Eden Hazard’s 3-match penalty for kicking ballboy will stand

If Chelsea set off on a world tour with their moral compass, they would be lost at sea before passing the Isle of Wight.Just when you thought the champions of Europe had sealed off all possible routes to ill repute, Eden Hazard put the boot in on a ballboy.

There’s nothing wrong with Chelsea’s public image that a ­wholesale makeover cannot cure.Not after the England captain was stripped of his armband and suspended for racially abusing an opponent.A referee’s reputation was trashed on the flimsy basis of multi-lingual hearsay.And an intern was wounded by an international defender’s loaded firearm.

But as apologists for Hazard lined up to excuse the ­inexcusable, Chelsea legend Alan Hudson took stock of the latest gaffe and barely ­recognised the club he graced for 189 appearances between 1968-74.

Now 61, Hudson watched the Blues curl up their toes at Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-finals and cringed as the backlash against a 17-year-old youth missed the bottom line.

Charlie Morgan may be the heir to Swans director Martin Morgan’s £42million fortune,He may have been guilty of brazen gamesmanship when Hazard took the law into his own hands.But kicking a boy when he’s down is not nice.“However wrong the ballboy was, and however rich his dad may be, what Hazard did was plain wrong,” said Hudson.

“If he had put as much effort into the 90 minutes as he did into kicking that ballboy, Chelsea might have turned it round and be on their way to Wembley again. I don’t care whether it was heat of the moment, pure frustration or ­whatever – I don’t know what Hazard thought he was going to achieve by kicking that kid.

“When I played for Chelsea, our captain was Ron Harris, and good old Ronnie kicked anything that moved, ­especially if you were a winger trying to go past him. But he would never have left the pitch to get involved with a ballboy or anyone else on the sidelines – because he knew there was a line you didn’t cross.

“If a punter had come on the pitch and squared up to him, Ron might have asked him politely to vacate the field and marched him off by the scruff of his collar.

“But he would never have kicked out at anyone if the ball wasn’t within five yards. I can’t accept that Hazard just succumbed to the pressure of a tense semi-final.

“Chelsea won the Champions League because they were disciplined and defended with their lives when the odds were stacked against them.

“Not by resorting to petty retribution when they hadn’t really competed for the whole game. What did Hazard think he was going to achieve by doing what he did?

“That was the height of ­ignorance.

“I know times have changed, and the game is never going to be the same one I played at Chelsea in the early Seventies.

“But we didn’t get involved in some of the scrapes the club have found ­themselves in recently.

“There are some great players, and they look worth every penny when you are strolling 5-1 up at ­Southampton.

“But at Swansea there were too many prima donnas who didn’t rise to the challenge.”
Chelsea’s rap sheet

February 2011: Ashley Cole shoots and wounds a student on work experience at Chelsea’s training ground while “larking about” with an air rifle.September 2012: The FA ban John Terry for four matches and fine him £220,000 after he was found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry was cleared earlier of the same charge at Westminster magistrates court.

October 2012: Chelsea accuse referee Mark Clattenburg of using “inappropriate language” to John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata (middle left) after losing to Manchester United. Chelsea later admit “regret” at their handling of the case when Clattenburg is cleared.

December 2012: FA ban Mikel for three games and fine him £60,000 after he admitted using threatening words in the referee’s room after the United game.

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