Man City and Chelsea to be stripped of Premier League titles? Go for it, this Blues fan won’t care…

Will Ford
Chelsea Man City
Chelsea and Manchester City could both be stripped of Premier League titles.

‘Fair cop, you caught us, take the Premier League titles, but we can keep the memories of winning them, yes? Great, do you need a hand out with them?’

Everton’s 10-point deduction has led to mass whataboutery over Manchester City’s 115 alleged breaches, and Chelsea’s various supposed dodgy dealings during the Roman Abramovich era.

In Chelsea’s case, Todd Boehly and Clearlake will argue whether it’s fair that they should be punished for the wrongdoing of the previous owner, particularly as they made the Premier League aware of the issues they could be charged with, which could instead lead to titles being stripped in an unprecedented move for unprecedented circumstances. There have been rumours that City could face similar retribution.

As a Chelsea fan expecting some sort of punishment that I assume we deserve, I say take the titles. Why would I give a damn?

Imagine for a moment a reporter informing Jose Mourinho that he has in fact not won the Premier League. Do you think he would sand over those three notches on his bedpost? Would he return to the Premier League with Newcastle desperate to get that monkey off his back? We assume AI could in some way alter the video of his iconic Manchester United press conference to have him say “zero for me, two for them” and show him making a circle with his thumb and forefinger, but they can’t force him or anyone else to forget.

No amount of rival fans telling me that we haven’t actually won Premier League titles will banish the memories I have of us winning them.

Lording the first one over my many, many Manchester United-supporting schoolmates as Frank Lampard’s second-half brace at the Reebok secured the first title in 50 years. Joe Cole tearing through the United defence a year later to win two on the bounce.

Committing to downing a pint in the Leeds University Union for every goal Chelsea scored as they won the title on the final day in 2010 with the 8-0 drubbing of Wigan, predictably remembering nothing of it.

Winning a bet with a fellow schoolteacher in 2015 which meant he had to wear a Chelsea tie that I willingly provided after Mourinho returned triumphant, leading to constant questions from both staff and schoolchildren as to why an Arsenal fan was wearing such a thing, to which – as per the rules of the wager – he had to reply: “because Chelsea are better than Arsenal”.

Sitting in the home end at The Hawthorns as Antonio Conte danced down the touchline after Michy Batshuayi’s late winner against West Brom, thinking I had managed to respectfully keep my affiliation and emotions under wraps before I was offered a handshake by the man sitting next to me, who said “at least you’re not that kind of Blue, congratulations mate,” in a broad Black Country accent.

Antonio Conte Chelsea
Antonio Conte celebrates Chelsea winning the title in 2017.

All other Chelsea fans will have cherished memories of those moments, as will those at City, who I assume think about “AGUEERROOOO” at least twice a day and always will. And what of those fans of clubs who could be given retrospective titles?

Would Spurs supporters line the streets for their 2016/17 open-top bus parade? A bad example, because yes, they probably would, shouting maniacally as Kevin Wimmer and Vincent Jansson lap up the acclaim. But in their hearts they would still feel the hurt of 86 points only being enough for second place.

Being a football fan isn’t about the trophies in the cabinet but the feelings and emotions associated with watching your team play. In the case of Manchester City and Chelsea fans in the period under scrutiny, many of the deeply felt emotions are linked to winning those trophies, and physically taking them away will have no effect on the memories we have of those successes.

If the Premier League really wants to dole out an effective punishment a points deduction is the only way to go, because we won those trophies and I couldn’t care less if I don’t get to see them on a stadium tour.