Expecting the unexpected
Blogger from America Wed 16 Aug 2017
That went well. How many more times will football surprise us before we expect the unexpected?
I’ve been a Chelsea supporter for four decades. I’ve seen everything… No wait, I haven’t seen everything but I keep thinking I have. We are the defending league winners and on the opening day we are handed Burnley at home.
The Clarets finished 16th last season. They won only one away game all year - one out of 19 - and took just seven points from a possible 57. Their record away from Turf Moor was abject and I’m sure there were long odds on them securing a point, never mind a win, last Saturday.
By half-time the champions of England were 3-0 behind. In the second period we scored with 10 men, although we hadn’t been able to score with 11. Then we scored again with nine players. It’s all just crazy.
Of course, a tepid and dull scoreless draw without a single shot on target would have left us a point better off than we are now. Less entertaining but ultimately more substantial than a rollicking extravaganza stuffed with five goals, two red cards and a victory for the underdog.
But after years of following the Blues in the USA I can find a silver lining in the big black cloud of our curtain-raiser. At least the fans here can be thankful that none of the Manchester or North London quartet played at the same time as us.
I rolled up to my local football pub giddy at the season’s kick-off as I’m sure did my fellow Blues around the States. Although you go to watch your own team, of course you are usually aware of what is going on in the other matches broadcasting simultaneously as rival fans watch their clubs in such close proximity.
Last weekend there were a few Liverpool stragglers from their early fixture and a handful cheering on the blue club from Merseyside, but it could have been a lot worse. I bet the Chelsea supporters in America mostly escaped a mocking verbal bombardment from an unholy alliance uniting our main competitors.
Always find positives. I’m not unduly concerned. We have been here before. If you are going to slip up then do it in the first game, not the last. It’s a long, hard campaign and we are only 2.6 percent in.
From here on I’m going to try and remember to expect the unexpected - sometimes we all need reminding that these things happen in football.