Chelsea Shoot Themselves In The Foot, Again

Despite the fact that it’s only a matter of time before an ‘Are YOU still in school?’ retort, Boggs has a puffin in his boot over Chelsea’s bizarre attempts at public relations.

I’ve been wondering why Chelsea’s press releases and general conduct lately have sounded so familiar. And then I realised, they sound exactly like that smarmy git from school who would constantly bang on as though he was always right and that everyone else agreed with and loved him – regardless of how often his peers filled his schoolbag with old dog turds and homoerotic pamphlets.

Sure, I rant irrationally on this website regardless of the consequences, but then I’m also not a global corporation and brand. Some Chelsea supporters are loving the sod-the-world attitude, but there are plenty of others wishing their own club would either conduct themselves with a little dignity or just shut up. The tone and style of the press releases coming out of the club regarding Gallas’ move to Arsenal and Mourinho’s ‘slavery‘ comments are just ridiculously childish for a professional sports club, and referring to themselves as “the family” is just plain embarassing.

They have a dedicated, presumably highly paid PR department and this is the best they can do?

Yes it is, apparently. Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan (no stranger to a little PR himself) had this to say in his Guardian Column about Chelsea Director of Communications Simon Greenberg,

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 Chelsea, 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 Chelsea’s image. Stand back, and watch him go.

While Jordan is not exactly the most suitable person be complaining about the unfavourable conduct of others, it’s interesting to hear the sort of tactics that Greenberg was willing to use even before he was put in a position of extreme power and influence at the Premiership’s richest and, currently, most successful club. God only knows what he’s up to now in order to get his way. It says a lot that the people Chelsea pay to make Mourinho and the club look good will soon need a PR team of their own.

For all their success, I can’t remember Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal ever going out of their way to conduct themselves so poorly in public eye – and at least they earned their right to be arrogant. So while the debate rages on over at ‘Who Are England’s Big Clubs‘, perhaps ‘not acting like a complete child‘ should be added to the list of criteria?