Newcastle United: 3 Chelsea: Just Don't F*cking Ask
Sunday 13th May 2018 15:00
In the News: We've been charged by the FA for failing to control our players during the Huddersfield game. I vote we find out exactly how much they're charging us, turn up with sledge hammers and cause exactly that much in damages to Wembley. I have no words. Meantime, Willian wins Players' Player of the Year, the fans vote goes to the Kante Twins. Christensen takes the trophy for best young player. Conte wins the Dr Jekyll Tribute Award for having more personalities than the last ten of our managers put together. Chequebook Pulis says that Noble and Pogba looked like they were in love during that goalless dross of theirs. Yes, because nothing says I love you more than trying to rip out someone's teeth out with your bare hands. (We can at least take solace in the fact that they looked pretty sh*t this week)
The Others: F*ck 'em. Although once again at least we're not Arsenal. Though the difference is getting harder to define.
Transfer B*llocks: So apparently (This isn't Blue Squirrel, this is Chinese whispers) Morata told a fan at the awards do that he's moving to either Italy or Spain because he prefers it there to London. If he did, rage, but take from that what you will. It's about as substantiated as all the w*nk produced by the Red Swarm and it doesn't stop them. And Loftus-Cheek says he hasn't made a decision about where his future lies yet. Excellent. I look forward to another player leaving and then suddenly becoming a world beater.
In ManagerWatch: Napoli are making sad noises about not being able to stop Sarri leaving, and Carlo was spotted at the Bridge.
Them: Twelve different sponsors coughing up cash for everything from the dressing room to the hot dog cart. Took longer to announce that lot than the team, most of whom I've never heard of.
Us: Conte appeared to have given more than a single f*ck about choosing this line up, which was an improvement on Wednesday. Maybe two or three. The Beard starts. Excellent. Barkley back too. Not often you see a player whose had a lengthy lay off go into the starting lineup though. And he's moved Cahill away from the middle of the back three to bring Christensen back in. No Fabregas, where's the imaginative sh*t coming from? I felt slightly like one of the saps who gets killed off early in a Jurassic Park film when they realise they've been locked onto by three raptors looking for dinner.
My kit rage had just about subsided until they showed the team coming out in the big screen wearing the new f*cking shirt. W*nk. W*nk. W*nk. W*nk. Even if we don't all agree on the use of red as part of the design we can all agree that this looks like they looked at a plain blue shirt and thought: "this is a bit boring,” so let a five year old at it with marker pens. It's not got shades of 1984 or whatever it is they are claiming. This is called "marketing." I used to do it for a living. It's code for "talking any bullsh*t you have to to get people to part with money." If that took more than half an hour to do I'd be stunned. It is a blue shirt with some cheap looking, ugly lines squiggled on it. Poke it Nike.
Good luck getting details as to what player is on the ball out of me, because I'm that high up that I can't tell the difference between Bakayoko and Alonso. My nose is bleeding. I have a better view of the John Lewis car park roof. I think that I might actually technically be in space right now. The people in the back row are floating away because there is no gravity. This is why I laugh when Newcastle get relegated. Because it's cheap and nasty stuffing your away contingent in the corner up here when nobody in the league does it to you. I swear this is the last time they get away with it before they are bound by the rule about at least some of us being pitch side.
Most of the opening play came from the barcodes. Kante almost played a sublime ball through to someone else in blue on four minutes but it was intercepted. He is literally the size of my little fingernail from up here. At this point they appear to care a lot more than us, although nobody had actually had a shot yet. I have just figured out that I can identify Voldemort because he's had a shot on 8 minutes and the sun was reflecting off his head. Already I was suspecting that they were going to have that annual cup final performance that they save for whenever we roll into town. Another save from Thibaut on nine minutes. We'd barely touched the ball because they were running everything down, forcing mistakes and just generally making us look sh*t. We had the amusement of a giant beach ball for about four seconds. Then the killjoy stewards took it away. How had we only had fifteen minutes of this awfulness? Fear not. We now have balloons.
A goal mouth scramble on 19 was just about knocked away by Courtois. We'd been amusing ourselves by singing. Spartak Moscow We're Coming For You was my favourite. I refused to sing along to Antonio. He can have some of it next week, as a thank you and goodbye, but at this precise moment we looked bonafide terrible. We were being shown up by Newcastle and he was standing with his arms folded. Possibly picking his nose. Might have been chewing his finger. Or both. Which would have been disgusting.
Just wide again from Newcastle on 20. It'd be no more than they deserve. And they were ahead on 22. A shambles, but it's been coming ever since kick off. My instant reaction was where are all the centre backs, and why is Moses the only bloke there? But I was too f*cked off to break this down with any rational thought.
Europa League We're Having a Laugh now.
23 and Voldemort just missed another. I'm so glad I got up at 4am for this. If he'd have put up half this much fight against Harry Potter and his mob he would have smacked them silly. I'm not sure we can claim we've even been in their box at this point. In the meantime we had another fingertip save from Courtois on 26 from yet another long range effort. But the difference between their long range efforts and ours (if we managed to conjure up any) is that theirs look like they might actually go in. The usual end of season song tributes to each player had died out now to be replaced by random insults and expletives. The Beard looked lonelier than Michael Owen wandering round a Wetherspoon’s at 11am trying to find somebody drunk enough to listen to stories about his glory days.
We can't get the ball. If we do, can't retain it. Conte still about as animated as Sam Allardyce in a f*cking spin class. Thibaut has got the right hump, and over the last five years I'd have sworn most of the time he didn't have any vocal chords. That's how bad this was. He was screaming at people. On 32 minutes Hazard received the ball, wait for it, in the box. But at a funny angle and his back was to goal so he couldn't get the shot off. Unfortunate as opposed to incompetent. But their keeper could have literally lay down and f*cking sunbathed at this point.
They wanted a penalty on 33; I think Atkinson just pitied us too much to give them it. Free kick in their half two minutes later. Excitement. That came to nothing. I've not seen anything this unimaginative since the 89th instalment of the "Saw" franchise. No, scrap that, I've not seen such a complete lack of anything decent going up to Hazard and The Beard since Wednesday night. I'd be relieved right now to actually find Michael Owen sitting next to me. I'd get him to tell me all about his glory days. And then talk me through his cheese label collection.
Praise the lord. 43 minutes and we had a corner. We're shit at corners, but nonetheless this was something to be happy about. Until it didn't travel more than five yards before it hit a barcode. This was f*cking apocalyptic. We didn't have a plague of locusts up on the roof, but we did have one of greenflies. I'd picked six out of my hair already. If only our players had collectively showed the same persistence.
The lumpy Toon playing the goal challenge bucket thing at half time produced more than we had in the first half. Please Chelsea, make the hurting stop.
The second half was better.
This does not mean it was good.
Straight after the break Hazard destroyed the ability of one of the barcodes to ever procreate again. But I didn't know we had to stop play for a stinger to the balls. There was a collective groan of sympathy from 52,293 people. That's everyone except me. Because I'm pretty sure it was still more painful sitting on the roof with the away contingent. And I was too busy laughing.
Save by Thibaut on 48. We've still not had a shot. We then retained the ball for 30 seconds but it came to nothing. Again. The Beard was being tugged in the box, but the ref didn't care and the ball ran out of play away from Eden. Which brings me to Refwatch: Martin Atkinson. He was better than Mason on Wednesday. But then the semi-liquid dump Bertie the Kitten took overnight is more effective than Mason. But me digging Atkinson out today would be like Napoleon blaming his f*cking butler for the pasting he took trying to march on Moscow.
Thank God for The Beard, who managed to hit a sublime volley behind him (at least that's what it looked like from a mile away) We have had an attempt on goal. And apart from Hazards ball cruncher it was the highlight of the afternoon. Now I know what it feels like to support Sterk.
We were back in their box within a minute, but once again squandered the ball and it came to nothing. The Beard was apoplectic up front. Distinctly heard him shout "I left Arsenal to get away from this sh*t." In French. But at least we were actually attacking consistently now. Barkley wound his way in but his shot went straight to the keeper. Just when we looked like being competent enough to mount some form of opposition (Yes, against Newcastle) they scored again. Voldemort hit a nothing shot that somehow took a tiny, perfect deflection off some other barcode and into the corner it went.
For f*ck sake.
So what do you do? You look at the bench, you look at the manager to see what they intend to do about this. The answer? Nothing. Conte hasn't moved from the spot for about ten minutes. He's just standing there with his arms folded watching us implode. They could have been three up on 59 but we got a last ditch header in to put it out for a corner. Poor Barkley had our best chance on 61. A fast break and it falls to him in the box. If he had put it anywhere else, goal. But straight to keeper. A minute later they did have three. I'm not sure you can say that one of them in an offside position wasn't interfering with play but at that point I give about as much of a f*ck as Conte. Also I can't make a proper judgement because I neglected to bring a pair of f*cking binoculars with me.
Antonio still hadn't moved. It'd been better since half time but this line up just wasn't working. Regular stalwarts such as Dave were having sh*tters. Barkley hasn't seen a football pitch in weeks, though to be fair he looked better as the game went on. Why would you heave Cahill out of the middle where he's been doing fine? The Beard has been isolated. There's no creativity (by the way Conte still hasn't moved) and we are an absolute shambles. This game might mean nothing competition wise, but he had zero f*cking respect for the 2000 odd fans that have travelled the length of the country and paid money to watch it. We got royally shat on today.
Still hasn't moved. 67
He moved six inches coming up to 70 minutes, because the ball was coming at his head.
The Beard had another chance, but he had no time to aim and by now he looked like a Frenchman being made to work double time on a bank holiday. Morata was ready to come on and if it's for The Beard there is literally no point.
Wait for it... wait for it...
The Beard off. I despair.
Willian on too for Barkley, who for the last ten minutes has looked like the Chelsea player most likely to do something.
Then Pesto (f*ck off autospell) got a massive ten minutes. Hazard would have appreciated getting put out of his misery. Small children were weeping at this point. Not even a bottle of Silent Pool and a straw would have consoled me at this point.
So: TADA. There you have it, another Premier League season done and dusted. And every issue we've had across the whole 38 games encapsulated in one final, ninety minute sh*tfest. In the words of Fozzy Bear, a perfectly good day out with your mates, ruined by the football. First half was embarrassing. Second half, we actually touched the ball, but it was still embarrassing. Players largely all over the place, manager didn't give two sh*ts about turning it around. I love you Chelsea, but right now I can't f*cking look at you.
I'm going to drink a f*ckload of gin. If I get really, really, sh*tfaced I might get halfway to this twilight zone where all of our problems will be solved by putting Jody Morris and Frank Lampard in charge of the first team at this moment in time.
*Photo of Kante wearing that monstrosity of a strip comes from Chelsea's official website