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The game turned into a friendly, the rest of the day wasn't.
Got to the White Horse just before 12 to find the burberry boys had already taken up residence, with a handful of police looking over them. Within 10 minutes another 4 vans of Police had turned up and after wandering around the pub for a while, soon encircled it letting no-one get in or out. When we tried to find out whether the other listers were going to be allowed in, the just said "no-one was getting in or out, until it was all over". Though they wouldn't tell us what 'it' was. It seemed to be pulling various Leeds fans aside and searching them.
An odd atmosphere then prevailed, Leeds and a few Chelsea fans mingling happily enough inside, with Police still having the roads blocked off and the whole pub still encircled. Come 2.30 we decided to make a move to the ground, to find the police wouldn't let us leave, despite Dunderhead's best efforts to pretend to be a Chelsea fan, and directed us outside to join the escort that was apparently leaving at some indeterminate point in the future. We went outside, wandered over to the other side of the cordorn and Niggy asked the nearest copper if we could leave. Being a girl she got a positive answer and 4 others of us sneaked through on the basis of being her friend. Good job we did as the escort took so long to reach the ground, that those in it missed the first 20 minutes.
Not too much too say about the game.
Blackwell picked a basically decent formation, though it would have been nice to see Kilgallon and Pennant instead of Wilcox and Duberry - hopefully both making there farewell performances.
It didn't really matter, as no-one really seemed bothered. This included Smith who put in his most anaemic performance of the season, after reacting badly to Leeds fans singing "Sign for Scum, and you won't be back" by giving us the finger. This in turn led to a fair amount of grief in our end as other groups of Leeds fans tried to support him and scuffles broke out. Barmby was also on the end of a fair amount of abuse whenever he tried to warm up - which again seemed particularly unfair - what on earth's he meant to do when no-one ever picks him.
Back on the pitch Chelsea were largely in control, though thankfully Hasselbaink wasn't playing and thus still hasn't scored against Leeds. We barely attacked for most of the game and we were mostly sitting back waiting for Chelsea to score, thankfully they only had one proper striker as well in Gudjonson and though Cole ran around a lot we weren't over-tested despite having virtually no possession. Carson made a couple of decent saves, which basically earned us an extra 500 grand, as we sneaked above Wolves in the table. Once Chelsea had scored, after Johnson had run unchallenged down the right and crossed for Gronkjear to nod in, the game settled into an even more lethargic pattern.
Lampard had a few attempts, but upto 70 minutes Chelsea still hadn't managed to score again. At this point we actually nearly scored, as a Pennant (who'd come on as sub for Wilcox), curled a free-kick onto the post. The game drifted to an end with the surreal spectacle of the Chelsea substitutes, Lampard in particular, getting more applause from the Leeds end than our own ones, Barmby had come on for a bored looking and probably not matchfit Olembe.
The best thing about the game was that it ended. Leeds players trailed off, only Lucas getting any real sort of ovation and Smithy more or less ignoring us. A sorry end to a sorry season.
Scores - 6 to all - except Carson 7 and Man of the Match
Luckily as the Chelsea fans stayed for the lap of honour, we were inside Fulham Broadway station in record time and back in the pub before Ranieri had stopped crying no doubt.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 17/05/2004.
No matter the £6m redundancy pay-off, money will not make the end any easier for Claudio Ranieri. "It is not important to be rich. It will not change my life. It will change my life if I leave Chelsea," he said.
And how. Though most of Chelsea's fans accept that it is time for him to move on, they turned the second half into a stunning tribute to the Italian's colourful reign as chants of "Ranieri's blue-and-white army" rang out. More worryingly for Chelsea's chief executive Peter Kenyon, however, the Shed's appeal to "stand up if you hate Kenyon" brought an almost unanimous response.
The fans acknowledge that Ranieri's tactical shortcomings have cost them the chance of silverware this season - as has happened in each of his four seasons in charge - but they have been dismayed at the ruthless treatment he has suffered. Ranieri, though, believes the owner Roman Abramovich and his appointee will show no compunction. "They are not embarrassed by what they have done."
Copy from Football Unlimited of 16/05/2004.
Claudio Ranieri's reign started with Roberto Di Matteo driving through midfield, Gianfranco Zola gliding past defenders and Tore Andre Flo scoring the goals that enabled Chelsea to retrieve a 3-1 deficit and earn a point against Manchester United.
It ended with this embarrassingly one-sided victory achieved largely by a core of English players which Ranieri believes can be a major influence in the club's bid for honours in the seasons ahead.
Had Chelsea's finishing not been so wasteful, they could have seen Ranieri off with a sackful of goals. But this was an afternoon all about the coach's last game in charge, rather than its predictable outcome, or the last Leeds appearance in the Premiership for who knows how long.