Chelsea last night released an amazing statement on their official website giving their side of the William Gallas departure. They said that William Gallas threatened to score own goals, make deliberate mistakes or get sent off on purpose if he was picked to play against Manchester City.
Reading it is just comical. The Chelsea ‘family’, heh. Give me a break. The Blues are painted as whiter than white and Gallas as a complete monster. Now, maybe Gallas didn’t behave as well as he might have done but for the club to accuse him of something like this is just crazy and smacks of bitterness and shows a total lack of class. Compare that to Arsene Wenger’s kind words about Ashley Cole who, to my mind, behaved far worse that Gallas.
To stain the reputation of a player who has always did his best for Chelsea in the seasons he was there is an own goal that may rebound on his former club. Even if what they allege was true it does them no credit to reveal it and unless they have proof to back it up they are leaving themselves wide open for a lawsuit.
But surely a well oiled machine like Chelsea wouldn’t make a PR gaff like this. A club with the resources to hire the very best in the business must have the best PR person in the country, right? Well, here’s an extract from Crystal Palace Chairman Simon Jordan’s column in the Guardian from a few months ago:
The closest I’ve come to losing it with a journalist was in 2002, after London’s Evening Standard, who’d always had great access and cooperation from us, started producing a string of barbed, personal piss takes.
I decided that if they wanted to write this stuff, fine, but they weren’t going to do it on our premises, so I withdrew their accreditation. The sports editor’s reaction was this: instead of calling me, he phoned our shirt sponsor to suggest they reduced payments to us because they’d be getting less exposure in the Standard. Then he warned me that banning Standard journalists would have a negative effect on Palace’s results. I asked him what the hell he was talking about, and he implied that if I obstructed his journalists and restricted his press access, the type of coverage they’d be giving us would have a negative effect on morale.
So where is this guy now? Four years on, he’s the top PR man at Cuntski, a club with a reputation for obstructing journalists and restricting press access. PR Week says ‘Simon Greenberg is about to embark on a major charm offensive’ in football, to boost Cuntski’s image. Stand back, and watch him go.
Brilliant, look at him go! It’s no wonder that for all their success on the pitch Chelsea are, without doubt, the most despised club in world football. Even at the height of our rivalry with United there was a grudging respect that they had earned their titles, spent their own money on the players that helped them win them and they had a history of being a big club. Their success was built on having a large fan base and being a club top players wanted to play for because of the prestige, not the money. Chelsea is nothing but a Russian oligarch’s plaything and they earn about as much respect as Paris Hilton.
It is without doubt the most unprofessional, classless thing I think I have ever witnessed from a supposed ‘big’ club and acts like this show why, no matter how much they win, Chelsea will never be a big club. I’m really looking forward to see how bad the backlash of this is.
Gallas responded last night, saying:
I am surprised and shocked by these claims. I never said that I would score own goals if I had to play for Chelsea again. I was firm about my wanting to leave, that is true, and I will explain in due time why I wanted to, but I never went that far. But if people want to hide behind false accusations in order to give a reason for why I left so they can calm down the club’s supporters then they can.
Not much else happening today but I reckon that’s enough. Tomorrow we’ll wait for Chelsea’s statement saying Eidur Gudjonson used to eat all the skin off the KFC, Tiago never made his bed and Asier del Horno’s Christmas presents were always cheap.