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Stamford Bridge to Upton Park…stick your blue flag!

Filed: Monday, 3rd December 2012
By: Paul Walker

The dust may have settled, all the talk is about Chelsea’s madhouse, but I implore you all to remember the day we stuffed the most arrogant of European champions out of sight. Remember, remember the first of December.

Great days, meaningful days, don’t come around too often for Irons fans, but Saturday’s amazing performance should be carved in stone at whatever stadium we finally end up calling home in the decades to come.

Champions of Europe, you really are ‘aving a laugh. Chelsea are the most discredited European champions since Steaua Bucharest unashamedly played for penalties and a 0-0 draw in Seville in 1986 before beating Terry Venables’ Barcelona 2-0 in the shoot-out.

However bravely Chelsea defended last season against Barcelona and Bayern Munich to lift the trophy Roman Abramovich wanted above all others, nobody can surely accept the ludicrous chant from Chelsea fans of “We know what we are, the best team in Europe.“ Yea, right.

Now those fans have the cheek to abuse Rafa Benitez, seemingly because his Liverpool used to beat Chelsea regularly in Europe and he took on and beat Jose Mourinho in the mind games.

Chelsea fans seem to believe they are a genuine big club, so they have the right to hound Benitez, someone I respected and got to know well in the final years of my journalistic career, before retirement and a long-craved season ticket to watch my beloved West Ham took over my life.

Chelsea should be grateful that Benitez is prepared - clearly handsomely rewarded - to set foot inside Stamford Bridge to sort out another mess of the Russian’s making . And as for Pepe Guardiola, are you serious!

Would he seriously consider working for a club governed by such lunacy? Guardiola is one of my favourite people in football, cool, clever and once pulling the strings of such a wonderful side as Barca.

But so far he has only ever managed inside the Barcelona bubble. He came through the ranks of their famed La Masia academy, understood the soul of the club and how it works. He must see from his current base in New York that Chelsea have no soul and just cannot be trusted.

When he does return to management it must be to a truly big club where he will have time and respect to develop his Barcelona style and instincts. Otherwise what is the point of employing him? Chelsea don’t even come close.

Their owner has so much money, he can make decisions without care of consequences. If I don’t pay the mortgage or make a bad decision in buying a car, there are consequences, so you make decisions with care. Roman does not have to care about anyone, hence Chelsea’s current demise.

They are all I hate about football. Back in 2003 when we last beat them - before Saturday - we did the double over them are still went down. Chelsea were facing administration that season, so bad were their finances before Abravomich walked in and saved them.

They are no bigger a club than us, we just didn’t have the help of half the Russian GDP. We declined and they bought success but not class, history or respect. Now their arrogant, loads a money waving fans, think they can abuse Benitez.

Two La Liga titles, a European Cup and UEFA Cup, plus another Champions League final at least deserves respect and the chance to sort out a mess not of his making.

Chelsea fans fail to see that they are not a big club like Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool, clubs that have built on tradition and achievement. Without Roman’s money they would be just like us. What they’ve got he bought for them, simple as that.

Anyway, enough of Chelsea, who really cares. I felt we finally arrived in the Premier League on Saturday, a wonderful fight back and making use of our own attributes with a manager who clearly knows what he is doing and can think on his feet. Maybe, also, his decreasing number of detractors amongst our fans finally saw Big Sam for what he is, and what he can achieve on a fraction of Chelsea‘s money.

And that brings me to a request from more than a few of my mates, who are aware that I know a few journalists, including the Mirror’s John Cross, a smashing reporter and a decent bloke.

Now my mates are fed up with him continuing to say on TalkSport that West Ham fans don’t rate Big Sam. I’ve been asked to point out that many, many of our fans are more than happy with Sam, rate him and are grateful for being hauled out of the Championship and into the top half of the Premier League. You wonder who else could have achieved that.

So if Crossy can manage to make that point next time around, it would be appreciated and get a few of my pals of my back!

I doubt many of those who witnessed Saturday’s triumph will have doubted Sam too much. The win was our best for many a year, against a top club.

Mind you, it has been coming. I know we all approached this current run of games with some trepidation, so used have we become to being turned over by bigger clubs in the past decade.

I recall writing that I would be surprised if we got six points from the 11-match run that followed the victory over Southampton on October 20. Well we have already got eight and there’s still four to go before we travel to Reading for the last game of the year.

Funnily enough, those points have not come from the games I expected. Away at Wigan produced nothing, and we should have got more than a draw against Stoke.

But the draw with Manchester City, followed by the victory at Newcastle - guess who is now experiencing Alan Pardew’s second season syndrome? - has now been followed by a win over Chelsea and a more than decent performance at Manchester United. We have been competitive where I was not expecting it, and we now need six more wins from 23 matches to reach 40 points. Now even I believe that is possible.

And don’t forget that we achieved Saturday’s win without Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te, Alou Diarra, Jack Collison and the on-loan Yossi Benayoun, who could not be considered because Chelsea is his parent club.

Carlton Cole has clearly watched and learned from having Carroll around, and he looked hungry to make a point. It was an outstanding game.

His goal is being used as a Chelsea reason for their defeat. But Ivanovic was not looking at the ball or trying to play it, he was backing into Cole and trying to stop him reaching the ball by foul-means, that is why referee Martin Atkinson was lenient. And Kevin Nolan’s strike from James Collins’ head down should not have been disallowed in the first half anyway.

No, I won’t allow any Chelsea moaning to deflect from our great performance. Players out there cared and showed professional integrity and character. After the way Chelsea bossed that first period, a West Ham side of old would have capitulated. Like they did so often under Avram Grant (and Chelsea want him back, now you really are ’aving a laugh).

Collins was immense, Jussi Jaaskelainen continues to show he’s better than Rob Green while Mo Diame’s stunning second period performance was magnificent. I just pray that the sell-on clause in his contract is not put under an pressure in January, because he has been the bargain of the season.

He was out there clutching the badge on his shirt on Saturday after his goal, so I just hope our manager and owners can quickly nip in the bud all talk of him moving on.

The way we hounded down three Chelsea players and then mugged Ashley Cole to force the mistake for the third goal will long live with me.

So mark the day with pride, remember where you were and how you felt during the last half hour and then the hours and days afterwards. The day we made the champions of Europe look what they are… an average club with more money than sense… and no class.

I can’t let this piece pass without a reference to the disgraceful scenes at Spurs last month. I was away in Lanzarote at the time, so not really in a position to pass much judgement.

I spent the day searching for a bar to see the match and had to settle for Chelsea v Man City, and the occasional update. I must admit to losing interest at 3-0 down.

It wasn’t until I saw Spanish TV the following day that the full horror sunk in. My Spanish is not good, but it did not take much working out that they were showing the footage and making the point that the English are very quick to slaughter Spanish fans for their racist behaviour.

So that did little for our reputation abroad. Now our club sold 3,000 tickets all to season ticket holders, because none went on general sale. So they will know every name and every seat. The police can pick out face after face from CCTV these days, so it should be straightforward to discover the culprits.

I do find this anti-semitic stuff hard to fathom, and wonder just how many of the younger fans really understand what happened during the war.

All I know is that my old man worked for Jews in the rag trade and print firms all his life and never uttered a bad word about them, apart from the odd suggestion that they are ’tight.’ But then so are the Jocks.

No, dad was always rather proud of the fact that East Enders provided a safe haven for so many Jewish refugees prior to and during the war, and also fought on the streets to stop Mosley’s thugs in their tracks. And now people are chanting about Hitler. Disgusting, sickening. They have no place as fans of our club.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Frank
12:20PM 4th Dec 2012
''Nice article Paul. I have no time for those so called fans at the Spurs game. Poor old Yossi must have felt terrible let alone David Gold. I remember being in The Boleyn pub years ago when all of that stuff was going on in the back room on a match day. My son and I walked out and have not been in there since.

As for Saturday's game, the second half was brilliant. I'd struggle to remember a more satisfying win even going back to the sixties. Bobby must have been in Heaven grinning from ear to ear. Let's hope that we can follow it up against Liverpool on Sunday. COYI.''

by Allan Whyte
08:09AM 4th Dec 2012
''You are quite right John, of course Chelsea like West Ham have real supporters. This is not just about Roman Abramovich but the state of football in the Premier League as a whole.

Sam Allardyce argued after the game that Abramovich had been good for football in this country, he is wrong. Barcelona is owned by their supporters. In Germnay it is the same thing. The Chief executive of Borussia Dortmund was correct when he siad we rely to much on rich men and that 'when fans become customers you are lost' We are the club not the coaches, owners or players. Come on you Hammers.''

by Bristol Hammer
04:38PM 3rd Dec 2012
''My sentiments exactly mate. Most East Enders have Jewish blood and they are the funniest people I have ever met. Anyone who has enough money can buy the EPL; I like Man City but they are doing it now!

Abramovich has made Chelsea a laughing stock. Please bring back Avram, you mug - I can't wait for it all to implode and king Roman to storm off with the hump. Remember 3-1, stick your blue flag...''

by Old Jack.
04:22PM 3rd Dec 2012
''Great Article Paul. Agree with everything you have written. Without the Russian's money Chelsea would have probably been more of a yoyo team than ourselves and I doubt their supporters would have stuck by them in the numbers we have. Shame some of our so-called fans let us down with their anti-Jewish rhetoric but ignorance is not confined only to Upton Park and I, as a Jewish fan for over 60 years, do not judge our great club by these morons.''

by Steve
02:56PM 3rd Dec 2012
''This is a good article. A very good article. BUT, despite some of what you wrote, I am a loyal Chelsea fan, since mid 80s, before the Russian man landed at Stamford Bridge.

I know that we have NO history. We are NOT a big club. We have NO CLASS at all.
But I'm proud to support this shirt (yes, shirt, not players). And, supporting from Italy, you can immagine how expensive it is...

I was at Upton Park on Saturday. West Ham played a superb game, and fans were brilliant too. But I remember when we were sh*t and the final score had just a little interest, because we're already thinking about next game.

Another defeat? Maybe. But a loyal supporter will support always.

P.S. sorry for my bad English.''

by John
02:31PM 3rd Dec 2012
''Good article, like that.''

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