Thursday, January 31, 2013

255. There There

There's this great Radiohead song from some time back that goes like this...

"There's always a siren 
Singing you to shipwreck 
(Don't reach out, don't reach out 
Don't reach out, don't reach out) 
Steer away from each rocks 
We'd be a walking disaster 
(Don't reach out, don't reach out 
Don't reach out, don't reach out) 

Just 'cause you feel it 
Doesn't mean it's there 
(Someone on your shoulder 
Someone on your shoulder) 
Just 'cause you feel it 
Doesn't mean it's there 
(Someone on your shoulder 
Someone on your shoulder) 
There there!"

As with all great songs, those words once heard just kinda stuck. There was just something about that surreal and nightmarish landscape the song evoked and those darkly prophetic themes that resonated deeply.

There There is subtitled, aptly one might add, The Boney King of Nowhere. From an album called Hail to the Thief. How nicely befitting today's tale of woe.

RUN!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! FSW's out to get you!
Now then, if you're a true Chelsea fan like me, you should have an inkling of how I feel this morning. And why those words have come to haunt me again, like long dormant memory kindled by trauma.

This is Chelsea. We are the reigning Champions League holders. We were in contention to win seven trophies this season. And we had a squad to challenge for them...after Neymar, Eden Hazard was surely the one player that all teams coveted. And with Oscar, Brazil's number 10, we bought a player who could undoubtedly compliment Mata's playmaking skills.

Now, we're out of the Champions League. We were humiliated by Atletico in the Super Cup and Swansea in the League Cup. We didn't show up in Tokyo for the World Cup Club. We fluffed the Charity Shield. And we don't have any realistic chance in hell of winning the Premier League.

Then we conspired to give away a 2 nil lead to lowly Reading in the last 3 minutes of the match. A match that I woke up 4 in the morning to watch. It's still sinking in. The suffering, the sweet suffering.

The result itself is not so shocking with Chelsea these days. The last time we looked remotely solid in defence was under the early days of Ancelotti's second season. And only because of our attack was so effective. Gone is the defend at all costs mentality cultivated under Mourinho, when we played like the Milan of old, giving away nothing and choking the opponent in a battles of attrition.

We're supposedly more expansive now, with creative players needing freedom to breathe. Defensive discipline is no longer our priority. And in this blogger's opinion, all the better. If you're Abramovich sat there watching the effective but dull displays of Mourinho's Chelsea, you'd too be wondering just what you spent all those hundreds of millions of pounds on. Especially if it was an entirely enthralling game between Man United and Real Madrid that ended 3 all that brought you to buy a football club in the first place.

Sure, winning is great. Winning ugly is great too, if you have limited resources and means. But if you're a billionaire, and you've dumped millions in, surely you should expect something a little more.

Thus Abramovich's experiment began. His prime picks like Ancelotti and AVB came and went. With stop gap measures of Grant, Scolari and Hiddink in between. Yet, that winning attacking style still eluded him.

Then came Di Matteo, a former player and Chelsea legend. He brought back the defensive identity of old, going back to basics after AVB's project spectacularly failed (in my mind, due to the players he had at his disposal, if only he were manager now). That brought the FA Cup and more importantly, the elusive Champions League trophy. With that, a permanent contract as manager.

As time would tell, Di Matteo's project would too go awry. Too many new players, no distinctive style of play. More tellingly, he tried to turn Chelsea into a possession based attacking team. It worked to a certain extent, but without a Modric or Xavi to control the midfield, it was doomed to failure.

So Benitez comes in. I'll let the facts say it all. He used to manage Liverpool. He insulted Chelsea fans when he was their manager. He was sacked after half a season with Inter Milan after Mourinho's Champions League triumph there. He also has the worse stats of any Chelsea manager, ever.

There you go. He might not be boney, but he's sung us to shipwreck. Hail to the great thief of our hope and dreams.

Damn you FSW, damn you to hell.

Monday, January 28, 2013

254. Twenty Thirteen

It's been awhile. Like a turd that won't flush, this blog just won't go away. Nasty that.

Well, what's there left to say? Not a lot apparently. Everything moves in cycles...mostly you'll end up right where you started. Round and round, without end.

In this never-ending wheel, faces spin past you, sometimes in a blur...sometimes they stick with you. Holding a place in your head, your mind, your heart, whatever. But they do stick. Mostly in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.

Words echo...disembodied voices for sure. Yet they at times speak wisdom. Well, if you're lucky.

This winding, sinewy path we're heading on, perilous if you choose, but dull and safe too. Entirely dependent on you.

Are the days of adventure and wonder over? And if not yet extinguished, do you wish to seek it? Does the heart crave what it did years ago? Or have you become entirely safe? Safe and secure in what you have to lose?

You look around you, and sometimes you feel what Treebeard must've felt...the world is changing...and though you might not feel it in the water or feel it in the earth, you just somehow know that things have moved on. Like how Roland Deschain's world had moved on. Not the entire world, but your world.

Just look around you. This is not the world of your youth anymore. The people speak, but it is not your words. People rebel, but it is no longer your cause. What is hip is strange. Music and film no longer resonate like they did in your time.

Friends have become strangers, these strange beings who have become responsible adults, carrying the burden / joys of marriage and fatherhood on their shoulders. Your days show signs of becoming shorter. You can no longer abuse your body without facing the pain later...the pounds don't go away like they used to...sleep is no longer some trifling thing that one did to charge up for a few hours.

That's how it is I guess. The way of it all.

But rather than descent into some endless melancholy like this blog is apt to do, let's look forward. To what Twenty Thirteen may bring. Probably more of the same, probably not. The important thing is, you don't really know do you? No one does. There could be surprise lurking at every corner. Of course there will be daily toil. And hard knocks now and then, literally and figuratively. But there's always the potential of an unexpected journey, and adventure waiting to happen. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is always worth looking forward to.