Spyin' Kop - Champions League Semi 2007, First Leg, Chelsea v Liverpool

Posted by nidgemo on April 23, 2007, 08:24:51 AM

So, here we areagain, chelsea v liverpool in their seemingly monthly big games...

I went to CFCnet, champions mad and CSR forums (where I was immediately banned) to guage some opinion for the upcoming game. Surprisingly, the Chelsea fans didn't appear too talkative on the game, so I only have two sets of answers below, from Peter Sampson at CFCnet, and from scotusa1314 on championsmad - thanks to them both for answering the questions!

Chelsea v Liverpool
Champions League Semi Final, First Leg
Wednesday, 25th April 2007 Stamford Bridge
Kick Off: 7.45pm

Referee : Markus Merk (GER)
Assistant referees : Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER) Carsten Kadach (GER)
Fourth official : Felix Brych (GER)

First, a bit of Chelsea history...

Chelsea were founded on March 14, 1905 at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher's Hook), opposite the present-day main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road, and were elected to the Football League shortly afterwards. The club's early years saw little success; the closest they came to winning a major trophy was reaching the FA Cup final in 1915, where they lost to Sheffield United. Chelsea gained a reputation for signing big-name players and for being entertainers, but made little impact on the English game in the inter-war years.

Former England centre-forward Ted Drake became manager in 1952 and proceeded to modernise the club. He removed the club's Chelsea pensioner crest, improved the youth set-up and training regime, rebuilt the side, and led Chelsea to their first major trophy success – the League championship – in 1954–55. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions' Cup, but after objections from The Football League and the FA Chelsea were persuaded to withdraw from the competition before it started.

The 1960s saw the emergence of a talented young Chelsea side under manager Tommy Docherty. They challenged for honours throughout the decade, and endured several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup going into the final stages of the 1964-65 season, winning the League Cup but faltering late on in the other two. In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up. In 1970 Chelsea were FA Cup winners, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a final replay. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph, the following year, with another replayed win, this time over Real Madrid in Athens.

The late 1970s and the 1980s were a turbulent period for Chelsea. An ambitious redevelopment of Stamford Bridge threatened the financial stability of the club, star players were sold and the team were relegated. Further problems were caused by a notorious hooligan element among the support, which was to plague the club throughout the decade. Chelsea were, at the nadir of their fortunes, acquired by Ken Bates for the nominal sum of £1, although by now the Stamford Bridge freehold had been sold to property developers, meaning the club faced losing their home. On the pitch, the team had fared little better, coming close to relegation to the Third Division for the first time, but in 1983 manager John Neal put together an impressive new team for minimal outlay. Chelsea won the Second Division title in 1983–84 and established themselves in the top division, before being relegated again in 1988. The club bounced back immediately by winning the Second Division championship in 1988-89.

After a long-running legal battle, Bates reunited the stadium freehold with the club in 1992 by doing a deal with the banks of the property developers, who had been bankrupted by a market crash. Chelsea's form in the new Premier League was unconvincing, although they did reach the FA Cup final in 1994. It was not until the appointment of former European Footballer of the Year Ruud Gullit as player-manager in 1996 that their fortunes changed. He added several top-class international players to the side, particularly Gianfranco Zola, as the club won the FA Cup in 1997 and established themselves as one of England's top sides again. Gullit was replaced by Gianluca Vialli, who led the team to victory in the League Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1998, the FA Cup in 2000 and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2000. Vialli was sacked in favour of another Italian, Claudio Ranieri, who guided Chelsea to the 2002 FA Cup final and Champions League qualification in 2002–03.

In June 2003, Bates sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £140 million, completing what was then the biggest-ever sale of an English football club. Owing to Abramovich's Russian heritage, the club were soon popularly dubbed "Chelsea" in the British media. Over £100 million was spent on new players, but Ranieri was unable to deliver any trophies, so he was replaced by successful Portuguese coach José Mourinho, who had just guided FC Porto to victory in the UEFA Champions League.

In 2005, Chelsea's centenary year, the club became Premiership champions in a record-breaking season (most clean sheets, fewest goals conceded, most victories, most points earned), League Cup winners with a 3–2 win over Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium and reached the Champions League semi-finals. The following year, they were again League Champions, equalling their own Premiership record of 29 wins set the previous season. They also became the fifth team to win back-to-back championships since the Second World War and the first London club to do so since Arsenal in 1933-34. In 2007 Chelsea won the League Cup for the second time in three years.

•   First Division/FA Premier League: 3 (1954-55, 2004-05, 2005-06)
•   Second Division/First Division/The Championship: 2 (1983-84, 1988-89)
•   FA Cup: 3 (1970, 1997, 2000)
•   League Cup: 3 (1965, 1998, 2005)
•   FA Charity Shield/Community Shield: 3 (1955, 2000, 2005)
•   Full Members Cup: 2 (1986, 1990)
•   UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 2 (1971, 1998)
•   European Super Cup: 1 (1998)

And now, the questions...

You've had a fairly injury hit season, but at the minute of typing, the league title is back in your own hands. How has the season been to date?
scotusa1314: Very frustrating. The spate of injuries has stopped us getting any real momentum and the new signings have been very disappointing. Too many points were dropped through complacency. It's easy and to a certain extent justified to blame the bonus points the officals hand to Man U, but it doesn't excuse some very poor performances.
Peter Sampson: Great season enjoyed every minute of it so far. This season we have had a genuine threat from Man Utd. It’s kept us interested and appreciating every goal. It’s a shame for the neutrals that there are not a couple of other teams good enough to keep the pace. We do hear each season that Liverpool and Arsenal will make the challenge.
mibbles: 2nd in league carling cup winners semi of europe with an injury it xmas period i am happy with the way its gone

Who do you think is your most important player(s)?
scotusa1314: Essien and Carvalho. The latter is underrated and has been outstanding.
Peter Sampson: The whole squad is important but Essien has excelled when he has been asked to “fill in” by Mr Mourihno. Not necessary the most important but my player of the season. Essien has played in many positions and not let us down. Drogba has improved on last season. John Terry and Cech were missed over Christmas.
mibbles: essien and cech have been the main players even carvalho he as been a rock

Your worst player(s)?
scotusa1314:  Ashley Cole. Waste of space, time and money.
Peter Sampson: Worst players? Tough one. All players have performed very well as results show, although I would say Ballack and A Cole have not played consistently well as some of the others. I can’t understand some of the Chelsea support getting on their backs as soon as the opposition scores though? Maybe they are not playing as well as they were with their former clubs? I don’t think they are worse than the others just not so consistent maybe? Both would be amongst the first on the team sheet for any other Premiership team though.
mibbles: ferreira and boula

Who has been the player most badly missed through absence this season - and why do you think you missed them so badly?
scotusa1314: Losing both goalkeepers at once. Hilario didn;t do badly but the defence was a shambles in front of him and that cost us too many league points.
Peter Sampson: John Terry. Enough said!
mibbles: joe cole and arjen robben left us with no width and have missed there pace down the flanks

These two meetings will be our 15th and 16th in the last 3 years. Are you sick of playing us yet?
scotusa1314: No. It's a price to pay for cup success and on the whole they have been entertaining games.
Peter Sampson: Not really I think I’ve been to Anfield and seen Liverpool more times than everyone else before our previous recent clashes. I’m more sick of the media attention Liverpool get than anything.
mibbles: not really just goes to show how far both clubs are going in cup competitions

Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?
scotusa1314: It's a secret. You'll tell the Mancs
Peter Sampson: These quite a few. Our reserve side is one of the strongest around except that the club puts most of them on loan around the different leagues. Players such as Scot Sinclair, Ben Saha, Michael Woods, Jimmy Smith, Michael Mancienne and Nuno Morais ensure that the future is promising.
mibbles: scott sinclair ,ben shahar and micheal woods 3 quality players for the future

Do you think José's apparent change in favoured playing style (dropping width for packing the middle) has been good, or a change for the worse?
scotusa1314: For the worse. Much less pleasing on the eye.
Peter Sampson: Just playing to the squads strengths. There’s more flair with width and I prefer to see width but if we can play well and win games packing the midfield who am I to complain?
mibbles: injuries have forced the issue

Do you think José has had any choice in this, or did he have to accommodate the star names?
scotusa1314: He has a choice.
Peter Sampson: If Jose accommodated star names he would lose respect in the dressing room Mr Mourinho plays who he wants to play. Not exactly accommodated Shevchenko has he?
mibbles: same as above

Do you think the atmosphere at the bridge can ever get to the levels seen at anfield in the semi two years ago? Were you there that night? What were your thoughts?
scotusa1314: Only if they cut the prices and let the real fans in again.
Peter Sampson: I wasn’t at Anfield two years ago but I’ve been to Anfield enough to know that all clubs struggle with atmosphere at times. 25 years ago, when Liverpool were a great team, the Kop only sang a players name when he scored. The noise when Liverpool attacked was incredible for the chanting etc was no better than anywhere else. We had an equivalent atmosphere when we hosted Barcelona the same season. Big games against perceived rivals produce noise. We just don’t get the atmosphere mentioned in the papers so much.
mibbles: stamford can be a good atmosphere if the corprate west stand decide to sing ,anfield has a 5 minute walk alone beginning each half thats it

Do you feel your clubs "free flag" hand outs to try to generate atmosphere are good, or slightly embarrassing?
scotusa1314: No view on it.
Peter Sampson: A great gesture by Mr Abramovich. Shows his heart is in the right place. The flags are an effort to create colour and movement in a stadium. However flags don’t make noise fans do. Flags look great on the TV. Just a modern version of the coloured card and balloons.
mibbles: was done for champs league games to add some intimidation to away teams ,looked great on the night as well, barca porto games where amazing sights

What do you think on the recent banning of celery from your ground?
scotusa1314: Had to be done as it was being increasingly chucked in the direction of opposition players by a few idiots. If that stopped, I'd welcome the ban being lifted.
Peter Sampson: It’s as silly as it sounds. We don’t have a big problem with celery and the club did not make the decision. It’s only because an Arsenal player complained in my opinion. Giggs had a similar problem in the 1994 final but just laughed about it. The FA seem to make an issue on irrelevant things like Celery instead ticket prices and allocation for Cup Finals. Did you know if I miss out on getting two of the 4000 £35 tickets allocated to Chelsea for my two children (4 and 7) I will have to pay £60 or £90 EACH for them to watch the game? The FA really needs to take a good long hard look at themselves and the fiasco that was the redevelopment of the Stadium. The troubles may be behind them now that Wembley is open (finally) after 7 years but it’s the fans that have to pay for it.
mibbles: absolute bollocks

Are you going to win the quadruple?
scotusa1314: No
Peter Sampson: Don’t know to be honest. Would be nice though. Although surely we’ve only bought the right. Unlike Man Utd who have a strong English backbone with their home grown English players like; Ferdinard, Carrick, Rooney and Alan Smith.
mibbles: No

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?
scotusa1314: Crouch is unmarkable. Gerrard's finishing gives Liverpool long range options too.
Peter Sampson: Tommy Smith. He’s hard as nails.
mibbles: risse always does something to us
gerrard can be a threat
but any one player could hurt us on the night

If you had to choose one, is Frank Lampard fat or jammy?
scotusa1314: I don't have to choose one.
Peter Sampson: Well I wish I was as “fat” as Frank. Not exactly Jan Molby is he? Be interesting to compare Frank’s backside with Dalglish’s. Not too much in it I reckon! So I guess he’s just jammy scoring 20 goals a season.
mibbles: stupid question 3 seasons on the trot 20+ goals what u think

You have Essien suspended for the first leg, and several notable players, like Drogba, Ballack and several more a booking away from missing the second leg - how will this affect the way you play?
scotusa1314: It won't. It may affect the way you play us though.
Peter Sampson: No comment
mibbles: essien is the big miss
we will see wednesday night how we shape up and how we perform we must go for it and score goals

Given the choice, would you rather win the league or the champions league? Have the recent near misses in the CL and success in the prem made the European competition more of a priority, as it's the "missing" one?
scotusa1314: The League.
Peter Sampson: Premier League is the main trophy to win. Sorts out the men from the boys. I appreciate how hard the league is to win especially being a London club with so many derby matches. Cup’s are a bit of a lottery but a good day out for the travelling support. I guess winning the European Cup gives the fans something to shout about in the years to come. Did you know that Chelsea would have been the first team to represent England in Europe but the FA declined the invitation on the clubs behalf?
mibbles: the f.a cup is the one jose aint one but yes i think we would love the champions league who wouldnt as for priority i think he treats every game as a cup final and must win game

José is normally a suave well presented man. Does anyone know why he turned up at anfield two years ago looking like a tramp?
scotusa1314: To fit in with the locals.
Peter Sampson: Don’t read too much into Mr Mourinho it’s just a coincidence or was it..?
Look out for some wise words Mr Mourinho to take the attention away from the players closer to the second leg.
mibbles: just to make rafa Benitez feel at home

One for the older fans - was it better being a Chelsea fan in the days of the shed and having a car park in the ground, or now? What are the changes for the worse (increased prices, glory hunting fans, inconvenient car parking etc)
scotusa1314: The old days had hooliganism, right wing nutters and a poor side. There was little glorious about them at all.
Peter Sampson: It’s always a good time to be a Chelsea fan. Prices have always been high. (At least now we have a great team to watch) We’ve always been capable of pulling in a few “glory hunters” for a big game. 50-60 thousand attendances in the 70s and 80s. Car parking has always been a pain. Did you know that Chelsea hold the record for the biggest ever attendance of over 82,000 versus North London rivals Arsenal? Fans of other clubs didn’t like us in the 70 and 80s and don’t like us now so not much has changed expect we are winning more games than we used to.
mibbles: the last 30+ years as been a rollercoaster ride of emotions ups downs and last 10 years trophy ladden ,loved the old stamford and with the hardcore 10-15000 followers was a great atmosphere but hooliganism and trouble on the terraces kept the families away. now there is a large corprate following that ruins the bridge but what are we meant to do

11th May 2003. Where would we all be if Chelsea had lost that game?
(for a laugh / mystic meg experience, check out the CFC teamsheet)

scotusa1314: No comment
Peter Sampson: Bates would have sold the club to Mr Abramovich. Not much difference really. We had some big debts but a half decent squad.
mibbles:  No Comment

Any comments?

Strangely, no Chelsea fan wanted to answer this question. :D

Care to predict the score, for this leg and the tie?
scotusa1314: Not really. I see our chances as 55/45.
Peter Sampson: I hate predicting results but if I had to, I would say Chelsea to win 1 - 0 at home and draw 1-1 at Anfield. Should be a couple of memorable games hopefully, that’s the main thing.
mibbles: No comment

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