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Chelsea balls: Antonio Conte sacked and not sacked

Did you read the news that Chelsea are all set to sack Antonio Conte, their manager? It’s nonsense. He isn’t being sacked. The Sun has confirmed that Conte is not being sacked by Chelsea:

Antonio Conte sacked: Chelsea boss’ future at Stamford Bridge is safe after betting firms spark sack rumours


Antonio Conte sacked


Which betting firms started that rumour then?

The Sun had more:


the Sun Conte sacked


Which bookmakers were no longer taking money on Conte’s sacking? The paper told readers:

Sun Bets, Betway and Paddy Power have both suspended betting on Conte being the second Premier League boss to get the boot.


the sun bets


Three betting companies have “both” suspended betting on Chelsea sacking Conte?

But only one bookmaker was talking to the Sun. Can you guess which one?

A spokesperson for Sun Bets said: “We’ve currently suspended the next Premier League manager to go until the rumours about Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea settle down… Diego Simeone is Sun Bets 7/2 favourite to take over the reigns.”

There is no word from any other betting companies.

To recap, then. Antonio Conte has not been sacked. He was never going to be sacked. It was all just a rumour rooted in bookmakers’, like Sun Bets, and amplified by that company’s sister publication The Sun newspaper, which thoughtfully reproduced the odds on something not happening for its readers to study.

And, boy, did the Sun milk the non-news news story about its betting arm:


Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.17.23 Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.17.13 Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.16.58 Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.16.49 Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.16.20


Such are the facts.

Posted: 14th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Chelsea want to sell Hazard, Manchester United offered £170m for Neymar, Arsenal re-buy Higuain

Transfer balls: a look at football reporting. The BBC says Chelsea are looking to cash in on Eden Hazard, the player once billed as the “new Lionel Messi”. The BBC says Chelsea will tie a big bag of cash to the 25-year-old Belgium and offer to swap the lot for Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29.

The Sun says Juventus don’t want Hazard. They want Cesc Fabregas and an even bigger bag of cash – £50m – for Bonucci.

In other Chelsea news, the Star  says the blues are keen on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Manchester City also want him. Aubameyang doesn’t want to play for either of them, preferring a move to Real Madrid.

City have loads of cash. Will they outbid Real? News is that last summer they offered £170m for Barcelona’s Neymar. The Citizens thought they’d get their man. Mundo Deportivo says Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain matched that bid. And all failed. Odd, indeed, that no other news sources got wind of these bids.

Maybe City will have better luck with Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, 21. Marca says Barcelona head the queue for the Arsenal flyer, who is happy at the Emirates.

As for the Gunners, well, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis says Arsenal made a good offer for striker Gonzalo Higuain over the summer. “We received a request from Arsenal,” he told the Evening Standard. “Personally I also received a request from Atletico Madrid but they didn’t put enough money on the table. We were not ready to sell him – for me Higuain was not for sale.”

He was for sale. Higuain went to Juventus for £75.3m.

Of course, Sun readers know that Higuain joined the Gunners years ago:


higuain arsenal


And Manchester United a few years later:


Higuain Manchester United


Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester United should have no regrets over Burnley’s Mike Keane heading to Chelsea

The BBC says Manchester United are “kicking themselves”. No, not because one of their myriad sponsors has slapped own a big wad of cash and told them to. They are kicking themselves, says the BBC, because they failed to add a sell-on clause to Burnley defender Michael Keane’s contract.

Keane, 23, joined Burnley from United for £2.5m in 2015. He is now being eyed by Chelsea. And in the mad world of football transfers, Keane is worth £25m.

Given that one other option is for Chelsea to give Juventus Cesc Fabregas plus £50m for Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29, (source: BBC), Keane’s fee looks a little more reasonable.

The Sun picks up the story of Keane to Chelsea and that sell-on clause. It says “United are believed to have not been able to get Burnley to agree to deal which means they will receive cash if he moves to another club.” Believed. In other words, the Sun and the BBC don’t know.

The M.E.N. says there is no sell-on clause.

If Keane is so good, why don’t United buy him? The Sun confronts that: “It is not known whether United have first-option to buy-back Keane if a fee is agreed.”

The BBC and Sun’s story add up to a lot of nothing – unless:

a) You’re a rival news organ keen not to miss out on a non-story. “Man United gossip: Red Devils having huge regrets over Michael Keane sale,” says the Mirror.  “Michael Keane’s emergence is another indictment of the Louis van Gaal reign at Manchester United,” says EuroSport. Which makes you wonder what EuroSport has to say about Paul Pogba, a player overlooked by Sir Alex Ferguson who rejoined United for a king’s ransom.

Having been loaned out to Leicester, Derby and Blackburn, on 2 September 2014, Keane was loaned to Burnley. On 8 January 2015, Keane joined Burnley on a permanent deal. Van Gaal replaced David Moyes as the new Manchester United boss on 19 May 2014, managing his first game on 24 July. The hammer-headed Dutchman was not a raving success at United but the club was hardly fighting to keep Keane, let alone make him a Premier League starter.

b) You’re a Burnley fan facing the prospect of losing one of their best players in January – a player who has improved under the excellent Sean Dyche. As Keane has said, “Burnley gave me the platform to showcase myself and show my talents in the first place.”

Manchester United have no regrets. They wouldn’t have picked him.


Posted: 8th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Chelsea double their offer for Juventus and Manchester City’s Leonardo Bonucci

Transfer balls:  The BBC says Chelsea’s owners Roman Abramovich has sanctioned a move for  Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29.  The Blues will offer the Italians £60m.

The Telegraph says this would be a world-record fee for a defender, beating the current record £50m PSG paid for Chelsea defender David Luiz – they bought him back for £30m.

Bonuccio is, says the paper, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s “dream signing”.

Bonucci has been full of praise of Conte, who managed him at Juventus and Italy. “Conte will be a big success in England, Chelsea are already a very good team and he will have them challenging both in England and in Europe,” said Bonucci, who might care to look again.

But the British Press know not all that much about Bonucci.




In June, the Metro said the player had agreed to join Chelsea.

The Sun said a “three-year deal for defender Bonucci, worth around £130,000 a week, has been accepted by the player and his agents.” The headline tol readers: “ANTONIO CONTE is plotting an amazing £57million double swoop for Italy stars Antonio Candreva and Leonardo Bonucci.”

Three months ago Bonucci cost £25m.

He’s now apparently worth £60m.

And in July he singed for Manchester City. The Sport Bible told us that:


manchester city bonucci


Such are the facts.

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chelsea have 3 ‘Loan Player Technical Coaches’ – but QPR’s ‘Equipment Monitorer’ wins

Chelsea have a ‘loan player technical coach’. Eddie Newton fills the role that perhaps no other coach has ever held before. Chelsea have hundreds if not thousands of footballers out on loan, young men playing for other clubs in the forlorn hope they will make it to the Blues first XI, but realistically expecting to be flogged for a tidy profit to a less wealthy side.

What technique Newton can teach these loanees no longer in touching distance is moot.

A friend who supports the mighty QPR showed me this season’s official club photo (below). It features the following non-playing team members:  Jasper Clinkscales (Sports Therapist), Sam Perrin (Equipment Monitorer), Sam Harwood (First Team Therapist), John Phillips (Head of Performance), Jack Sharkey (First Team Sports Scientist), Matt May (Head of Medical Services), Gary Doyle (Kit Manager), Chris Barnes (Performance Enhancement Consultant), David Oldfield (Assistant Manager), Les Ferdinand (Director of Football) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Manager).

Eleven in total. And that does really include a man whose job title is ‘Equipment Monitorer’.


QPR squad


Back to Eddie Newton, then, who gets a big write up in the Chelsea FC website:

Eddie Newton

Loan player technical coach. Eddie Newton works predominantly with our players out on loan, liaising closely with them and coaching staff at their temporary clubs.

He’s not the only one nannying Chelsea players playing for other clubs. Paulo Ferreira and Joe Edwards mean Chelsea have three people performing the role of Loan Player Technical Coach, aka Excess Staff Monitorers (note to QPR: call me, I have ideas). What do they cost do hire? And could the players’ mothers make better a job of it for less money?


Posted: 4th, October 2016 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media balls: Spurs concede 6 goals all season, Chelsea beat Manchester United and Liverpool are pipped by Arsenal

Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.

Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.

In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.

Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.

Manchester City win the title.


daily express premier predictor league


Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.


Posted: 26th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media balls: Ozil flukes Arsenal’s third, Chelsea have no shots all game and Coquelin hurts his what?

Media Balls: a look at bad and monocular football reporting. Today we look at Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Chelsea in the Premier League.

Mesut Ozil scored Arsenal’s third goal. Was it lucky?

The Guardian says it was a fluke: “Ozil watched it carefully onto his left foot, mishit his sidefoot volley completely – and saw it bounce over Courtois and in off the far post.”

The official Arsenal website has an alternative version of events. That shot was deliberate: “The World Cup winner ran on to the ball and met it on the volley, smashing it into the ground, beyond Courtois and in off the far post.”

The BBC agrees, saying, “Mesut Ozil then left N’Golo Kante trailing to expose Chelsea on the counter-attack and steer home Arsenal’s third“.

Was it smashed in? No, says the Times: “Ozil obliged, his goal creeping in off Courtois’ left-hand upright.”


cheslea media balls



Were Chelsea any good?

The Sun says: “Chelsea improved in the second half but rarely threatened a comeback – and couldn’t even muster a shot on target.”

Maybe the Sun’s man in the know went home early. The BBC says, “Chelsea’s first shot on target came in the 82nd minute.”

That’s right. Chelsea had two shots on target.

Ouch! Where does it hurt, Francis?

The Indy: “Coquelin put in another 100 per cent effort to block N’Golo Kante’s effort shortly after the half hour mark, and an ankle injury sustained in the clash forced him off two minutes later.”

The Standard looks at Coquelin’s injury: “Arsene Wenger admits he is ‘worried’ by Arsenal midfielder’s knee injury.”

The Star says Coquelin and Kante “had a nasty collision of knees“.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

How Chelsea’s Conte and Manchester United’s Mourinho manage failure

blame mourinhoFollowing Chelsea’s home defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League, the BBC says Blues’ manager Antonio Conte “subjected his players to an angry dressing-down”. Conte “accused his players of failing to play as a team.”

The Times says Conte read the “riot act to his players after the Liverpool loss”. He and the team took part in “an animated post-match exchange in the dressing room”.

But Conte is no Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea coach who explained his Manchester Untied’s 3-1 defeat to Watford by blaming the players publicly. “Some individuals probably feel the pressure and responsibility too much,” said Mourinho. We started the season very well…  I was completely aware that we were not perfect, with lots of players who are not end products and can make their own mistakes.”

And after Manchester United lost to Manchester City, Mourinho was pointing the finger:

“I had two or three players in the first half that, if I know what is going to happen, I don’t play them. This is football, though, and sometimes players disappoint managers.”

Compare and contrast to Conte who told the Chelsea FC website:

“I’m guilty because I’m the coach and it means I have to work more. We must feel the danger in every single moment of the game if we want to win and think like a great team. We must pay attention and be focused.”

Is it better to criticise your team in public or in private?

Matthew Syed notes:

“When pilots experience a near-miss with another aircraft, or have been flying at the wrong altitude, they file a report.  Providing that it is submitted within 10 days, they enjoy immunity…Openness and learning rather than blaming is the instinctive response – and system safety has been the greatest beneficiary.”

Conte the pilot?

“Contrast that with the healthcare scene, in which mistakes are very threatening to surgeons who have big egos, and the culture is very litigious – preventable medical error is now the third-biggest killer in western countries.”

Mourinho the surgeon?

Syed concludes:

“We love to think of ourselves as smart people, so we find mistakes, failure and sub-optimal outcomes challenging to our egos.”

We love to look around for someone else to blame. But the smart listen to advice, look at the data and learn not to repeat mistakes.

Posted: 19th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media balls – Swansea v Chelsea: Diego Costa’s dive, Leroy Fer’s foul and a red card

Talking Balls: a look at media bias in football reporting. Today’s game is Swansea v Chelsea in the Premier League. The game finished 2-2, thanks to a late goal from Diego Costa.


Chelsea FC:

Conte’s men were dominant now – tenacious in the tackle, composed in possession and a threat going forward. Leroy Fer and Federico Fernandez were booked for cynical fouls on Diego Costa (also carded before the break for a late tackle), and Cesar Azpilicueta drew a near-post stop from Fabianski after overlapping.

No dive is mentioned.


Costa, who might earlier have been sent off, capitalised on poor defending to fire the dominant visitors in front…

It was a small wonder he and Jordi Amat both stayed on the pitch having bickered throughout the game, and Costa was perhaps fortunate to escape a second yellow card for what appeared to be a dive under pressure from Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in the second half.

The Times:

If Swansea had real cause for frustration it was that Costa was still on the field to equalise. Already booked for a foul on Leroy Fer, Costa was guilty of clear simulation when contesting a ball with the Swansea goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, who gestured a diving motion at an opponent also assailed by boos.


Chelsea FC:

“Cahill was unfairly dispossessed by Fer, who raced clear and just about squeezed his shot through Courtois and over the line. In a flash, the Blues were behind.”


Fer appeared to foul Cahill as he dispossessed the Chelsea defender, and Swansea’s Netherlands midfielder ran clear before squeezing his shot past Courtois and over the line.

It did look like a foul. But:

South Wales Evening Post:

Leroy Fer stole possession from a dawdling Gary Cahill and bundled the ball through Thibaut Courtois legs and over the line.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 12th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Chelsea and Manchester United delight Griezmann’s agent

Transfer balls: how much is Atletico Madrid’s France striker Antoine Griezmann worth? The BBC says Chelsea manager Antonio Conte “wants the club to sanction a world-record bid” for Griezmann.

As negotiating tactics go, telling Atletico they should expect no less than the £89.3m Manchester Untied paid for Paul Pogba – and you are willing to pay it – is not exactly canny.

The Sunday Express says “Conte is ready to go above the £86million release clause in Griezmann’s contract to head off interest from Manchester United.”

Of course, it’s not Conte’s money. And as for release clauses, well, are they rally worth their salt? And there is another factor. On September 8, the BBC reported:

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have lost appeals against Fifa bans on signing players in the next two transfer windows. The clubs contested a decision by world football’s governing body to punish them for breaching rules over the transfer of foreign players under 18…

“Both clubs are to serve a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players at national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods,” said a Fifa statement.

The Spanish sides will now appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If that fails, will Atletico sell the France international who signed a new five-year contract with Atletico in June 2016?

These bans have form. In 2014, Barcelona were banned from signing any players in 2015 after their appeal against a transfer ban was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Barcelona were, like Real and Atletico, found guilty of breaching Fifa’s rules on the transfer of players aged under 18.

Of course, there are ways:

Barca went on a summer spending spree this year while the suspension went on hold during the appeals process, splashing out more than 150m euros (£117.5m) on Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Thomas Vermaelen, Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Alen Halilovic.

If you drag any appeal out until the next transfer window opens, look out for Atletico not selling big but buying bigger.

The Manchester Evening News says Chelsea will get no clear run at splurging massive amounts of cash on one player.

M.E.N. Sport understands United have earmarked Atletico Madrid goalscorer Griezmann, 25, as their primary target for the 2017 summer transfer window.

Griezmann’s agent must be delighted.

Posted: 11th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chelsea balls: Hazard mocks Mourinho and Cahill looks to the future

Chelsea players Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill have “stuck the knife into former manager Jose Mourinho”, says the Express.  (It’s a mere flesh wound in the Sun – a “sly dig”). Jose is “UNDER FIRE” as Chelsea players “lash out” at their former coach, the Express continues.


Jose Mourinho


The quotes come. Cahill says Chelsea “lost our way tactically” under Mourinho.

Hazard says: “[Antonio] Conte puts trust in his players. Now we are good after an ugly season last year. I’ve always been the same player. But Conte knows how to treat players having played at the highest level himself.”

Is that a dig at Mourinho’s lack of success as a player? If it is, it echoes Johan Cruyff, who opined, “What I don’t like is that he always puts himself on the first row. He should be on the second row. It’s probably because of his background, where he has never been cheered by 100,000 people, or whistled at by 100,000 people.”

Over in the Mail, Cahill’s quote is given more context. Was he really knifing Jose? No. What he said was:

“We needed organisation. Everyone saw what happened. We went from winning the league, having stayed at the top all year, to the disaster of last season.  We lost our way tactically, everyone’s head was in different directions. When I say about pulling together as a team, I felt everyone had different situations going on individually – whether that be if you’re playing or not, the manager, or this or that. Different distractions are never healthy.”

Not all Mourinho’s fault, then. Cahill says everyone at Chelsea played a part in last season’s failures. Although it was Mourinho who got the sack.

Posted: 8th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chelsea’s new ground held up by bats

The Times says “Chelsea’s new stadium has been delayed by “quiet assassins on the wing”. Surely the noise police don’t have a problem with Chelsea expanding their ground. That place has been quiet ever since the old die-hards were priced out of the place.

The story is not about people who enjoy the quiet. It’s about creatures who are quiet:

A colony of bats in the neighbouring Brompton cemetery, a Grade I-listed Victorian burial ground…threatens to derail the project and make the proposed completion date of 2020 appear optimistic.

The local council, Hammersmith and Fulham, has asked the club managers to explain how they propose to protect the cemetery and the denizens of its catacombs before approving the new stadium, which the architects claim is inspired by Westminster Cathedral.

Easy. Rebrand the cemetery as a stand. The bodies should up the crowd for those mid-week matches.





Posted: 26th, August 2016 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ashley Cole will ‘snub’ Arsenal to help Chelsea kids understand greed

The Evening Standard reports that LA Galaxy defender Ashley Cole, 35, “says he wants to work for Chelsea after his playing career is over rather than Arsenal.”

It would take a touch of lunacy for Arsenal to offer Cole a job, presumably one tutoring young players in the way of modern football. As he says:

“I enjoy scouting, watching the young lads come through. I have done a little for my agent, but I’d like to do something a bit more serious. I’d love to go back to work at Chelsea somewhere, somehow.”

It was Cole, of course, who provided the words that more than any others sum up the greed rife in modern football. In My Defence, Cole wrote:

“Ash! Are you listening?” said a virtually hyperventilating Jonathan [his agent]. “I’m here in the office and David Dein is saying they aren’t going to give you £60k a week. They’ve agreed £55k and this is their best and final offer. Are you happy with that?”

When I heard Jonathan repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. “He is taking the piss, Jonathan!” I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard.”

All yours, Chelsea. (Best to sort of Ashley’s fee first, though.)


Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Lukaku wants Chelsea, commits to Everton, goes nowhere

Transfer balls: The BBC says Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, 23, “will turn down Chelsea to stay at Goodison Park for at least another season”.

The BBC claim links to the Daily Mirror, which is adamant:

Romelu Lukaku is staying with Everton… The news is a massive boost for new boss Koeman.

All good news, then, for Everton fans. Much better than when the Mirror told them:

29 Jul 2016 – “Chelsea closing on transfer of Everton’s Romelu Lukaku as Toffees accept the striker wants Stamford Bridge return.”

27 June 2016 – “Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Romelu Lukaku wants Gunners move – but is the price too high?”


mirror lukaku everton



Chelsea have had a £57million bid for Romelu Lukaku rejected by Everton – but are confident of agreeing a deal to re-sign him this summer. The two clubs are haggling over a fee, with the Toffees holding out for a club-record £75million. But they have finally accepted the 23-year-old striker is determined to rejoin the club they bought him off two years ago.

All wrong. Lukaku is a Toffee.

But hold on. The BBC has more news:

But Koeman has admitted that he is preparing a Plan B, in case the Belgium forward leaves the club.

That story links to the Daily Mail, which says:

Everton are planning for life without Romelu Lukaku in the eventuality their striker departs this month. Chelsea are heavily interested in the 23-year-old and Ronald Koeman has targets lined up should they bow to a mega offer, as with John Stones and Manchester City.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: pig-headed Chelsea reserve Cesc Fabregas want Real Madrid move

Transfer balls: what news of Cesc Fabregas, the former Arsenal captain who left for his beloved Barcelona and now warms the bench at Chelsea? The Daily Express has some, reporting on August 15:

Chelsea have offered star [Fabregas] to Real Madrid

The Mirror confirmed the news:


fabregas barcelona


One day one and the Sun added:

Chelsea transfer news: Cesc Fabregas wants Real Madrid move and has contacted Florentino Perez

Blimey! Can a the former Barcelona player, a local boy done good, really join the Catalan club’s arch rivals? Have the pig’s heads on order.

No. Wait a moment. The Sun has more news. One day on from the scoop that Cesc wants Real, we read:

Chelsea transfer news: Cesc Fabregas will stay and fight for his Blues starting spot despite being dropped in favour of N’Golo Kante. Blues sources told SunSport Fabregas is NOT seeking a move away from Stamford Bridge and that it is highly unlikely he will leave this summer.”

Not quite, says the Star:

Cesc Fabregas is set to stay at Chelsea after being snubbed by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 17th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Chelsea make two phantom bids for Everton’s Lukaku

Transfer balls: Has Romenlu Lukaku rejoined Chelsea from Everton? No. But the papers keep reporting that he could, telling readers of failed bids and makeweight players in swap deals.

The Sun, May 18: “Manchester United and Chelsea target Romelu Lukaku expects to leave Everton in £65million deal before Euro 2016”

Sky Sports, July 22: “Will these transfers happen: Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, Jamie Vardy to Arsenal, Paul Pogba to Real Madrid?”

Answers: Maybe. No. No.

Daily Express, July 30: “Chelsea rebuffed in £57m Lukaku offer: Everton want £75m but accept departure is likely”

Daily Mirror, July 31: “Chelsea preparing £68million Romelu Lukaku bid”

Daily Mail, August 1: “Romelu Lukaku has told his Everton team-mates he wants to leave this summer. Chelsea have offered £68million for the Belgium international but Everton want £75m as reported in Sportsmail last month.

The Sun, August 6: “BEG-ING FOR ROM Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea: Antonio Conte’s Blues to offer Asmir Begovic and Loic Remy in bid to snap up striker”

The Sun says Chelsea “have already had a £65million offer turned down”.

And so to today’s news. The BBC says Chelsea have not made a single offer for the big Belgian striker.


The BBC, August 7: “Everton have been angered by what they see as Chelsea’s attempts to unsettle striker Romelu Lukaku, with the Blues yet to bid for the 23-year-old.”

Such are the facts.


Posted: 8th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Paul Pogba joins Manchester United ‘today’ and Chelsea in August 2015

Paul Pogba has finally signed for Manchester United says most of the media. Well, maybe:

August 5 – Daily Telegraph: “Will Mourinho announce Paul Pogba’s signing today?”


August 4, Daily Express: “PAUL POGBA will be confirmed by Manchester United today”

August 2, Yahoo!: “Manchester United to make official Paul Pogba announcement today”

July 29, Independent: “Paul Pogba continues to dominate the headlines and his world-record … will be confirmed once Pogba’s medical in LA is completed later today.”

He never did arrive ‘today’. Other sources wee just as wrong.

July 29, Daily Mail:


pogba daily mail


July 20, Daily Mirror:


Pogba signs United Daily Mirror


Pogba to Manchester United was all beaten by the story of Pogba to Chelsea. It too was a done deal.

August 22, 2015, Daily Telegraph: “Chelsea transfer news and rumours: Blues agree £69 million deal with Juventus for Paul Pogba”

August 21 2015, The Sun:


pogba chelsea


CHELSEA have agreed a stunning £69million deal to sign Juventus’ Paul Pogba. The champions made the Italian giants an offer they cannot refuse for the French midfield powerhouse…

Barcelona were in pole position to sign him, with Manchester City also said to be in the running. But Chelsea gazumped everyone with a huge statement of intent from owner Roman Abramovich.

Since the Blues slumped to a 3-0 defeat at City on Sunday, the Russian has sanctioned a huge seven-day spree, signing Abdul Baba Rahman, Pedro and now Pogba.

Chelsea did not sign Pogba.

When he appears for Manchester United, then we’ll believe Pogba has rejoined the club he left four years ago.

Posted: 5th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Chelsea snubbed, Manchester United linked and Joao Mario’s vanishing ink

Trasnfer balls spots the Sun’s report on “Chelsea transfer target Joao Mario”.

On Jul 14, it was disappointing news for the Blues. Mario “snubs Blues to seal Inter Milan move” stated the Sun.


transfer balls, Chelsea


Two Sun journalists told readers:

The Portugal star, 23, has agreed a five-year deal with the Serie A giants, after Sporting Lisbon accepted a £29million bid for the midfielder.

Today the Sun delivered an update. The agreement was no agreement after all. The “exclusive” was utterly wrong.


Chelsea tranfers


Anthony Chapman had new news:

MUST BE JOAO-KING Joao Mario to Chelsea: Manchester United target won’t be on the move this summer as Sporting Lisbon rule out transfer away

Euro 2016-winning Portugal midfielder linked with Premier League duo and Inter Milan but looks set to stay put.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, July 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Kante to Chelsea, Vardy verbally agrees to join Arsenal and remain at Leicester

And so begins the break-up of the Leicester City team that one with Premier League. The Telegraph says Chelsea have agreed to sign Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante, 25, at the weekend for £29m. Kante, we read, will soon tell Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri he wants to leave Leicester.

Of course nothing has been decided. Kante has signed no contract.

Jamie Vardy, Kante’s Leicester team-mate rejected a £20m move to Arsenal and committed to Leicester earlier this summer. Or did he?

The Express told readers on June 7, “Jamie Vardy verbally agrees three-year Arsenal deal”.

Today the Express says, “Arsenal have already missed out on Jamie Vardy, who has verbally agreed a new contract with Leicester.”

Verbal agreements appear to be no agreements at all. Can we deduce from the news that Vardy to Arsenal remains on?


Posted: 15th, July 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Manchester United and Liverpool sign Arsenal’s Higuain as Chelsea wait

Transfer Balls favourite Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 28, will not be renewing his contract with Napoli, reports Spain’s Radio Continental. We know, of course, that Higuain plays for Arsenal. The Sun reported Higuain signed for the Gunners in 2013.


higuain transfer


He never did, of course. The Sun was wrong.

So is Higuain leaving Napoli for the Premier League?

“There was talk of a project worthy of the Champions League, a convincing plan to fight for the Scudetto,” says Higuain’s agent and brother.”

The agent then dangles a large carrot:





“I don’t need to talk with the Parisian club about my brother, if PSG want him they should call [Napoli chairman] De Laurentiis.”

The Express says this puts Liverpool and Chelsea “on alert”.

But what of Manchester United? On March 16, the Metro declared: “Gonzalo Higuain agrees Manchester United.” One day later the Express added: “JOSE MOURINHO has personally agreed a deal to bring Gonzalo Higuain to Manchester United if he becomes manager.”

On May 30, the Metro changed its mind: “Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is keen to sign for Liverpool.” The Sun agreed. On June 7, it reported: “Liverpool set to seal mega-money deal for Napoli’s goal-scoring hero Gonzalo Higuain.”


Higuain liverpool


Such are the facts in the tabloids.


Posted: 29th, June 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United ‘favourites’ to land £78 Pogba who wants Real Madrid

As the summer arrives so too does the newspapers’ obsession with Paul Pogba, the former Manchester United player now starring for Juventus and France.

The Daily Mirror says Manchester United “must” pay £78m if they want Pogba back at Old Trafford. The Mirror says news United manager Jose Mourinho wanted Pogba when he was at Chelsea last season. But Chelsea and Manchester City baulked at the £71m asking price.

The Sun spots the Premier League’s “scramble” for Pogba. The clubs need not bother. The Sun says Pogba’s “dream is to play in La Liga for Real Madrid or Barcelona”.  The Juventus player is “waiting on Spain’s big two before making any decisions”.

Not so says the Manchester Evening News’s Rob Pollard: “Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been linked with him in the last 18 months – but it seems the path has cleared somewhat and United are now clear favourites to land him.”


manchester evening news pogba

Manchester Evening News 


So United will pay £78m? No, says the Express : “JOSE MOURINHO will offer Matteo Darmian as part of a deal to try and land Paul Pogba.” The deal is Darmian plus £60m cash.  So says the Express, which has also told its readers that Pogba has agreed to join PSG and Barcelona.


Pogba Barcelona Man United


Such are the facts.


Posted: 10th, June 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chelsea: Dr Carneiro is ‘disgruntled’ but Mourinho is just ‘Jose’

Dr Eva Carneiro turned to the courts when Chelsea failed to take a stand against her co-worker Jose Mourinho, who publicly humiliated her. Having rejected the club’s offer of £1.2 million to shut up and go away, Dr Carneiro continued to sue for justice.

Yesterday she settled her dismissal claim against Chelsea on confidential terms. She had claimed constructive dismissal against Chelsea. In addition she reached a discrimination settlement against Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea said it apologised “unreservedly”for its treatment of its former first-team doctor.

“The club regrets the circumstances which led to Dr Carneiro leaving the club and apologises unreservedly to her and her family for the distress caused. We wish to place on record that in running onto the pitch Dr Carneiro was following both the rules of the game and fulfilling her responsibility to the players as a doctor, putting their safety first.”

Mourinho, who denied calling the medic “daughter of a whore” (she alleged that he did) never issued a public apology. The Chelsea statement merely noted:

“Jose Mourinho also thanked Dr Carneiro for the excellent and dedicated support she provided as first team doctor and he wishes her a successful career.”

But why should Jose says sorry? The Manchester United manager (£15m a year) remains good ol’ Jose in the Mail, whereas the victim is a moody woman who got lucky:


dr carneiro sexist



Posted: 8th, June 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Mourinho v Carneiro: Chelsea ‘whores’ and Chelsea ‘girls’

Former Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro is at an employment tribunal. Did former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho call her “daughter of a whore” who was only suited to working with the juniors or the “ladys [sic]”? Mourinho, now at Manchester United, might not care about the ruling. After all, the case hasn’t prevented him from joining Manchester United.

The Times says Carneiro rejected an offer for £1.2m to settle out of court. She claims constructive dismissal against Chelsea. She also claims, in another case, that Mourinho targeted her for sexual discrimination.

You will recall, of course, how this nasty row started last August, when Mourinho, the then Chelsea boss, hurled abuse at Carneiro as she raced onto the pitch to treat Chelsea player Eden Hazard. Mourinho says he yelled “filho da puta” (son of a bitch). She says he yelled “filha da puta” (daughter of a bitch or daughter of a whore).

What Mourinho did say, after Carneiro was banished from the bench, was, “She works in academy team  or lady [sic] team not with me.”

Such are the facts.

And what of the reporting on alleged sexism in football? Well, the Star pretty much carries on regardless. An educated women in her early middle-age is a “girl doc”:


DR Eva Carneiro sexism



Posted: 7th, June 2016 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester United offer £48m for £75m Pogba, who joined Chelsea for £69m

pogba manchester unitedTransfer balls: Manchester United want to invest £60m in Paul Pogba, the France and Juventus midfielder once on United’s books. The Sun says Jose Mourinho has “sanctioned the bid”.

The only things standing between United and Pogba are: Juventus trying to trigger a bidding war for their star player; Barcelona; United’s failure to appear in next season’s Champions’ League; Barcelona; any other big team with pots of cash; Manchester City; the fact that the bid is actually £48m plus bonuses, which values him less than Manchester City paid for Raheem Sterling; and did we mention Barcelona?

On the plus side, the Sun “understands” that Pogba likes Mourinho and his plan to make United “great again”.

Of course, we have read news of Pogba’s movements before in the Sun. There was the time he was joining Chelsea:

CHELSEA have agreed a stunning £69million deal to sign Juventus’ Paul Pogba. – August 2015 

PAUL POGBA is ready to snub Manchester City and extrend his deal with Juventus. The Frenchman is wanted by a host of top clubs but would come with a huge £75million-plus price tag. – March 2016

Paul Pogba ready to snub Manchester United, Real Madrid and Manchester City as he aims to cement his legacy at Juventus – May 2016

CHELSEA are in constant contact with Juventus star Paul Pogba over a possible £76million transfer – May 2016

Manchester United target Paul Pogba ‘buys house in Barcelona’ as Jose Mourinho looks set to miss out on Juventus star – June, 2016

Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, June 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Chelsea and Man United in race to stop Arsenal getting Morata (again)

Transfer balls – a look at iffy reporting in the mainstream media. News is that Arsenal are still after Alvaro Morata.

The Mirror says “Arsenal and Chelsea could go head to head in the race to sign 23-year-old Juventus striker Alvaro Morata.” So only two clubs are in for the striker. It is a head-to-head race.

The Mirror adds:

Alvaro Morata has sparked an auction between Arsenal and Chelsea after admitting he believes the Premier League would be a “great destination.”

Or as the player wanted by PSG (source: The Mirror) and who has an agreement to re-sign for Real Madrid should they want him says:

 “Hopefully everything will be resolved before then, because it is uncomfortable to be helping your country with phone in hand. My wish is to succeed in Madrid… There are some offers from England that are tempting, not only because of the contract. I think my characteristics mean the Premier League would be a great destination.”

If Real don’t want him, then maybe he’ll look to the PL. It’s a head-to-head-to-head race – and one club has a massive head. As Spain’s AS put it:

Alvaro Morata wants a return to Real Madrid

In other news:

The Evening Standard and Manchester Evening News saysManchester United have added their head to the race – and United have a real bighead in charge:


Morata Manchester United


Morata Manchester United



And the Liverpool Echo say Liverpool want him:


Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 16.02.48


Of course, Morata already plays for Arsenal. The Daily Star told us that:


Morata Arsenal


Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, June 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0