The Andy Gray Column: Spotlight on Chelsea for all the wrong reasons

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to SWLondoner.


I DON’T think Chelsea have done themselves any favours in how they handled the Mark Clattenburg case. Mark has been portrayed as guilty before all the facts have come out, which is never good to see.

Chelsea are in a situation where they stand to be quite severely criticised if the allegations prove to be wrong. They would have been wiser to sit down, consider the implications of the allegations, and the weight of the evidence, rather than making such an explosive statement just a few hours after a controversial defeat.

It’s a difficult one and I think it’s sad for football because it’s the sort of thing we didn’t need at the moment given the fact the John Terry saga has just come to an end.

They could have dealt with it internally, or at least more out of the public eye than it has been. But we have to wait and see – I don’t think all the media coverage has done anyone any good because whatever the outcome I think one side will be thrown to the lions slightly.

I hope it won’t be a long, drawn out affair – I would like to think we’ve learnt from the John Terry situation and that the FA will deal with this as quickly as possible but we’ll see.

It has to be tackled as a unified body otherwise we will never get it out of football.
That said, it was refreshing to see the headlines being written about football again this week after the Capital One Cup.

While Roberto Di Matteo, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Brian McDermott, especially, will be angry to have conceded so many goals for an armchair viewer of the competition it was a really great advert for a cup I think gets a bad press sometimes.

I’ve always respected Wenger’s tactics in the League Cup for getting his younger players blooded in.

It very nearly worked against him on Tuesday night but they came through it and I think it’s their best chance of ending this trophy drought.

If he can get the best out of Theo Walcott in the next few weeks that will be key. Arsenal have a potential banana skin in the quarter final away at Bradford and it’s the sort of game that makes cup competitions so special.

Arsenal are good enough to win the competition but they’ve choked in previous years so they need to make sure they get the job done and I’m not sure if the high-pressure atmosphere situation suits Wenger’s policy of resting most of his first-team players.

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