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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Interview of Denise: The Blogger of The Chelsea Blog

Denise is the blogger of one of the popular blogs on English soccer club Chelsea: ‘The Chelsea Blog’ which was voted the Best New Blog of 2008 by the readers of Soccerlens. This blog mainly covers different issues and news concerning the club. A die-hard Chelsea fan, Denise, always expresses her neutral opinions, thoughts and ideas about different issues of Chelsea. She does not even feel shy to come down hard on his favorite club if needed. Recently, I mailed Denise some questions concerning different aspects of Chelsea and English football, and Denise replied with the answers of the questions, sharing her thoughts and ideas about some of the issues regarding Chelsea football club as well as English football. Here, I am going to share the interview of Denise with you:

Razib Ahmed: Do you think that global credit crunch has finally started to have its impact on English football? To what extent, do you think it might affect English football and deteriorate the dominance of English clubs in Europe?

Denise: I think it’s natural that the credit crunch will have had an impact on football to an extent. I know it’s certainly been mentioned enough in terms of Chelsea’s lack of spending although I think it’s probably fair to say Abramovich had already started reining his millions in way before the credit crunch. Without a doubt, it’ll have an effect on football in general, with clubs being a little more careful around transfers and salaries but I don’t think this will be specific to England. So, in terms of English clubs in Europe, I can’t see any changes being down to the credit crunch.

Razib Ahmed: In terms of success (winning titles), Chelsea takes the last place among the Big Four clubs of premier league. You might not disagree that Chelsea has least number of fan base around the world among the Big Four clubs in premier league. What do you think Chelsea should do in order to increase its fan base across the world?

Denise: Increasing your fan base across the world, despite what Peter Kenyon might think, isn’t just a matter of marketing, it’s about sustained success over time. Of course our fan base increased during our title winning seasons but I’m sure a lot of fair weather ‘fans’ have fallen by the wayside already. So, in terms of what Chelsea could do to increase the fan base, they need to get the basics right consistently, i.e. get it right on the pitch first!

Razib Ahmed: Chelsea is always well-known for its big-buck deals for star players in the transfer market, but they did not buy any star player last Summer and it is less likely, Chelsea would go for a star player in January. What do you think is the reason behind Chelsea being tightened in terms of spending in transfer market? Do you think the economic slump has anything to do with Chelsea’s recent decision of being self-relianct?

Denise: Who knows? Part of me would like to believe this was the plan all along. The club certainly suggests that after his initial outlay, Abramovich always expected the managers to then ‘manage’ without getting handouts left, right and centre. On the other hand, part of me worries the lack of spending could have something to do with Abramovich losing interest in the club now that the initial party seems to be over.

Razib Ahmed: Chelsea sold a number of key players like Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips over the last six months. Moreover, the size of the squad has been smaller compared to the size of the squad Chelsea had even couple of years back. So, do you think that Chelsea squad is gradually losing its strength and depth? Will it result in diminishing Chelsea’s dominance in English football?

Denise: Our squad is definitely a lot smaller than it’s been for years and even then, we send our young players out on loan, so in terms of strength and depth – we haven’t got any. That was probably highlighted when you looked at our bench in our game against United, for example. It’s been a while since I looked at our bench and thought we really don’t have much more to offer than what’s already on the pitch.

Razib Ahmed: How do you evaluate Chelsea’s wish to become self-reliant in the wake of global economic crisis? Do you think that Chelsea has enough resources in its youth side to be self-reliant in the near future?

Denise: Global economic crisis or not, I think our wish to become self-reliant might be quite a way off the club’s prediction. I think the club are heading in the right direction, getting rid of staff they didn’t need in the first place and looking at performance related contracts for the older players for example, not to mention the lack of transfer activity. In terms of our youth side, I don’t think there’s enough there for us to rely on in the near future but I definitely think we should be looking at developing our youth side and working towards bringing them through.

Razib Ahmed: What is your opinion about Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari’s impact on Chelsea players so far? Do you think Chelsea’s performance under Scolari’s guidance has so far been satisfactory?

Denise: Well, a manager’s attitude has to be one of the first things you’ll see reflected on the pitch. With Mourinho, our players had that arrogant swagger and were united as a team because they believed the world was against them. Initially under Grant, the players looked pretty clueless – hardly surprising – until they just did their own thing anyway. Unfortunately, under Scolari, after a bit of confidence initially, what we’re now getting from the players, is the same shrug of the shoulders, can’t be bothered attitude as the manager appears to have these days. As for our performance under Scolari, clearly it’s just not good enough.

Razib Ahmed: You know that Scolari’s relationship with Chelsea players made newspaper headlines a few weeks back. Now, how do you evaluate Scolari’s relationship with Chelsea players?

Denise: I’ve no idea really. I mean, they all seem to be saying the right things about him in the press but to look at the way they play now, you’d have to think there’s some communication problems going on somewhere.

Razib Ahmed: In one of your article, you supported the performance-based contract system and criticized Chelsea for handing a five-year deal to Frank Lampard. However, don’t you think that all the players look for economic security?

Denise: Of course, it’s a short career and players will get the best deals they can. Ballack got himself a pretty good signing on fee anyway from what I understand, so he’d be one of the happier players to negotiate the sort of contract we’re told could be offered. As for Lampard, whilst I agree players want economic security, there are ways and means of going about it and holding a club to ransom for such an obscene amount whilst at the same time telling the world how much you love that club, isn’t the best way to go about it.

Razib Ahmed: Finally, say something about your back ground and your blog- The Chelsea Blog. What is your future plan regarding the blog?

Denise: Born in London and brought up in a Chelsea household, so supporting them went without saying. I started the blog last season, pretty much as a way of offloading my many frustrations around the whole Avram Grant appointment and what was going on inside Stamford Bridge. I guess I just enjoyed it and got a bit carried away although, being voted Best New Blog of 2008 by soccerlens readers has to mean I’ve been doing something right . J A recent change to the blog is that it’s now managed by Football Media and as for its future, hopefully it’ll just continue to grow.

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