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 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.