It’s certainly an unprecedented time for Chelsea Football Club and all those involved in it, with it, around it. (Obviously there are bigger issues in the world, though those are not at all unprecedented just in terms of war and conflict essentially defining human history and “civilization”, but I digress.)
So, how are we to navigate these uncharted waters? With unity, perseverance, and togetherness, as head coach Thomas Tuchel urged in his press conference (another one!) this morning.
“When it’s a big storm you dig in, you hold together, you stay strong and go through it.”
“There are talks with the government about how the licence can be lived. [...] This situation concerns the whole club. It concerns the women, it concerns the academy. [And] it’s not only about the players. We have a lot of people on the staff at the club who are maybe also worried and scared and uncertain. That’s why it’s very important that we keep the trust and the belief within the training centre and in all of us.”
Chelsea were spared the actual full asset freeze precisely because we’re a football club, a culturally important institution in the UK, and employers of literally over a thousand (local) workers. Only a small fraction of the overall club are the men’s first-team players and coaches, though obviously the most visible. And with shirt sponsors Three UK pulling out (“temporarily”), perhaps we can use that visible space to deliver a message.
But more importantly, this is the time to take comfort in focus, in routine, in the game itself. We cannot control the situation surrounding (and involving) the club, which had existed for a century before Abramovich arrived, and will hopefully exist just the same going forward.
“We can always wear a message for peace. It can never be the wrong message. Maybe the worry is to find enough shirts to play in with the sanctions, but as long as we have enough shirts as the bus is full of fuel we will arrive and be competitive. This is what everybody can be sure of and this is what we demand of ourselves.
“[This situation] it makes us humble. I was very happy to arrive to play a match of football [yesterday]. This is what I mean when I say if we have enough shirts and a fixture, I will be there. And I will be there in the best spirit because I love the game. What’s coming in the next few days, let’s wait and see and then we adapt.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Whatever will be, will be.
(And maybe we’ll even get to go back to Wem-ber-ley, later.)