT NEED EXCUSES.

I don’t want Azpiliqueta to say sorry after every defeat. I want him to thrash some of his players whilst the game is going on. He says that a performance like yesterday against Manchester City is unacceptable.

Azpi, we already know that mate!

You said the same after the game against Bournemouth. What’s different?

I never heard JT, Drogba, Ballack, Essien or Ashley Cole apologise and why should they?

Because when these leaders came off the pitch, they had left everything there. Blood, sweat and tears. Even if we had lost, we were certain of one thing, this lot would be back. And invariably they were.

Compare that with the wishy-washy, lily-livered shower that adorn the Chelsea shirt nowadays.

I love football, I love attractive football played by artists but to ask these artists to play to an audience, needs a platform.

A platform built on solid foundations that are reinforced with steel. The steel that JT, Ashley Cole, Drogba, Essien and Cech had and still have. And do you know how to tell the difference?

Look into their eyes and you will see steel.

Tell them that there is another team better then Chelsea and all of a sudden you will see their demeanour change. They will not laugh it off. They will respond and you will know when they respond that the foundations that they reinforced all those years ago are still there.

It’s just the new bunch of pampered, eyebrow plucking and white tooth brigade that has changed the look of the Chelsea Empire.

Let’s bring them all back into the fold as below;

Director of Football: Didier Drogba

First Team Coach: Gianfranco Zola

Assistant First Team Coach: John Terry

Goalkeeping Coach: Peter Cech

and as I have alluded to recently let these men, these leaders, teach the new generation of Chelsea players what true leaders do when it comes to the crunch. When times get tough.

The two things that I know that true leaders do not do, is hide or run.

The fans pay their hard earned cash and suffer to stand beside the players, now it is the time for the players to repay that love and faith show that the Chelsea badge on their shirts means more than a monthly pay cheque.

This is Chelsea and we are not a stepping stone for anyone.


Previous article by Navid Deen

If Sarri Was Released, Is His Successor Already In Place?

Click for the forum

29 Replies to “Even I Am Beginning To Waver. Where Are The Leaders, Where Is The Bite, Where Is The Fight”

  • Merlin, with all due respect, I couldn’t finish reading this article, so strong was my level of disagreement. When the pseudo-praise of Abramovich began, my attention couldn’t be held. Yes, he spent alot of money. So what? He had (has) it. Money is only an issue for those who have not. Let’s not pretend that we owe this man our blind allegiance. Yes, his money reinvigorated a tired league, and changed the landscape. But it was simply a call to arms for others. His injection into the league was disruptive, and useful. However, others have joined in, seeing what commercial gain is to be had. Abramovich was always an investor, never a visionary. He built a club upon raw spending power, and brute force – not sporting vision. In recent years, his version of Chelsea has failed – miserably even – to design a structure capable of ably, and consistently, fighting on all fronts. The mark of a serious club, with the aspirations of champions, is to build a philosophy (first and foremost), strength in depth, and a vein of continuity from the highest branches, to the lowest. Abramovich’s Chelsea is plagued by mistrust, discord, instability, inconsistency, fear, and uncohesiveness. In summary… We’re still trying to function in a 2005 mindset, in 2019. It doesn’t work. The man is a stupid, stubborn, ass. And I’m sorry to say, but history will prove this point.

  • Hello Solid7

    I understand your frustration but the article has very little to do with Abramovich and his billions. I am the last person to praise anyone for their wealth.

    My only concern is my beloved Chelsea.

    I was just trying give the article some context and the money was only a small part of that context.

    Please, please read the article and you will note that it is about the players and the lack of leadership in the team.

  • Abramovich has EVERYTHING to do with this discussion. He is the creator of the current state of affairs. We cannot praise his contributions, without acknowledging his massive faults. And you very clearly praised his spending, while suggesting that he created a platform for success, for everyone down the chain. Sorry, but no. Mr Abramovich has single handedly created an environment that, is not only not conducive to fostering leadership, but can only be described as outright toxic. We need to stop blaming everyone else. This club is exactly what it logically should be.

  • I have not in any way praised anyone’s financial contribution and am a little saddened that you feel that I have.

    It’s also difficult to have a logical debate if you are not prepared to even read the article in its entirety.

    As a fellow Chelsea supporter, I will respect your opinion but not necessarily agree with it.


  • Merlin your article is spot on! I couldn’t have stated it better myself.
    We have a bunch of overpaid divas donning the jersey!
    No heart, No pride, No grit, No fight….
    Their state of mind ain’t right!
    We acquired a coach whose stubborn as a mule.
    The adage you can’t teach an old dog new tricks comes to mind! Though I’d rather pay that no mind!
    We miss the warriors of days gone! Drogba, Lamps, JT, Essien, Carvalho,Ballack, Ashley Cole and them…
    You spot on with the roles that would incoperate them back into the fold.
    Drogba would be a shoe in at Director of Football.
    Chech plus Cudduchini would be stellar in the goalkeeping department…..
    P/s the fellow ranting over Roman……waste of time ,totally deviating from your article, but he should take an analysis of the past 10years 2009-2019! No club in England has been more successful than Chelsea or even come close to their successes!
    So have kindly take a seat and stop exposing his…..for all to see!!

    • Thomas Joseph.

      Thank you for your kind comment

      You’ve identified the leaders that are sorely missed.

  • Furthermore, under the current owner, I never want to see anything even remotely similar to your proposed structure – which is composed of not just club legends, but legends of the game. Such would be the ultimate expression of casting pearls before swine.

    • Now what you putting out is plain hogwash!
      This a formula that’s been tried and tested ’round elite clubs in Europe!
      Barca did it with Pep, Enrique…
      Madrid did it with Zidan! If you know Butragueno(you know the role he occupies)
      A.Madrid did it wit D Simeone.
      We did big things with Di Matteo..
      So, what are you really on about?

  • Mr Deen – if you weren’t praising the financial contribution, then perhaps you’d like to explain the significance of mentioning the outlay, in the first place? What is the “logical” connection? Or are you implying that you are guilty of dangling a participle?

  • So it seems u were right navid…. The senior players ( Luiz ,azpi,Alonso, Cahill) don’t like the barking they are getting from jorginho( which he has reduced now)… And have officially downed tools for manager sarri… I don’t see the manager lasting the season … Player power rein supreme at the bridge again…if by chance sarri makes it till aug as Chelsea manager …he should first offload azpi and Luiz.. they seem to be the dressing room now……. The only way out of this rut is to back the manager and get the ego before club players out… Otherwise the player power will continue… Again and again and again ( PS sarri tactics still not at fault)

    • Th

      Thank you for your kind comment. And you are so very right.

      This constant change has made us into a laughing stock.

      We are now referred to by opposition supporters as the “Banter Club”. Something for them to mock.

      Something for us all to be embarrassed about.

      The only way to combat it is for the supporters to remain together, come what may.

  • And Gents, that’s what Vital is all about, opinions.
    It’d be a boring place if we all thought the same.
    Personally I think you both have some valid points that I can agree with but I have one if my own that maybe you can both agree on.
    Sarri is too inflexible for the Premier League; I mean can anyone remember us ever , during his tenure, going for broke by throwing on 3 attacking sub’s?
    I certainly can’t, it’s always a like for like replacement.
    I recall Test match cricket commentators bemoaning England with the phrase ‘they have changed the bowler, but not the bowling’.
    And that’s what Sarri is doing. Closest thing to insanity is to keep doing something that’s not working in the hope that next time it’ll succeed

  • Analooish, that analogy is a very good one, and could apply across several levels. (not exclusive to managers)

  • Hello Solid7

    My article states clearly;

    “Let’s share the burden of failure and the fruits of success equally”.

    It goes on to say;

    “Abramovich has spent a billion, yes a billion of his own money to realise his ambition. The players have been paid millions to produce the goods. The successive managers have by and large provided a platform for the players to reap substantial success”.

    I have not praised his contribution but merely pointed a fact. Please note that I say to “realise his ambition” not mine.

    The reality is that I have supported my beloved Chelsea since 1965 before the Premier League before Abramovich and I dare say before a lot of the players were even born. It is also a reality that supporters like me were still shouting for our club when we were relegated to the second division. And even when the club nearly became bankrupt.

    We then won the 1970 FA cup followed by a some more cups.

    The Premier League changed the face of English Football.

    We the life long supporters did not ask for it and did not know what to expect when Abramovich took over.

    We are supporters of Chelsea FC not of any individual.

    What we do know is that to dine at the top table, we had to pay top dollar and even then we were always in the second tier if you compared us with say, Manchester United or Liverpool.

    I hate to admit it, but Abramovich’s billions put us on the top table and we are now a global force. That is one of the reasons that pundits always find ways to criticise us.

    We may not like the way things are run but without the money spent we would still be scrapping in the second tier. We would not have got Mourinho and multi talented team of 2004/05 without him.

    Personally my friend, if Chelsea do get a transfer ban and if we do suffer and if we do not win anything for the duration of my life, I will still love and support my beloved Chelsea in the same way that I did in 1965.

    I alluded to Abramovich’s billions to highlight his biggest contribution to our club. Then I moved very quickly onto how the players and managers had benefited from that position.

    You notice, no praise, just a statement of fact. I did not even thank him for it.

    I also pointed out many of our supporters also expect success as a matter of course. But this is not always possible.

    If I am guilty of anything it is that my love for Chelsea goes beyond Abramovich, his billions, trophies and medals.

    It is a part of my life that no-one can take away from me.

    You have also stated that Abramovich has not encouraged leadership.

    JT, fondly referred to as Captain, Leader, Legend is just one of the few leaders that I mentioned. Drogba, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Essien, Ballack, Desailly are a few more leaders that cannot be replaced. These leaders have never had a bad word to say against Chelsea or Abramovich.

    Me, I’ll ignore the billions because it’s not my money and I’ll keep my most precious memories of when we really weren’t very good at all and remember how we got here.

    My article is not about Abramovich or his billion but as you keep referring to it, in my opinion, without Ken Bates and his millions and without Abramovich’s billion, we would not be having this discussion.

    My article focuses on the lack of leaders, the lack of bite and fight amongst the players in our current team.

    I’ll leave it for you to decide what is best for you.

  • I have no ill will towards you. I am merely following where your words are leading.

    I’ve not been a fan as long. I was not born in 1965. Even as yourself, I’ll follow (only this club) even when the weather isn’t fair. But all families have quarrels, inevitably, about how the house is run.

    Abramovich spent the money. Thank you. Do I demand success? Well, if the club continues to allude to that expectation, then yes. I much more expect the great men of the sport to be respected, rather than used and dumped, on a flight of fancy. Otherwise, let’s put out the fitting signal. Where I see a tyrant’s stable, maybe you see something else. I suppose I’ll wait for the present owner to pass or perish, albeit, grumbling all the way.

    John Terry wasn’t an Abramovich acquisition. Neither was Lampard. By most accounts, Mourinho had a free hand in the transfer market when Drogba was acquired. Let’s not give credit for anything more than writing the check, there.

    My heart’s desire isn’t to just see astronomical spending. Rather, I’d like to see a visionary owner, who knows how to put the right people in place. Hire them to do what he doesn’t know how to do, and then have the courage to respect the fact. Be progressive with footballing mentality. Forward minded thinkers who know how to evolve. Who understand The minds of the current generation of players. (instead of lamenting The passing of days of yore). Someone who takes us forward, as a good steward of money, time, and talent, at all levels.

    Is that too much to ask for?

  • Hello Solid7

    I’m not offended by what you’ve said at all.

    I just cannot agree that with you when you suggest that I’ve praised Abramovich for spending his money in any way that he likes. I hope my last response clarifies that I simply don’t care about his money.

    My article is about leaders.

    I certainly would not suggest that JT or Lampard were his acquisitions. I definitely would know that JT was the most successful graduate from the ranks.

    I do know however when I go to Stamford Bridge every other week, that supporters are now questioning his commitment to Chelsea because he doesn’t spend his money now.

    Quite the turnaround.


  • Take a critical look at Chelsea in the previous years, you will see that they are all leaders, Michael Ballack, Drogba, John Terry were all captain in their country respectively so therefore, they what it means to win.
    The likes of Deco, Calvalho, Wayne Bridges, Gudjohnsen, Damien Duff, lampard, Joe Cole, Gallas and Essien. they have got the fighting spirit, they don’t take NO for an answer, its never over until its over, they were the perfect example of NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER. they could turn the table around even at the last minute.
    I think that the hunger for success, progress and relevance made them all to strive for the highest price and it paid off.

  • @Navid Deen – Well, we can’t help what the lower order thinkers are thinking. Most of them aren’t even capable of much intelligent thought, so we can hardly fault them for their cretin-ish ideas. We have a lot of fair weather fans. We are known for this.

    Like yourself, I tend to identify certain statements with certain trains of thought. It’s not atypical for those who mention Abramovich and his outlay in the same sentence, to attribute an almost obligatory duty of hero worship towards the man, and then expect it from the entire fanbase.

    As for me… I only question his inability to make sounds decisions that aren’t ego driven. He does himself no favors by being shadowy, and perpetually unavailable. If he were half as vocal with regards to the health of CFC, as he is (from the shadows) about antisemitism, we’d be in great shape. I couldn’t care less what his stance on such extracurricular matters are. (So long as they aren’t publicly voiced) What is his vision for the future of the club? If you have to remain out of the public eye so much, on account of your other business dealings, what good are you?

    I want a stable club, that invests in squad depth, capable of competing in, at minimum, league and UCL, year in, year out. It doesn’t have to be the biggest names, or the heftiest price tags. Just quality players who actually want to play. Not a bunch of disgruntleds, who don’t know where, how, or for whom they’ll be playing tomorrow.

    I’ve said it a hundred times or more on this site, and it’s still relevant – until we see a change in ownership, these problems that we are having, will be perpetual, but gradually worsening. After all, a house is only as good as the foundation upon which it is built. A cracked foundation will still do its job, after all, right up to the point of catastrophic failure.

    • Hello Solid7

      I’ve just read your response this morning and am bitterly disappointed.

      My article has nothing to do with Abramovich.

      You have made so many points about Abramovich that you really should consider writing an article on the subject and let the readers respond to you.

      In your latest response, you seem to suggest that I agree with what you’ve said. But as I previously stated, I would respect your opinion but not necessarily agree with it.

      I am a little concerned that you may be thinking that I too think of my fellow Chelsea supporters as “lower order thinkers” or that “most of them aren’t even capable of much intelligent thought, so we can hardly fault them for their cretin-ish ideas”.

      I do not and would never agree at all with your statements about any fellow Chelsea supporters.

      I may not agree with some of them at times but unless they are saying or doing something illegal, I would never condemn them or think that I am superior to them in any way.

      The Chelsea supporters have been part of my Chelsea family throughout my life and will remain so.

  • we are lacking leaders and we are also lacking desire of the player to fight to the very end of the match. Also i think in chelsea the players have the power over the coach which is bad.SARRI NOT THE PROBLEM,THE PLAYER ARE.

  • We all feel like we had a tooth extracted via our arse …diatribe and anti he who why makes little sense..we are chelsea…we will survive..KTBFFH.

  • Navid – it’s actually quite a shame that you don’t think that you have the ability to think above the level that you pointed out. Some people have strong bodies, some have strong minds. I’m not going to take the pitch, and start giving orders. But I’m also not going to relegate myself to undue mediocrity. When someone (like a fan in the stands, or a wayward commenter) is acting like a knuckle dragger, I will damn sure call them out on it. Be disappointed with that, if you like. I also didn’t say “most”, so don’t start employing intellectual dishonesty to make your points against me.

    You said that some supporters are questioning his commitment, because of his lack of spending. My point was, and is, that the same people will make the same arguments forever. They’ll blame this player, that manager, etc, etc, etc. They will never be either honest or intelligent enough to put the blame where everyone else in the world knows it belongs.

    As for your article not being about Abramovich – that’s because, logically, your entire premise (from my point of view) was wrong. Mine is where the argument might have gone, had the original premise actually been sound.

    Ok, you can turn try to turn this back on me, and once more make yourself the martyr.

    • @ Solid7, your English mate is very academic, some of us here don’t have English as first language. We try to write and understand basic English. Can you please in future try to accommodate us by making your points in a very primary school English so that we can understand properly what you’re trying to say! I’m begging you mate!

    • Solid7

      I confess that I do not like to think of myself above others. If, in your eyes, that makes me a smaller or mediocre person as compared with you, I can live with it. I’m not embarrassed about that at all. I simply refuse to say anything against my fellow Chelsea supporters.

      I’m encouraging you to write an article on the topic that clearly you have a lot of feelings about. I’m not turning anything back on you. Everything that you directed at me could quite easily have been the catalyst of an article.

      I have tried in vain to make you realise that your interpretation of my article is wrong but I have clearly failed to do so. I will not continue with this exchange any further.

      However, the next time you are at Stamford Bridge, please let me know. I’d be happy to sit and have a cup of tea with you. No hard feelings from my side. Let’s move on.

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