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Interview With Vital Chelsea

With the Carling Cup final vs Chelsea only a matter of days away, we have teamed up with Vital Chelsea to get the pre-match festivities going.

Both myself and Merlin (Vital Chelsea gaffer) have posed each other a series of 'taxing' (and I use that phrase in the loosest possible way) questions as the nerves start to jingle ahead of the match.

1)How important do you feel the Carling Cup is? Not just as a Chelsea fan, but as a football fan in general?

It`ll always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first trophy we won under Mourinho and helped to establish a winners` philosophy amongst the squad. The fact that it now carries an automatic UEFA Cup qualification place has helped to establish it again as a genuine domestic trophy and as a trophy to win.

For years it almost carried a stigma as being something of a nuisance which was quite sad. I can remember, as a young boy, when Aston Villa beat Everton in a replay at Old Trafford. The game looked to be heading for a stalemate until Chris Nichol stepped forward and hit a thirty yard drive to give Villa the cup by three goals to two.

Nowadays, I still think the lower league clubs look forward to drawing a top team and thankfully the nuisance factor, namely the two-legged ties in the early rounds have been dispensed with. Also, the fact that those teams competing in Europe don`t enter until round three has assisted with those who complain about fixture congestion.

In our own case, the competition has allowed prices to be cut and tickets are priced at £25 and £15 thereby guaranteeing a full stadium and also enticing those into Stamford Bridge who are unable to get Premiership tickets.

From Milk Cup to Worthington Cup to Carling Cup, here`s hoping the competition continues to flourish.

2)Some people say that Wenger has degraded this competition by insisting on playing his youth players. Despite that fact in the last 4 years Arsenal have reached two semi finals and a final. What's your take on this?

I`d agree if you crashed out to a small team (Spurs) but your results speak for themselves. Even I laughed when you turned over Liverpool this season. The mere fact that several of your youngsters have gained valuable first team experience will stand you in good stead in future years.

Unfortunately, because you keep winning with your youngsters, people get miffed as the old jealousy factor sneaks in through the back door.

3) Which of the youngster's in Arsenal's side do you think will become the best player? (Fabregas not included because he's already awesome)

To be honest, I expected much more out of Theo Walcott in recent weeks. I saw him score twice for the U21 side and he looked to be dynamite, what`s happened since? However, I`ve seen enough to suggest that Wenger will nurture him correctly and he`ll become a major player in English football in years to come. After all he`s only young and he`s come to a big stage in Arsenal. Have to say though that it`s a hard choice. Youngsters can change so quickly. One of your lesser lights could develop into the best of the bunch and leave us all dumbfounded. But at this moment in time I`ll stick with my hunch that it will be Walcott who emerges as the best of a good bunch.

How much of a blow was it to lose John Terry last night in relation to the cup final?

It`s a massive blow, he`s an icon, a leader and epitomises Chelsea. After welcoming him back we now have to cope without him again. Nevertheless, we`re confident that Essien will slip back into the centre of defence and perform admirably if even we do lose a bit of drive in midfield when he`s not playing there. Hopefully, John Terry will make a swift recovery and join up with both club and national squads in March. We need him and our country needs him.

Will you be able to show your face on Vital Network ever again if our kids turn over your Champions?

Lol! I`ve suffered far greater embarrassments in the past and come through smiling. It`s part and parcel of being a Chelsea supporter. Despite reports to the contrary, some of us have been around longer than Roman, some of us remember cup humiliations in the past that`d make most people weep. It`s what makes us Chelsea; we`ve suffered and suffered in pursuit of a dream that finally came true up at Bolton in April 2005.

Besides, pain can be pleasure. If we lose I`ll look forward to the verbal battering and take it on the chin.


I`d love to day a free flowing spectacle but I have this nagging suspicion both teams will nullify each other and there will not be many goals in it. It may even go to extra time thereby giving us all a late return to London, nevertheless, if pushed I`ll go for a 2-1 Chelsea win with Drogba and Lampard scoring.

Many thanks to Merlin for taking the time to answer these questions.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 22 2007

Time: 12:38PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Why'd that get done twice?
Ozi Gooner
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22/02/2007 12:49:00 copied it twice, lol.It will be a nice game...
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22/02/2007 12:49:00

Because it's so good!!
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22/02/2007 12:52:00

Glad I spotted that before I went to work!
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22/02/2007 12:54:00

Off to Chelsea now to read the other one!
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22/02/2007 15:54:00

merlin the crap ********
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22/02/2007 16:21:00

^^WHO are u?!!
Youngest in Charge
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22/02/2007 17:10:00

seems like a nice bloke that LASAYER! Think not!
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22/02/2007 17:28:00

Rocky are you sure it's Merlin who gave you this interview :p..
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22/02/2007 19:08:00

I liked ur penultimate question, rocky :). But I was impressed with Merlin's answer to that one.
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22/02/2007 20:32:00

well, gotta say, that was a good Q&A session. Have read both, and it makes a refreshing change to read the boards communicating with each other and both communally looking forward to the final in a positive fashion. I'm sure come sunday, that'll all change and we'll be ripping the **** out of one another... Rocky, I think that these crossover articles with upcomign opponents could be a bloody good feature... How's about it? (providing the fellas from the opposing boards fancy takign part) - could get some good debate going across the VF network...»»Arsene Knows««
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22/02/2007 21:40:00

great stuff from both sides.....good to see you working together....
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22/02/2007 22:07:00

It wouldn't be very good to do it with the spuds.Do you want a 800 page article, with most comments calling the vital gooner members prostitutes?lol
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22/02/2007 22:14:00

k_chelski, there are exception to every rule :) Mid you, credit where it's due, there are some spuds fans more than capable of debating lucidly. Sir_Harry being one. However there are some right knuckleheads too, HATEtheGOONS eing one, and who is this lasayer dude? He just seems to sporadically pop up on this board spouting claptrap, and nothign he ever seems to say is funny. I can't work out if he's a spud or chelski? »»Arsene Knows««
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22/02/2007 22:24:00

Sir_harry can debate.But, he takes things personally, most of the spuds do that.
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22/02/2007 23:21:00

lol. Ooo I enjoyed reading this article. Great stuff from both gaffers. :)
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23/02/2007 01:23:00

*interview ^^;;
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23/02/2007 01:24:00

First trophy of the season to Arsenal? No Terry will make a big difference.
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23/02/2007 11:27:00

Yes, it's a pity big John will be out, but you might be surprised to see Essien's form at the back! 3-1 to the Champions.
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23/02/2007 15:37:00

Has essien filled in at the back for you guys before then, Westl? »»Arsene Knows««
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23/02/2007 21:26:00

I have no doubts that Essien will do a great job for Chelsea at the back, but I reckon he's been the best midfilder for the Chavs this season and they'll miss him in the centre of the park.
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23/02/2007 22:36:00

that's what I'm hoping rocky :) the more space, the merrier... »»Arsene Knows««
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24/02/2007 00:30:00


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