RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, September 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Chelsea F.C.

(just a skinhead hooligan Chelsea supporter throwing
up a Sieg Heil while holding up a kid giving the middle finger)

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. And yet still I should clarify I hate English, and also America. Thus maybe I hate myself. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

It is appropriate that Chelsea is owned by a Russian oligarch, because I think of the football club similarly to how I think of Russia, or the Soviet Union. They are obviously an imperial force (Chelsea in football, Soviet Union/Russia in history), and I am obviously against all imperial forces and hate all forms of imperialism with a contrarian’s blind passion (or as passionate as a jaded bearded fortysomething fucker can still be). But for whatever reason I don’t really directly care or feel effected by Chelsea (or Soviet Union), so I’m not an active hater of them, like I would be for Manchester United or United States of Amerikkka. Those forms of imperialism are obvious and in my face.
This means I don’t care to wish all forms of failure upon Chelsea, but much like the Soviet Union’s Afghani quagmire, when Chelsea fucks up and finishes outside the continental-qualifying top seven, like they did two seasons ago, I take great joy in that. It’s fun to see imperial forces fail, even if their relative failure still puts them four spots above your relative favorite’s normal. (Although we had great fun two seasons ago, didn’t we, imagining “what if Chelsea get relegated? what if???? But they did not, although failure to qualify for Champions or Europa league is the Big 6 version of relegation, at least for now.)
The Chelsea life cycle during these last 100 matches as is the basis for metaphysics here is pretty simple – Jose Mourinho was on the downward “let me burn out everybody” cycle of Jose management lifespan, and Chelsea finished 10th, which meant he got shit-canned early on during that season. Antonio Conte came in as the eventual replacement and took mostly the same batch of players with a couple of key upgrades, and combined that with lack of continental competition to keep a fresh and fit squad at the top of the table for an EPL title last season. But the alleged personnel changes that were going to definitely happen – both coming and going – didn’t necessarily happen, so for now (until December) Conte has what he has. Of course, they sit in 3rd right now, and powered through their first Champions League match to boot (albeit against a lowly Azerbaijani outfit), so it’s hard to bemoan Chelsea life right now. Of course, they are an imperial force in football, so all of this is expected of them, and even though I don’t actively hate them, I hope it all falls apart in horrible and comedic fashion. But here are the 25-men who played the heaviest metaphysical role for the club’s past 100 matches…
#1: Cesar Azpilicueta – Spaniard vice-captain and anchor of defense has survived multiple management regimes at Stamford Bridge, and it’s easy to see why, as Mourinho to Conte has been questioned (for some fucking reason) going into the early stages of this season, despite them being in 3rd and having crushed weak ass team in first Champions League match. It seems very much like EPL is determined to keep up pattern of having defending champion managers get sacked the following season. But in recent weeks, Azpilicueta has been the vocalist on the squad, offering words of support and encouragement for Conte, that the board room hasn’t necessarily seemed to echo in their own actions. Some people will classify such a player as natural born leader, but there’s something more to it than that… an ability to politically navigate all the fucked up situations football is bound to deliver inevitably, and come out not looking like an asshole. It’s hard to do in an industry overflowing with asshole (due to how they’re manufactured). But Azpilicueta has somehow done it, and seems attached to Conte right now, just as he did to Mourinho  before, and Guus Hiddink in the interim between the two. Some players are political cockroaches, and survive it all, and they usually end up vice-captain.
#2: Thibaut Courtois – Belgian GK and soulless android.
#3: Gary Cahill – Okay, maybe Cahill at center back is the true anchor of the defense, as he’s also the captain (and also English as fuck, which means he “speaks the language” or “the fans relate to him” or whatever coded racialism talk is used to justify him as more the main man than Azpilicueta, whose name sounds a little too revolutionary, a little too anti-Brexity to truly be the anchor of a club supported by the notorious shitbags Chelsea is supported by.
#4: Diego Costa – Some guys just look like an asshole, and most folks understand this, though they’re delegation of assholery may be based on nationalistic biases and racial under currents. I’ve worked to try and rid myself of as much of these biases as possible, so very few men still cross that threshold of just naturally looking like an asshole at the pure and unexplainable universal sense. Diego Costa is one such man. Every atom spins with the energy of self-importance and conniving heart. It was no shock that Conte wanted nothing more to do with the man, as Conte comes from Italy – land of many spirited assholes, where the natural inclination of asshole somehow has transformed into almost lovable malcontent. Conte, I am sure, knows the difference between regular run-of-the-mill asshole and absolute universal asshole. But of course, in true asshole ways, Costa was unaffordable and/or unwanted by all potential suitors in the transfer window, so he has been resigned to sitting in the stands duty until his self-value decreases enough or some other club becomes more desperate to move away from London in January.
#5: Eden Hazard – Another Belgian, and Hazard is weird, because he can be an enjoyable player to watch, but there’s something that sterilizes the experience of him away for me. I don’t know what it is, but I just never transition from barely enjoyable to actual excitement.
#6: N’Golo Kante(previously #14 for Leicester City on 15-Apr-2017) I’m a Kante mark, because I strongly believe that African defensive midfielder is one of the main metaphysical keys to successful football club. Granted, Kante grew up in France, but was born to Malian immigrant parents, and fuck if any nation on this Earth has been a colonizing force of fuckedness, it’s France. Frantz Fanon wrote The Wretched of the Earth specifically about them, for fuck’s sake. Nonetheless, full geographically based African or not, Kante had Malian national team eligibility until France finally called him up last year, and it supports my African defensive midfielder theory. Only a person with deeply ingrained survivalism but also flair can fully operate that fulcrum position of defensive midfielder, able to help stifle others, but quickly flip it into counter attack. N’Golo Kante has won the Premier League title the past two seasons, and that’s no accident. His style was the perfect trigger to unleash buckshot Jamie Vardy and .22 Magnum Riyad Mahrez at Leicester City. And last season, he brought stability in the middle to complement the entrenched back line and feed shithead Diego Costa (and others) up top.
#7: David Luiz – Luiz has done a couple stints with Chelsea, and I don’t love him (because it’s Chelsea, and also he’s Brazilian, whom I also boycott metaphysically at international level, for some odd reason… an odd reason called Neymar likely), but I don’t mind him. He makes me think of Ygnwie Malmsteen – I think it’s the hair. Malmsteen is playing locally near me later this year, and I can’t imagine any reason on Earth not to go see Yngwie Malmsteen play a shitty club in 2017.
#8: Pedro – Fun fact about Pedro: he played forward for the Barcelona C team the last season they existed, in Spain’s fourth division (unable to move higher because Barcelona B was in third division). He then moved up to Barcelona B and helped them get promoted to second level of Spanish footballing pyramid. Then he spent seven seasons with Barca itself before getting cashed outside to England, and Abrahamovich’s bulging pockets.
#9: Nemanja Matic(previously #23 for Manchester United on 01-Sep-2017) Matic and Mourinho are hardcore homeboys from way way back, so Matic was the one Mourinho was intent on poaching over to Manchester United. In my humble metaphysical analysis of football, defensive midfielder types are the truest fulcrum upon the pitch, and the likeliest extension of manager’s mind in the grass. Thus Matic has already been assigned that role at Old Trafford. Mourinho recently told the story of once putting Matic in midway first half, then pulling him midway second half, and how that made Matic one his all-time favorites, because Mourinho knew it sucked to do but Matic came in the next day and was like, “Yo, that sucked, and made me sad, but whatever, because I was playing shitty.” AND THAT WAS WHEN JOSE MOURINHO KNEW NEMANJA MATIC HAD NO RESISTANCE LEFT TO HIS SOUL OR SPIRIT, AT LEAST TOWARDS JOSE, so that’s why he’s in Manchester now.
#10: Marcos Alonso – To be honest, I’d rather talk about Islam Feruz here, a Somali immigrant to Scotland who got all his youth footballing at anti-fascist Celtic, but didn’t sign a contract with them once at professional level, and ran off to Chelsea, where he is part of their vast army of young talents who never actually end up playing for the parent club. Feruz appears to be a bigger flame out than most Chelsea wonderkids, but I love him (and always use him at lower level Football Manager experiments, because I sign all guys named “Islam”, always) because he plays for the Scottish national team at U-21 levels, but also can still play for multiple African teams apparently. (I don’t think Somalia sports a team, but he apparently has legal enough ties to play for Tanzania or Zanzibar.) And while Marcos Alonso is a regular presence still for Chelsea, I do not enjoy regular presences at valuable top of the table clubs valuated at the billions. What I enjoy about football is fucked up Somalian kids ending up in Glasgow and scoring hat tricks against shitty loyalist assholes while being named Islam.
#11: Cesc Fabregas – Forgive my stupid American ignorance, but I always feel like part of his name is missing. He also always reminds me of somebody Furio would kill on the Sopranos as well. My brain is a horrible buffet of media-manufactured stereotypes.
#12: Willian – As much as I try to be indifferent to the point of dislike towards both Chelsea and Brazilian players, something about the hair makes me enjoy Willian dashing up and down the flank as winger. My apologies to anyone who would hold such a joy against me.
#13: Victor Moses – It should be noted that I have been jotting down pertinent metaphysical data for a metaphysics offering about the World Cup (self-published, like all quacks do), and it makes me happy to say, that despite an inconsistency due to corruption of governing bureaucracy, the Nigerian Super Eagles still look to be poised to qualify for Russia out of Group B in Africa, shockingly so considering they were drawn with Cameroon and Algeria in African qualifying’s Group of Death. Victor Moses and the gang have done well, losing only one qualifier, and already seeing Cameroon and Algeria eliminated. (Algeria’s elimination has been cause of great concern in African football; no way that team should have only 1 pt in qualifying, and Algerians are not known for their footballing patience.) Anyways, Victor Moses is key member of the national team, so I use his listing as an excuse to bring all this up. I’m reading an anthology of poetry for each nation that qualifies as well (because Eduardo Galeano taught me that poetry and football pair together perfectly, when done right, although both have been mangled horribly by dominant power systems), so I use google’s algorithm (on an incognito search, which we all know is not incognito, but it forces them to pretend and thus not use as much bullshit against you from your filter bubble) to search “Nation poetry anthology” and then I get whatever the top result book is that actually exists in local university library. Thus far I’ve only read Russia and Brazil anthologies, and let me tell you, poetry is fucking sick.
#14: Branislav Ivanovic – Yet another player technically born in Yugoslavia, which obviously came apart at the ethnic seams in the ‘90s, thus he is now classified as Serbian. The sheer number of world class players who come from what was traditionally Yugoslavia is insane when you start adding them all together (which they will never do themselves, because tensions remain hot, and UEFA actually is running out of different groups to slap former Yugoslav republics into now that Kosovo is recognized national team). Like his country mate Matic, Ivanovic was loved by Mourinho, and also like Matic, he became expendable to Antonio Conte. Ivanovic is aging though (33), and after nearly 400 club matches with Chelsea, he went back to Russia again to play for Zenit St. Petersburg this past February.
#15: John Terry – John Terry’s remarkable (you have to use that word as even a contrarian “sportswriter” with regards to his time) tenure at Chelsea was going to come to an end, and there was no better way than as Premier League Champion one more time. It seemed signal for him to do the “retirement” phase of a couple seasons in the United States being overpaid to perform in a shitty league where a bunch of middle class hooligan wannabes drink microbrews and beat on drums and pretend to be “supporters”. But obviously Terry has not given up on his ability to occupy a prominent(ish) Starting XI in Europe yet, as he instead opted for playing for freshly-relegated Aston Villa. This move suggest Terry will forego the U.S. money tour and instead make the transition to second-tier player-manager, then outright manager. That’s got to be a weird thing to have as a force on your team if you’re the manager though – an elder spirit of the sport, who you know can help out a ton, but also might slip the boardroom knife between your shoulder blades during any bad spell.
#16: Asmir Begovic – Around the time of World Cup 2010, I fell in love with the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team, and thus fell in love with Begovic, as he was big part of their run during that period. When it appeared obvious he was leaving Chelsea this past summer, and I was also concerned Lukasz Fabianski would leave Swansea City, I was wishing and hoping for Begovic to come to the Swans. Along with my African heritage defensive midfielder beliefs, I also feel strongly that your most metaphysically solid GK is going to come from Eastern Europe, where darkness has hung over existence for many decades. A GK requires the ability to navigate the darkness, and not become too emotional over successes or failures. A coldness of  heart and survival mode eyesight with wide peripheral vision is necessary at GK, and Eastern Europe has been benefit of an environment which would nurture such psychic genetics. But instead Begovic went to Bournemouth, and Fabianski stayed in Swansea. (An odd aside to Begovic – he played youth football during his teens in Canada, of all places.)
#17: Oscar – Oscar is about the smuggest looking dude ever, and also he (along with later listing John Obi Mikel) did what Diego Costa couldn’t do – get that Chinese Super League money. Fellow Brazilians Hulk and Elkeson also play for the same Chinese team, and they actually caused a giant brawl this past June, where Oscar booted the ball at opposing players creating the fracas. He got suspended 8 matches, but Shanghai SIPG is still sitting in second, and looking good to qualify for the Asian version of the Champions League. Sometimes I actually catch Asian Champions League matches on the computer, but I tend to go for eastern Asia brackets with clubs from Iran and Saudi Arabia, not the western Asian clubs. I can’t even say “Arab clubs” because then Persians would be mad. Oh, by the way, Oscar and his Shanghai SIPG club are in the final four of the Asian Champions League, with the first leg (against Urawa Red Diamonds) set for 12 days from now. DE-COLONIZE YOUR FOOTBALLING EXPERIENCE! THERE’S MORE TO THE WORLD THAN JUST UEFA.
#18: Kurt Zouma – On loan to Stoke City all season. It seems Chelsea loan out all their non-white players, to let them sort out who is best elsewhere, and not upset the Chelsea Headhunters with too many players at once that they have to whistle at like assholes every time they touch the ball.
#19: Michy Batshuayi – Belgian striker most famously known for authoring the dystopian classic 1Q84, and many felt was going to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 2014, but he was narrowly edged out by Luis Suarez.
#20: John Obi Mikel – I did all that talking about Nigeria already, and here was the fucking team captain sitting right here, waiting for me to gloss him as well. Mikel is no longer with Chelsea though, having been one of the lucky men to cash in on those ridiculous Chinese Super League contracts. Sadly, as of right now, his Chinese Super League team – Tianjin Teda – is sitting next to last on the table, and flirting with relegation. I can’t imagine his contract will still be feasible as second level of Chinese football.
#21: Baba Rahman – The young baby Baba Rahman is a Ghanaian who has been potential Chelsea star for a few seasons now (of which they have hyped many, but few have come to fruition). As a follower of African club football, I can tell you one of the most heated rivalries in all of black Africa (African football is still culturally somewhat segregated in style by Arab and black regions) is Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko in Ghana. Rahman’s first professional season of football was played for Asante Kotoko (having played youth football, and thus contractually owned by Dreams FC in Ghana). One season there, and clubs like Manchester City, Parma, and Arsenal came sniffing for the young man. He ended up at Chelsea by way of a German stint, and has since been about to breakthrough for a while. Last season he went back to Germany on loan, and one has to wonder if Rahman has much life at Chelsea left barring a miracle turn in his fortunes.
#22: Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Young 21-year-old “about to breakthrough” Chelsea-owned midfielder on season-long loan to Crystal Palace, who have had their worst start to Premier League season ever. Chelsea’s “out on loan” Wikipedia section is bigger than most clubs actual rosters. That shit is wack and goes against the integrity of football and antifa are the only true supporters of real football in Europe, and it’s sad that American antifa think antifa is only about macing Nazis. Then again, MLS sucks.
#23: Nathaniel Chalobah – Another “about to breakthrough” Chelsea wonderkid, which meant he was loaned to the following clubs: Watford (42 matches), Nottingham Forest (12 matches), Middlesbrough (19 matches), Burnley (4 matches), Reading (20 matches), and Napoli (10 matches). In that same period he only accumulated 15 appearances for Chelsea proper (10 of which were last season, which is how he cracked the list). Finally, the kid from Sierra Leone, now 22, and seven years into English football property, he transferred to Watford where he can actually appear for the club that owns his rights. (I wanted to make some sort of blood diamond reference, but it seemed heavy-handed, and it’s not like he’s free – he’s still in England, and earning lots of money that a poor kid from Freetown probably finds mind-boggling, as does everybody back home, which has made him an alien in his own homeland. Corporate colonization is real.)
#24: Antonio Rudiger – If Action Bronson is so fuckin’ Albanian, how come he doesn’t drop more soccer references?

#25: Kenedy – Look, I got Ibn al-Arabi’s Meccan Revelations Volume 1 in the mail today, and I’m trying to wrap this thing up to go lay in the bed naked and read some more of that. So I’m out.

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