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I hope you wont take this as an attack on Chelsea. i truly believe this is a greta piece of writing ... Enjoy it, if you havent seen it yet.


Siberia - or worse


CLAUDIO RANIERI knew something was wrong as he walked up the corridor towards the dressing-room.

As usual, he stared at the pictures of his famous Stamford Bridge predecessors adorning the wall.

Glenn Hoddle 1993-96, Ruud Gullit 1996-1998, Luca Vialli 1998-2000.

But what was this? Under his own face were the numerals 2000-2004. Even worse, next to him were the unmistakable features of a Swedish gentleman he knew only too well.

The night had been bad enough with Gerard Houllier embracing him on the touchline. Now this second kiss of death.

He turned right into the dressing-room. It was empty save for a morose character clad in Cossack boots, sitting underneath a peg marked Juan Sebastien Veron.

“I sit here,” said Roman Abramovich, “because this peg never used.”

With this, he put down a book he had been perusing.

Ranieri could not help but notice it was The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

It was not customary reading among the usual inhabitants of the Chelsea inner sanctum.

In fact, only the other day Ranieri had stumbled across Dennis Wise’s epic tome “You’re a ****, ref” at the bottom of the laundry basket.

But the Italian had stayed on at school long enough to know the club owner’s reading matter was something about dissidents and slim chances of survival in the old Soviet labour camps.

“Is very cold in Siberia at this time of year,” said Abramovich. “Very, very cold.”

“Is normal,” smiled Ranieri.

“Is not normal for Russian to spend five billion of roubles on new investment only for investment to go tits up,” replied Abramovich, surprised at his own sudden grasp of idiomatic English.

“What goes on? Why we have team with players with strange names like William, Claude, Adrian and Edgar . . .

“Eidur,” interrupted Ranieri.

“Immaterial. Specifics, I talk. Mutu score 17 goals in Italy and none here. Cost 800 million of roubles. What is wrong with little Romanian?”

Ranieri: “Is very tired,”

Abramovich: “I know, I read Sunday newspapers as well. Incidents in ladies powder room with Playboy model. No wonder no energy.

Ranieri: “But he is my snake . . .

Abramovich: “Trouser-snake.”

Ranieri: “And Terry my lion, Jeeemmy my bull and Joe Cole my . . .

Abramovich: “ . . . hamster . . . ”

Ranieri: “Makelele my water buffalo, Seba my . . .

Abramovich: “ . . . turkey. Another 750 million of my roubles and he play less than Winston Bogarde.

Ranieri: “Has bad back.”

Abramovich: “Too many of those already at club. How bid go for Ronaldo?

Ranieri: “Is okay. We turn HIM into full-back, ha-ha!”

Abramovich: “No laugh. Why we start well and now everything wrong?”

Ranieri: “Because Sven buy all the players.”

Abramovich: “Sven, Sven. All I hear is Sven. Who is this man I have never met at my house for tea?”

At that moment, the well-known strains of Kalinka echoed round the dressing room. It was the owner’s mobile.

Abramovich: “Hello? Yes, the table is booked. See you two later, Nancy.”

He turned back to his manager. “Should never have come here. Seemed good way to get roubles out of Russia. Now roubles disappear — like championship.

“If wanted to invest in team with no hope, would have gone to Tottenham.

“Anyway, big mistake. Always trouble with language. When they ask what I like in England, I say ‘Elsie’.

Ranieri: “Elsie?”

Abramovich: “Yes, handsome lady in Coronation Street. Remind me of Aunt Tamara, shot-putter who played double bass in Moscow State Orchestra.”

He looked at the dapper Italian.

“What am I to do with you,” he asked.

“What do they normally do with people like me in Russia,” replied the Italian.

Abramovich reached for his copy of The Gulag. From inside his jacket, he also produced an old Red Army service revolver.

“You have choice,” he said. “Siberia — or world-famous game of Russian Roulette.

“Except new Abramovich version. Not one bullet and five empty chambers. Six bullets and NO empties.”

“Me first?” asked Ranieri.

“I see you understand rules completely . . . ”

Abramovich rose from the bench, walked out of the door and down the corridor, pausing only to nod in the direction of the new picture on the wall.

It had taken just 40 minutes.

Once in the car park, he slid into the back seat of his limousine, tapped his chauffeur on the shoulder and said: “San Lorenzo, Ken.”

As they turned into the Fulham Road, a shot rang out followed by the sound of shattered glass.

“First one on target all night, guv,” said the bewhiskered gentleman at the wheel.

In the corridor, Claudio Ranieri stared at both the bullet in the wall and the splintered remains of the picture that lay at his feet.

He turned on his heel, headed for the Press room and opened the door.

A stunned gasp greeted his entry.

Ranieri smiled and laughed: “Don’t worry, everybody. I’m still here!”

7,513 Posts
Doc_Rule said:
pretty good for something from such a shit newspaper.

13,983 Posts
Incredibly bad piece.

Why do British think that they know how a Russ thinks? Or an Italian in that matter? He has heard about The Gulag Archipelago, bravo. Has he ever read it?

Bono, it' not insulitng towards Chelsea. It's insulting towards Russians.
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