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Friday, October 21, 2011

The QPR Report Interview: Chelsea Behind the Scenes - On and Off the Field and Views about QPR

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Many thanks to Maudesfishnchips for conducting another great interview. And many thanks to Chelsea fan, Martin Rowe of CFCNet for providing us with this interview and offering us with his perspective.

Many thanks to Martin Rowe, associate editor of CFCnet.co.uk. enjoy

How long have you supported Chelsea?

Well, I’m in my mid 40’s now so I guess that’s nearly half a century of supporting Chelsea! Put it this way, I’ve stood in the Shed and seen us get relegated. That was a long time ago but it’s seared into my memory as if it was yesterday.

There is only one team in west London and they play in hoops, why Chelsea!?

Not sure what you mean by that question.

Who's Chelsea’s biggest Rival (or Rivals)?

Traditionally it’s been Fulham and Spurs, but more recently it’s been teams like Barcelona and Man Utd. To be honest, the team we love to beat these days is Liverpool. 20 years and counting to win the league is a long time and we’re happy to play our part in extending this. Listening to Scousers talk you’d have thought they’d invented football but what people don’t realise is that Chelsea won their first European trophy before Liverpool and we were the first UK team to be invited to play in the newly formed European Cup in the 50’s.

Are you happy with your team and how things are to date? – What are your opinions on your manager AVB? His spending/selling this summer?

We’re happy with the style of football AVB is trying to instil at the Bridge and the dynamic pass-and-move nature of the team is winning people over. The board of Chelsea are also fully committed to him so at the moment everything seems to be going well. The big test will be when the difficult periods arrive – as they will – and whether the board will continue to back him. We’re all a bit tired with the constant chopping and changing of managers and would prefer some stability.

What do you think of your current Owner? WHY is he involved? What do you expect from him?

Roman’s been magnificent, absolutely first class. Yes, he’s been a bit trigger happy at times and interfered with managers like Mourinho etc, but overall 3 Premierships, 3 FA Cups and 2 Carling Cups tell their own story. We’ve had a wild time.

How do you think Chelsea treats its fans? Appreciates them? Listens to them? Screws them?

How long have you got? When Peter Kenyon ran the Fans Forum a lot of changes were made at the instigation of the fans and the relationship between the Club and many fans groups was pretty good. However, over time, the Club has become increasingly reluctant to engage with us and is starting to flex its muscles in a dictatorial fashion. Trust is beginning to break down if I’m perfectly honest.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

This is a hotly debated topic that could leave me open to widespread abuse when I next visit the Bridge! Everybody’s opinion is different so if you’d ask 1,000 fans you’d get 1,000 answers. However, I think you’d be stretched to find a fan who thinks Salomon Kalou should be a first team regular. Malouda’s form is also too erratic. Overall, though, we have a fantastic squad. Underrated? The media focus on Torres is obscene yet he is looking deadly at the moment – when lady luck turns his way he could have a blistering season.

Are you happy with your youth set up? Is your club doing enough to bring young/local talent through the ranks?

We have a great youth set-up and are doing everything we can to bring young players through. The facilities at Cobham are exceptional and the whole set-up is geared towards sustained long term success. The only criticism is Michael Emanelo’s appointment as technical director. I’m not sure what he brings to the table although Frank Arnesen hardly set the world on fire and he had a stellar reputation before he arrived.

Who would you say was the greatest Chelsea player that you yourself personally saw? And past player? (You can name more than one if it's that close!)

Ruud Gullit was the best player I have ever seen in a Chelsea shirt. He was a one man team and his presence at Chelsea was one of the building blocks of our rise since the early 90’s. He had awesome skill, power, athleticism, intelligence and leadership. Whilst many people would vote for Franco Zola (good as he was), as a complete football player Gullit gets my vote.

What is your prediction for Chelsea this season?

Top 2. Hopefully first. It depends on whether we can get the team to click on a consistent basis. Man Utd have already beaten us but they were slightly lucky in that match and the return fixture should be interesting. Man City are also rivals but they have a self-destruct button lurking in the background.

Are you aware of any player or manager links between our two clubs past and present?

Gavin Peacock played for you after captaining us in the mid 90’s. He was a great player and if his shot had gone in rather than clip the bar in the ’94 FA Cup Final, he could have been an all-time legend. He’s a very genuine fellow, I have a lot of respect for him and I believe he is now in the US studying to be a preacher.

What is your view and the general Chelsea view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness) or of Neil Warnock and our owners?

I once read in a Chelsea fanzine that QPR was like an annoying little brother, half your age, who just irritates the hell out of you. That’s fairly accurate. As for Warnock, Ken Bates invited him to become manager of Chelsea in 1991 and he turned us down because he didn’t want to leave the North. That excuse looks a bit thin now!

Who (if any) is your most memorable/favourite QPR Player over the years?

I am old enough to remember your great 1970’s side and Gerry Francis was a truly inspirational player.

Did you attend home or away, any matches between our two clubs when we were last in the premiership? Any memorable matches between our two clubs that stand out for you? And the reasons why?

One of my favourite games in my whole life was in 1990 (I think) when you were 2-0 up and we equalised before Joe Allon scored an overhead kick in the dying minutes. The whole away end went ballistic. I’ve never forgotten that game, it’s one of my top ten games of all time, and believe me, I’ve seen many, many hundreds (if not thousands).

Your score prediction for QPR v Chelsea?

3-1 to Chelsea. We’re a good team, believe me.

What, realistically, do you think Chelsea are capable of achieving in the next five years?

The sky’s the limit. We’d obviously like to go one step further in Europe.

What are your and the general view of Chelsea supporters regarding the proposed new stadium? And the suggested site in white city if this was of interest to Abramovich ? The QPR support would not welcome such a move, would you ?

We’re very angry about the situation. Whilst most fans agree that we probably need to move, the Club aren’t giving us any guarantees where they want to move to. Now, given that 12,000 of us own the Stamford Bridge pitch, turnstiles and brand name Chelsea FC, we’re pissed off that the Club want us to hand these rights over for no guarantee. They must think we came down in the last shower. The vote on 27th October is monumental in the history of our Club.
White City? We’d prefer to move nearer Stamford Bridge, Earl’s Court being a particular favourite.

Martin Rowe

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