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Bring on the Wilkins 09/02/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Following Saturday’s opponents’ extraordinary decision to dismiss manager Luis Felipe Scolari, added entertainment value is provided by the installation of Ray “Uncle Fester” Wilkins as Caretaker.

One needs to retain a little perspective of course.  Chelsea’s “crisis” is a relative thing… they’re still fourth in the top flight, we’re still in the second division relegation zone etc etc.  And if the dressing room was as anti-Scolari as has been mooted, we may suffer the collective relief at his departure.

But not if Ray Wilkins has anything to do with it, a man whose continued employment on the coaching staff of any club, let alone one of the most successful sides in the country, remains a source of wonder.  The assumption had been that he was a canny media appointment by the Blues… stick him in front of a microphone to blather confidently but pointlessly at let the rest of them get on with running the team without letting him do any more than stick the bollards out.

And yet he’s in caretaker charge.  One can only hope that it remains so until after the weekend.  His season at Watford should add venom to the home support;  Vialli, disaster though he was, can be granted some small respite in retrospect by virtue of his motivation.   It’s not as if he was at Watford for the glamour, or even the money.  He wanted to prove himself as a manager, much as he failed to do so.

But Wilkins was just after a meal ticket.  Throughout his employment, his dual role as Sky summariser was captioned “former Manchester United and England midfielder…”, with no mention of who currently paid his wages.  Surely, these will be his last days in charge of a football team.  It would be lovely to make them uncomfortable.


1. Nate - 09/02/2009

stupid article

2. meldrew - 09/02/2009

What did you find ‘stupid’ about it Nate?

3. SydneyHornet - 10/02/2009

Fully agree with Matt – Wilkins was a waste of space at Watford, and the coaching equivalent of the likes of Vega ie a parasite who was in it for the money, with no empathy or feeling for the club at all. Whatever his merits as a player, he has been consistently woeful as a coach and manager, and I sincerely hope this continues on Saturday!

4. markymark - 10/02/2009

As we all know after hearing Rodgers talk for the 1st time his favourite phrase is “as I said”. Almost laughably so!

Well, Wilkins most used word is “exceptionally” as in “the lad did exceptionally well”.Next time you hear the prat talk in that monotoned voice of his listen out for word exceptionally!

5. Old Git - 10/02/2009

Very rarely do I laugh out loud at a posting. So…thanks Nate! Your spontaneous and succint wit has brightened my day. Why have we not heard from you before on this site?

6. Weymouth 'Orn - 10/02/2009

There’s something Nate quite right about the first response.
Was it posted by B.R. because it denigrates his old mate? (as I said)
Can’t wait for Saturday………….

7. Gerry G - 10/02/2009

Nice one, Matt. Wilkins is an awful tit, who was highly overrated as a player and is supremely overrated as a coach. I’d forgotten that he was at the Vic during the Vialli ‘era’, but of course the ‘Wilkins Way’ was very evident in our performances. As someone put it at the time, it was Britney Spears football – pretty to look at, but no penetration (that was when BS was the world’s most famous virgin, before the later ‘revelations’ about her and Justin Timberlake). So it would be nice if Wilkins were afforded the warm (nay, hot) welcome that his undistinguished record at the Vic, and indeed his “exceptionally” undistinguished record in football in general, deserves.

He really can bore for England, though. I saw a bit of him in post-match interview on MotD and could feel myself going to sleep. He reminds me of that priest in the Father Ted Xmas Special, the one with the most boring voice in the world…

8. NickB - 10/02/2009

For all his faults, I thought it was quite laudable for him to come on and say ‘we could easily have lost’ on Saturday. Makes a change from the one eyed fraternity elsewhere in the Prem

Unless one is a conspiracy theorist and he saw the way the wind was blowing…

9. Luke Fairweather - 10/02/2009

I can only hope that his spell as caretaker for Chelsea will be as distinguished as his final(?) England appearance when he was “caretaker captain” and managed to get himself sent off in a game England desperately needed to win.

Let us not forget that this is the same Fester who, when a later England team – in a moment of solidarity with a much maligned David James – declined to give interviews after an international, Fester lectured them about integrity and responsibility.

Chuffing heck. What a twonk. Here’s hoping for a phantom goal like Heidar’s or another Smart moment. Quaker Oats for Breakfast on Saturday people. Whadda ya mean “duh”?


10. Esp - 10/02/2009

Gerry he does have competition though for having “the most boring voice in the world” – I just wonder how many pillows will be needed in the media room at the Vic next Saturday after the game.

Rodgers and Wilkins will surely have difficulty keeping the hacks awake; especially as it’s an evening game! May I tactfully suggest Scott Field has sticks ready to prod them awake when they’re in full flow?

I’m assuming the goalposts will be moved to either side of the half way line as the ball will be played crab like in that direction for most of the match??

Great article Matt – are you sure “Nate” is not a pseudonym for Uncle Fester himself?

11. JohnM - 10/02/2009

Wilkins reminds me of one of those managers one meets in large companies—crap, but, somehow, they never lose their job, but just get shuffled from one department to another until they retire. I don’t know how many positions he’s held since he stopped playing, but it must be in double figures, and he has achieved nothing. Rather like his England performances, when he would play for 90 minutes without making a forward pass. As far as I am concerned, the best thing he’s done since he stopped playing were the voice-overs on the old Tango adverts.

12. Harefield Hornet - 11/02/2009

Ray Wilkins was a decent footballer who has continued to make a good living out the game he obviously loves. A far more notable achievement I would think than anything some of the people sniping at him have managed to achieve in their sad little lives. Do any of you actually realise how difficult it is to become a professional footballer?………..I suspect not. As for his career after playing…..If someone continued to offer you appointments doing something you like and paid you well for it, what would you do?………. I thought so!

13. Matt Rowson - 11/02/2009


14. Luther Missit - 11/02/2009

Gus Hiddink has just been appointed as Chelsea manager this morning, and, whilst he more than likely won’t be in charge of The Blues on Saturday, I can imagine he’ll probably be having a word with the players beforehand, and maybe even a word in Wilkins’ shell-like (geddit?) at half time.

By the way, is Wilkins the only football “personality” that resembles his own nickname? With both eyes positioned strangely each side of his big bald head he looks uncannily like… a crab.

15. markymark - 11/02/2009

All this talk about Wilkins is totally irrelevant now as Chelski have brought in Gus Hiddink.He will meet the players later this week and presumably be in charge on Saturday.
So bang goes our big chance at a.) abusing Wilkins and b.)Actually having any chance of winning.
Thank f*ck I have to work this Saturday afternoon!

16. Esp - 11/02/2009

I’m glad I’m not sitting next to you on Saturday markymark you miserable sod 🙂 as long as we don’t give them too much respect, go out with an attacking formation and give a good account of ourselves I won’t be complaining

“Not turning up” and losing 0-3 would be a lot worse than playing out of our skins and losing 1-4 imho – I am hopeful we will do well, after all Brendan knows the opposition a hell of a lot better than Malky or Aidy could ever have done

17. DM - 11/02/2009

Harefield Hornet –

Wilkins could have been the greatest player that ever lived, but do you truly believe that nine months of bib allocation duty, coupled with large portions of telling Luca Vialli how “exceptional” he is represents value for the large pay-off this already rich man screwed out of a skint football club ? Your defence would seem to suggest so.

“Butch” belongs on the WFC naughty step alongside Ashton, Steve Foster, Andy Gray and others, and so it shall forever be. He richly deserves any and all pelters he receives come Saturday evening.

18. Esp - 11/02/2009

Boll***s – Lampard wasn’t injured tonight in Seville 😦

19. Old Git - 12/02/2009

The WFC naughty step is an interesting concept. Might I add Ian Rush, for that appalling dive that the idiot Milford bought, that won a last minute penalty equaliser for Liverpool in the Cup quarter-final in 1980-something?

20. NickB - 12/02/2009

DM – with respect that’s tosh. Let’s go the whole hog and throw in King, Henderson and all players (some now lauded as heroes)that have maximised earnings potential by screwing a top salary out of gullible management. It’s not pretty, but it’s the game. This vilification of Wilkins strikes me as deeply unpleasant

21. Harefield Hornet - 12/02/2009


Matt/DM His brother Graham, who you may also remember played for Chelsea, finished up working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. Given the choice after playing pro football what would you prefer… collecting bibs or humping suitcases about?

22. Matt Rowson - 12/02/2009


“that’s the game”. oh. well that’s alright then.

The issue is NOT that Wilkins took the salary that was offered to him. The issue is that he seemed so very uninterested in earning it, unlike Vialli.

Quite aside from which, no, the fact that money for old rope is commonplace in football doesn’t make it acceptable, nor does it mean that I should like it. And if there’s any justification at all in the grand scheme of things for the salaries that Wilkins (and, yes, very many others) earn then it’s that they so often act as the target for my (and many others) catharsis on a Saturday afternoon. I’m not going to apologise for that.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t accept the riches and the adulation but protest at the lack of privacy, for example. And you can’t make a fortune from the game without people pointing the finger when, frankly, you’ve not remotely done the job you were being paid for.

QUITE APART FROM WHICH… we’re playing Chelsea on Saturday. I don’t find your arguments convincing or balanced, but hell, this isn’t a time for balance anyway. It’s a time for tunnel vision. And if that means that Harefield has to take his old Shoot posters of Butch Wilkins with hair off his bedroom wall, so be it…

23. NickB - 12/02/2009


I loathe the culture of present day footy as much or more than the next man. On Wednesday I paid a fiver to see Abbey Hey play Atherton Collieries in the North West Counties League. It was a damn sight more entertaining than any pro game I’ve seen for a long time: grown men, as opposed to petulant, cheating crybabies, putting body and soul into the conflict for probably £20 and some petrol money. Did anyone else sit through that Liverpool v Everton garbage? Bloody shame that ITV didn’t pull the plug on the whole damned game. In fact I’m so disillusioned, I haven’t bothered with a Chelsea ticket and will probably not renew when they come round with the begging bowl in March or whenever.


Just think it’s a shame that Butch has become the focus of so much venom, when he’s just one of the herd.

At the end of the day, it’s your blog, so I’ll shut up now, especially as I’m starting to sound like Peter Finch (not Fincham) in ‘Network’….

24. Harefield Hornet - 12/02/2009


My wife took them down 20 years ago!

No need to worry – I ‘ll be screaming for us to turn Chelsea over as much as anyone on Saturday. Bring it on.

25. DM - 12/02/2009

I can’t add anything to Matt’s reply. Ray Wilkins screwed my football club over. End of. He’s far from alone, but don’t tell me I should feel anything other than repulsion for that.

26. Jeremy Clarkson - 12/02/2009

JC here

Butch is bald

he is also little

and he is also a money grabbing sh**te (IMHO crap at football management)

27. Esp - 12/02/2009

“Ray Wilkins…. a man whose continued employment on the coaching staff of any club …. remains a source of wonder.”

Abso – bloomin’ – lutely

Or to put it another way he’s (as many of us have seen in our working lives) – someone who has often been promoted way above his level of competence. As an anodyne, bland, safe football pundit he excels but as a coach or in any position of responsibility??…. NO WAY!

He’s brilliant at PR though; constantly promoting the Ray Wilkins myth. (Whatever that is!)

Obviously if ever Abramovich or Kenyon were told that the word gullible didn’t exist, they’d get a dictionary and check!

28. Far East Hornet - 12/02/2009

just everybody give the bloke hell on Saturday for gods sake

29. JohnM - 13/02/2009

I enjoy my right of free speech to criticise as I see fit–as I also support the right of people to criticise me for my opinions.
Wilkins was, as has been said by others, an opportunist supporter of Vialli during a dire period of football at Watford. He was also a mediocre England international, as good as his other playing career may have been—just check with other frustrated England supporters from Wilkins day. Can anyone tell me of his coaching successes?
I liked the Uncle Fester reference–I pulled out an old episode of the original Addams family, and, indeed, he does look like a young Fester. Anyone fancy passing him a light bulb on Saturday?

30. Sequel - 13/02/2009

Old Git: You’ve opened an old wound there. I turned up late for that Liverpool replay (1986), by which time, they’d closed the Vic Rd turnstiles and I was forced to watch it with the Scousers in the Rookery. I heard every Dalglish whinging moan, and was about 10 yards away when Rush fell over for the penalty. I thought Coton showed great restraint in not thumping the t*at.
Naughty step? I’d have offered him a blindfold and a last cigarette.

31. Harefield Hornet - 13/02/2009


I was standing in the Vic Road end that night and I am pretty certain Rush’s dive and the subsequent penalty was at that end? I stand by to be corrected if my memory has blurred!

Can anyone else verify this?

32. Matt Rowson - 13/02/2009

I wasn’t there, but have seen the TV replays. In my mind’s eye it’s in front of the Rookery.

Had a similar experience recently when trying to remember at which end Cantona missed his chance for Leeds in 1992…

33. PDF - 13/02/2009

That was at the Vic Road end Matt.
He was clean through….

34. Sequel - 13/02/2009

I was right at the front of the Rookery, close enough to have given Rush something to dive about.

35. RGW - 13/02/2009

Rush’s dive was definitely at the Rookery end. Cantona’s miss was at the Vic Rd end. And very funny it was too.

36. straightnochaser - 13/02/2009

Rush dived at the Rookery end. Cantona screwed up when faced by the mighty Perry Suckling at the Vicarage Road end.

I think.

37. Fran - 13/02/2009

I’m with you, Harefield. I was in the Vic Road end (under the scoreboard) and I thought the dive by that cheating taff b*rst*rd was in front of us. I feel like I can still see it. I do remember smug Scouse gits in the social club afterwards peeing themselves laughing as they acknowledged that it was never a penalty. I had to leave very quickly as I am a non-violent person.

I have no recollection of the Cantona miss, although I would have been standing in a similar location.

38. NickB - 14/02/2009

Rookery. You could see it was a dive from the Vic Rd terraces. Milford was the Rob Styles of the 80s, a poser in thrall to the big names

39. Nashinho - 14/02/2009

I was there and Rush’s dive was definitely in front of the rookery where the away fans were housed at that time!

Cantona’s miss was at the Vic Road end i believe, but not so sure.

Let’s hope we can all remember which end we scored that amazing winner against Chelsea on Valentine’s day 2009!!!!!

40. ApperleyOrn - 14/02/2009

Funny how the memory plays tricks, cos I was in the Vic Rd end and would swear that Rush took a nosedive right in front of us…

Didn’t see Cantona’s miss so can’t possibly comment on that one.

41. tom - 14/02/2009

C’mon, I’m not exactly a fan of him, but Wilkins in such an easy and lazy target…you can do better than that.
Just after a ‘meal ticket’ – are you sure?

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