After arguably the most inept display in recent years, it has taken a bit of time to come to terms with it in this household. Finally we can digest what we have learned. 

Stamford Bridge shares its name with a small village in East Riding where in 1066, King Harold took on Harald Hadrada to gain the last victory of his short reign. The Stamford Bridge in West London has been the scene of other humiliations, remembering 1980 when Newcastle lost 4-0 in the January, only to lose 6-0 at the start of the next season. 

After a 5.30 kick off in the afternoon, Saturday saw us start the evening with a 3 goal deficit. A defence that was out of sorts contained a winger at left back, a centre half who has started his 2nd game of the season and a defensive midfielder who started 7 games last year. 

Full of optimism after a 1-0 thrashing of West Brom, one of the worst teams to visit St James’ Park this millennium, thoughts ran back to the 2 famous Bridge victories since 1983. Cisse scored a remarkable brace early in his Toon career and Hughton grabbed an amazing 4-3 League Cup win. 

We were set for a clash between multi-billionaires, one who has splashed some cash this season on the squad, the other who has invested in his playing staff, as well as appointing quality managers, for over 12 years. 

Some would argue that McClaren took his side to the bridge with attacking intent, after all, we did have 3 strikers on the bench. Of those, Perez is the joint top fit Premier League scorer in the squad with 12, even Taylor at the back is joint top fit PL scorer, new signing, Shelvey also has 12 to his name in the top flight. 

Despite Chelsea’s woes this season, we should have known what to expect. Even reserve striker, Loic Remy who couldn’t get off the bench onto the pitch has scored more Premier League goals during a season’s loan for the Toon than any of our own available squad. 

A further look through the squad shows that defender, John Terry has scored more in the Premier League than our top injured striker, so has Fabregas, the deep midfielder. 

We could also cast a glance at the managers. McClaren’s greatest feat was an Eredivisie title. Chelsea’s stop gap has 6 such titles. McClaren failed to qualify for Euro 2008 with arguably one of the most talented English squads in history. Hiddink tool Russia to the semi finals, to accompany his World Cup campaigns with the Netherlands, South Korea and Australia. 

Ultimately, the difference in quality, both on the pitch and in the dugout, reflects the respective club owners’ philosophies. One invests for results, the other, goes cheap where he can and only goes overseas to exploit cheaper markets. 

Back to the match, others have already highlighted what n embarrassment this was. The 2nd half was a training exercise for Chelsea. With a Champions league match coming up on Tuesday, this was a chance to put pressure on the hosts. Instead, we bowed to their supremacy. 

It would be wrong not to look at team selection and tactics. Despite a left sided defensive player being available, in the form of Jack Colback, McClaren instead opted for the attacking winger, Aarons, making his 2nd league start for the club. 

Once again, the wisdom of not reinforcing the defence in the transfer window was open to question. 

Yes, McClaren stuck with a winning team. In an era of Continuous Improvement, the Sum of Margins or whatever label may be attached to progressive quality improvements in a sporting endeavour, British football team management was shown to remain in its fossilised state. 

There were lessons that could have been learned from West Brom. Yes in defence but also up front. Mitrovic battled manfully against a Chelsea veteran but had little or no support. 

When a striker was brought on, it was to replace Mitrovic, not to complement him. It will be remembered that Doumbia has only had one half of Under 21 football in the last 2 months. Neither he, nor Riviere with a solitary bungled Premier League goal was going to make a difference. 

The top scorer this season, Wijnaldum was also replaced at half time by a more defensive substitute. Tiote, looking short on match fitness at a level higher than West Brom, was replaced by a rookie defender rather than Saivet. 

We could claim 4 pluses. First of these was that McClaren demonstrated his tactical flexibility, from 4-2-3-1 to 3-6-1, to 10-0-0 to ?-?-?-? 

The second was that McClaren was able to smile during his post match interviews. The third is that, quite rightly, the manager and players are feeing the country to Spain. 

The final encouragement is that Townsend demonstrated his quality on scoring the 7th away goal under McClaren, giving the manager his own little Stamford Bridge victory of closing the gap on football’s next lowest away scorers. 

Following that minor achievement at Stamford Bridge, we can only hope that Ashley has learned from another billionaire. Only he can provide the metaphorical arrow in the eye to depose King Harold McClaren. 

We have already discussed why McClaren should go here and why we should seek an overseas replacement here. 

Surely the time has come to return from their Spanish exile to a competent manager. Even Ashley must have had enough of what McClaren serves up. It is time to progress. Now we will surely find out if Ashley has the balls for the job.