matt’s corner

Matt’s Corner: Buck stops at Chelsea boardroom for lack of consistency

Chairman’s stance on racism and elitism of clubs are contradictory

Matthew Smith, Deputy Editor Sports
15:30 October 12, 2018

It seems that there is a strange lack of consistency at the higher levels at Chelsea right now.

On one hand, they are suggesting a new way of treating fans found guilty of racism, but on the other they are making statements about being more important than the lesser clubs in Europe - to use chairman Bruce Buck’s misguided words, ‘the great unwashed’.

On Thursday, the London club announced plans to stamp out anti-semitism at Stamford Bridge by sending offenders to Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz to attend education courses instead of imposing banning orders, a project backed by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

“If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour,” Buck said in The Sun. “This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better. In the past, we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years.

“Now we say ‘You did something wrong. You have the option. We can ban you or you can spend some time with our diversity officers, understanding what you did wrong’.”

This could be an excellent idea if properly organised and implemented.

But on the same day, good ol’ Bucky, the 72-year-old New Yorker who joined Chelsea in 2003 along with Abramovich, made comments that were somewhat more divisive and revealed his more ‘us and them’ attitude.

He spoke out against Uefa’s attempts to close the gap between elite clubs in Europe and the wannabe elite, saying giants such as Chelsea, the Manchester clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich should not be forced to dumb down to join “the great unwashed”.

Uefa has been pushing to redress inequalities across Europe and hit the big boys with a luxury tax to give smaller clubs more of a chance as just nine clubs have won the Champions League in the past 20 years. Limitations to squad sizes for the top achievers have been mooted to help free up talented players for smaller clubs.

On this subject, Buck sang a different tune when it came to equality. “I am not, as a general proposition, in favour of dumbing down the large clubs in order to make all clubs the great unwashed … I just don’t think it works for the long-term. Clubs have to seek their natural position in the football order. No matter where you are in that you want to improve, but I don’t think we should assume that because every club is not equal that therefore it’s bad.”

Eradication of idiotic and disgusting supremacist ideals on one hand while citing ‘the great unwashed’ on the other? Sit down with your boss, Bruce, before you say something else stupid. For right or wrong, if you want a level playing field, it works both ways.