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Stick your blue flag...

Filed: Tuesday, 10th April 2018
By: Paul Walker

There you go. Just for a change itís only about the football. I know itís hard to believe in our season of despair, but it only takes sticking it up Chelsea to bring about a show of much needed unity.

So often this season itís always been about the shambles off the field, this time - at least for a few days - letís all laugh at Chelsea.

OK, it was only a draw, and the pointed stick can only be inserted a little way, but itís enough to inflict pain and tears on the posh boys from the west side of London. A victory would have allowed more, but you canít have everything.

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Now, in no particular order (thereĎs a lot to get through) Iíll start with the fans of this over-indulged club, full of self importance and entitlement. Even if they are, and because of that fact, the biggest club in London now (sorry Spurs, you are way, way down the list) taking anything from the money launderers is as good as a win.

BBCís 606, which used to be at least funny when Danny Baker did it, was full of tearful, wailing Chelsea fans who moaned about such a bad season. Sorry, you are champions, you reached the Champions League knockout stages, you are in the FA Cup semi finals and if you pull yourselves together you will be in the Thursday night league. Get a grip.

Now I didnít see any of the game live, without boring you with the sob story, my son went to the game and me and the missus looked after little granddaughter. I know, sometimes you can be pushed too far! But I spent a lovely sunny afternoon teaching her how to stay balanced on her little bike and she didnít fall over once. I can supply the same lesson to Eden Hazard, without the bike of course.

She then showed me how to play CBBC games on the iPad. Sheís three for heaven's sake, and most of the time I was getting íyou have to be quicker than that, grandad.í

So I let the game slip away when the chance of turning on the TV became out of the question. To be fair, I had more fun on a match day than I have had in the pit of misery all season!

I have since watched the whole recording, and was mightily impressed with the effort and desire not to be overrun. Which could easily have happened, as it has on plenty of other occasions these past two seasons.

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So to have heard Skyís Andy Hinchcliffe wittering on about how poor we were and how wonderful Chelsea were, and then to read on BBCís website Danny Mill (an average full back who was very fortunate to play for England) going on about us Ďwhimperí our way to relegation and not appreciating the importance of the game took some understanding.

We are not as good as Chelsea, we do not have players as good as theirs, but you could not doubt the commitment and effort. It got worse on 606, where we had Kelly Cates (formerly Dalglish) and Joleen, Joleen, Joleen, Joleen Lescott (apologies to Dolly Parton, I couldnít resist that) gushing away about Chelsea. The programme was so poor it sounded like a Radio Caroline training tape from the '60s.

And everybody thought it wasnít a penalty, that NíGolo Kanteís tackle on Marko was perfect. The same came from most of the journos. Now sorry, these people have instant TV replays and slow motion at their fingertips. It didnít take much to see that it was a penalty, even if it was near impossible for referee Keith Friend to see it. It would have been a guess.

Mind, you, Iíve seen too many refs guess that challenges are worthy of a penalty. At least Dermot Gallagher got it right. Itís an easy way out for pundits and some writers to be nice about the big teams. 
Now I believe our fans see Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as one of the top, if not the top, away trips of the season. A nice sunny day in the wine bars and poncy coffee shops. And if the Shed was still around the ICF boys would take it, this time I am told, they took over one of the Chelsea home fans' designated pubs. So a good day was had by all.

And it was two more unlikely heroes that did it. Joe Hart and Javier Hernandez are both unlikely to be around next season. Chico wants out, heís been saying so for months, but what I love about him is that he still puts in a shift and scores vital goals.

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I still donít think he should start, he is just not suited to the Premier League where everyone has to work and press. Thatís never been his game. Alex Ferguson thought that, and both Slav and David Moyes agree.

Chico will score, heís one of the best in the world in the penalty box, but outside of it he can be lightweight and a liability. And nobody plays 4-4-2 these days. So I expect him to be off in the summer.

Hart, with his vast wages, also looks very unlikely to stay, unless he produces a string of performances like Sunday's and then takes a big pay cut. But thatís unlikely, if he continues to do well heíll get a move somewhere, Newcastle have wanted him for months.

I have always liked him but accept this has been a difficult season when his concentration has looked way off at times. Mind you, playing behind our defence early in the season would have made Gordon Banks look bad.

But between them these two won us the point. Hart, who despite taking constant abuse this term, has always been uncomplaining and professional. Chico the same, he does his job and has scored some beauties this term, Sundayís being one of his best.

It was mayhem behind that goal as the Irons' fans went potty. They were pretty vocal throughout and deserve praise for the dignity shown during the Ray Wilkins tribute beforehand, and you could hear them singing íthereís only one Ray Wilkinsí above the minutesí applause. Top lads.

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The one downer was the soft goal we gave away. Slav, working for Sky, had a pop at Marko and Fernandes for some poor defending. Thatís rich coming from our former boss who frequently saw us ship four goals a game. Mind you, he was right. The pair were pretty awful as they tried to defend that short corner and Cesar Azpilicueta fumbled the ball over the line.

So here we are, I still think two wins away from safety. It means Stoke next Monday is crucial because itís Arsenal and Manchester City straight after that. It will take a Southampton-level performance on and off the field against the Potters, so lets hope our beloved board can keep their heads down long enough not to cause any distractions from the job in hand.

I am not really interested in any of the off-field stuff any more until we are safe. This unity thing is quite nice, isnít it?

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.

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