Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday September 5 2006
Arsene Wenger: 'If you give success to stupid people, then it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.' This statement from le prof earlier this year was sapient when he made it, but now it seems to border on prophesy.
I promised myself I would not do this. I promised I would not concern myself with the actions of other clubs when writing for this website. But given the unprecedented, and quite personal attack made on William Gallas by the dark blue PR machine yesterday evening, to not have added my tuppeny worth would have been a betrayal to my spleen.
I won't bore you with the details of Chavski's statement, dripping as it is in greasy pathos, as I'm sure you are already aware. Let me instead try to make some attempt to understand the accusations that Kenyon and his comrades are levelling at our new number 3.
Perhaps the most remarkable claim in this statement is that Gallas not only refused to play for the Chavs, but threatened to score an own goal or make deliberate mistakes if picked. They even claim that he refused to play in the F.A Cup semi final against Liverpool in April. So my question is this, why was action not taken against Gallas by Chavski? Surely both of these threats constitute breach of contract, and consequently would entitle Abramovich's charges to pursue legal action. Hell, they least they could do was fine him six weeks wages (the maximum permitted by Premier League legislation- not that Chelsea seem to have any idea what that is). Yet this suitable and entirely measured punishment was not handed out. On sky sports news last night, Director of Communications Simon Greenberg refused to confirm that this constituted breach of contract. Back up there a minute. Now we are all acutely aware that Chelsea seem to have little idea as to what contract law entails, but even an institution with their apparent legal naivety could say, confidently and lucidly, that sabotage violates the terms of one's contract. So why could Greenberg not commit to such language? Is it because he knows that such vocabulary could leave Chelsea open to legal proceedings of slander were their accusations proved to be piffle? Of course Mourinho is a man of impeccible taste. He would never behave in such an abhorrent manner to one of 'the family' (der der der der, click click). The self annointed 'special one' would never respond to a player's transfer request by say, telling him he can rot in the reserves.
Of course Chelsea, being a club of unedifying socialist principle, released this statement in the interests of their supporters. So they could know just how horrible smelly William was to 'the family.' (Apparently, he refused to eat his vegetables on more than one occasion). Yes, given their flawless humanitarianism, this was a 'for the people, by the people' manifesto of comradeship with their fan base. So Chelsea, in the interests of this transparency surrounding transfers, perhaps you would like to satisfy enquiring minds with the details of Jon Obi Mikel's transfer from Lyn Oslo. Just why were Manchester United paid £12m in this saga while Lyn Oslo were only paid £4m? While we're at it and Chelski are astride their Socialist soap box, perhaps Mr. Abramovich would like to set the record straight once and for all by telling his supporters just how he acquired his multi billion pound fortune?
But of course these accusations alone will not do. No, there's something missing isn't there? Some padding needs to be done, what else? Oh yes, apparently Gallas joined Arsenal in pursuit of money! His protestations that he sought a new challenge at a new club were complete tosh, he was, and I quote the statement, 'hawking himself to the highest bidder.' Now I must be honest here (in the spirit of transparency and all that), I had to read this statement a good few times. Were my eyes deceiving me? Had my mental faculties really deserted me for good? Did Chelski accuse a player of leaving them for financial gain? You may have noticed that this article was intended to be written in a sarcastic tone, and yes I was flattering myself. I believed that I could cogently produce an entire article with a nonchalant Sid Vicious-esque sneer. Yes, I was Johnny Rotten, Chelski were the royal family. But alas, the Chavs have defeated me. For this is a statement that defies any sort of sarcasm, its bulletproof. No matter how hard I tried to produce a witty barb through gritted teeth, I simply could not produce anything that outstripped the words used by Chelsea themselves. Yes, Chelsea have accused a player of leaving their club for financial reasons. Words such as 'hypocrisy', 'double standards' just do not do it justice. Continuing the sex pistols metaphor, it would have been the same as the Queen being pictured with a paperclip in her nose, circa 1976, spitting 'we mean it maaaaan' into a paparazzi camera lens. It's just so self defeating, so wonderfully ignorant, that it can only truly qualify as self destruction.
Now, in the interests of objectivity let us not pretend that Gallas has been whiter than white in this issue. (No FFF, no racial connotations were intended). Gallas made no secret of his desire to leave Chelsea, he also told any hack that would listen that he did not like being played at left back on a consistent basis. It is also fair to say that WG3 is a player that comes with a fair bit of baggage. As an Arsenal fan, in all honesty, this worries me little. Wiltord and Adebayor arrived at our club with similar reputations and Wenger had no trouble with either. Players such as Petit, Anelka and Cole who were a problem, were shipped out instantaneously. Wenger executed these transfers with a quiet dignity and the upshot was that our club was harmed little in the process.Regardless, Chelsea fans are probably correct to be annoyed at Gallas for this, and if he behaves in this manner as an Arsenal player I trust Wenger to deal with it accordingly- as he has always done in the past. But in fairness to Gallas, he handed in a transfer request (thus foregoing any signing on fee- money motivated indeed) and in the time he played for Chelsea he performed with commendable commitment. He certainly did not sit out a whole season injured only to miraculously recover for a Champions League Final and World Cup campaign. Gallas paid his dues and requested a move, only for Mourinho to tell him he could rot in the reserves.
The statement released by Chelsea last night reveals that they are a small club of a gargantuan inherited fortune, and as such have no idea how to handle big issues such as this. They seriously cannot continue to make an enemy out of everyone connected with football with PR gaffs of this proportion and question why they are the most despised club in world football. The statement, in my humble opinion, is an attempt to bully their supporters into believing they got the better end of the Cole Gallas swap deal. It is a blatant attempt to shift media focus away from the alleged row between Mourinho and Kenyon, a way of demonstrate a united front of comradeship, us against the world and all that. It is also a way of diffusing criticism towards Mourinho, as Chelsea now have a depleted back line following the deadline day sales of Huth and Gallas. But perhaps most cynically and most lamentably at all, it is another in the cavalcade of attempts to unsettle a player from a rival club.
Any Chelsea fans ready to vent their spleen in response to this article should consider Arsene Wenger's response to Cole's departure, 'Upon Ashley's departure I would like to thank him on behalf of everyone connected with the club for his contribution to our success over recent years.' Why were Chelsea seemingly so incapable of executing a similar courtesy? Are Chelsea fans not worried as to how this will affect their ability to attract players in the future? Seriously, if you were a player and Chelsea made an offer for you, would you not view the fortunes of Gallas and SWP with a little concern? The statement from the club's mouth piece confirms that they are bitter about the departure of Gallas, if he was so troublesome, surely the club would be glad to see the back of him and move on? I also do not seem to remember Chelski acting with disdain when messrs Drogba and Essien fought tooth and nail with Marseilles and Lyon respectively to get their moves? Ultimately, Chelsea's actions reflect the lack of class with which they conduct themselves and the nihilism with which the club is run. If lacking dignity were adequate grounds for legal action, Chelsea would be settling out of court this afternoon.
Date:Tuesday September 5 2006
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