India’s best supported English football club

I had been thinking of doing this poll for quite some time. Here’s my motivation behind it. India, with its massive population power (~1.2 billion) is a largely untapped market when it comes to European football. Only perhaps German side Bayern Munich have played a few games in India, and they have always been watched by audiences in excess of a 100,000 at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata. Sadly, one of the biggest reason of this absence is the lack of quality in the Indian local sides, and hence the inability to provide reasonable pre-season fixtures. This though, doesn’t in any way imply a lack of fan-following for the major European sides. On the contrary, there are huge fan groups for almost all top English clubs.

The percentages might comparatively come out smaller when compared to the support for say, the national cricket side or any of the IPL sides, but it should be noticed here that even small percentage numbers mean huge real population numbers with a market of the size of India. So is it your club that stands to gain the largest from this untapped market? Lets find out who you support –

Multiple votes don’t work 🙂

Welcome home Robbie !

Roberto de Matteo has been appointed the permanent manager of Chelsea in a 2 year deal. Finally, common sense has prevailed. The guy won both the trophies that he could have with us during his short 11 week role last season; and it was outrageous that the club were considering the out-going manager of one of those he had defeated during the Champions League run – Guardiola, for the full-time job.

Robbie, as he’s fondly called by the fans, may not have a glorious history in football management, but he’s a Chelsea man through & through, having played for the club for more that  seasons before eventually retiring. In those five seasons, he was part of a team which sowed seeds for the unparalleled success of the next generation. He won 2 FA Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and a League Cup as a player, to add to his recent FA Cup & Champions League triumph. On twitter, I came across this very interesting tweet –

On a personal note, the thing I like best about Di Matteo is that he gets it. He understands Chelsea Football Club, the players, the fans.

This is exactly how I felt about Robbie too. Yes, we could have landed another high-profile, supposedly world-beating manager from across the continent, but no one could have had that link with Chelsea as Robbie has. He is a fan himself, has spent long hours in that Stamford Bridge dressing room, knows about the pressures of facing each different opposition and how much more the fans want triumph on a particular day than another (not to say we don’t want victory everyday). But most importantly, he is connected to those players, because he was once one of them. Of course, only probably JT was around when he was a player, but over the course of years, he’s got to know most of them pretty well.

His critics have pointed to his mediocre league form towards the end of the season. But its important to remember here, that of his 3 league defeats, the 2 against City (away) & Liverpool (away) were largely inconsequential since the team were heavily involved in its Cup double winning run. The only game where we probably should have played better was against Newcastle at home, when Papiss Cisse’s 2 moments of brilliance won the game for the visitors. But, then again, a victory on that night, with the results that followed, would have still only meant a 5th place finish, meaning Europa League football next season. Robbie, by winning the Champions League, ensured we play in the competition next season. If you had asked me, I would have happily taken that Premier League run-in to the end, knowing we were going to do the FA Cup & CL double.

We started the 2011-12 season with a new, young manager who had been appointed on the back of his Europa League and Portuguese League success, with an aim to build a new generation of players at the club. We all know how that worked out, but in 2012, we will start with another new, young manager appointed on the back of his Champions League success, only this time one who had won it for us !

Welcome home Robbie.

The best entertainment of 2008!!*

2008 would probably be an year i’d remember more for the sporting entertainment it provided compared to anything to do with film and television. Here i list some of the best from the year-gone-by.

(*only includes events i witnessed myself)

1. UEFA Champions League Final- Chelsea vs Manchester United, May 21st 2008, Moscow.

2. Indian Premier League Final- Rajasthan Royals vs CSK, June 1 2008, Navi Mumbai.

3. CB series Finals (India vs Australia), Jan -Feb 2008, Australia; & Australia tour of India, Nov-Dec 2008.

4. The Dark Knight ( July 2008 )

5. US President Elect Barack Obama’s victory speech, Nov 5th 2008, Chicago.

6. How I met your mother ( Season 4, TV)

7. Welcome to Sajjanpur ( Sept 2008 )

8. Heroes (Season 3, TV)

9. Everton vs Aston Villa, EPL, Dec 7th 2008.

10. Russia vs Holland, UEFA Euro -2008, Jun 21st 2008.

11. Usain Bolt’s WR sprints, Beijing Olympics, August 2008.

12. US President George W. Bush getting the ‘boot’ from Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, Dec 14th 2008.

13. Burn after reading (Sept 2008).

Black Candy Blues

Lewis Hamilton’s F1 win could well be an indicator for things to come. The United States goes into elections today, and for the first time in its history, a black man is being touted as a heavy favourite. And Hamilton’s F1 win may be seen as an indicator for things to come.

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Not getting into any race-driven ( excuse the pun ) feelings, but an Obama victory would certainly be refreshing, what remains to be seen is whether he can deliver the change he’s promised.

The important thing here is not to rule out his very formidable opponent in Sen. John McCain. As a former POW, he’s displayed the strength, at both physical and mental levels to make this fight far from a one-sided affair. Even though i’ve always believed the US electoral system to be error prone, it always provides interesting outcomes. May the best man win!

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Chelsea have bounced back brilliantly from their Bridge defeat to Liverpool, and have snatched the top spotin the PL again after falling to 2nd last Sunday. Emphatic victories against Hull ( 3-0 a ) and Sunderland ( 5-0 h also involving a Nicholas Anelka hat-trick ) have ensured they have a far superior goal difference ( +23 ) than any of the other title contenders.

burn-after-reading-poster

A movie that i saw recently was Burn After Reading. From the very impressive duo of Ethan and Joel Coen ( of The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men fame ), this movie , for me, couldn’t stand up to their previous highs. Although loaded with the highest-end cast of George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Jon Malkovich, Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton, the movie fails to find a stable plot and keeps juggling between a situational comedy and a Government thriller. The background score is very impressive, and helps build suspense towards a climax, which ends up being very soft.

Overall i’d rate this movie at 7/10 for its background score, and the impressive cast.

Where r the English??

In India, where football viewership is concerned all we know ov r the Englishmen??

So some ov my friends (lesser proficient wid all the game’s happenings) enquired about their absence from the on-goings in Austria-Switzerland….

Well here’s hw i replied:

As 4 de English team…….bakwaaaaaaaaas!

They have sum ov the gr8st players??? Who-the Cheque books playing in the EPL??

Probably only Rooney (wud recv 1 red card in every tourn.), Gerrard, Terry n Ferdinand (on sum days) r the sumwhat decent players they’ve gt…..otherwise

Michael Owen(is he injured??)
Joe Cole(keep doin the show)
Beckham(set pcs., else posin 4 da cams by the sidelines)
Ashley Cole( o Cheryl, were r u??)
endless list….(don’t even talk of the goalkeepers)….

+

they wunt have made to the knockouts frm any ov the grps, Austria wud’ve defeated them…..only teams they cud’ve beaten wud be….Greece, Swiss, Czech(maybe,on their best day), India if they cud get a Euro membership….lolzzz

Review:Super Sunday(24/03/2008) was superb!

I was supposed to fly back to Ranchi early morning.The Malaysian Grand Prix.The big 4 of the premiership clashed in the evening.There are a few moments i’d love to share here:

->At around 13.00 IST,my flight was closing in on its destination(Ranchi).We had been flying in bright sunshine,above a thick layer of cloud ever since we left Delhi.I knew, once near Ranchi, the plane would need to descend and pierce the clouds.The anticipation of the moment was too great for me to fall asleep,n God ,it was a really mesmerizing experience,i literally saw the airplane pierce the clouds,and the mist form outside my window,if only i’d been allowed to photograph it,but no electronic devices allowed inside…..:(

->The Malaysian Grand Prix was always gonna be difficult for Mclaren after they were penalized in qualifying,couldn’t catch the action(i ws travelling), but Kimi Raikkonen(Ferrari) won. Fisichella came 12th in what can be called an improved performance by Force India, though my reservations on Sutil still hold after another dismal performance.

-> Finally, the big one

Match 1: Man Utd. vs Liverpool

The game showed the class Man Utd have especially in defense, considering the fact that Torres wasn’t even a shadow of his usual self,constantly under pressure from Ferdinand. Surely Mascherano’s sending off was a pivotal point, although Utd. were firmly in control, both before and after the controversial decision. I would probably go with the red card,but then i’ve generally made no fuss about my dislike for Liverpool.The 3 points mean that Utd. are now firm favourites to win the league, and probably deserve to,considering the quality of attacking football they’ve displayed all season.

Result:Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool

Match 2: Chelsea vs Arsenal

A scorcher of a football game at the Bridge,considering especially the importance the game held for the 2 London rivals.The result was absolutely fantastic (for me and other Chelsea supporters out there), but Arsenal played better until they scored the opening goal in the 59th minute. Chelsea’s love-hate manager Avram Grant knew he was in for battering if he lost this one,even more so because it would bring an end to the legacy laid down by Mourinho, wherein they haven’t lost a home league game in 4 years and 1 month. He brought in Anelka and Belleti in the 70th min. 3 minutes later,a long ball from the latter eventually resulted in the Chelsea equalizer courtesy the ever so reliable Drogba. And Drogba scored the Chelsea winner in the 82nd minute from an Anelka flick-on.The final whistle meant Arsenal have collected only 4 out of the 15 points possible in the last 5 games.But Chelsea have now leapfrogged them to second place in the league……way to go blues.

Result:Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

(blue is the colour)

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The big sunday coming…..EPL on a rollercoaster

Yes, i’m back at home(this time i’ve gt time too), n i’m loving every moment of it. I had a torrid time coming bk, my tickets didn’t get confirmed, n so i had to shift births at nite…bt dats another story n i’ve gt better things to discuss.

Before coming bk i counted hw many Chelsea matches,i’d be able to watch live at home…n the no. came to a mouth-watering 7.And this weekend probably brings the best prospects.

On sunday, december 16 2007, Chelsea make a trip across London to the Emirates Stadium, while Liverfool(ooPs) host Man Utd. Now dats quite a lineup of matches all within 5 hrs.

In a way ,I don’t actually think these matches will go a long way in deciding the outcome of a season, which has seen no real clean dominance by any team in particular.W hat i think will decide the season is how the teams fair against other teams outside the so called ‘Premier 4’ of the premiership.But wins matter so much, especially in a season where the final outcome may be a matter of a couple of points.

Arsenal come from a reassuring victory against the meagre Steaua Bucharest, after a string of grim results marred, what has been a briiliant start to their season.Last weeks defeat at Middlesborough could, although mean that they may as well finish the week at third position in the worst case.But the quality dat Arsene Wenger always produces in his youngsters,sometimes close to flawless, makes it appear that whoever wears the Arsenal colors tries to run the Arsenal magic wagon.

Chelsea have been revived under ‘yes/no’Avram, but they still play very much in the way they used to play.Their 16 match unbeaten run in all competitions has been full of gut and courage,bt not exactly the flair n style (except on a few select instances,when the defences hv been lyk open gates,the other side of Manchester understands) dat ws promised wen Jose walked out.They still play in the mean Chelsea way,n dats wat works for them. Bt their biggest worry travelling to the Emirates will be the absence of Didier Drogba. They played w/o Drogba in midweek, and carved a woeful Valencia defence as they wanted, bt couldn’t score. And with the African Nations Cup coming up,it seems they’ll hv to makedo w/o Kalou,Essien,and Mikel too. I hope Roman has some spare Roubles to see them out of dat problem,come January.

Man Utd are truly the form team in the premiership and score heavily whenever they do.The likes of Tavez and Nani have settled in well and finding the goal doesn’t seem difficult.Their only problem is when they hv off days,days wen u can tell from the beginning dat the flair isn’t their.Against Liverpool they’ll hv to work extremely hard to win,tho Liverpool do settle for draws easily. The Anfield crowd won’t help things as well,n they’ll have to rely heavily on the likes of Ronaldo,Giggs,Rooney and Tavez to provide that extra bit.

Liverpool aren’t my personal favourites(i hate the club),but i write unbiased.They come into this match having a string of brilliant as well as forgettable results.They have the tendency to produce their best,when they’re facing the worst, n it makes them give memorable performances,bt only after they lose the actual bigger picture of dominance.Their win against Marseille ws another example of this.They had to win ,n dats wen they did it.When they aren’t motivated enough they generally tend to settle for draws.But their faithfullia has supported them whole-heartedly,happen what may.Man Utd at home maybe good enough for a draw,but i don’t know if they have it in them to beat Sir Alex’s men.

It’s going to be a fantastic 5 hours,n make sure u catch the action livde wherever you are……

Ciao.