People are always banging on about us buying “World Class” players.Whatever that means.
Anyway, that got me thinking about when we did have a team full? The Invincibles?
Or have we ever actually had one?
Was it the greatest team the Premier league has ever seen, or did the stars align and give us a gift from the football Gods? Indeed, was it even a gift or is it a curse, an achievement that means that we will forever be underachieving in the minds of some of our more demanding fans?
I have actually heard people say that we failed to build and progress from that team .What did they want, a season where we won every game? What then, would we have to improve on that?Of course they completely ignore the move to the new stadium ,which ensured a few backward steps would by necessity be taken,rather than building on what was a once in a lifetime team.
So, for the sake of argument, I want to ask and then answer a couple of questions about the class of 04.
- Would that squad win the league now?
- Would they all have been playing in sky blue by 05?
Would that squad win the league now? I am not sure it would.
I have no doubt that the first eleven would still be the best in the league, but I am not convinced the squad players were good enough to cope with the strength of the current league. I believe every team is better than they were then, including United(controversial I know). We say there are no easy games in the Premiership now; well I think there was then.
Every team has better players and more of them .Even teams at the very bottom of the league can have several full internationals.Some of the players in the bottom half in 04 would struggle to get into League 1 teams these days.Don’t kid yourselves,there were some real dross a decade ago.
They ended the season with one more point than last year’s champions and the runners up. Would they have dropped more than one point in last year’s league? I think they would.
On the other hand, perhaps they would have turned some of the end of season draws into wins.
In 05, basically the same team, finished with seven less points and twelve points behind the Champions. There is an argument to be made that if Chelsea were not a better team, they did seem to have bought a better squad.
The thing we are told now is “Teams win games, squads win championships” .The numbers would seem to suggest that the 04 squad would now be found wanting.
Would they all have been playing in sky blue by 05? The way things have gone, I believe that our team of Invincibles would not now be given the chance to stay together. As soon as Chelsea started paying inflated wages “Cashley” headed for the hills.
Because we have won nothing for eight years, players can claim they are leaving because they are ambitious to win silverware. That was hardly the case for young Mr. Cole. For him it was the money. Simple as that. Imagine how many would have headed up the M6 with the riches on offer today. Remember Ashley was a Gooner; if anyone should have been loyal, it was him.
Does anyone think that if Vieira had been offered £300k Per week and a 4 year deal,aged 29,he would not have flown the coop.Or that greatest of icons Dennis Bergkamp,rather than the one year deal he was offered by us?
I like to imagine Dennis would have stayed.But who am I kidding?
I suppose what I am saying is that people, fans, do not always appreciate just how much the Oil Money has changed the game. My contention is that not only would the greatest eleven ever seen, a team with five(I think)of the best players in their positions in the whole wide world, would have struggled to win today’s league ,but it could never come to be in the first place.
We did have though, didn’t we, us, no one else? Just us. And we will have it forever thanks to a certain French genius