After watching those final nervy minutes at Wembley and confirming that Chelsea had their hands on yet another FA Cup, I was completely overjoyed. After the season that Chelsea have been through any form of silverware is more than welcome. Couple the FA Cup with the fact that Chelsea have a chance to pull off a double by winning the Champions League final, can you really blame Blues fans for enjoying such a high?
It was in the minutes, literally minutes, after Chelsea hoisted the trophy that the “hate” started flowing in. Now normally I revel in the barbs that are thrown out whenever a team triumphs. When one team or person has success it’s become the norm these days for those who weren’t able to best them in a competition to immediately slander the winner. But it was one reoccurring and now seemingly go-to “insult” that fans use that has me puzzled, “You ain’t got no History”. From what I’ve heard Liverpool fans were chanting this at the Final and from what I’ve seen on Twitter, many Arsenal fans seem to have this as their favorite line. Personally this is one of the weakest arguments that anyone who calls themselves a fan can make. It’s an argument that is made when a club that has “history” isn’t living up to it and the fans have no other way to express their frustration that their club isn’t succeeding as much as the ones around them. So let’s take some history lessons and see how much this argument stands up in the modern day.
When a fan argues about history it’s usually very vague and only goes back far enough for them to make their argument valid. Some teams need to go back over 20 years to make their arguments, which is comical because a lot of the fans who do this wouldn’t be able to remember many of those triumphs. So let’s look at a bit of recent history starting at the turn of the century (1999-2000), which seems fair enough since we’ll be looking at over a decade of results.
Let’s start with the League, which means if Liverpool fans want they can skip this paragraph since they haven’t won a title in over two decades. The one thing Liverpool has accomplished in the Premier League since the beginning of the 2000’s is that they’ve managed to finish above both Chelsea and Arsenal once, so I guess there’s that. Arsenal and Chelsea have managed to finish above the other two teams six times each so when it comes to positioning that’s a push. Credit must be given to Arsenal though. In the same amount of time, they’ve never finished lower than 4th, which is a great feat in itself. By contrast Chelsea has never finished outside of the top 6 and Liverpool are set to finish the lowest out of the three, finishing 7th once during that period but with the possibility of finishing as low as 10th this campaign. But looking at what really matters — the Premier League titles, Chelsea hold the edge at 3-2 in that category over Arsenal.
Now let’s take a glance at all the silverware in this period of time. I’ve made a table that includes the breakdown of trophies the teams have collected since 1999-2000.
|Silverware||Domestic Silverware||League Titles||FA Cup||League Cup||Community Shield||European Cups|
So going by the breakdown of all the trophies that have been won, Chelsea still hold the edge over both teams, but let’s take it a step further. Until this season Liverpool had been without any form of trophy since 2006 while Arsenal’s trophy cabinet has not been added to since 2005. By comparison Chelsea have added 7 trophies to Liverpool’s one and 8 trophies to Arsenal’s zero in those time spans. The numbers speak for themselves, I’m not trying to rub anything in. I’m just stating the cold hard facts that seem to constantly be overlooked.
History is a wonderful thing and personally I have always been fascinated by it. There is no doubt that Liverpool and Arsenal are two teams that have some of the richest histories in football. This isn’t a fact that I’m debating. Eighteen league titles and the only undefeated season in Premier League history are certainly nothing to sneeze at. But what we’re witnessing now with clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City are teams that are building their history in front of our very eyes. Whether they’re doing it the ‘traditional’ way is another debate for another time, but they’re building their legend nonetheless. This is why players like Fernando Torres move from Liverpool to Chelsea or sign for Manchester City over United or Arsenal. When a player says that he is going to a team because of their illustrious history, I would personally call him a liar 99.9% of the time. Players don’t care about things that happened 30, 40 or 50 years ago. The history line is a ploy to endear them to the fans. All that matters to the modern player is how much playing time they will get, how much they’re getting paid and whether they think they can achieve success with the team they’re going to sign for.
Manchester City has a long way to go on their journey towards success and they’ve certainly managed to assemble a squad that is more than capable of doing so. But relatively speaking, Chelsea have painted London blue and are nearing a decade of complete dominance in the city. This is the first year that Arsenal have finished above Chelsea in the League since 2003-04, but if Chelsea pull off the impossible and win the Champions League I’m not sure there are many Blues fans who would care about that statistic (though I’m sure Arsenal fans will crow about it).
I understand it’s frustrating for a team that has done so much in the past to not be living up to it in the present and it’s easy to sit back on your high horse and say “Scoreboard” to those who are chasing you. But that’s just what that argument is, easy. All teams are open to criticism and playful banter between fans, but you’re fooling yourself if you think that the here and now is less relevant than what happened years ago. A match can end the second I finish typing this and it automatically becomes history. Always remember this when you’re going to make that argument.