The night began in grand fashion, as Levi Colwill pulled on the captain’s armband, becoming the youngest player to captain the club in nearly half a century, since the legendary Ray Wilkins did so back in 1977.
And then things quickly went downhill, with Chelsea producing the worst performance of the season yet (partially hidden by the scoreline). That wasn’t all Colwill’s fault obviously, either as (our latest fill-in) captain or as an individual contributor. Win as a team, lose as a team.
But Colwill, having grown up at the club over the past decade and change — the 20-year-old joined at the under-9 level — understands as well as anyone, and probably better than most, that our current levels are not up to par, collectively or individually.
And ultimately, if we’ve learned anything throughout the past many years, it’s that at the end of the day, it’s always up to the players themselves to perform. We determine how good we can be. Not anyone else. Coaches can help guide, cajole, and make the necessary difference at crucial moments (or conversely, hold back the team in a similar fashion), but coaches are not out there playing, executing, and making decisions.
As in everyday life, willingness to take personal responsibility to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made repeatedly, regardless of circumstance, context, or any other excuse, is what separates winners from losers.
“We are trying to improve as quickly as possible. We need to be more consistent. Inconsistency can happen to any team, however long you’ve been together or had your manager.
‘It is a transitional phase, but we can’t keep saying that. We have to improve quickly, start winning games and playing our football every single game instead of just every now and then.
“We can do anything we want. If we start putting in the performances we can put in, we will start picking up points and moving up the table.”
-Levi Colwill; source: Chelsea FC
Words of captain, indeed — even if Levi would hand the armband back over to Reece James at the half. But that’s all just symbolic anyway.
And words are just words anyway. Actions speak loudly, and we’re hitting the mute button far too often.