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Why I believe in Frankel, but not Chelsea

Frankel pulled me back a little from the brink yesterday. I don’t mind saying I shed a tear or two, not when the race was won, but a little way into that wide verdant straight; at the point when Frankel indicated he was ready to go on from his pacemaker, Bullet Train. It seemed to me as if the horse was saying, with a slight nod of the head, to the man on board, Tom Queally, ‘Come on mate, let’s go.’ And they did. And I thought to myself, ‘Fuck me, it’s Pegasus’ and he doesn’t even know it, he just is.

That’s why I believe in Frankel, because he will do his best, regardless. He won’t fall out with the owner, the trainer, the lad, or even the jockey – he’ll just put his head down and get on with it, in his own remarkable, mythical style. One day, perhaps, Frankel won’t win. I don’t want to ever see it, but if I do, I’ll still believe because I’ve seen the essence of the horse.

That’s where I have a problem with Chelsea. I can’t ever get to the spirit of the side. They remind me alternately of a bunch of mercenaries with no loyalty, except to the self, or a cadre of the worst kind of public service union members who work to rule, to the detriment of their service. There is one exception to this: Didier Drogba, whose gradual transformation from habitual box dropper and tantrum thrower to staunch goal-scoring servant, shines brightly enough to cast many of his team mates demeanours into sharp relief. Drogba, of course, looks like he may have played his last game, and Di Matteo, whose main attribute seems to have been that he is not Andre Villas Boas, is uncertain of his future.

And that sums up why I can’t believe in Chelsea, a club that is run at the top by a plutocrat, and on the pitch by the whims and moods of the dressing room. Di Matteo has done well they say, and why should they not, given the 2012 silverware, but haven’t the recalcitrant squad of AVB’s reign merely consented to play since the caretaker manager came in? On their finest night, instead of being able to fully enjoy the scenes of celebration, a neutral looks at the assemblage and sees a lot of luck, not much soul, and not nearly enough of whatever it is that Frankel and Drogba have got.

Winners with heart & soul

This post was partly inspired by a conversation with a Chelsea fan not long after AVB had departed. A lifelong fan, his disappointed and pained recognition of the pumped-up egos in the Stamford Bridge dressing room was palpable. This morning I imagine he has a well-deserved headache and a hoarse throat and natually all the previous suffering is instantly forgiven. Football fans have strong stomachs, suffering goes with the territory, no joy without pain. That’s all fine and understood, but I can’t quite forget the head-shaking of earlier this year and the expression of the fact that his team wilfully and frequently just chose not to turn up at the game.

Well it beats I Spy…

Hand half way up my back this video clip has been frogmarched on to the blog by the virtual powers of the Devon Aunt.

Let’s hope it works or I will know no peace.

Thankfully the star, director and executive producer shouted cut before she got into the Chelsea chant she has invented.

Hang out the bunting


A bit of autumnal decoration

Some of you may remember me fulminating a bit about bunting in the summer. I was never sure about it before, but now so long as it is not on your tent, I don’t mind.

I thought the blog could do with a bit of cheering up and this bunting is the handiwork of my girls, so I thought I’d show it off a bit. Well, not all their own work. There’s loads that loads of other people made earlier – all over Southend this summer as part of an attempt to make the world’s longest bunting, co-ordinated by a groovy arts organisation (WE HAVE HERE IN SOUTHEND!!!) called Metal.

They have it strung up on the avenue leading to their base in Chalkwell Park and pretty impressive it is too.  I thought I’d take some photos yesterday and I did.  The dog thought whilst I was doing that he would steal a child’s ball and run round at a million miles an hour with it. So he did.  It used to be that replacing a ball would be a matter of a £1 or two.  Not now, not in parks festooned with record-breaking bunting.  Not when the ball with canine teeth marks in is a Chelsea Adidas branded all over ball from Waitrose.  No, those balls cost £12 to replace.   On second thoughts, maybe bunting’s not all that.


Don't know which ones are the girls though...