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Anorak | Chelsea Basted

Chelsea Basted

by | 2nd, October 2003

‘THERE was a time when we tried to convince ourselves that the Premiership was the best league in Europe – a claim that stretched credibility every time our clubs travelled abroad.

A crying shame

Manchester United may have won the European Cup in 1999, but no English team has got to the final since.

And the chances are no English team are going to get to the final this year after both Chelsea and Manchester United crashed to defeat last night.

The Sun says it was “a night of Champions’ League hellski” for Claudio Ranieri’s side of superstars, who went down 2-0 at home to Turkish side Besiktas.

And the puns don’t stop there – club owner Roman Abramovich, we are told, was left “besik as a parrot” as he watched his boys “Turk one hell of a beating”.

Over in the Mirror, there is a hint of the paper’s infamous 1996 front page in the headline “United Surrender”.

One wonders whether it would have chosen the same verb had the English champions lost to anyone but a German side.

As it was, manager Sir Alex Ferguson placed the blame firmly on his defenders, with Rio Ferdinand picked out by the paper as the main culprit.

That at least allows the Mirror to use the headline “Blame It On Rio”.

The mention of Rio inspires thoughts of Brazil, as did West Ham striker Jermain Defoe’s opener last night for the Hammers against Crystal Palace.

The Star said the highly-rated striker went one better than Pele, dummying the Palace keeper before collecting the ball and firing into an empty net.

The great Pele tried the same trick against Uruguay in 1970, but fired wide.

However, even though the Hammers went on to win 3-0, the Mirror senses trouble in the camp.

It said the uneasy relationship between the club’s three front men, Defoe, David Connolly and Neil Mellor, has “created a fascinating sub-plot to the club’s start to the season”.

Defoe angered Hammers fans at the weekend by failing to pass to Connolly when the Irishman was poised to knock the ball in.

And Connolly last night pointedly snubbed Mellor, walking away with not so much as a handshake, when the on-loan striker was celebrating his first goals for the club.

And the call it the beautiful game…’



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