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Chelsea | Anorak - Part 3

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Chelsea football club news, Chelsea transfers

Clickbait balls: Hazard keeps agreeing to leave Chelsea for Real Madrid

On a break from advertising biscuits, Chelsea and Belgium footballer Eden Hazard is doing his best to alienate the club’s fans. Well, he is if the BBC and Sun’s back-page headline is to be believed. “Belgium forward Eden Hazard, 27, has warned his club side Chelsea that ‘Real Madrid could interest me’,” says the BBC. The Sun leads: “EDEN WARNING – Eden Hazard has warned the club he will quit unless they sort things out in the summer.” Warning your employer to work hard to please you is an iffy move. But is that what Hazard really said in an interview with L’Equipe before he flew to Moscow for the World Cup?

What can we believe? Reporting on Hazard is so much more clickbait than fact.

 

hazard chelsea the sun real madrid

 

On January 11, the Sun reported: “EDEN HAZARD has NOT agreed to join Real Madrid in the summer, despite reports.”

Reports like… this one in the Sun from July 2o17. The word ‘agrees’ is in inverted commas but fro SEO purposes hazard to Real Madrid is a statement of fact.

 

hazard chelsea the sun real madrid

 

Not that the Sun is alone in milking the ‘Hazard has gone nowhere for years’ story. In January the Independent said Hazard was staying at Chelsea. Fact.

 

hazard chelsea the sun real madrid

 

The Express told its readers: “…the Belgium international has now quashed rumours that he will leave the Blues by confirming he intends to sign a new deal…However, he has claimed he will not do so until his fellow countryman Thibaut Courtois has also extended his stay at Stamford Bridge.”

Really? No. He said nothing of the sort.

So much for the trusty Express, then, which performed the same trick as the Sun in gearing news for the robots. Like the Sun, the Express said Hazard ‘agrees’ to join Real Madrid. But because Google’s bots don’t read those conniving inverted commas, Hazard to Real is a statement of fact:

 

express hazard transfer

 

So will Hazard remain at Chelsea or leave for Real Madrid? This is what he said when pressed on his future as quoted in the Sun:

“I will stay at Chelsea if the team is better than it was last season. I don’t want to stay if we are less good,” says Hazard, who might reflect on is role in the team and how you can know next season is better before its been played? “It would be too easy for me to say that I want to leave because I have done it all. I have won everything bar the Champions League in London. I am where I am in my career thanks to Chelsea. Above all I would love to know what will happen at the club next season. I will wait and see whether the manager stays or goes. As everybody knows, Real Madrid could interest me. But if tomorrow they don’t want me, I won’t talk about them any more. If they want to buy me they know what they have to do.”

And this is what he said in May, as quoted by the Guardian:

The 27-year-old knows his next contract could well be the last in his prime. “That’s why I’m taking my time,” he said. “It’s something big, so I need to think about a lot of things. But one thing is for sure: I’m happy here.”

Asked to elaborate on the factors that would influence his decision, he added: “I’m waiting for new players next season. I want good players, because I want to win the Premier League next season.

“Like I’ve said many times before, I think the FA Cup final is not my last game for Chelsea. It’s the last game of the season, that’s it. After the World Cup then we will be ready for the next season. But, for me in my mind, I’m here. I have one week to play now. Saturday is a massive game, I just want to win, for me and them also.”

He’s not warning Chelsea over anything, is he? Hazard’s Chelsea contract runs til 2020. He’s not going anywhere unless Real Madrid or any other club pay a huge transfer fee.

NOTE: Maybe he just wants more money? Chelsea are to offer him £300,000 a week says the Sun:

 

hazard chelsea

 

Although according to the Sun they made the offer last year:

 

hazard chelsea wages

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal play Chelsea in Dublin in readiness for European super league

Arsenal will play Chelsea on 4 August in a pre-season rubber in Dublin as part of the – get this – International Champions Cup (ICC). Neither club is the Premier League champion. Other Premier League clubs in the competition are: Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. The so-called ‘Big Six’ are all in the ICC to play one another in the same month as the PL season proper begins. When you know the other teams in this marketing campaign are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Roma, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Benfica it becomes clear that the whole thing is a precursor to some European Super League.

It’s billed thus:

It boasts the two largest crowds in U.S. soccer history, the only Clásico ever played on American soil and a list of former champions as regal as any tournament in the world: Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, Barcelona. A roster of top scorers that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Franck Ribéry. This year, it includes 18 of the world’s most iconic and influential clubs, 90 out of 100 of the world’s top-ranked players and all eight of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists.

How long before the European Cup final is played in the USA or China?

It’s the International Champions Cup, the summer’s biggest club competition, and its mix of megastar glamour and debutante mystery is as compelling a proposition as the game has to offer.

Want more of this tosh?

The ICC, now in its sixth edition, is a crucial component of the soccer calendar for both the game’s luminaries and its next generation of stars. It’s been a launching pad for numerous emerging standouts over the years. Christian Pulisic—aged just 17—scored an injury-time equalizer for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City in 2016.

He did?

American Julian Green registered a hat trick against Inter Milan that same summer, just weeks after his twentieth birthday. Sergi Roberto, then a Barcelona reserve, scored the decider in Barça’s 2015 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 93,000 at the Rose Bowl. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Ousmane Dembele each took their ICC opportunity to announce themselves as global footballing forces, and Marcos Asensio—perhaps most famously—did the same by finishing off a stunning end-to-end move to score for Real in Miami’s spectacular 2017 Clásico.

It is utter balls. These are brand-building matches played after the the World Cup before the teams’ domestic seasons begin. The only point of it must be the get us used to an elite league of European sides.

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United and Chelsea fight for Robert Lewandowski who dreams of Real Madrid

Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski, who wants to leave Bayern Munich (Mirror). Manchester United are favourites to sign the Poland striker, says the Daily Star. Lewandowski’s a gem of a player. And for some time now he’s bene linked with other clubs. So can we believe the stories that he’s heading to the Premier League?

Robert Lewandowski has agreed to join Real Madrid this summer – The Metro, March 19 2018

Chelsea and Man Utd dealt transfer blow: Robert Lewandowski and Real Madrid agree terms – Daily Star, March 19, 2018

Real Madrid news: Robert Lewandowski ‘agrees deal’ after Harry Kane pursuit fails – Daily Express, March 17 2018

Lewandowski agrees Madrid move – Goal, March 16 2018

Real Madrid transfer news: Robert Lewandowski ‘dreams’ of signing for club – Daily Express, December 9 2017

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on moving to Real Madrid next summer – The Metro, September 17 2017

Robert Lewandowski to snub Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City by leaving Bayern for Real Madrid – The Independent, January 27 2016

WHERE TO, LEW? Robert Lewandowski latest: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United or Chelsea? At which Premier League club could he end up? – The Sun, June 16 2016

Clickbait all the way.

 

Posted: 31st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Chelsea owner Abramovich is not dead

CHELSEA FC owner Roman Abramovich is “BANNED FROM UK”. Well, so says the Daily Star. And it’s wrong. He’s just “faced delays in renewing his UK visa” the BBC “understands”. No that the Beeb knows much about the Russian billionaire who wasn’t at Wembley to see his investment win the FA Cup. This is its story in a nutshell:

Asked about the visa, Security Minister Ben Wallace said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.” Mr Abramovich’s office said it does not discuss personal matters with the media. Reports suggest his investor visa expired three weeks ago.

 

roman abramovich visa

 

Apropos of nothing much, the BBC then adds: “He is believed to be close to current Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Whatever anyone suggests and believes, the Star is happy to go out on a limb and scream on Page 7: “ROMAN TOLD: YOU’RE NOT WELCOME ANY MORE.” But just one line in and the bold statement is undone as the Star says Abramovich’s visa has “reportedly run out”.

It all promised so much. What football fan was not smirking and mentally counting the seasons as Chelsea, shawn of Russian money, slide to those pre-Roman days of lower-league football and in-fighting. Not that a club’s overseas-domiciled owner needs to be a fan nor show up to games – see Man City, Man United, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool. But Chelsea is Roman’s alone. It’s a one-man empire. “What happens if he suddenly dropped dead, as Russian oligarchs have been known to do?” muses the Daily Mail. Dunno. Maybe a family man wily enough to be a billionaire has thought about that made plans?

 

roman abramovich visa

 

roman abramovich visa

 

He’s not dead. He’s “stranded in Russia,” says the Express. It adds that Roman “could become the first major casualty of the tensions since the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.” Of maybe, you know, he could not.

The Sun makes the link between poison and footy overt in its headline: “Chelsea owner stuck in Moscow after poison row.” But there’s no link between the two things. The headline might just as easily say: “Chelsea owner escapes Wembley bore-fest.”

It’s “Roman’s own goal” in the Mirror. Roman news shares a page with the story “Cut off dirty money, MPs plead” – “Fresh sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s cronies will be urged today to stem ‘dirty money’ harming UK security.” No suggestion whatsoever Abramovich has down anything wrong – other than fund Chelsea, the club that since his investment in 2003 have won 15 trophies. And that’s unforgivable, of course. Still, if could have been worse: he could have bought Spurs.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City want Hazard; Chelsea star ‘agrees’ Real Madrid move with mind

Pick a top player. Any player. And then say Manchester City want him. The BBC says Manchester City are “planning” a £100m deal for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Pep Guardiola has earmarked the 27-year-old Belgium forward as “his top transfer target”. Over in the Daily Star, we get not only the same peak at City’s summer spending plan but also an insight into Pep’s head. News is that he’s “confident” of getting Hazard. And – get this – Hazard is “aware” that City like him.

The Daily Star can read minds. But it can’t conjure a quote of single fact to support its scoop – and neither can the BBC.

It might be worth have a look at what other Eden Hazard headlines the tabloids have provided us with:

Chelsea may offer Eden Hazard in a swap deal for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele – Daily Star, Jan 21 2018

Eden Hazard AGREES Real Madrid move after snubbing Chelsea contract offer – Daily Express, Jan 10, 2018

EDEN TO REAL Eden Hazard agrees deal to join Real Madrid with Alvaro Morata moving the other way to Chelsea – The Sun, Jul 10, 2017

Eden Hazard reaches agreement with Real Madrid after secret transfer talks – The Metro, April 26, 2017

Hazard has done all that by communicating telepathically. Fact.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Betting on Morata cost Chelsea £60m and Diego Costa

Arsenal fans are not the only one bemoaning Olivier Giroud’s move to Chelsea. The Frenchman is making Álvaro Morata look limper than a three-legged donkey.

It all looked so promising for Chelsea when Morata arrived from Real Madrid last summer for a club record fee of £60m. “Alvaro has proven class at the highest level and his quality will be a huge asset,” said Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo. Pat Nevin said Chelsea fans would be “smiling and punching the air” at getting Morata. They weren’t being glib. The season before he joined Chelsea, Morata scored 15 goals from 55 shots in La Liga. That works out to an impressive 27% conversion rate – the highest of any striker to score 10 or more goals in La Liga in 2016-17. He scored one goal for every 89 minutes playing time.

Now you look at him and wonder where it all went wrong. Chelsea sold Diego Costa – feisty, angry, galvanising and solid – and bought Morata – flaky, subdued and uninspiring. In October 2017, the striker told Italy’s Gazzetta that he did not see himself living in London “for very long”. He later panicked and said he’s sign a 10-year contract if he was offered one. He won’t be.

But Juventus, where Morata played with no little success, want him back. News is that Juventus have £60m earmarked for Morata’s transfer. Will Chelsea accept? And what does Morata leaving mean for manager Antonio Conte, of whom Morata said:

“Conte is the manager who most ‘bet’ on me, without even ever having had me in his team. I’m very conscious of that. He bet on me for Juventus but left before I arrived, then he wanted me at Chelsea come what may. He knows me better than I could imagine, I’m sure, and that’s important. It motivates you to work hard, train well.

“I feel indebted to him because he’s the coach that most trusted in me, most wanted me, who made me feel I could perform at the highest level. And yet I’ve never had the fortune to actually work with him. I’m sure sooner or later I will.”

It’s a bet Conte lost.

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Premier League fixes schedules to give Arsenal, Liverpool Manchester United and rest of big six easier starts

The Premier League doesn’t pull a fixture lit at random from the hat. The schedule’s fixed so that none of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – the so-called ‘Big Six’ – meet on the opening or final weekends of the season. This secret agenda means fans watch matches between the biggest clubs throughout the season and attendances for the final matches remain higher than if everyone was tuning in for a title decider between two heavyweights  – all matches on the final weekend kick off at the same time. The season’s opening games are in the summer, when many people are on holiday. Less people tuning in means less advertising cash. As with everything in the Premier League, it’s all about the money.

And the new scheduling stymies the effect of unusual results, like Leicester winning the title or Liverpool finishing 8th. Clubs are arranged over their “highest average finishing positions in the Premier League competition over the three seasons immediately preceding that season”.

Sad to think you’ll never see a thrilling finale again, like when Arsenal played Liverpool in a title decider on May 26, 1989. There will never be a winner takes all match.

 

arsenal-liverpool-1989

I was there!

 

A spokesman for the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) tells us: “We are very concerned about this apparent designation of an elite group of top-six clubs. Every Premier League club should be treated equally, and we also do not agree with this push for them to receive a bigger share of television money. The AST would like the focus to be on organising fixtures and kick-off times that are convenient for fans who go to matches, rather than what best suits domestic or overseas TV viewers.”

Kevin Miles, chief executive o f The Football Supporters’ Federation, adds: “This is certainly news to us and we look forward to holding discussions with the Premier League about the pros and cons of it.”

 

Pros: money. Cons: treating fans like lab rats.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfers: Arsenal, Soyuncu and the truth about Turkish football

Arsenal have seen off a bid from Bayern Munich to sign 21-year-old Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu, says the BBC. Not that it requires much thought for a hungry defender to pick the Gunners – any defender with even a modicum of pace, power, poise and positional awareness will walk into the current Arsenal team.

But the Beeb is wrong. Soyuncu hasn’t signed. He remains on the books of Bundesliga club Freiburg. News of his arrival at Arsenal is fanned by Altinordu president Seyit Mehmet Ozkan.

Who?

Well, Soyuncu used to play at Turkish club Altinordu. “Caglar Soyuncu is set to join Arsenal,” Ozkan is reported to have told the “International Football Economic Forum”.

The what?

“Arsenal demanded his youth information from us,” says Ozkan. “We’ll earn from him, if he joins Arsenal. Bayern Munich wants him too, but he’s on the way to the Premier League.”

 

 

 Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu

 

Back to the International Football Economic Forum, something introduced to readers by the Standard, which is the source for the Beeb’s ‘fake’ news on Soyuncu signing for Arsenal. Not much information on this body appears on the web.

But a bit of digging reveals that it was held at the Grand Tarabya Hotel, Istanbul. Sabah newspaper, which hosted the event, lists the international names on the rostrum:

Youth Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, TFF President Yıldırım Demirören , TFF 1st Vice President and Member of UEFA Board of Directors Servet Yardımcı, G.Saray President Mustafa Cengiz , Beşiktaş President Fikret Forest , Başakşehir President Göksel Gümüşdağ,  Altınordu President Mehmet Ozkan, former director of Manchester United and Chelsea Peter Kenyon, star players Gomis, Adebayor, Babel, Rodallega, SABAH Sports Manager Murat Özbostan, Fotomaç Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Zeki Uzundurukan, İnteltek AŞ. General Manager Ahmet Sezer, Passolig General Manager Ceyhun Kazancı, Aktif Bank General Manager Assist. Ahmet Erdal Güncan, Director of Türk Telekom Services Özlem Kalkan Karabulut, G. Saray Commercial Operations Director Kerem Ertan, F. General Manager of Communication Services Hakan Demir, writer Levent Tuzemen, Bülent Timurlenk and Spanish journalist J. Castro Nogale.

The only non-Turks on the panels appear to be: 4 “star players”, Peter Kenyon and a Spanish journalist.

It’s aims:

The International Football Economy Forum… aims to increase knowledge and awareness by creating rational, visionary, creative, sustainable and qualified targets and to increase the brand value of Turkish football by creating public opinion…

Fikret Orman tells the lads:

“Taking a glance at the star players’ perceptions about Turkey; It seems to be a stop before going to the Middle East. If we increase the brand value of the Super League, we can transfer the appropriate players to more economic conditions…

“If we increase the traceability, as in the case of Cenk Tosun [now at Everton], soccer player sales will come at a high price, all of them related with traceability and if we can increase this, the revenue rights of broadcasting rights will increase too. The majority of the sponsors in the league are doing it to become a world brand ..

In light of this marketing drive, are Arsenal really looking to sign Soyuncu for a fee as high as £40m? Ozkan’s words to the Forum are sieved through the wonders of Google Translate:

Speaking at the International Football Economy Forum… Özkan stated that they will continue to trust and provide young players with “We have won Çağlar Söyüncü and Cengiz Ünder for Turkish and European football. I will go to Germany for Sunday and to follow Chelsea to England on Sunday, and I’m going to sell football to both of them.”

And on Arsenal:

Of Turkey in the world take place in the football market, emphasizing that it is linked to the universal Seyit Mehmet Ozkan, “beginning of last season we sold Freiburg Ages Söyünc is to be transferred to Arsenal.”

Well, maybe… Only to the trusty BBC is Soynucu to Arsenal a done deal. And look out for the BBC’s scoop that Roma’s Cengiz Ünder has joined Chelsea. He hasn’t.

Posted: 4th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Subbuteo and the FA still still women’s football as a marketing gimmick

subbuteo-women game

 

In readiness for the 2018 Women’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal, Subbuteo have produced a limited edition first all-female set. Marzena Bogdanowicz, the FA’s head of marketing and commercial for women’s football, tells us:

This new, all-female Subbuteo set is a reflection of the rapid growth that women’s football is seeing in the UK right now.

It is? Does anyone still play Subbuteo?

We aspire to greater equality all the way from board games to boardrooms, and every day we are striving to transform the future of the women’s game on and off the pitch.

 

The very first #Subbuteo advert ever seen in #Shoot! 1969-08-16

Subbuteo advert – Shoot! magazine – 1969

 

James Walker, of Hasbro, which make the table-top football game, adds:

We are incredibly excited to work with the FA to place focus on female footballers in this special edition of Subbuteo. Subbuteo has a rich heritage that reflects the nation’s love of football and this all-female playset is recognition of the vital role that women’s football has in our culture.

This is a little undermined by the fact that the set is not being offered for sale. You can only get it via competitions on the FA’s social media channels. The feeling is that Hasbro and the FA see women’s football not as a viable sport, rather as an opportunity to blow their own horns about equality, and that ‘women’s football’ is something apart from ‘football’.

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Ray Wilkins: Chelsea to the core

Ray Wilkins, the former England captain who played for Manchester United, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain, Ranger, QPR, Crystal Palace and Chelsea (debut at 17 and club captain a year later; assistant manager at Chelsea under no fewer than four different managers; two terms as caretaker manager), is unwell. Wilkins is in a London hospital. He is critically ill. His wife says things are “very bad” with the 61-year-old.

‘Butch’ Wilkins, a media mainstay, has been a favourite ever since when he explained his love for football as being payed to do his hobby.

Until his sacking in 2013, Wilkins represented continuity at Chelsea, a rare quality for club that treat staff as sundries.

 

 

 

And not forgetting this:

Get well soon, Ray.

Posted: 31st, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


It’s quiet at Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea because football fans are being controlled

Manchester United’s Old Trafford is a quiet ground. It’s not alone. The quiet at the Emirates is more obvious than a dead nun on a snow-covered hillside. Stamford Bridge is quiet enough for rare newts to breed and raise their young in The Shed end.  But help is afoot. United are looking at ways to bring back the noise. Things under consideration: fans with megaphones; song sheets; the return to standing and a reduction in ticket prices, meaning fans can turn up on a whim and not have to book seats well in advance, pay though the noes and sit among strangers. Only one part of that list was made up. The last part.

 

 

There will be no standing.

Football as we know it changed on 15 April 1989, when 96 blameless Liverpool fans who “neither caused nor contributed to the deaths” lost their lives at Hillsborough in a “failure of police control” and “multiple failures in other organisations”. The police lied and lied and lied. The victims still await justice. But rather than address why fans were caged and police sent for attack dogs when people were losing their lives, Hillsborough was used an excuse to control football supporters – what the Sunday Times called “slum people, who deter decent folk from turning up“.

The mood against football fans was hostile. And then came the 1990 Taylor Report. The fences were torn down. In their the place came all-seater stadia. The ID card scheme never took off – the Tory government wanted football fans to carry compulsory identity cards at matches. But now all fans did get a number, a booking reference and their bank details taken. New forms of control took hold. Spontaneity was out. Chants and language were policed.

So why is there a palpable lack of atmosphere at the football? Because the fans are shackled, treated as problem to manage and control.

Hillsborough: 96 Liverpool Fans Killed By ‘A Slum Sport Watched By Slum People In Slum Stadiums’

 

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool will sell Salah for a fortune and Chelsea are the biggest losers

Spare a thought for Chelsea fans forced to look on as club rejects Kevin Bruyne and Mohamed Salah light up the Premier League for Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively. Both players sold under Jose Mourinho’s regime are shining. Given Mourinho’s narcissism, he’s most likely try to pass his errors off as part of a cunning ploy to leave his former employer’s pained. But if he had foresight, Mourinho would have sold them to Manchester United, pushing Old Trafford towards investment in the coming force rather than selfish Alexis Sanchez – made to look better than he was by playing for a palsied Arsenal team – and the vastly overrated Paul Pogba.

News across the media is that Real Madrid rather like Salah. Those Spanish talent spotters have noted that the Egyptian scores lots of goals and looks a joy to be around. So excited are they by their discovery in the Premier League backwaters that Real will invest up to £200m in Salah. But news from Anfield is that Liverpool will spurn any moves for their star turn. They won’t, of course. Every player has a price. And £200m for Salah is an absurd sum  for a £34million summer signing from Roma.

The problem for Liverpool is that Salah is the star of a team which will probably win nothing.

 

 

 

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


FA Cup fail: BBC announce Manchester United to play Chelsea and Spurs

And to the live draw for the FA Cup semi-final. Lynsey Hipgrave is the designated BBC blonde sports presenter tasked with announcing the matches. The balls are pulled from U-bend beneath the FA Cup plug hole by Gianfranco Zola and Petr Cech.

The numbers in the hat are – and if anyone knows the method behind the numbering, do tell:

1 – Tottenham
2 – Manchester United
3 – Chelsea
4 – Southampton

They come out in order: 2, 1, 3, 4.

It’s Manchester United v Tottenham. It’s Chelsea v Southampton. Or as Hipgrave puts it: it’s Spurs v Southampton. It’s Man United v Chelsea.

 

 

You had one job.

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Conte laughably calls for ‘patience’ as Chelsea line up Luis Enrique

Antonio Conte is on his way out of Chelsea, if reports are to believed. The bouncy Italian will be jettisoned just a season after winning the Premier League at his first attempt. Ridiculous, of course, but, then, this is Chelsea, the club that goes through managers in less time than it takes Cesc Fabregas to read the loyalty clause in his new contract. Chelsea have had 11 managers in 15 years. In terms of silverware won, high turnover of coaching staff has been no barrier to success. The Blues have won 14 major trophies under Roman Abramovich’s. So long as Abramovich keeps investing in his club (the Russian’s loan to the Blues is £1bn and counting), his way will continue. Keep recruiting the new and vibrant and never stop to work out why you never did Pepe Guardiola?

So Luis Enrique is being made ready for the job.He and his family should see their time in London as a very well-paid busman’s holiday. Conte’s deal has 18 months to run. It’ll cost Chelsea a fortune to sack him. (Under Abramovich, Chelsea have paid out £71m severance pay to sacked managers).

“We must understand our level,” says Conte. “Now we struggle for a Champions League place. We must accept this situation. In the future you have to buy two or three players — not eight. Don’t forget, this summer we brought in eight [counting Christensen’s return from loan] and spent a lot less than other teams… We have to build something important. To do this, you must have 15 or 16 players. In the summer we changed eight players. That means you don’t have a basis, a great foundation. We lost strong, experienced players in the last few years so we must have patience.”

Patience? Not at Roman’s Chelsea.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal sell Giroud to Chelsea for less than agreed price

Arsenal have yet to hand over the £60m it’ll take for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join them. The BBC says the move “hinges” on two other transfers:  Aubameyang to Arsenal, Giroud to Chelsea and Batshuayi to Dortmund.

We’re told Arsenal want £35, for Giroud, 31.

 

 

No they don’t, says The Metro, which declares: “Chelsea agree to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal for £15m.”

They have? No. Of course not. That’s the dire Metro, which can’t even get Giroud’s age right:

 

 

 

Football365 then gets itself in a mess over what words mean. Can you “give” a man to another – slavery? – and get £15m in return?

 

 

The Daily Express is also confused. It’s not “agreed” if it’s in ‘inverted commas’. But it is agreed if the story states: “Chelsea have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Oliver Giroud.”

 

 

The source for every one of these scoops seems to be Gianlica Dimario. Who he and why is his word taken as fact? He says he’s a “journalist registered with the Court of Milan”. On his website, we read (through the wonder of Google Translate):

With Dzeko, Chelsea has identified a new target for the attack. This is Olivier Giroud , for whom the Blues have found an agreement with Arsenal on the basis of 15 million pounds plus bonuses. The negotiation will be defined as soon as Wenger’s team will define every detail with Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund will have found a substitute for Gabonese, which could be Batshuayi.

 

The utter balls is underlined by the Express, which on the same page as its report that Giroud to Chelsea for £15m is a done deal, declares this morning:

Giroud crunch talks
06.15: Chelsea are expected to re-open negotiations with Arsenal today regarding the sale Olivier Giroud, according to Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague.

Balague says that Chelsea had an initial offer of £20million turned down by the Gunners.

“I read Giroud could go to Chelsea for £15m but I believe #CFC last offer was £20m and was rejected by #AFC,” Balague wrote on Twitter.

“No negotiations took place after that rejection.

“But tomorrow contacts could be renewed.”

To recap: Giroud has joined Chelsea for £5m less than a bid Arsenal rejected?

Oh, and in the Sun we read that Chelsea are targeting Tottenham’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, 32.

Fact: Giroud has not signed for Chelsea.

 

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Wenger watch: Arsenal manger swore at Chelsea player and never flinched

How did Arsene Wenger find life sat in the Chelsea press box for Arsenal’s League Cup match semi-final tie? Well, last time we discovered that he has a huge garden:

A year ago, when he was also serving a touchline ban, Wenger crept to his seat beside the corporate area in the East Stand at Stamford Bridge and was welcomed with a handshake by an Arsenal supporter.

“I said, ‘Good afternoon’ and he replied, ‘I’m your gardener at your house’,” Wenger said. “I didn’t even know him. I do have a big garden.”

And this time, what did we learn?

Here’s Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph:

Spending 90 minutes literally just a few feet from Wenger ensured a fascinating insight. Not for anything he said, but simply the magnified perspective provided by his body language. We hear so often of how football managers live every moment of a match that we become almost immune to the draining reality of that statement. Yet to see Wenger fidgeting with each pass, almost straining to make every tackle and, even surrounded by media, still letting out the occasional shout of encouragement or kick of frustration was to feel just how much it all means.

Phil McNulty was there for the BBC:

Wenger remained relatively calm, even when Lacazette wasted a presentable first-half chance, only rising from his seat once during the game when Welbeck was penalised for a foul on Moses, but it was also easy to detect the strains and stresses.

He banged the table in front of him when Granit Xhaka committed a foul against Eden Hazard, shifted constantly in his seat, throwing back his head in frustration when opportunities came and went, such as Lacazette getting carelessly caught offside and when a promising free-kick position was wasted.

The Islington Gazette:

“I was two rows down so I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but colleagues reported him kicking the backs of their chairs and using the odd swear word, especially when possession was lost or the ball hoofed into the air.

“Whatever you think of him you simply can’t deny his passion.”

Jack Polden in the Mirror:

Commenting on referee Martin Atkinson blowing up for a foul on the Spaniard, Wenger shouted: “Every time Alvaro Morata goes down it’s a f****** free-kick.”

Gary Jacobs dedicates an entire column to Wenger Watch. Highlights include:

Wenger gently leans back in his seat, as Arsenal look more comfortable…

Wenger’s presence is noticed by Chelsea fans to his left. They stand, thrust their arms towards him and chant, “We want you to stay.” There is no response

Jack Wilshere is injured — again. Wenger never flinches

Such are the facts.

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Arsenal v Chelsea balls: Jack Wilshere’s ‘outrageous dive’ wasn’t a dive say top refs

One day with video technology being a football referee will be easy. Mistakes will no longer be made. To emphasise the point, former refs have been reviewing the tapes of the Arsenal v Chelsea match for newspapers. Take the incident when Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, already on a yellow card, was hit the turf on the edge or the Chelsea box. Did he fall or was he tripped?

Former referee Mark Halsey reviews the tape. He tells Sun readers:

I also felt Taylor [referee Anthony Taylor] did well by not handing a second caution to Jack Wilshere when he went down under a challenge from Andreas Christiansen [sic]. Taylor saw the incident and played on which was the correct thing to do. He didn’t go looking for trouble. It wasn’t simulation or a foul – it was just normal contact. Not every time a player goes down is simulation.

 

Or as former referee Graham Poll puts it in the Daily Mail:

Jack Wilshere should have been sent off for an outrageous dive but luckily for him, referee Anthony Taylor’s view was blocked by a number of players…. But knowing he was on a yellow card, he was stupid to dive over Andreas Christensen in the second half.

Also commenting on the match was former referee Dermot Gallagher, who tells Sky News:

The referee is in a position there where if he gambles and gambles wrongly he’s got a red card. It’s not possible to send somebody off for something you didn’t see. There is no way the referee can see that situation clearly enough to make a decision to send the player off. He’s waved it away and play has gone on. I think that’s exactly the right decision for that situation.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Eden Hazard ‘fell’ in the box as Chelsea come back to draw at Arsenal

hector bellerin chelsea

Wishful thinking on the Arsenal website, whereon readers are invited to “Watch Bellerin’s Winner” against Chelsea. It was nothing of the sort. Hector Bellerin’s late goal tied the scores at 2-2.

Of more interest is that first Chelsea goal, scored from the penalty spot when Bellerin was adjudged to have fouled Eden Hazard. The Arsenal website reports the incident thus:

…the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty after Hazard fell in the box. Coming so soon after that late spot kick at West Brom, it was tough to take – even more so when Hazard slotted it home himself.

Hazard was not fouled. Hazard “fell”.

And on the Chelsea website? The penalty looks like this:

The penalty was awarded for a foul by Hector Bellerin on the twisting and turning Hazard, who converted conventionally with a firm shot past Cech.

“Eden Hazard: Did Chelsea star dive to win penalty against Arsenal?” asks the Express. Yes. And no. He was touched lightly on the foot. And he did fall, face contorted in agony as his hands searched for signs of missing limbs. The brave soldier dragged himself to his ruined feet to score.

The Times sums up well:

Taylor got this call right. Bellerín kicked the base of Hazard’s foot. That the Chelsea No 10 then fell theatrically, clutching a different part of his anatomy, does not diminish Bellerín’s offence.

 

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien honoured with mishappen statue

Football fans in Ghana have paid tribute to former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien. They’ve erected a weird statue in his honour. The life-size totem to Essien stands in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city.

 

essien-statue-chelsea-ghana

Via

Photo: @addojunr/Twitter

Did the artist ever seen Essien in the flesh, or just view him on 8ibit video games?

 

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Mark Clattenburg: I let Spurs lose the title at Chelsea

Like so many of you, I am a huge fan of the Premier League referees. Sadly, my Mark Clattenburg replica kit is now a ‘vintage’ item on match days following ‘Clatts’ departure to Saudi Arabia.

Clattenburg (‘REF – HERO – LEGEND’) has been on NBC’s Men in Blazers podcast, reliving the glory days when he “allowed Tottenham to self-destruct” in their 2-2 draw with Chelsea in May 2016. Spurs had to win the match to keep their Premier League title challenge alive.

And for such an important match they were awarded Clattenburg, who booked nine Spurs players. Argy-bargy after the match also helped Chelsea and Tottenham receive record fines from the Football Association, and Spurs’ Mousa Dembele was banned for six games for violent conduct.

“I allowed them [Spurs] to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: ‘Tottenham lost the title’,” says Clatts. “If I sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title.’ It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.”

Football’s Andrew Lloyd Webber (surely Webber is theatre’s Clattenburg? – ed) continues: “Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would’ve been looking for an excuse. But I didn’t give them an excuse, because my gameplan was: Let them lose the title.”

Who needs rules when you have a ref like Clattenburg? All together now for that familiar match-day chant one last time: Whose the w***** in the black? “One FA Cup and three UEFA Finals, do-dah, do-dah.”

 

Posted: 4th, December 2017 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Ozil stays at Arsenal unless Manchester United make ‘unbelievable’ offer

At the Arsenal press conference, Arsene Wenger was asked about Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil leaving the club in the January transfer window – both players are in the last year of their current contracts. On the official Arsenal website, his words are distilled into the headline: “Wenger – Ozil and Alexis will stay in January.”

Will Alexis and Mesut Ozil will be here on February 1?
AW: Yes, of course.

Will they be at the club next season?
AW: I am not the only one who can decide that. They have a part to play in that as well. If it’s my decision, yes.

Could he possible envisage them leaving in January?
AW: Unless something unbelievable happens, I can’t see why that would change.

Put that through the clickbait machine and you get:

The Metro: “Chelsea enter race to sign Mesut Ozil from Arsenal.” Not much of a race, considering he’s staying at least until the season’s end. And then this:

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, sparked confusion over Ozil’s future this week by claiming that the midfielder will not be sold in January.

How did that trigger confusion? It was a clear statement. The utter tosh is amplified in the Manchester Evening News, which having tricked readers with a conniving Ozil to Manchester United story, now trills: “Manchester United told what it will take to sign Arsenal star Mesut Ozil.”

 

 

Did Wenger name a price? No. When pressed he said it would take something “unbelievable” for Ozil to be sold.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 29th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Chelsea balls: Diego Costa’s writes an open letter to the fans

So farewell, Diego Costa, who has left Chelsea to rejoin Atletico Madrid for £57 million. By way of goodbye, Costa has penned a letter to Chelsea fans. It asserts that he will never get dementia and that his life works to cycles, much like a spin dryer or a giant panda’s genitals. Costa writes on his Facebook page:

Some cycles begin while others end. My cycle at Chelsea began three years ago – three remarkable years in all aspects – and I will never forget it.

Two championship titles, a Community Shield, 120 matches, 59 goals and 24 assists later this cycle has ended. Not the way I would have wanted – far from it – but the best way possible.

The wonderful fans of such an equally admirable club and all my team-mates, as well as all clinical, administrative and logistics staff will remain forever in my mind and in my heart.

I will bring them with me with the certainty that I will always be by their side as well, and I’m sure they will understand the reason why this cycle of mine has now ended – because I could not lose faith in myself.

Thank you Chelsea for everything!

God bless the logistics staff – professional football’s perennially unsung heroes.

And God bless Diego, for now his cycle begins anew.

Posted: 27th, September 2017 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Manchester United park the bus and Chelsea never lose

Arsenal are on the up. With four wins and one draw from their past five games, and with just one goal conceded in that period, Arsene Wenger’s team have recovered from their early season defeats to Stoke (in which they were unlucky and robbed by poor refereeing) and Liverpool (where they got the thrashing their abject performance deserved). It also behoves a mention to note that following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over a spark West Bromwich Albion, the Gunners have won eight consecutive home games in the Premier League.

But in the Sun, the forecast at The Emirates remains grim. Therein they are “FALTERING Arsenal”. You “could not disguise just how far the Gunners are falling behind their major rivals. While City, United and Chelsea are brushing opponents aside with contemptuous ease, Arsene Wenger’s team are labouring to see off even the most unambitious of rivals.”

 

Arsenal table

Arsenal “far behind” at one point away from third sport

 

Arsenal drew 0-0 at Chelsea in a game they could well have won, hitting the post and missing an open goal from inside six yards. And that’s the same Chelsea who lost at home to the mighty Burnley. Manchester City were flukey away to Bournemouth, scoring a very late goal courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s boot and a massive deflection, and drew 1-1 with Everton. Manchester United have drawn 2-2 with Stoke, and last weekend beat Southampton 0-1. Of that match the Sun’s sister paper, the Times, called United’s performance “strangely lethargic”. Adding:

Given the lead by Lukaku, United went into abject retreat in the second half when Southampton had the bulk of possession and most of the chances. At the final whistle, United had six defenders on the pitch, while the home side brought on two attackers, a fair reflection of the balance of power.

Manchester United parked the bus. So much for “brushing aside opponents with contemptuous ease”. United and City have yet to play any of their title rivals.

And what of West Bromwich Albion being unambitious? The Evening Standard reports:

Pulis had employed a more ambitious West Brom lineup than might have been expected, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez making for a mobile, high-pressing front two.

It’s hardly perfect at Arsenal, but to ignore the facts and stick to a bogus narrative is poor reporting.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea balls: Gus Hiddink never did cry

The Sun enjoys the “Crying Dutchman” pun, using it to describe Dutch football managers who aren’t ever crying. In May 2016, the Sun said “Crying Dutchman Louis van Gaal” was “disappointed” at being sacked by Manchester United. But the hammer-headed Dutchman today returns to the Sun in a feature entitled “The Crying Dutchmen”.

With Ronald Koeman mired at Everton and Frank de Boer already sacked by trigger-happy Crystal Palace with a 100% record of played 4, lost 4, Dutch managers in the Premier League are an endangered species. Both men feature on the Sun’s story on Dutch managers who”‘struggle to set the English top flight alight”.

You could, of course, make a longer list of English manger who have failed to shine in the PL – an English manager has yet to win the Premier League. But it’s the Dutch in the crosshairs. And overlooking Martin Jol, who did pretty well at Spurs (2004-2007), notably becoming the first Spurs manager since Keith Burkinshaw (Spurs manger 1976-1984) to qualify for European football in successive seasons, the paper spots Guus Hiddink.

That’s the same Gus Hiddink who while still managing Russia was appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager in 2009, leading them to the FA Cup. The Sun says he “came back in 2015 after Jose Mourinho was axed but the Blues toiled to finish tenth”.

Toiled?

Hiddink rejoined Chelsea on 19 December 2015, with the club in 16th place. Under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea has lost nine out of sixteen league games. Hiddink set a new record for the longest unbeaten streak by a new manager in Premier League history with 12 games unbeaten. Under Hiddick, Chelsea lost just two more league matches.

Crying? No. Far from it. He was very good.

Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment