By, Aldemaro Narvaez

We all do it.  We all feed the irrational fear of chance and circumstance every time we sidestep walking under a ladder or avoid opening an umbrella indoors. It doesn’t hurt anything to knock on wood or wear those lucky socks to keep bad juju away. But what happens when bad luck is more than some minor “disturbance in the Force”, and we are staring down the deep, dark eyes of what can only be described as a full-blown curse?

Sports fans are some of the most superstitious people on Earth. From the Curse of the Bambino, famously named after the 86-year championship drought of the Boston Red Sox that coincided with the sale of “Babe” Ruth to their New York Yankee rivals, to the old 1970 Socceroos who managed to reverse jinx themselves by bringing in a witch doctor to cast a hex on their World Cup qualifier opponent of Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe) and then did not pay the priest his fee of £1,000, sports curses seem like a very real thing.

Chelsea are not immune to this phenomenon, and, although we do not have former boss Avram Grant clothed like a Shaman in the Shed End stands hurling evil looks at opponents, the irrational and coincidental circumstances that follow are sometimes whispered and bemoaned as Chelsea curses.

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The Curse of the FA Cup at Wembley

Six Chelsea managers have managed to lift the FA Cup high above their heads at Wembley, and all six of their heads rolled off the chopping block the following year.  Ruud Gullit in 1997, Gianlunca Vialli in 2000, Jose Mourinho in 2007, Guus Hiddink in 2009 (Guus Hiddink was only caretaker manager and was set to leave in 2009 to continue as Russia National Football Team coach), Carlo Ancelotti in 2011, and Roberto Di Matteo in 2012 all failed to finish the season in charge of the club after their FA Cup victory at Wembley.  If two is an anomaly and three is a trend, are six occurrences a curse?  There’s your silver lining on last term’s FA Cup loss to Arsenal, Antonio Conte.

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The Curse of the Chelsea Red Kit

Chelsea have splashed red in several of their blue kits over the years; a total of fifteen times. In each of those years, including the year of “palpable discord” where red accents were present in the sleeves and collar, the club did not cover itself in glory.  Only once, in 2009/10, did Chelsea play with a kit tainted in red and managed to lift a trophy, but that kit was only worn for the FA Cup Final against Portsmouth. The club used that red-cursed kit for the 2010/11 season in which we went trophy-less.  In that January transfer window, we spent £50 million on Fernando Torres. Yup…red.

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The Curse of the no. 9 Shirt

We all know this one.  When Jose arrived for his first successful spell at Chelsea, he purchased Mateja Kezman from PSV to carry on scoring as many goals as there are Dutch tulips.  However, Kezman went from the height of expectations to forgotten obscurity in less than a season while wearing the Blues’ No.9 shirt. Kezman only found the back of the net four times in 25 appearances while in London; alternatively, he scored 105 goals in 122 appearances at Eindhoven.

Jose was once again in need of a striker to push Drogba and he remembered that he exiled Hernan Crespo to Milan ahead of buying Kezman. Crespo’s time on the red side of Milan yielded a respectable 7 goals in 18 loan appearances, but he returned to the No.9 shirt at Chelsea and never seemed to settle at the Bridge. Several loan spells to AC Milan and Inter served as Crespo’s parole from the No.9 shirt.

Like a cursed monkey paw, the No.9 shirt found its way to Khalid “The Cannibal” Boulahrouz.  Even the attempt to circumvent the Curse by giving the shirt to a defender, who doesn’t need to score many goals, crashed and burned as Boulahrouz hopscotched from knee to shoulder problems and never lived up to his Jeffrey Dahmer-ish moniker.

The next unlucky recipient was Steve Sidwell.  You know…Steve Sidwell.  Anyone remember Steve Sidwell?  No? That’s the power of the No.9 shirt Curse, we all completely forgot a full-grown person.

Franco Di Santo never knew what hit him.  Youth can at times serve as the great equalizer to cursed odds, but the Argentinian kid with great reserve team promise only managed guest appearances while wearing No.9. Loan spells followed until he departed Chelsea to Wigan Athletic on a three-year deal.  Some of the Curse must have rubbed off on Di Santo as Wigan began the fall from the Premiership to the Championship to League One after Di Santo was purchased.  The Curse is strong.

Two words: Fernando Torres.

One word: Falcao.


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Hopefully our new No.9 goal-scoring threat, Morata, can break the curse.  To help him in this crusade he has a good set of players around him and one of the best managers in the world.  Which brings me to…

The Curse of Conte Cup Finals

Champions League, FA Cup, League cup, coffee cup, protective athletic cup, Cup-O-Noodles…all seem a bridge too far for Don Antonio.  Also known as “The Curse of Copa Italia”, this nugget of unexplainable misfortune has already managed to rear its ugly head last term in the FA Cup final against Arsenal.  As stated before, I guess this cancelled out The Curse of the FA Cup at Wembley.  However, with plenty of competitions on the way for 2017/18, something has got to give for Conte since Abramovich has not been the most understanding person when it comes to reasons that keep the club from Europe’s elite; superstitious or otherwise.

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I wonder how much it would cost to purify Stamford Bridge by Witch Doctor Avram Grant? I’ll start the pot at $20.


Thumbnail image courtesy of: Gianluca Fabrizio/Vetta/Getty Images

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By, Jordan Harbin

As the final true Bastion of Chelsea slowly paces through the corridors and dons the claret and blue, we look back at the generation that was and those who have risen to take their place.

Some called them the “Golden Generation”, and boasted that their shoes would never be truly filled. Are we then left to hang our heads on the mediocracy that is current footballing? Or can we see a new generation taking their rightful place? As current football supporters and fans we are observing a massive shift in the footballing world. This forward movement is not without it’s growing pains, but is steadily bringing progress towards a new generation.

Most players currently are being described as the “next Messi”, the “next Drogba”, and the like. However, these players are consistently breaking these molds. It is almost as entirely pointless as Tottenham’s title chances next season to assume that these players will simply fit into these castes of former icons. Restricting current players to the type and shape of those who have played before them is limiting and self-defeating. No one is stopping to explore the possibilities of something greater than this hallowed generation, something even better than we’ve seen before. With our eyes constantly glued to our screens, we are becoming witnesses to change.

Year after year, major clubs dominated the leagues. Even within those clubs, club figures dominated the line up sheets. These players carried, in Chelsea’s case, their club to great heights. The Blues were making the history that we historically lacked. A top four without Chelsea in it was something no one dreamed of. However, I watched on as Chelsea achingly waved another club legend goodbye, thinking, “I don’t know if we will ever see football like this again”. Even at the mention of their names we felt pride and glory. But all good things must come to an end as they say….

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…or do they?

Chelsea’s apparent decision to push the self-destruct button (but it was just so shiny!) last season started to create voices in the Blues faithful’s heads. Could this be it? A head-forward plunge into nothingness? Surely not! As the sky drew across itself a dark black, then he came, that beautiful Italian. Breathing life into a club who had wandered from greatness, getting lost in it’s own light. He made us believe again. He gave us hope. Sweet hope. He ushered us into this new glory. He made players into club legends. He took those who were not cut out to wipe the dirt off the golden generation’s boots, and he made them into Champions! He saw the potential in those that were left in the wake of the great ones, and saw that all was not lost.

This new project, this is something special.

Conte is shaping and molding these men into something truly spectacular. The long drawn out transfer sagas and clandestine tweets linking us to every player who’s ever breathed will be worth it. Conte is the next generation, just as much as these new players are. This manager is just as important to the Blues as the eleven who will line up together on August the twelfth against Burnley. Thrashing the Arsenal 3-0 is just the beginning. With the ageless wisdom of the great Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson.

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield


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Thumbnail Image Courtesy of: Photobucket (Che-Cheh)

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