Anything goes at Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea FC
Ashley Cole is only the latest Chelsea player to star on the front pages
What is it about Chelsea footballers? In recent weeks they have surpassed themselves. First John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy after sleeping with Vanessa Perroncel, the girlfriend of his former teammate Wayne Bridge. Now Ashley Cole has been accused of having 'text sex' and ‘real’ sex - cheating on his pop star wife Cheryl Cole.
There must be something in the water at Chelsea, for ever since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich arrived at the West London club in 2003 the Chelsea boys have featured almost as much on the front pages as they have on the back.
First there was charismatic manager Jose Mourinho, who replaced the affable Claudio Ranieri and famously declared himself to be the 'Special One'. He then began hogging the headlines by variously hiding in laundry bins, smuggling his pet dog, Gullit, in and out of the country and having a two-year affair uncovered by the Sun just after he left the club.
During his reign the players themsleves managed to get into trouble. In the autumn of 2004 Romanian striker Adrian Mutu tested positive for cocaine and was sacked by the club - only in 2008 was the player was ordered to pay Chelsea €18m in compensation.
England winger Joe Cole memorably hit the headlines in 2006 when he was attacked at a party in South London at the home of model Keeley Hazell. The midfielder, now married to actress Carly Zucker, apparently climbed out of a window after getting into a row over the glamour model's affections and fled bleeding, bare-chested and shoeless to a South London cab office.
Cole's England colleague Frank Lampard was also accused of playing away from home, once in Barcelona in 2006 and the following year in Las Vegas. The strain on his relationship with fiancee Elen Rives proved too much and in 2009 they split, although the death of Lampard's mother in 2008 was cited as one of the reasons. Lampard is now seeing TV presenter Christine Bleakley.
Another of Chelsea's English contingent, Glen Johnson - who now plays for Liverpool - ended up in hot water in 2007 when he was given an £80 on-the-spot fine for allegedly attempting to steal a toilet seat and other bathroom fittings from a B&Q Warehouse store in Dartford, Kent.
The player also missed an important match in Barcelona when he apparently mislaid his passport after a night out. But he is adamant that the story is fabricated and the club were at fault, not him.
Before the Terry scandal the biggest stories have generally concerned Ashley Cole, mainly on account of his relationship with Girls Aloud singer and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole. The defender sued several papers over reports that unnamed players had taken part in a gay orgy, and after he married Cheryl he found himself in hot water over claims he slept with a hairdresser in 2008.
But the biggest serial offender in Chelsea's ranks is Terry, whose record dates all the way back to 2002, when he and fellow Chelsea player Jody Morris were arrested after an attack on a nightclub doorman in Knightsbridge. Since then he has been linked to a string of different women, including more than one glamour model. In 2005 he apologised and pledged to remain faithful to Toni Poole - then his fiancee, now his wife. Shortly afterwards he was caught in a "sexual act" with a 17-year-old fan in his car.
In the same year it was revealed that Terry was gambling £5,000 a week at a bookies near Chelsea's training ground in Esher, Surrey.
Of course, Chelsea players are not alone in their exploits. When Terry was stripped of the England captaincy the main contenders for the job included Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, who escaped a charge of affray last year, and Wayne Rooney, who was caught visiting prostitutes. Terry's replacement was eventually named as Rio Ferdinand, who despite promoting the National Portrait Gallery and studying ballet, was involved in an orgy in the Cypriot resort of Ayia Napa which, almost inevitably, also involved Chelsea players past, present and future.
Is Chelsea's latest manager Carlo Ancelotti perturbed by all this? Not a bit of it. "I don't care who my captain or troops go to bed with, but what ideas they wake up with in the morning," he said after the latest revelations about Ashley Cole. The problem for Ancelotti would appear to be that they wake up with some pretty unusual ideas. ·
Comments are now closed on this article