Bitter Rednapp & Ruud Gullit’s Blue & White Army

This is a short story I heard on one of the fantastic Chelsea Q&A nights at The Duke of Edinburgh in Ascot.
(Check the link out, I’m in one of the pics with Canners!)

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At The Duke with Bobby Tambling & the FA Cup

At least I’m sure that’s where I got it from. The Daily Mail also had it on their website but I’ve only just found that out after looking for some pics to add.
As this is my story I can’t guarantee it’s accuracy and I’m re-telling it in my words from what I heard. Any quotes are paraphrased. Or taken for the Daily Mail article.

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This may go a long way to explaining Jamie Redknapp’s apparent dislike for all things Chelsea, although I suspect it goes back further than May 19th
2012 and one amazing night in Munich. Before I get to the story, I feel a bit of back ground is required for are more recent fans that were either not born at the time or were supporting Barcelona back then.

The Gullit Situation
In the 90’s we didn’t have twitter, or apps to keep up to date with the latest football news and gossip. Teletext was still being used in some parts of the country to ‘watch’ games on. So when the previous European Player of the Year winner signed for Chelsea I was told on the phone by my dear old Mum. I told her she was misinformed, he’d never come to Chelsea and she apologised for getting it wrong. The year was 1995 and just 2 years before we’d bought Glenn Hoddle in as Player Manager. That in itself was a big statement by a club that had only recently won promotion back to our rightful place in the top league (Division 1 then in ), and I loved him coming in as my then favourite all time England player (since then Joe Cole and now Frank have taken my number 1 spot).

Hoddle’s signing is widely said to be the start of where we are now, as he took us to our first FA Cup final for over 20 years and a decent run to the Semi’s of the European Cup Winners Cup.

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Due to his turnaround of Chelsea at the Bridge, the still respectful England Manager’s job came calling and it was a no brainer. I was at Hoddle’s last game in charge for us and it was a tail of 2 halves – neither about the football, which we lost 3.2 to Blackburn. The first half we pretty much sang the whole game ‘You can stick George Graham up your arse’ after a rumour had gone around that he was Ken Bates’ guest that day. The second half we pretty much sang ‘Ruud Gullit’s Blue and White Army’ until way after the final lap of honour after the game.

Sure enough, Ruud got the job. He loved the club and its fans when he was a player and that love carried into his management. We gave him time and support, as we have every manager that deserves it since. He bought in great players such as Vialli, Zola, Leboeuf and our Manager that night, his first signing, Roberto Di Matteo. All these 4 players were only £11.9 Million! He also won us the FA Cup in 1997. We love him still and he loves us, despite being acrimoniously sacked by Bates in 1998 without much explanation to the fans. The coolest man in football took us to European glory in Stockholm in May 1998 and I was there. 





Then Ranieri the Tinkerman came in and took us on even another step up league position wise. If only he hadn’t tinkered in the CL Semi against Monaco.

Despite Ruud leaving in poor circumstances he’s never hidden his love for the club. My one and only time meeting him was outside the Bridge before a game that he was a pundit with Sky for. He was mobbed but politely signed everyone’s programmes and smiled for their pictures. I stood back so not to crowd him even more. Then although he was clearly in a rush, I quickly asked if I could get a quick picture. He said of course and posed with me as my early camera phone got held up to take the picture. As an early model I couldn’t see what I was taking, but clicked the button, thanked him and he was gone. I looked at my picture and it wasn’t there. I’d got a phone call from Mum to say enjoy the game and clicking the camera just simply put the call to voicemail instead of getting the picture. Bollocks.

The Rednapp Allegiance
Jamie Rednapp played for Liverpool and Tottenham, amongst others but I can’t think of them and can’t be bothered to research it. His dad is Harry Rednapp, who at the time in question was the manager of our long term London rivals Tottenham. The rivalry is well documented and we’ve got a great record over them in my life time – long may that continue.

Now here’s some key points. In May 2012 the English season had concluded with Chelsea beating Liverpool in the FA Cup final, City winning the League and Tottenham getting a VERY long awaited 4th place. They had years losing 4th place to their closest (geographically only) rivals Arsenal which even included a bout of food poisoning on the last day of the season. They, under Harry’s stewardship, had finally made it to the Champions League. It was what Levy wanted of Harry and he’d delivered, albeit not in the style they think they should be accustomed to, but they’d made it.

HOWEVER, there was a problem. Chelsea. As Chelsea had finished 6th in the League, the only way they could qualify for ANOTHER Champions League campaign the following season was to win this season’s trophy. And they were in the final after miraculously beating a world beating Barcelona side at the Bridge and getting a 2-2 draw in the Camp Nou. Should Chelsea win the European Cup, Tottenham would be demoted to the Europa League. Again. This rule was because of a Scouse issue in 2005 when Liverpool won the trophy but finished outside the CL places, meaning UEFA had to let them join but couldn’t kick Everton out. Liverpool went into the preliminary rounds.

So it’s not hard to conclude that the Rednapps wanted, and probably expected, Bayern to do what the world expected and win in their own back yard. Jamie’s loyalty was with his dad and the team he used to play for, not his cousin Frank, who was our captain that night.

The Set Up
One of the most dramatic finals in modern times. Chelsea won the Champions League in the back yard of their massively outweighed favourites opponents, after a world class defensive display, a last minute equalising header from Drogba, a penalty save by Cech in Extra Time and then going behind in the penalties. Chelsea are now London’s FIRST Champions League (inc European cup) winners. Tottenham are resigned to another Europa League campaign. Ruud, Jamie & Harry are in a box/ come studio together.

The Story
When Drogba scored that unforgettable penalty, Ruud goes ballistic. At that moment he’s not a fired manager. He’s not an ex-player/ manager that has moved on. He’s a fan. He’s a BIG fan. And his team has just done the impossible.
This is when Jamie Rednapp turns around and has a go at him. Imagine that. Jamie Rednapp having a go at Ruud Gullit.
“Ruud, do us a favour, they sacked you, didn’t they?’ Jamie said to him. ‘Ah, yes, but that was different people,’ said Ruud and then carried on oblivious, celebrating, including making his way to the dressing room, where he belonged.
The rednapp a actually thought he was ‘over the top’. Really? Don’t make me laugh.

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Is this the basis on Jamie’s disregard for any positives Chelsea have when he’s a pundit on Sky? Probably not. Does this explain some of the comments he makes and opinions he gives on us? I’d hazard a guess at probably.

@pateramore

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Ol Big Ears

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