With football on hiatus and We Ain’t Got No History slowing approaching our tenth (10th!) birthday, it’s as good a time as any to start looking back on some of our recent Chelsea memories.
Here are a few that stood out from March 23 over the past 9-10 years (timezones may affect that a bit, but I’m trying to keep it within the European & North American frame; sorry, rest of the world)
Looking back over the past decade, since this blog’s inception in August 2010, is mostly an exercise in nostalgia, a search for something comforting to bond over in these troubling, isolated times. (Judging by comment counts, it may be more an exercise in personal nostalgia, but whatever.)
But it’s also interesting to look back and see how far we’ve come in certain football-related things, some good, some bad. In 2010, there was no VAR, there was no EPPP, there was no xG. In fact, football statistics, which are still hardly adequate these days, were very much in their infancy. And one of the things that defined WAGNH in those early days was Blogfather Graham exploring the barren wasteland of football’s numbers game.
Smartypants Graham had plenty of experience in such sabermetric endeavors as the lead developer of baseball’s tRA stat. He would later call out Opta for taking one shortcut too many in counting possession statistics. But during those early years at WAGNH, he’d dabble in passing radars, save maps, shooting maps (i.e. early xG), win probabilities, and many others I’m surely forgetting.
On this day, the topic was a simple exercise: most valuable goals scored, where “value” is defined as points gained by the team. Since this is 2012, the team leaders were unsurprisingly Frank Lampard and, a bit more surprisingly, Danny Sturridge. Studge!
For the second item today, let’s get back to tried and true nostalgia. In 2013, with the atmosphere around Chelsea perhaps the most toxic the decade would ever see (yes, even more so than any of Sarri’s travails), the bright shining light on the horizon was the increasingly rumored return of The Special One, soon to be The Happy One, the one and the only José Mourinho — his legacy still very much intact back then.
Mourinho, who himself was stuck in a poor relationship with Real Madrid, was of course playing this up for all that it was worth. And while some were convinced that what he really wanted Sir Alex Ferguson’s emptying seat at Old Trafford, he sure made us believe that he was indeed “One of Us”.
On this day, March 23, 2013, we officially hit MOUCON 4 with the man himself teasing things then quickly escalated to MOUCON 3 when a Porto youth scout seemed to let the cat out of the bag. Those are always some of the most fun times, when rumors quickly turn into reality and the whole Chelsea world gets giddy as one — although Mourinho would not be officially appointed until June 3.