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[Archived] Rovers V Chelsea

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The Premiership League table is a sight for happy Rovers' eyes this morning. Other threads are discussing the possibility of 4th- yes still a mathematical possibility- but one thing yesterday's results produced is the certainty that Rovers will finish this season no lower than 8th.

Of course that is still low enough not to be back in Europe next season if reports of Newcastle and Bolton's secret offers to play in the Intertoto are true so it is still game on for European qualification.

By the time we play Chelsea, we'll know if Arsenal's reserves hit ten at Sunderland and far less predictably whether Spurs have beaten Bolton to put 4th out of reach but given us the incentive of securing 6th place on Tuesday night by beating Chelsea.

What a difference this season has made- this time last year we were limping over the line having made ourselves safe then dropping two places on the last day costing £1m in prize money into the bargain. This year Birmingham City who sneeked past us are sneeking off in an altogether different and more deserving direction. That's the beauty of football, sometimes it does turn into a morality play and the evil get their just deserves.

8th gets us a boost of £3.5m prize money compared with last time out and 6th makes us £4.5m better off. Very welcome but worth about a day's interest to the owner of our opponents on Tuesday night.

When looking at Chelsea, of course its difficult to look past Abramovich's money and the domination he has bought but just as Jack Walker needed Kenny Dalglish, so Abramovich needed Mourinho. Hate him, loathe him or despise him, the "Special One" has been just that- special. Abramovich's cash has made Chelsea's domination possible but it needed Mourinho's managerial genius to turn what is still essentially Ranieri's squad into an outfit which has transformed English soccer in two seasons.

The things which stand out about Mourinho's Chelsea for me are:

-Psychologically, he has dominated a collection of the highest paid players and quite a few of them arguably the best in their positions in the world. He shuffles them about and we never here a peep out of those players in the press despite having jim's mates living in all the bars around Stamford Bridge. When a Chelsea player or the team is getting into any difficulty, it is Mourinho who steps up with an even more outlandish piece of behaviour and draws away the attention.

-Coupled with this power-based man management, Mourinho is a tactical master as we have seen this season when he has changed Chelsea's style of playing to 4-3-3 effectively removing the old concept of wingers despite having Duff, Robben and the disappeared SWP; three of the best wingers in the world. Instead it is the wonderfully talented Joe Cole who has blossomed and capped a magnificent season with the most magical disappearing trick leaving Rio Ferdinand marking fresh air for Chelsea's second yesterday.

-Mourinho also is having the greatest impact on English football. He is winning with an English spine to his team and has developed Lampard, Terry and Cole into world beaters. It is a shame that Bridge, Johnson and Wright-Phillips have not had the ability to develop with them but three out of six is not bad and it sets up England's broken footed assault on Germany 2006 very nicely.

-Not only has the national side benefitted but Mourinho has re-defined what is required to win the Premiership/English Championship in a way that no other coach has done in so short a time. The globalisation of soccer coupled with the Premiership's wealth means that although Chelsea have played in a league on their own, they have set down a marker that the Mancs, Liverpool, Arsenal and perhaps Spurs are able to adapt to and follow. I think next season's Premiership could be the best in years as not only the gap at the top will close but many of the mid-table teams will really begin to know how to handle the wealthy tyros. It is no coincidence that Mourinho's Chelsea has coincided with English football's renewed push to be top dogs in Europe with Liverpool's victory last season and Arsenal and Midddlesbrough's final appearances to come this season.

-But it is the team spirit and strength Mourinho has imbued in Chelsea that has been most impressive. It is a source of great pride as a Rovers' fan that the game at Ewood last season was probably the sternest examination Chelsea have faced. They were at the cusp of becoming Champions- that psychological moment of self-doubt when even the most gifted wonder if the prize is for real and we gave them a huge test. Not just the physical stuff but the footballing challenge we threw down building up to winning the penalty which needed a Cech master save. It was no surprise to me to see Mourinho hyping up his players bare chested in front of the fans in the Darwen End when the final whistle went. Nor was I surprised that he criticised us for the physical stuff- that deflected any opportunity for the press to say that little old Rovers had given Chelsea a huge footballing test which they had only narrowly passed.

So to Tuesday night. Whatever side Mourinho will put out will be a good one and a massive test for the Rovers.

Provided the officials don't destroy the game, I think Tuesday is going to be a classic. We've come off best over four games against the Mancs, given Arsenal the run around of Ewood Park, shown Spurs a footballing lesson at White Hart Lane so this match is our lads' chance to set the records straight about what Mark Hughes is achieving at Ewood once and for all.

It is a long time since I have looked forwards so much to a league game at Ewood.

Toby Brown, the Forum Moderator on the impressive www.cfcnet.co.uk kindly interupted his Premiership retention celebrations to answer a few questions for me.

To be honest, I still have a soft spot for Chelsea- I still hate the Mancs above all else despite all the best effort of various folks from Stamford Bridge to elevate Chelski to most hated. Rovers always seemed to win at the Bridge including the day all away fans were banned and I had to buy my ticket from the Harrods ticket office! Howard Gayle running to the empty horseshoe at the Brompton End celebrating his winning goal is one of my favourite Rovers memories- fortunately it turned my strangled cheer into a belly laugh and I stayed to see the end of the 2-1 win.

So to Tuesday's game and a few questions:

Chelsea has a long list of celebrity fans, perhaps the longest outside of the prawn sandwich brigade. In previous Rovers' previews, celebrity fans of other clubs have answered BRFCS questions but none of your lot even replied to say no- are Chelsea fans arrogant or are you simply let down by a small minority?

Did you ask Lovejoy? He won't even answer my calls so not surprised if you asked him, saying that, he's formerly a Watford fan as I understand it anyway. I'm trying to work out how many and who you could have asked; I'm either honoured to be on the list or gutted to be one of the last calls......

I think every club has a small minority who lets the reputation of the masses down and Chelsea's certainly no different. In fact I'd go as far as saying that; more idiots have joined as a result of our success. Half of Surrey loves the fact we're winning now as it means they don't have to hide in their houses each weekend whilst pretending to be at Old Trafford.

Actually I wasted quite a bit of time tracking down David Mellor amongst others.

How many of the 8,000 who were at Stamford Bridge that opening day of the season back in the '80s despise the 32,000+ glory seekers paying £1,000 for season tickets now?

There is always resentment at the newer fan but it goes with the territory, success attracts new supporters. Do those who still go to see Blackburn feel contempt for those who now choose to stay away?

You run the intelligent forum for Chelsea fans- what are the challenges you face in keeping it intelligent?

Our team of mods are fantastic, we moderate every single post before it goes online and often even correct spelling and grammar errors. We have a large overseas readership and this also helps them to learn the language.

We try to allow everyone the opportunity to say what they want to say, so long as it's respectful. Often though, people take umbrage to a response to something they've written and see it as an criticism of themselves when largely, it's not. People take themselves and forums far too seriously sometimes.

I try to think of it as a 'cyber' chat in the pub with your mates, all good natured and friendly. However because you can't see the person, you can't always gauge the dig intended, so what may be a quip person to person, can look insulting when written. That's when people bite, you wouldn't call someone a fu***ng cl*t licker in a pub so why should it be acceptable on a forum? Our moderation ensures it never gets to that point.

This has been the most successful season for four years for Rovers yet the amount of moaning on our boards has hit an all time high. Do you have the same problem with youngsters brought up on Championship Manager instant gratification games?

We suffer the same problem and I think you summed it up perfectly. The CM generation. Those who all think they have more tactical nous than your average First Division manager yet in reality know only how to effectively manoeuvre some dots around a screen.

Every day it's someone unhappy about something, why Jose is tactically inept, what players we need, who has to go because they're not good enough, what we need to change. No one is happy with what we have got yet we've probably just witnessed the greatest Chelsea side ever. What more do they want?

Do you get any old journos spreading bonhomie and accurate tip-offs on your site?

Sometimes, we've a few people who seem particularly on the button sometimes. Gotta say though, I hate the tabloids. The way they've attacked us this season has been nothing short of scandalous. The skewed reporting of so many incidents to paint us as the evil Chelsea.

I'm considering actively feeding the press bullsh*t for a laugh, to try and make them look even dafter than they already are. They print rubbish half the time anyway, why not have a giggle with it? You and your mates come up with a few ludicrous sports stories and call the papers, tell them you're 'in the know' or 'heard his brother/sister/father/dog' talking about a transfer etc. See who can rack up the most stories published in a season and they get a night out on the rest.

The late Jack Walker was a very down-to-earth man who would talk with anybody. What is Roman Abramovich like to chat to over a pie and pint?

I've not met him personally but know a fair few who have; they all say he is just a down to earth friendly guy. He's fiercely private though and has every right to be, he just shuns publicity. He too hates the press in this country, look at the furore created over his forward in our 100 year history book. The press went into overdrive about Roman and his 100 year domination but he said nothing of the sort, it was a comment about leaving a legacy lasting another 100 years, to match that of our first.

By all accounts you are going to try to buy all the best players from your closest rivals again. Which of the Chelsea rejects should come to Rovers and why?

I disagree. We'll have around three in, three out. We actually have one of the smallest squads in the league, albeit rammed with quality.

Drogba and SWP will stay, as will Lampard (sorry Barca but you are having a fu*king laugh!). Crespo will too despite all the unrest stories you read, mainly re-hashes of one interview given over a year ago. The man's just won the league for the first time in his career (unbelievable I know!), why should he want to go anywhere? Gallas will stay as I feel Carvalho will be on his way out which means we need a left back with Chivu the target as I understand it. Ballack is almost signed and I think that we'll also sign a striker. I'm not sure who but am hoping for Carlos Tevez of Corinthians.

I fear we may lose Gudjohnsen, which would be a shame, and also one of Geremi or Johnson, probably Johnson as Geremi has proved his usefulness when asked, unlike young Glen. You can have one of those if you want with Guddy as pick of the bunch, at least that way he couldn't score against you again!

Why is Duff a shadow of the player he was at Blackburn?

I don't think he's a shadow of the player he was at all. He's a more complete player, more tactically aware that he was whilst with you. At Blackburn he was one of the focal points of your attack and as such, was required to do that job, whilst others covered the ground that this tactic leaves to restore the balance. At Chelsea he is not and has had to realise that he can't always attack, because that's not how our system works.

For a part of last season he was consistently our best player, scoring at least every other week, he has been injured a while this season and his form hasn't been the best but I think he'll come good Everyone is entitled to a bad season once in a while, even Zola had one!

To the game on Tuesday evening. Jose enjoyed the pure football on his last visit to Ewood didn't he?

Ha! I think it's apt you're sponsored by Lonsdale! wink.gif

How do you think Tuesday's game will go?

Probably a draw, a few kids given a run out and key players rested. Hopefully some football on show! 1-1

Will there be a good travelling support?

We usually do so I would hope so! However it's a bugger of a journey back so we'll see.

And finally congratulations on your second Premiership title- there is no way the Mancs will beat you this lunch time. You must feel very proud that you have overtaken the Rovers on the Premiership roll of honour.

Well I hope the 3-0 had you smiling! I certainly was! Back to back titles.... sounds great!

Edited by philipl
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I hope Chelsea play the stars rather than the reserves because they won't be up for it. Don't imagine that anyone will fancy missing the WC for the sake of a meaningless game. The Axe to start and get a few digs in early. Hughes should tell Savage to keep his gob shut so he can save his inevitable booking for hacking someone down.

25,000, you must be joking. Night match, on TV with astronomical ticket prices and few away fans. 21,210 and a 1-1 draw.

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I think you're being a little generous to Mourinho in your preview, philipl.

How can it be Ranieri's squad when Mourinho has spooged around £150m on it? His tactical acumen was nowhere to be seen in the FAC semi, when he dropped some of his most creative attacking players and stuck a defender in midfield - the kind of gamble that would have him hailed as a genius in the unlikely event it worked, or fired if he was in charge of one of the Spanish or Italian giants.

His drawing of attention away from the players and club isn't something I see as a calculated strategy - he is simply so full of himself, he believes he's the one man responsible for Chelsea's dominance. Hence his comments about how he's just won four titles in a row. Steve Bruce gives the porn baron more credit than Mourinho gives Abramovich.

Ungracious, unlikeable and undeserving. My prediction: we'll lose very heavily.

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How should we approach this game?

(A Do we play the game we have played all season? (balance)

(B Go all out attack for the lead?

(C Or Defend big time and hit on the break (like last season)?

I go option (C and start with Bellers up front on his own. With Axe in for Pong.

Is Nelson going to be fit???

Should we rest Tugay? No

We could also give Kuqi a chance up front and bombarding the Box, resting Bellers for the City game.

This is a big game for the players but an even big for MH. Chelsea have better player, but can MH out think the Special One?

There is a couple of good points to look to. we have very few players going to the WC so injury is not on the players mind, unlike Chelsea, who seen Rooney go off yesterday, might be on there mind. This is why Kuqi may be a good idea/rough them up? Plus their season is over. Plenty to think about!

Edited by blinddevotion
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How should we approach this game?

I go option (C and start with Bellers up front on his own.  With Axe in for Pong.

Should we rest Tugay?

We could also give Kuqi a chance up front and  bombarding the Box, resting Bellers  for the City game.


You been on the pop last night fella!!!!! wink.gif


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I cannot see us winning it as Chelski will probably fluke a late winner like usual at Ewood Park but as 1864roverite said 'who cares' because if Notlob lose to the mighty potatoes we will all but have 6th place.

We should maybe try to avoid conceding a few goals though, that would be a good idea just in case the Barcodes put a few past Chelski a week today.

Edited by ihatethedingles
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I agree. Not conceding a few goals is always a good idea


I didn't quite mean it like that. I was saying that if we are to lose to them, let it be by the one goal as it would sleave us with a better goal difference than the barcodes.

Although saying that, Newcastle will have to win on Sunday and hope we lose otherwise 6th place is ours lol.

Edited by ihatethedingles
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Rovers 2 Chelsea 1



We have to try and get the three points we need on Tuesday night rather than sweating it out on Sunday afternoon.

It would take a superhuman effort from Chelsea not to take their eye off the ball slightly.

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Rovers 1-0 Chelsea


Can imagine Chelsea resting lots of players and playing people like Cudicini, Geremi and Gudjohnsen


All players that would walk into our team sad.gif

Our best hope - is that the Chelsea players have one eye on the World Cup (especially after seeing what happened to Rooney and Terry this weekend).

Still - even if they played their best team and we win - it would still be a Championship hangover rather than anything Rovers did wink.gif

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i bet that Ewood park is the last place that these Chelsea stars want to be visiting just prior to the world cup!

I think The Axe should probably get a recall in the place of Pedersen.....Contraversial i know! A five man midfield with Pongolle out wide and pushing up to support Bellamy!

Heres hoping for a Rovers victory.....when a draw would be enough for Europe in my eyes.




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23,000!! sad.gif

I just hope in my heart that the good folk of Blackburn realise how important this game is for our immediate future.I know its on sky but surely,surely we can raise more than 20,000 for this one....nightshift holiday booked for me.

If we do manage to secure the win,my god will you regret not being there.

Edited by SIMON GARNERS 194
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