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Chelsea Trying To Escape Racist Connections But Add Insult To United Injury

Whilst still confident United had it in them to go and win the league, the 2-1 to defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was pretty devastating. To equalise in the second half, only to lose due to a soft penalty awarded a couple of minutes from time, left me upset, frustrated, and angrier than I’d been for some time. So it stands to reason that the last thing I wanted to see the next day was pictures of Patrice Evra all over the back pages throwing punches at the Chelsea groundstaff.

We’re all well aware that Evra is a bit of a loose cannon and if I was to be told any of our players had been involved in a ruck after the match, I wouldn’t have been overly surprised to find out Evra was at the centre of it.

He was certain to face a fine and possibly a ban too, with too many of our players possibly unsettled with just a crucial few weeks remaining. However, whilst all the headlines revolved around Evra’s charge, it’s important not to forget the charge going in Chelsea’s direction, for the apparent racist comments that came out of the Chelsea groundstaff’s mouth. The club have vehemently denied this charge, but recent history will tell you it’s not for the first time!


In a report sent to the FA, United claim that Patrice Evra was referred to as a “fucking immigrant” by Chelsea groundsman, Sam Bethell.

Carlos Tevez: “Patrice received a grave insult from a member of Chelsea’s staff. He demanded an explanation and from that moment these men just wanted to attack Patrice. Obviously it is normal that we tried to defend our team-mate but within a few seconds all of the United players were surrounded by stewards. I think that security cameras will show the provocation we received. I have never seen anything like this in my career.”

Gerard Pique: “Basically this came about because of the provocation of somebody who works for Chelsea. Patrice wanted an explanation but these men were very aggressive. All we were doing was finishing our work-out after the game. Even now I just do not understand the reaction of these people.”

Whispers emerging in the papers had this “grave insult” being something related to race. Chelsea got wind of these racism claims, so Peter Kenyon was straight on to the phone to David Gill, asking for a retraction to be made. Kenyon drew up a statement for both parties to sign, which United refused to do.

After this failure to have the situation resolved, Chelsea proposed that Bethell called Evra a “fucking idiot” rather than “fucking immigrant”. Whilst still unacceptable for a Chelsea employee to speak to one of our players in this way, it is certainly more acceptable that the racist remark he was being accused of. The problem is, “immigrant” and “idiot” don’t really sound anything alike. Sure, they start and finish with the same letters, but are we really expected to believe that so many people misheard what Bethell said? If it wasn’t misheard, then quite simply, they are lying about what they heard.

Gary Neville and Mike Phelan, along with Patrice Evra, reported their side of the story to the FA. Do Chelsea expect everyone to believe they were lying?


Following the Chelsea game, there were just two matches remaining in the league, with the clubs on equal points, and well as being less than a month away from the Champions League final.

Premier League rules state that after a match, the opposition players are entitled to a warm down on the pitch. Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes, John O’Shea, Park Ji-Sung and Carlos Tevez were the players on the field, when reports say Chelsea groundstaff came on to the pitch. After being asked to move on, Gary Neville (of course!) claimed they were well within their rights to remain on the pitch, which is when it started to kick off.

Whether the reports of racism are true or not, the first question that needs to be answered is why were the Chelsea groundstaff on the pitch after the match? The groundstaff brought lawnmowers on with them when confronting our players. Why on earth were they cutting the grass immediately after a game?

Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to ask this question, although publicly has received no answer. “One question I want to ask is why were the lawnmowers on the pitch after the game to cut the grass? Aren’t they supposed to cut it before the game?”

Now, I wasn’t there, I don’t know the truth behind everything, I can only look at the facts and look at possible explainations. I don’t think it’s out of this World to imagine that the groundstaff were on the pitch with the intention of winding our players up. We had just lost a vital three points and with just goal difference ruling in our favour, Chelsea certainly would have loved for our players to be as unsettled as possible. This isn’t necessarily to say that the powers that be at Chelsea ordered the groundstaff on to the pitch to cause a fuss, but possibly the employees of CFC couldn’t resist having a pop following our defeat.

Regardless, whoever made the decision for them to be on the pitch 20 minutes after the final whistle sounded, I doubt it was with the best interest of the pitch in mind!

Protesting Too Much?

Whilst getting swept up in this argument, forming an opinion on who started it and what was said, it would be easy to let the club’s official stance on this be swept aside. For me, their behaviour has been just as outrageous as Bethell, in their unwavering defence of the groundsman accused of making racist remarks.

“I’ve not lost my job,” Bethell said in the tabloids. “I’m back at work tomorrow morning. It was handbags really. It was not as bad as it appeared. I’ve been told not to say anything about what actually happened.”

Whilst of course we have to go with the idea of innocence until proven otherwise, would it not be usual practice for an employee to be suspended pending an enquiry? The FA had announced they were going to get to the bottom of this but Chelsea FC were so confident that Bethell was innocent, no action was taken. Why?

Following Kenyon’s failure in obtaining a joint statement between the two clubs, clearing their club of the accusations, Chelsea were quick to deny all connections with racism, distancing themselves from this as much as possible.

This isn’t the first time Chelsea have taken such a strong line to a racist incident, without any evidence other than hearsay to back it up. Back in 2005, Samuel Eto’o claimed a steward called him “a monkey” as he left the field.

“Any complaint of racism has to be taken seriously – people don’t generally make these complaints up,” said Kick It Out spokesman Piara Powar. “Although Barcelona lost the game I don’t see how it would help Eto’o or Barcelona to make these kind of allegations without foundation.”

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why would a footballer make up accusations like this against a football steward? What is Eto’o going to get out of it? To falsely accuse an opposing player would be lacking in morals, but at least it might get him somewhere. But what on earth would Samuel Eto’o achieve by saying a Chelsea steward was racist to him? Nothing. There was no positive to come from this, other than a racist steward losing their job for unacceptable behaviour.

“Chelsea utterly refutes any racist comments were made by any of its permanent or matchday staff,” read a Chelsea statement, and they cleared him of any wrong-doing.

When Sam Bethell was charged with with using abusive language aggravated by reference to nationality/race, Chelsea were quick to respond again.

“We believe there is no foundation whatsoever to claims that the incident which occurred after the Manchester United match on April 26 involved comments based on nationality or race, which has led to an FA charge against one of our employees,” read a Chelsea statement that day.

Chelsea are awfully quick to defend their employees over racism, without even taking time to look at the facts of the story. Why is there this eagerness to act before thinking?


What I can’t understand is why Chelsea are so adamant that their staff are innocent of these racist accusations. What reason do they have to think that they might not have employed someone racist? Surely it is not something that can be screened for, and not something that should reflect badly on Chelsea if the right action is taken.

Possibly Chelsea are desperate to get away from the racist connotations that come with Chelsea FC, following the links between their fans and the National Front, so will bat away any claims of racism that come their way without time for deliberation. Just a few years ago, almost half the fans going to Stamford Bridge claimed they’d witnessed racist behaviour at matches, and more recently, the anti-semitic abuse that former manager Avram Grant received from sections in the Chelsea crowd, are examples to suggest racism is alive and well at selected areas within the club.

However, by wholeheartedly denying the accusations of racism by their employees, they are putting themselves in a difficult position. In regards of the Eto’o case, the only body the steward was accountable to was Chelsea, who cleared him of any wrong doing. UEFA couldn’t get involved as the only evidence was Eto’o's word. However in the case of Evra, it is the FA who are going to bring the judgement, and where does that leave Chelsea if the man they have categorically defended is deemed to be guilty of the racist remarks? Are they going to continue to claim his innocence or will they concede they were wrong? Now that they have made the decision to back him, it is lose-lose for them if he is found guilty.

What I find more outrageous in this case though is that for Chelsea to say there is “no foundation” in the claims of racism, is to say that club captain, Gary Neville, first team coach and currently acting assistant manager, Mike Phelan, as well as various United players, are all lying about what happened. Now, if they were to lie about any old punch up, it would be out of line, but arguably just about forgiveable. However, for Chelsea to accuse United of making up lies, knowingly wrongly accusing someone of being racist, is entirely insulting. Where do they get off defending some random groundsman, and thereby insinuating the likes of Gary Neville and Mike Phelan are lying? Like previously mentioned, “idiot” and “immigrant” do not sound alike, particularly not alike enough for several United representatives to all mishear.

If this was John Terry or Frank Lampard they were backing, then fair play, you can understand Chelsea wanting to support such a strong figurehead for their club. However, it’s incredibly insulting to claim that there is no foundation to the side of the story Neville and Phelan have projected, rather instead backing some member of the groundstaff.

Bethell, the tattooed Millwall supporter, who lists drinking and reading hooligan books among his favourite pastimes, should be trusted ahead of Neville, Phelan, Tevez, Pique and Evra? Not only that, but we should believe that these people made up false allegations of racism to excuse a punch up? Insane!

I expect the FA to use common sense in this case, but know I may end up disappointed, if I’m honest. Whilst I’ll agree with Evra receiving punishment, as whatever was said to him it doesn’t excuse throwing punches, I sincerely hope the right decisions are made in regards to Bethell, from both the FA and Chelsea. I want Chelsea use a better sense of judgement than they have done so far. However, with Kenyon in charge of the situation, that might be a little too much to ask from them.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Jak says:

    Excellent, Scott.

  2. Rob says:

    There are two problems with your article.

    The first, and less obvious, is that you’re a supporter of Manchester United. I’d expect most people to understand that that gives you some sort of bias / predilection / leaning / call it what you will in this matter, but in my experience you Surrey Reds aren’t always the brightest of sparks. Anywho.

    The second – which, to be honest, I’m only inferring from your command of English – is that you’re a summa cum laude cretin with all the deductive reasoning power of a cheddar chunk on a cocktail stick.

  3. UnitedRay says:

    Scott. I am a fan :) wonderful article. Keep writing these instead of the ronaldo saga ok?

  4. Stephen says:

    There were also rumours about a certain Chelsea centre back and racist comments made to a black player.

  5. Squiddy says:

    1) Players are allowed to warm down, but aren’t allowed to run across the penalty area. This was the area the players were asked to vacate and which they refused.
    2) The grass wasn’t being cut. It was being hoovered. A CL semi-final against Liverpool was going to be played a few days later. Work was to start immediately.
    3) Eto’o's claim was that someone called him a “monkey of shit” – a phrase that doesn’t exist in English but which does exist in Spanish. To claim that a black steward made a racist remark to Eto’o using a phrase translated from Spanish (a language he doesn’t speak) to English is clearly made up. He made it up because he was upset about losing. this is his usual behaviour – he needs no other reason.
    4) The chances that Bethel called Evra a “fucking idiot” is quite high, seeing as you started your piece by describing Evra as pretty much a fucking idiot. Do you think you’re the only person to notice? Clearly not.
    5) United players took the hump because they lost. A bit like Eto’o. No need to make this any more complicated than that. Blaming someone else for your own mistakes happens every day. Look at Rio’s behaviour on the same day when no-one insulted him at all.
    6) If the FA use common sense they’ll realise it’s one set of biased people’s word against another set. However, they will look at who was running at a rate of knots toward someone else and come to the only conclusion they can. That Evra lost his head. Bethel is guilty of not losing.

    That’s it. Get over it, pay the fine and take the suspension.

  6. Stephen says:

    Wow Rob…you really blew Scotts argument outta the water…your use of cheddar really swung it for me!! Smart!

  7. jsos says:


    seems you have alot of time on your hands to devote a response of this length to defend a steward. funny thing is, your entire post lacks any fact to back it up aside from you weak argument about eto’o, your lot calling him a monkey with or without the shit bit seems alot more likely than him targeting a random groundsmen for a complaint, ai.

    however, with your current squad leaving at an alarming rate, and the lovely shots of your NF supporters seen above, it appears this is probably the best thing you have going to chat about.

  8. Foz says:

    Wow. No facts, just a bunch of jibberish. Talk about a bias approach to a subject, even makes Fox News look objective.

  9. Scott the Red says:

    Squiddy – so you think Gary Neville, Mike Phelan, Carlos Tevez, Patrice Evra and Gerard Pique are all lying? They all made up that Bethel was racist to Evra because they got the hump after losing? Because they were bitter?


  10. Maka says:


    Squiddy gave a pretty good respons to the incredible amount of lies of the OP. And all you respond with is: you have a lot of time on your hand.

    Quality answer!!!!!! Left me conviced.

  11. Britney says:

    Lol. I love that pic of the little Chelsea girl showing the finger. Class. Just the right touch to a “unbiased” article;=)

  12. dave says:

    Is it just me or does Robs comment on “how there are problems with the article” not clearly define his intelligence….

    “There are two problems with your article.
    The first, and less obvious, is that you’re a supporter of Manchester United.”

    I would assume that someone writing an article on a Man Utd fan blog would “obviously” be a Man U fan…

  13. Dan Rey says:

    Cor Rob, you sure are a edicated man wiv a fist class command of English. It must be grate to be so edicated and a Chelsee sporter.
    You reely must scuse our ignorants, but we are poor northerners who cudn’t afford edicashun.

  14. Drew Vader says:

    Dear Rob,

    Fuck off and die.

    Love, Drew Vader

    P.S. Hows john terry? Has he dried those eyes yet?

    P.S.S. Will he take your penalties this season?

  15. Peter says:

    Scott The Red – teammates defend their teammates. It’s no more or less probable than the claim that a steward made a racist remark.

    Your argument seems to hinge on the fact as they are professional footballers they must be telling the truth. I surely don’t need to tell you exactly how comical that sounds.

    Strip away your circumstantial evidence, and it’s pretty clear that you have about as much idea of what went on as the rest of us – ie, jack all.

  16. Vinny says:


    None of your observations change the fact that:

    – you have a small cock and no amount of Latin and clevery-cleverness is going to change that you total, fucking loser.

  17. stretch says:

    y da fuck r chelsea fans readin a utd blog. get a fuckin life

  18. Skittles says:

    But sure we all seen their captain spit on the neck of Carlos Tevez during the Champions League Final so this is just yet another example of everyone at their club being a bunch of total scumbags!

  19. SINGH says:

    Fuckin Chelski scum .Their club along with alot of their fans have no morals or respect (every one knows how much of a racist following Chelski claim to have a fact that some fans are proud of) so I wouldnt be surprised if this Bethel guy did actually say that!! Any way justice was served in the end it would have been a tragedy if Chelski had won anything .SERVE THEM FUCKIN RIGHT HA HA HA !!!! ESPECIALLY JOHN TERRY!!!!!!

  20. Craig Mc says:

    Yeah, its just about as not true, as the John Terry spitting incident plainly seen by everyone who has eyes to see on worldwide tv. Terry spat and tried to hide it behind all sorts of defensive denials. We all saw it though, with all those around the world who are not blind. Just like Chelsea are in denial now about having a steward/stewards in their employment, who come out with racist remarks. Then it’s no surprise is it, because no club is going to admit to having people on their staff who make comments that have racist intent.

    Scott the Red, Evra is one of our least hotheads, now if it was the Roon yeah. Never get to the bottom of this though, each club is going to have it’s own bias. Good job there was video evidence though, or Chelsea, and these migrant Chelsea fans to this blog, would deny there was ever any incident at all. Chelsea were looking for trouble all the way through the CL final, poor little mites had just lost the PL trophy, and finally they embarrased themselves by starting the fracas in the final. Tevez only did what they had done in kicking the ball into touch, instead of back to the GK. Then John slippery feet Terry waded in, and Ballack pushing Tevez about. Imagine how incensed they were when Drogba was off, and United went on to win the CL trophy. Nevertheless, all clubs, whenever they are being charged, will always vehemently deny all charges, even with video evidence proving guilt. Thats life!.

  21. Scott the Red says:

    Craig Mc – I didn’t say he was a hot head, I said he was a loose cannon. He’s a bit of a nutter, does and says pretty weird things at times.



  22. Craig Mc says:

    @ all you Man Utd reds for life. Remember this lads.

    Viva John Terry, Viva John Terry,
    Thought he’d won the cup, but he fucked it up, Viva John Terry.

    Viva John Terry, Viva John Terry,
    Went to do his part, but he fell on his arse. Viva John Terry.

    Poor old feckin Chelsea, Poor old feckin Chelsea, all the way to Moscow, but they never got to crow, all they got was defeat.

    Viva Scott the Red, Viva Scott the red,
    I ‘d rather believe you, than those shites in blue, Viva Scott the red.

    LOL, sorry but I wanted to lighten things up a bit. To also remind United and Chelski fans, just who came home laughing with the cups.

  23. Craig Mc says:

    @Scott the red, hahahaha – that vids funny. Evra is a philosopher of life though. He comes out with some exquisite sayings. Wise old Evra lol!.

  24. Tom F says:

    I think the stereotype of a United supporter is that we all come from Surrey. Which some of us do come from southern England and some come from Manchester and also some come from Malaysia.

    That’s the beauty of football. There is nowt wrong with supporting a club if you are from another part of the world / country?

    Kids fall in love with players who show skill and passion. Every kid in the playground would want to be Rooney or Ronaldo when they play football. Especially if they have grown up without a ‘Dad’ who loves a certain team.

    Chelsea’s stereotype when it comes to fans, is racist, skinhead, moronic thugs with no brain cells.

    Hmm.. I know which I’d prefer to be catagorised in!

    Chelsea Scum.

  25. Peter says:

    Silly children.

  26. Squiddy says:

    Do I think Neville, Phelan, Tevez, and Pique were lying to protect Evra? Yes, of course. As soon as they discovered it was captured on film that’s precisely what they did. They made up something they couldn’t quite hear from 30 yards away and stuck together.
    Not that it’s got anything to do with the CL final, but I’m sure whatever Terry is said to have done or not it pales into insignificance against Scholes targetting Makelele with his elbow into his head, Tevez punching Makelele in the head, Rio trying to stud Cole in his head while trying to snap his leg in half – all in open play all amazingly in open play and not seen or waved on by the ref. So, you see, Tevez shouldn’t even have been on the pitch at the end of the game, so no Drogba or Terry incidents. Combine it with Hargreaves pushing the ref in the chest and it’s 11 against 7 by the end.
    But let”s not even mention that – it’s for another day.

  27. Stephen says:

    Grow up mate and fuck off, you sad bitter twat.

  28. Scott the Red says:

    Squiddy – that is possibly the funniest response I have ever read. Wow. You are arguing that United should have had FOUR PLAYERS sent off in the European Cup final? Lol I mean, wow, I don’t even know how to respond to that. Seeing United pip you to the title and European Cup last season has obviously fucked with your head.

  29. suhayl says:

    fuck you fuckin parasite…go back to your fly by night club…which that russian pillaged and raped the russian people for and ran away with the whole car booty…

    no history.. no class..

    Sir bob went and lead us to our medals…class…a world cup winner…a legend of legends of the game

    Kenyon a money grabbing judas went and lead yours to losers medals…

    Says it all …

    Difference between us and you….


    You\ll skid your pants next time i say you round here

  30. suhayl says:

    Racist bastard club..rascist fuckin area too…..been round there…fuckin worse than aparthied in south africa in the 80′s…

    wideboys, rboys and NFs, combat 18′s and BNP members

  31. Squiddy says:

    Oh. I expected a denial at least. That’s the trouble with honesty – it’s hard to counter it without showing yourselves up as liars. So I’ll be magnanimous and settle for 3 red cards (Hargreaves one was irrelevant). 11 v 8 is fair.

  32. Tom F says:

    haha, squiddy are you still talking?

    Spoilt rotten in the few years Jose led your team and then booed him out of the Bridge. Class.

    You lot were quiet for 50 years, then along came a murdering Russian criminal and bought Chelsea some good players, with that, success and then as soon as you get that bitter taste of losing back in your mouth you cannot see sense.

    I think Chelsea deserved to win the League and Champions League over the last 2 years. Manchester United fluked it. er, Yeh!!

    I hope your aren’t trying to excuse the fact that Drogba and Terry made total fools of themselves in the way they behaved in extra time? Typical argument from a typical Chelsea rent boy.


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