Wenger made me dump Arsenal for Chelsea, says Mgbolu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Wenger made me dump Arsenal for Chelsea, says Mgbolu

Posted: Apr 4, 2015 at 6:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Former Nigeria Football Association (NFA) image maker, Austin Mgbolu, would have been a fan of Arsenal football club today but jumped ship  owing to what he referred to as maltreatment of players from Africa by the North London club managers.



The man journalists usually prefer to call ‘booster’, for his resourcefulness and generosity during football matches said he had to switch to Chelsea Football Club because of the club’s liberality on players recruitment and welfare.

“Blues is the colour, Chelsea is the club, Chelsea, the best of the very best,” he said.

On how he became a Chelsea fan and for how long, he said, “I became a fan long ago. The decision was sequel to Arsene Wenger’s decision to lay off Kanu Nwankwo from the club despite protestation from most fans of Arsenal then. We saw that decision as being racially inclined. Hence I embraced more accommodating Chelsea.

“Chelsea is a lot more liberal when it comes to accommodating African players unlike others that have same attitude. One, the issue was the non-inclusion of Africa players or are there other considerations.”

He wondered how a club would sign-on players based on colour and countries they come from without recourse to talents and ability to play the game effectively and concluded that Chelsea met his terms and he hooked up.

“Majorly, their attitude then towards African players’ majority of whom were off loaded in a manner that send the wrong signal. Moreover, Chelsea met my needs then in terms of performance and sign-on of players. I feel so much at home with the club.”

On how Chelsea is perceived by other fans as trouble makers and result seekers, he said: “All those assertions are borne out of envy. Yes, results make the difference in competitive events unlike our opponents whose preoccupation is on money, money and nothing more. No doubt, the club appeals to wide base spectrum made up of major mix of the high and the low. It is eternally wrong to dub the club as that of talakawas (the poor). It only shows its appeal. Our opponent my see it differently because they lack such support.”

On the attitude of friends who are Arsenal fans fond of cajoling others when their teams are not doing too well in the league, he responded thus: “Harry my friend is a pain in the neck. He wants me to join them because to him, Chelsea is a team of agberos (street urchins)’ and truck pushers. I love the masses and by extension the blues.”

On the memorable Chelsea match that had remained indelible as a fan. “I cannot pinpoint any specific match as memorable because I’m thrilled whenever they are playing. My major interest whenever they are playing is to analyse their formation and tactical approach to their game. Moreover, the coaches (Jose Mourinho) theatrics is something that I enjoy always. He makes the difference always.”

On the evening of  March 10 1905 in an upstairs room at the Rising Sun pub, Chelsea FC was formed. Among the founding directors were millionaire owner, Henry Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears, his brother, Joseph, their brother-in-law, Henry Boyer, publican, Alfred Janes and his nephew, Edwin, who ran the Rising Sun.

The club, the brainchild of another founder, Frederick Parker,  started from scratch to fill Gus Mears’s ambitious stadium, being built across the road at Stamford Bridge by the famous architect, Archibald Leitch. Scotland international, Jacky Robertson, was engaged as the fledgling club’s player-manager. In collaboration with Parker, who also engineered Chelsea’s admission to Football League Division Two, Robertson constructed a squad including larger-than-life Willie Foulke; the club hired football’s first ball boys to emphasise the 23 stone goalkeeper’s presence.

The huge new arena debuted with a 4-0 friendly win against Liverpool in September 1905, supported by London’s first four-page match day football programme, which cleverly fed the metropolis’s growing hunger for the professional game. Success came spectacularly fast, the table-top clash with Manchester United on Good Friday 1906 attracted a staggering attendance of 67,000. Promotion to the first division was achieved in 1907 and over the ensuing campaign the newly nicknamed ‘Pensioners’ attracted the biggest crowds ever known in Britain. The most popular entertainer of the day, George Robey, even signed up as a player.

For the first few seasons the players wore Eton Blue, the horse racing colours of club President Lord Cadogan, a much lighter hue than the shirts of today. Other aspects are more enduring: the first top-flight London derby, a 2-1 Chelsea win against Arsenal, was contested on 9 November 1907. A similar outcome settled the first ever encounter with Tottenham Hotspur on December 18 1909.