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Shipping News by Blue Bayou
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By Random Chandlery

The sign on the door says Doc. Bayou. Data Analysis. But that doesn’t tell half the story. What do I do? I scan, I read, spot patterns, watch, observe. People pay for the right sort of information. People in the background, people in the shadows. But sometimes what you see is best forgotten. Like catching your mum naked with Santa on the sofa, Christmas Eve.

So I made a mistake, I saw something and remembered. Moved it on. Now it’s getting hotter than Fishy Fred’s chip fryer on a busy Friday night.

It started when I gave Nick the Blog a steer in the direction of the District Line. Strange goings on. Too many bodies by the tracks. And I could see trouble for the Italian.

And it wasn’t long in coming. The town was in uproar. As I hurried down the Fulham Road with more than just a nervous glance over the shoulder, I spotted “Fat” Archie, 5 foot 6, thin as a whippet and no more than 7 stone wet through. Word was back in the day he could have made it on the Flat, even worn the Queen’s colours. But a misunderstanding in a casino about counting cards resulted in two broken hands, which left him looking for work where use of your fingers wasn’t a prerequisite. Now at 82, still lively on the pins, he was running errands for Irish Paddy the bookie and was therefore a veritable mine of information. I gave him a wink and we dived in the Fox for a couple of cheeky ones.

I paid and he laid it out for me.

“Pandy-effing-monium my son! Fabric Ron only goes and offs Eyebrows Carlo in a piss-stinking stairwell, basement of some shite-hole in Scouseland. Another botched hit. Frankly I wouldn’t let him take out my bins, let alone a valuable asset. Job had to be done but where’s the respect? No way to treat one of your own.

“He’s a liability. Should have stayed shifting shirts. That’s all he’s good for. Understands stretch materials but that’s his limit.

“I mean look what happened back in November. Carlo’s man, Sideways Butch gets the tap on the shoulder while watching the boys training, next thing he’s supposed to be history. Only Fabric doesn’t do it right. Turns out, Sideways is still alive and surfaces weeks later fronting football for the Dirty Digger.

“Yeah, quality of life is nothing much, just sits in a chair mumbling “smashing” and what’s worse he even talks about Spurs as though they’re a proper footballing outfit. Sad really.

“But what’s Fabric playing at? Amateur hour. You shouldn’t leave loose ends. Who knows? One day Butch might decide to cough it and that’ll put the cart right among the horses.

“I’ll say this, the Russian can’t be happy. Too much publicity. Too much light being shone in dark corners. Too many people thinking he’s lost the plot.

“All that money can buy him the soldiers but he’s never got the right general, the man whose supposed to tie up the European end of the business. They get one or two goes at it and then bam. Gone. Don’t matter what they’ve done over here.

“Now the lanky streak of Yankie, his glasses all steamed up, is trying to damp it all down. Putting out fires? You’d have more chance with Pugh, Pugh and Barney Mc-effing-Grew and the rest of Trumpton’s fire brigade.

“Firestorms, shit storms, every class of weather and no-one’s happy.

“As for you Blue my son, I’d hightail it sharpish. Motel Ken’s not too pleased with your poking about looking for bodies down the District Line. He might be up there ripping the piss out of the Tykes but he’s still got people watching his back down here.

“I’d lie low for a bit if I was you.

“And another of the same when you’re ready.”

So taking Fat Archie’s sage advice and with all the fans covered in shit, I made out for the Island. It’s a backwater and I was sure no one would look for me there. Close enough to the mainland to monitor communication channels but sadly the wrong end of the shipping lanes when it came to getting the full picture of what was coming out of Rotterdam, the Kiel Canal and the Baltic.

Meanwhile, over in Twitterville, History Rick and a few of the others get to thinking there’s something dodgy with a bird known as the Blonde. She’s claimed to be working the inside ticket, passed a few pictures and a snippet or two, but it all smelled worse than a tramp’s crotch. They tried to flush her, but she got wise and went to ground. Cherchez la femme indeed.

Threads but no needle. A reference here, a rumour there, but none of it making much sense. Surely the Russian had his ducks in a row before Eyebrows took the fall?

I kicked my heels for a week but my patience gave out. I had to get back and work the streets, scour the alleyways. You can scan the net, punch the phones, work the media but that won’t make any sense of this ruckus. It was all about wearing out shoe leather, being there to hear the whispers.

It was risky if Motel Ken was taking an interest in my general health but I couldn’t afford to be out of the loop for too long. So I booked the Hovercraft but took the ferry and hit the Town late Saturday.

And a good job too. No sooner had my hand rested on the bar of the Fox than a familiar face was level with my elbow.

“What’ll you have Archie?”

Settled in a corner I soon realised that with so many hares running, the greyhounds were overcome with stress and had to be pensioned off. Archie was into his stride in no time.

“Word is, the Russian’s taken personal control. There’s one almighty postmortem and he’s in it up to his elbows. Luckily he’s rolled his sleeves up first, ‘cause his shirts are expensive and you don’t want to be poking about in someone’s guts when you can’t find a Faberge cuff link, so to speak.

“But I digress. He wants the Dutchman and won’t take no. But the Turks are cutting up rough and it might get expensive.

“Meanwhile you know Danish fucked off to Hamburg? Well he keeps popping up and raiding the larder. Talk of a deal where the kids that ‘aint up to snuff go one way and locally grown and very cheap Bean Sprouts come back the other. Helps with the catering costs in Hospitality apparently. Search me why they’ve got such a surplus. Bean Sprouts that is, not the youth. There’s talk of them coming in by container through Southampton. (I bit my lip and hoped my pictures of the those freighters in the Cowes Roads had come out. Footballers for Bean Sprouts? This was a twist I hadn’t guessed at when I’d spotted anomalies in the shipping manifests.)

“And there’s constant static about the Average stepping back in now the Pornographer and his mate have dispensed with his services, but I think that’s just bollocks.

“But what really tickles me is that all of a sudden the Persian Car Dealer pops up and upsets Egyptian Mo by taking his boy, “the Welsh”, away from the Cottage and parking him on a boat out on the Thames. He’s waiting to see whether the Dutchman wants to work upstairs and if so he’d need a right hand. Unless of course he brings Marco “Tulips” with him.

“Some fancy Frank “The Spit” for that job, but I don’t see it. Add in all the talk about Wesley “Snipes” Sneijder and Christ we’re in danger of going so Dutch all they’ll need is an effing Windmill down at Cobham and everyone will feel right at home.

“‘Cause quite frankly I don’t see the young Portugeezer fetching up any time soon and as for the Second Coming well, look what happened to Harold Camping’s predictions. Mind you Irish made a few bob there when punters got a bit twitchy late on.

“Talking of Twitchy, he’s looking at less living space than a trapped Chilean miner come August, so count him out.

“Meanwhile Pina Colada and the Persian are rustling up another consignment of Brazilians from what I hear, but that all depends on the Dutchman. If he stays cosy with the Caliph then all bets are off.”

“Jesus Archie where does it stop?”

“Search me son. I’m only telling it like I hear it.”

I stepped out into the warm night air and took a walk to clear my mind and think, all the while watching for signs of a tail.

Patterns? I’ve seen better patterns in a cheap rug.

The press boys are no help. If shooting in the dark was an Olympic Sport we’d have all the medals. They’re making it up as they go along and sticking pins in the phone book just to come up with names.

Mind you it might all calm down in that department now they’re all off chasing Taffy the Pikey whose has been caught dipping more wick than a busy chandler.

Time must be running out. The Russian has to get it sorted soon or he faces a pre-season of chaos. The way I read it it’s like a line of dominoes. The first one falls the right way and the rest will topple. Making a pretty pattern.

All I can do is keep sifting, weighing, filtering. Taking each clue, each sign and assigning it co-ordinates on the tidal chart of uncertainty. Everything now is fragmentary, but somewhere is the central piece around which to build and so bind it all together. But I have to get to it first.

I shiver involuntarily. A chilling breeze is coming in off the river. I’m in deep now. I’ve heard too much, been seen in the wrong places. If I don’t find the blueprint, see the pattern, I might have to face a very uncertain future. And that’s not even beginning to factor in Motel Ken.




There are 182 comments

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  1. Anonymous

    Welcome back, BB!

    Congratulations on another splendid mooch through Planet Chelsea. Only a brave man or a fool would assign “co-ordinates on the tidal chart of uncertainty”, indeed, but we can but hope The Man with The Plan may emerge soon.

    • Anonymous

      Watching the (hugely uninspiring) U21’s. Other than Kyle Walker at righ back who already looks a million times better than Glen Johnson at RB, and Smalling and Jones who are stoically solid in te middle, Studge really is standing out.

      We’d be crazy not to give him a massive opportunity next season. Looks hungry and up for it.

  2. bluebayou

    Saw the tweet from Hiddink’s former colleague “Interesting developments at Chelsea FC. To be continued.”

    That’s what I hate about instant modern communication. Can you imagine the scene? Athenians gathered on the walls eager for news of their army’s progress against the invader and a figure comes running over the horizon. Exhausted after running over 26 miles he collapses gasping for breath…….

    Well? The Athenians demand.

    “Uh, Interesting developments at Marathon. Lots of Persians. To be Continued”

    Still Blueboydave, we mave have our answer soon. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Oh and apologies for mis-spelling “Sneijder”.

  3. Anonymous

    Opium Sam’ll stand you a bourbon any time you’re in town, Doc.

    “Sideways Butch” — genius.

    I’m not too surprised or distressed about the outflux to Cobham-on-the-Elbe (formerly known as Hamburg). Mancienne looked to be a bit short of making the grade. Ditto Sala, good player though he obviously is; and they must have made the same decision about Tore. The kids will have graduated from our Academy to careers in top division football at an early age. Good for them, good for us (and now we have a German team to support, or those of us who didn’t before now do). Shame if any of them grow up to be the next Messi but the Academy and Reserve coaches have probably earned some faith in their judgment, and it’s a lot better than having them all sign for Bolton or Spuds.

  4. Der_Kaiser

    A very fine take on matters, BB.  Have to say it’s about the only football related musing I’ve paid attention to in the last week or so.  Quite enjoying the break, as it happens.

  5. Anonymous

    Great stuff BB, amazing read.

    Like JD, enjoying the break from all things circus related at the moment. Let’s just hope not too many big names start moving before we have a manager in place though. Sneijder would be a great purchase.

    Oh, and pedant hat safely worn, the Trumpton firemen were Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, (Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub). That’s me showing my yoof, s’all……..

    • bluebayou

      Thanks for pointing it out. These things matter.

      If I had any credibility it could have been fatally undermined by such an error.

      The dangers of Wiki. I had it in my equally ancient memory that it was Pugh Pugh, but then wasn’t sure because it didn’t seem to make sense (I’d forgotten that they are twins and therefore share the same surname). Checked Wiki and they refer to them as Huw, Pugh etc. etc.

      A lesson in the use of unrelaible sources and fact checking from more than one source. With this sort of shoddy work I should be able to get a job with the NOTW.

  6. Nick

    Ditto. Enjoyed reading it again with this morning’s coffee, Blue. Splendid stuff.

    Have corrected the spelling of “Sneijder” and the Trumpton characters (thanks, Fiftee). Some bloody editor I am. I loved Trumpton and Camberwick Green too so no excuses.

  7. Cunningplan

    Yes fantastic read BB as usual.
    I also loved Trumpton and Camberwick Green, with Windy Miller my childhood hero. 😉

    On the manager front, I’ve changed my mind, and I think we should still be looking to Italy, here’s the reason….

    Facts about the killing of Osama Bin Laden

    1. Fugitive for 19years. Hunted by Saudi Arabia, Interpol, Scotland Yard, Mossad and the CIA.

    2. CIA was looking for him the last 14 years, found him twice, lost him twice, cost $1.8 billion dollars

    3. CIA had 4 directors over this time period, 1997-2011. All failed to find, and capture him.

    4. Obama appoints Leon Panneta, son of Italian immigrants as new CIA director 28th April 2011

    5. Mr Panetta calls in a few favours from friends in, New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas and Sicily

    6. They plan a raid over some espresso and cannolis on the 30th April. Decide to dress as Navy Seals

    7. Bin Laden is killed (not captured or held for trial) and the body is dumped at sea on the 1st May (also know as “swimming with the fishes” in Italian folklore)

    8. Job done in less than a 100 hours: reward $25,000,0009. Estimated savings for not having a trial $200,00010. So shop Italian!

    • bluebayou

      Given your location in the West Country have you been sifting through the bins of our friends in ‘nam in order to get this info?

      Maybe Doc. Bayou should open a regional office under your directorship.?

      • Cunningplan

        Getting drunk on cider and sifting through bins is commonplace down here. But I would be more than happy to have you help in said sifting, perhaps an equal parternship would be more beneficial. 😉

        • bluebayou

          What about 30% and all the cider you can drink?

          And a free guide dog when the really strong moonshine makes you go blind

    • Der_Kaiser

      Hmm.  Not the most aesthetically pleasing kit we’ve ever had.  But new shirts are like managers round here – if you don’t like the latest version, hang around and there will be a new one along before you know it…

      I’ve seen mention elsewhere that the pattern on the shirt is to help remind Torres roughly what a goal looks like.

      Harsh, but fair, I feel.

      • bluebayou

        Perhaps players can put a smiley in a square every time they score away from home.

        Good job Ryan G doesn’t play for us………………

        I’ll get my away kit

    • Anonymous

      I was just going to comment that the Street of Shame seems to have become bored with speculating about the next occupant of the Manager’s ejector seat and resumed Summer Transfer Madness Bollocks with no fewer than 5 different supposed targets.

      Have to admit I’ve never heard of a couple of those, but then nor had I heard of either the Mancs’ or Scousers’ alleged next Brit purchases.

      Do I need to try harder to keep up?

      • Cunningplan

        I just refuse to look who we might be buying, really hate all the transfer bollocks. Unless of course our targets will piss off Utd and Liverpool, should we get them.

      • Anonymous

        I am not sure , there is anyway to try harder, then we already do :-), or BBC do, but as you say some of the gossips point out that we are planning to hijack Snajder from Man USA. It is great if it is true. 

  8. bluebayou

    Warning

    The writer does have an “O” level in Economics (gained at a time when barter was still the chief means of economic activity) but as getting an “O” Level in Religious Studies doesn’t make me a candidate for Pope, I don’t think it gives me any real authority in Economic matters, so please feel free to set me right.

    Five or six years ago I gave up my season ticket due to the time constraints imposed by sprog raising. Fighting back the tears I contemplated the pain of having to go on a waiting list at some point in the future when I wanted to return to seasonticketedness.

    To be honest since then I haven’t paid too much attention to the level of season ticket sales or how difficult it is to procure one. I’ve assumed that they sold out most years to the incumbents with perhaps a small amount of churn as you would expect.

    Well in the least week a mate of mine has texted on two occasions to alert me to the fact that members with 10 loyalty points and now 0 loyalty points can apply. One step away from general sale really.

    Has this been happening in previous seasons? I don’t get the impression it has.

    Three reasons spring to mind.

    The most outlandish is that we’ve all gone a bit fair-weather and a season without silver has led many to drift away. Unlikely I would hope.

    Equally unlikely is a large voting with the feet from the seasoneratti who have become disillusioned with the way the club has been conducting its business, particularly with the Wilkins/Ancelotti dismissals and perhaps taking umbrage at the hike in ticket prices

    There will perhaps have been a few in each category but the majority, I assume, will have turned it in reluctantly for economic reasons.

    Given that the club has generally been more reasonable in it’s ticketing in the last few years and given the nature of fandom it could be seen as surprising if suddenly, this season, Chelsea are confronting a downturn in season ticket applications and renewals.

    But in reality the writing has been on the wall for some time, I think and not just because of rising unemployment or job insecurity in the near future for many.

    I’ve seen a lot of articles recently discussing the stagnation in incomes in the last twenty years, a fact that may have been disguised by the rise in the availability of cheap credit and the rapid inflation of property prices alongside a long period of low inflation and interest rates.

    With extending yourself financially now looking a very unattractive proposition combined with a rapidly rising cost of living and the probability that interest rates will go up sooner rather than later, its really not surprising that season ticket sales are struggling?

    I know we always moan about ticket prices and predict the end of the football explosion on a regular basis, but are these the early signs of something significant? Mid and lower table clubs in the Premier League have already seen this in the last couple of seasons if the amount of empty seats at games is anything to go by.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years, but the sobering thought is that for the average person in Britain, their income has not been rising in real terms for the last twenty or so years, but in one way and another they have been committing significant amounts of money to football. Now with fuel, energy, food and other general living costs rising quite significantly in a short period of time how to divide up that stagnant income is forcing some hard choices.

    One last thought. We’ve remarked before on how the composition of a football crowd has generally been aging, well that may to some extent explain how people have continued to plough large amounts of money into going to football, because a reasonable percentage have earned more money as they’ve grow older just by getting promotion, having greater experience rewarded etc. Well those generations are now starting to hit the ceiling, I would suggest and with not enough young people getting the “going to the game” habit in recent years and also perhaps getting the worst of the economic pain, you have another ingredient in the mix with long term implications for those running football clubs.

    Even when the economy picks up, if the historic trend towards real incomes not growing and therefore a significant part of the population not increasing it’s wealth but rather the opposite, whereto football?

    • Der_Kaiser

      Was quite surprised to hear that initially, but thinking further on my own circumstances and those I attend the Bridge with it comes as less of a shock.

      In the last few years, several of our number have either ducked out or just taken to sharing a season ticket – many reasons; move(s) out of the area (and indeed the country), finances, the arrival of kids, work pressures and so forth.

      This was the first season I’ve ever hesitated about renewing; the general bad taste that the Ray / Carlo departures left along with the attitude of an increasingly large minority of fans has left me rather jaded.  I’m hoping that a  quiet and largely football free summer, along with attendance of fewer games next season (simply have to claw some cash back from the initial outlay) might put the spark back again.  The news that season tickets may not be so hard to come by in the future could well have a bearing on whether I renew at the end of the coming season or not.

      The cost is certainly becoming more of a factor – the best part of a grand which could go some way towards a holiday or whatever is becoming harder to justify in these financially testing times; I have to whisper it quietly to myself, but these days given the choice between regular attendance or an extra week in the sun with Mrs. Kaiser and the Kaiserette… well, pass me the beach towel.

      • bluebayou

        What I didn’t consider is that they may have just extended the amount of season tickets available. Doh!

        Is that likely?

        Even if that is the case I still think the argument regarding incomes, fanbase demographics and prices stacks up.

        • Der_Kaiser

          I’m not sure – it was always set in stone that given the nature of our fanbase (relatively small core, plenty of floating voters) that a certain percentage would always be available to members.

        • Anonymous

          Well, my pre-EPL era 1st year undergraduate economics hardly qualifies me to comment either [especially as those who hung on for 2nd year level told me lesson 1 began with lecturer proclaiming “forget all the simplistic rubbish you learned last year”].

          I suspect all the factors you mention have played a part [like JD I don’t think the number of season tickets available has increased]. Though I have renewed again, the balance towards giving up gets closer each year.

          For me it’s not so much fair-weather supporters, as the increase in something I’ve complained about several times on here – the “I’m too cool to even get out of my seat and celebrate when we score” attitude among an alarming number in the West Upper.

          This seems symptomatic of a complacency that leads to a very flat, joyless atmosphere at too many games. Since the TSO-era we have become accustomed to winning at The Bridge. Even during this season’s “crisis slump” spell we only lost 2 league games and an FA Cup replay [on penalties].

          With a large percentage of our games live on Sky/ESPN when does the balance tip into settling for being an armchair fan?

  9. Anonymous

    I hear all what you are saying, but, if this is the start of the end, or so, how do you explain this http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13685517.stm
    20 years old for 20 mil. Don’t they see that people are reluctant to spend big money on tickets?

  10. Anonymous

    Ok, so I’d be completely ambivalent at the signing of Ashley Young, one of the most odious, over-rated players I think I’ve ever seen.

    I’d consider the signing of Jones from Blackburn as one for the future. But positive nonetheless.

    But adding Nasri to that? Fuck me, that’s an improvement. Man U making some good early ground in the transfer window. Ominous signs for us, particularly with Sneijder committing to Inter.

    Fiftee’s Select List now contains Aguero, Mata and Neymar. Pace and attacking threat – all we need. Sorted at the back, promising youth in midfield (not just Josh, what about Cork?).

    Just the man in charge to sort.

    Over and out.

    • Austin Solari

      Cunning, you worry me!!!  Yes, very entertaining BUT what the hell was you looking for in the first place?  A new centre forward?

      • Cunningplan

        I was looking for a new manager who’s good at balancing things to keep everyone happy.
        I think he could be the man! 😉

    • Der_Kaiser

      Rejoice…!

      Actually don’t mind that – guy does a job when he’s called on and I think we have this Delac kid waiting in the wings to step up soon, so a 1 year deal makes sense.

  11. Anonymous

    That’s the signing to kick-start the revolution.

    Just need the 24 remaining members of the squad to build round him, and a manager and we’re set. That’s quite a bit, isn’t it?

    Horribly quiet still….

  12. bluebayou

    Another Dutch manager that might be available sooner rather than later?

     http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/feedarticle/9694414

    • Anonymous

      Already sacked (as of 14.06.2011) , probably tomorrow or by the end of the day it will appear in European press.  

      • Ososdeoro

        Well that would be perfect. By day he could manage the team, and by night he could manage the nightclub downstairs.

        • Der_Kaiser

          Credit to Ruudi for his stamina – I’m a few years younger than him and the first mention of nightclubs and I’m scuttling off for my bed and a cup of cocoa.

        • Anonymous

          Ruud can happily manage this place http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23881863-roman-abramovich-builds-a-pound-20m-nightclub-under-stamford-bridge.do   🙂

  13. Anonymous

    Wow. Having read some of the paper talk, I’m just about ready to slash my wrists.

    No manager yet, Aguero off to Juve, Neymar to Real, Sanchez to Utd, Bruma let go to Hamburg, and all because we have no manager.

    • Anonymous

      Never mind 50ee, here’s a quote from our chief executive’s interview with the website: “‘As far as the players are concerned the basis of the team will be the same for next season …”

      It’s a good thing sacking Carlo will have solved all the team’s problems then, otherwise one might worry about another year of watching JT, Cashley, Frank and Drogs pretending it’s 2005.

  14. Anonymous

    Spot on LTB.

    Not like the lethargy at times is due to the personnel is it? Clearly sacking our manager will rejuvenate all the elder statesmen in the squad and make them play like it’s 2005 as you say.

    I’m not sure 2 or 3 players arriving or replacing others is enough.

  15. bluebayou

    This in the Irish Independent about Luca Piazon is interesting in a number of ways (a version also appeared in the Telegraph and I went to the writer’s website, which has a longer version)

    http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/boy-from-brazil-set-for-life-at-chelsea-2672129.html

    http://pitacodogringo.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/interview-with-chelsea-signing-lucas-piazon-full-version/

    It gives a bit of an insight into a future prospect (or a young player we sell to Wigan in 3 years time if your feeling pessimistic). He’s not a barefoot wonder from the slums but a middle class boy, which will upset the tabloids I’m sure as it ruins one of their beloved cliches.

    It gives an insight into how scouting and player purchase sometimes happens at Chelsea

    It throws up the name of Piet De Visser who I confess I know little about. But he’s Dutch which may be of significance.

    So I looked on Wiki. Now given how I was badly let down over the names of Trumpton Firemen I am not taking what is written therein as gospel. Indeed it may be more informative to know who wrote the page and what their angle is.

    However the paragraph discussing the purchases of Alex and Boulharouz makes you wonder.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_de_Visser

  16. Ososdeoro

    I guess we’ll have to wait for my co-worker’s nephew, who went to Cobham camp last year at 8 and was so good he had to play with the 10 year olds (or something like that).

  17. Anonymous

    Been watching the England U-21s in action via iPod Sky, just out of curiosity. Studge looks ready for the big time, which presumably means he’ll demand a move in January after watching Drogs, Nando and Anelka lumber around for six months while he sits on the bench. Ryan Bertrand has been starting at left back and looks very competent — one imagines he’ll be out on loan next year (or two) while everyone waits for Cashley to give up. Mancienne’s been looking about right for the Bundesliga. The right back is a Young Spud who looks most impressive, as do the two Manc centre-backs. Jordan Henderson looks utterly out of his depth. The overall impression is surprisingly like the senior England team: good defence, one talented attacker, everyone else trying to play a passing game until they give up and lump it over the top and surrender possession.

  18. Anonymous

    Pretty horrible that I agree with LTB on Studge.

    Were I in charge (which I’m not, nor am going to be, despite a played 3 won 3 record as manager of my Saturday side last year) I’d pick Studge and Torres as my strike pairing.

    But he’ll get the odd cameo here and there, score goals in the Carling Cup, FA Cup and CL group games against the postmen from Belarus and still be overlooked as the usual cloggers contrive to miss chances. Then up sticks in January.

    Not sure about our bid for Modric. If they want more, I’d prefer us to look at what it takes to sign Sneijder.

    • Anonymous

      I agree that Franky’s uncle is tad inconsistent. He can’t choose between two: either the bid is small, or Modric is not for sale.  

  19. Anonymous

    “But he’ll get the odd cameo here and there, score goals in the Carling
    Cup, FA Cup and CL group games against the postmen from Belarus …”

    Don’t know about that 50ee — I caught a few minutes of a U-21 game involving Belarus and some of those kids look pretty sorted.

    I’ll get my little red trolley.

  20. Anonymous

    How’s about a raid on the San Siro then? We take Sneijder and Eto’o and they get to pick 2 from Essien, Malouda, Drogs, Kalou and we’ll chuck in a book of stamps too.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Austin yes it is, but I’ve simply run out of steam after this season so opted for a few weeks off from writing anything. I’m off to France this week for some long missed sunshine, relaxation and maybe some inspiration to get a review of the season before the new one starts in earnest. 

  21. Anonymous

    Watching the (hugely uninspiring) U21’s. Other than Kyle Walker at righ back who already looks a million times better than Glen Johnson at RB, and Smalling and Jones who are stoically solid in te middle, Studge really is standing out.

    We’d be crazy not to give him a massive opportunity next season. Looks hungry and up for it.

    • Der_Kaiser

      15m Euro release clause, 5m a year – if we give him a 3 year deal he’ll have only cost us about 30m Euros come the end of the season. Absolute bargain… 😉

      • Cunningplan

        It’s good to see that RA is looking for bargains, is the Euro worth anything these days? 😉

      • Anonymous

        Indeed, makes it seem so worth while my contributing £3.75 a week to the Chelsea Foundation Lottery as some terribly nice, smooth chap was trying to convince me to do on the phone the other week.

        Back at the player end of Summer Transfer Madness, am I the only one who’ll be less than devastated if the Spuds’ “we won’t sell” line re Modric turns out to be true for once, rather than just a price bargaining tactic?

        He strikes me as one who shines brightly, if intermittently, at home, but seems far too often to disappear entirely when the Spuds are struggling away from home. Rather have Sneijder any day, even if he is older.

  22. Anonymous

    If it’s true about Villa Boas we should all be happy about it

    1. He’s the new Mourinho in terms of how to win
    2. He’s not the new Mourinho regarding pre and post match tantrums
    3. Young
    4. Similar initials to Avram but better looking and with dress sense
    5. It’s Roman’s money not ours

      • Anonymous

        I know what you mean, it’s easy to get exhausted by the merry-go-round.

        Then again would you rather be on a merry-go-round or be stuck on the side behind the barriers, with Arsene holding you back telling you ‘you’re not going on that ride because it’s too expensive’.

        Anyhow if things don’t work out and we’re not top of the league by the end of September we can always sack him.

        • Der_Kaiser

          More concerned that we’ll end up with a UEFA official telling us we can’t go on that ride for other financial reasons…!

          Listen, if it’s true then it’s probably the most positive appointment we’ve made since Mourinho and presumably made with a little more than a cursory nod to the future.  Would actually prefer Hiddink not to come and cut all ties if so – be far too easy to fall back on the ‘put Guus in charge’ card should the new lad hit a rough patch; we have to learn to help our managers with their weaknesses if we think they are the right candidate, not ruthlessly expose them and use it as a stick to beat them with / a reason for booting them out.

  23. Anonymous

    An appointment I’m happy with, but just can’t see it being a long-term thing.

    We’ve alluded to the cost already. But what we’re doing (it seems) is taking a chance on potential. He’s unproven beyond one successful season in charge of Porto. Almost an anti-Chelsea appointment really.

    He’ll be gone within a couple of seasons because his long term planning won’t reap immediate rewards. Also, I’ve got concerns as to what sort of ‘clout’ he’d have in securing the new players we need. With his age and inexperience, and the ‘unique’ way CFC is run, how many players like Sneijder, Aguero etc would give it serious thought?

  24. Wizzle

    Well, in terms of ‘clout’, apparently Guus is to come in as Director of Football, and one would presume a man of his reputation would be the one doing the clouting.

  25. Anonymous

    Aha, still out here trying to find my football mojo, but it’s obviously not time yet.

    If this is true re :Mr Villa-Boas then I’m very happy. It’s brave, but he’s young and clever. It’s forward thinking as he has the potential to be another Jose but without all pre/post match theatre. It gives Guus a chance to become a part of the club without pissing his wife off with the day to day stresses if he becomes DoF/Tech Director or whatever.

    Forward thinking at Chelsea? Must look that up in my dictionary of oxy-morons.

    • WorkingClassPost

      Yes, it’s unlike us and could be a great move but I’m not sure that we’ve started doing forward thinking, or if he’s just the only one out there whose done anything this year and could also be available.
      And if he costs enough, it may even tempt us to let him stay on for a while..

  26. Anonymous

    Just want to share the sentiment around here. Have no any idea whether it’s true or not, but, if it is true, then it is great appointment. Young, knowledgeable ambitious manager. This is exactly what we need! 

  27. Benjami

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP1q-E89K6w&feature=player_embedded

    15mins in, interview in English.

    Excellent English as you would expect and sounds extremely intelligent / down to earth.

    I hope we only approve Guus with Villas-Boas and Guus’s approval of the situation. I would rather just have Villas-Boas personally as I think we can all see a future conflict between these 2 if things start going bad.

    Come on Roman, give him the time and the control to set his mark for the next 3/4 years!

  28. Anonymous

    Writings on the wall already then. Only a 3 year deal? Less for us to pay when he’s sacked I guess. But not enough confidence he’s here for the long haul?

    Or do I simply have no idea? Thought as much…

  29. Anonymous

    Call me an idiot for getting suckered into this again, but I’m also excited about this.

    Mainly because he’s young and obviously not an idiot. So it’s impossible not to think that he must have had serious discussions about whether he’ll be given time.

    If it had been one of the European old lags, you can well imagine that they wouldn’t really care how soon they were sacked as long as they got the big fat payoff. But AVB has a reputation to lose, and enough of a career ahead of him that he surely wouldn’t want to get involved if he knew he’d be canned after a few months of less-than-perfect results.

    Let’s hope he’s insisted that the club treat this as at least a medium-term project — i.e. he gets his three years even if he doesn’t win anything in the first one. I can’t see why he’d have accepted otherwise.

    Also good that he was a Chelsea guy already.

    • Anonymous

      and I was thinking I was the only one excited, so much so that I’ve been refreshing the Chelsea site every 2 minutes for the last 24 hours in anticipation.

      I was starting to get worried that we’d paid his buyout clause and then failed in getting him to sign with us – we couldn’t be that stupid, could we?

  30. bluebayou

    From the Chelsea website:

     “His ambition, drive and determination matches that of Chelsea and we are confident Andre’s leadership of the team will result in greater successes in major domestic and European competitions.”

    Not setting the bar too high then. 

    That “greater”, I wonder how long they pondered putting that in the statement.

  31. Der_Kaiser

    Yes, think this good news and has gone some way to lifting my football-related malaise of recent weeks.  Probably the most positive yet daring appointment since, well, probably Jose. Fingers crossed he gets time, backing (financial) and support from all levels of the club and takes us on to great things.

    (On a personal level, he appears to be young, charismatic, very talented, now rather wealthy and has the best job in world football that we’d all kill for a shot at. As such, I fully reserve the right to hate his guts with a passion.)

    Welcome (back) to the madhouse, AVB – enjoy your stay, however long it may be…

  32. bluebayou

    Just popped into the UEFA kitchen to check and yes they’re warming up 2 balls for the CL draw and freezing the rest.

    The hot ones? I don’t need to tell you do I?

    Unlike most I can’t get excited about all this. AVB looks a good prospect. I’ll back him win or lose. Look forward to see who plays, who stays and who goes on their ways. Interested to see formations, tactics etc. All the usual really.

    Madness to speculate beyond that, because experience shows that we really can’t trust a word the club says, the goals are always shifting and no matter what he does his biggest fight will be with the usual suspects within the “inner circle”.

    If Guss doesn’t join where does that leave it all? Those at Chelsea who seemed to dearly want him on board, are they backing this move? Was AVB the target all along and GH was just a smokescreen?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty of unresolved issues behind the scenes. Business as usual then.

  33. Anonymous

    On the whole I’m fairly positive. I agree with Pat Nevin’s comment at the top of the page, I remain sceptical, however, as to whether Gourlay and the other bunch of idiots do!

     

  34. WorkingClassPost

    I’m about as delighted as any jaded, here we go again, CFC supporter can be.

    When even RM say they’re keeping JM, not because he’s won them stuff, but simply because they know he’s a great manager and changing would be pointless, then the writing’s on the proverbial – when you get talent, stick with it.

    With all the usual caveats, I’m kinda looking forward to the new season already.

    Better get an early night…

  35. John

    Very excited about AVB joining Chelsea … he was my 1st choice to replace CA. 

    I hope we sign Hiddink as DOF as it means if AVB does not hack it and is big phil mark II, Guus can swoop in again and steady the ship until we can bring in Pep. 

  36. Ososdeoro

    I’m kind of an exception. I have been a Chelsea fan only a decade or so but have experienced so much pain with other teams in other sports that emotionally I just have to sit back and watch things happen. I wanted them to keep Carlo, but this AVB hire is I think the best thing that could have happened.

    • Cunningplan

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m also quite excited by his appointment, he seems to have something about him. Lets just hope he’s given the chance to establish himself, but history under RA tells us otherwise.

  37. John

    Although I do not agree with our constant manager merry go round, since RA took over the club we have consistently challenged for silverware. With this in mind I cannot argue too much against our current philosophy. 

    We all know that Pep is RA’s 1st choice so if AVB doesn’t work out then I’m sure Pep will be next. As long as RA is willing to fling the cash like monkey’s throwing shit from tree’s then why not continue to run CFC like your playing Champ Manager. 

    I would if I could … 

  38. Anonymous

    I think departure of Jose was the only one that is not justified. I would have done the same, including CA

  39. Anonymous

    Nat Chalobah seems to be doing a good job with England U17’s in their World Cup, guiding them to group winners and a game against Argentina.

    Closer to home, can we just buy and / or sell someone. Sticking Paul Clement on gardening leave won’t cut it for transfer window activity. Not for me, anyway…

  40. bluebayou

    While reading, let alone believing, anything written by the beloved fifth estate on football is a mistake, Fiftee’s comment on Paul Clement led me to read this article

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/chelsea/8598944/Andre-Villas-Boas-makes-first-Chelsea-move-as-Paul-Clement-leaves.html

    A couple of lines brought me up short. I quote the relevant bits below.

    From the Telegraph on 25th June
    “Andre Villas-Boas has made his first significant move since his appointment as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor as Chelsea manager, sanctioning the departure of Paul Clement, Stamford Bridge’s long-serving assistant first team coach.”

    “But the departure of Clement, on the staff at Stamford Bridge for 17 years – punctuated only by a brief interlude at Fulham – and the only man to have worked under all of Abramovich’s managerial appointments, suggests that Villas-Boas is determined to stamp his authority on his new side.”

    So far so understandable. New man, New Broom, free Hand etc.etc.

    The article goes on to say this…..

    It is a measure of Villas-Boas’s influence with Abramovich that he has been able to begin his behind-the-scenes revolution so quickly and ruthlessly, especially since quite how keen the Russian is only to employ staff he deems suitable was made clear when it emerged that he appointed the Portuguese ahead of Hiddink because of the Dutchman’s request for Ray Wilkins, the former first-team coach, to return.

    Really? Could there be even a scintilla of truth in this? If Hiddink is so close to RA surely he would have known that Wilkins wouldn’t be welcomed back?

    But suddenly the head of the broom falls off

    The club’s former opposition scout, awarded a £5 million-a-year contract at Stamford Bridge for the next three seasons, is expected to announce that his fitness coach, Jose Mario Rocha, and his scout, Daniel Sousa will both follow him from Portugal in the coming days. He will, though, retain Michael Emenalo on his staff, after Abramovich recommended the Nigerian coach’s services.

    Some things change yet some things remain the same. Emenalo survives.

    • Anonymous

      The version I read elsewhere at the weekend boldy suggested Emenalo will be appointed Director of Football, filling the post previously occupied by Uncle Avram, of course.

      Can we conclude this grand, but meaningless, title is now reserved to get Roman’s talentless mates on the payroll at suitably eyewatering salary levels?

      • Der_Kaiser

        Director of Football?  Fark me, I doubt he is adequately qualified to direct the traffic into the underground car park at the Bridge on matchdays, never mind anything else.

      • Cunningplan

        Here was me thinking perhaps we were now going to run the club with people who had footballing knowledge.
        Then reality kicks in, and they keep the experienced girls soccer coach on the payroll.

  41. bluebayou

    Chelsea always resemble that beautiful, accomplished woman, impeccably tailored and self possessed who breezes past you on the way from the ladies powder room.

    As you watch her pass by you note that she has managed to tuck her skirt into her knickers…….

  42. bluebayou

    Very readable profile in the Torygraph about only the 3rd man to manage Chelsea and Porto.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/chelsea/8597265/Andre-Villas-Boas-Chelseas-new-manager-who-has-dedicated-himself-to-football.html

    AVB’s wife went to Chelsea College of Art it seems. Connections all round.

    He obviously owes something to Sir Bobby Robson. Speaking of whom, I was listening  to a programme about memories of him from “ordinary ” people on 5Live over the weekend. He was remembered with great fondness by all. Too good to be true? Well my wife mentioned that she had been to the River Cafe near Hammersmith Bridge a few years back. She ended up on a table near the great man and his wife. What struck her most was his manner to towards the staff, which was gracious without being patronising. A man who seemed comfortable with himself and keen for those around him to be at ease. No airs and graces.

    • WorkingClassPost

      Great link BB.

      Sounds like someone who will do things his own way and won’t be held hostage to reputations – we may see a very different (younger) Chelsea taking the field before too long.

      A bit concerned about his driving fast cars on the roads around Porto, though.

      It’s scary enough travelling by train in that vicinity!

  43. bluebayou

    The Vitesse Arnhem friendly has been cancelled.

    AVB thought it was too early in the pre-season.

    Dickie Attenborough’s interested in making a film of it

    Arnhem – Too Far From The Bridge

    I’ll get my battle fatigues

    • Anonymous

      OK, BB, own up. This article is, in fact, one of your most elaborate pastiches yet.

      The clue is in the advert buried deep in the article for the film, “Last Year in Marienbad” – a long, puzzling experience, which revisits the same events repeatedly, seems to have reached the end several times before carrying on some more and finally stops with no real conclusion.

      I rest my case 😉

      • bluebayou

        Very good.

        I haven’t seen the film but I know what you mean. Unfortunately the ad isn’t there today, replaced it would seem by a book about justice for hedgeghogs. 

        I know it doesn’t reach a conclusion but I enjoyed it as a discursive wander around the subject and it did make me think about the whole home advantage scenario. It’s something we all take for granted but isn’t really logical in professional team sport.

        It did occur to me that comparing home advantage in team and solo sports wasn’t actually right because tennis players etc. don’t have a home ground/training ground per se but only play in front of a crowd that may be more on their side. Andy Murray doesn’t play at Wimbledon any more than his foreign opponents. So putting it down to a team dynamic may not have been correct.

        I think it may come down to no more than familiarity with place and routine to be honest.

  44. Anonymous

    The tone of the article on the official site indicates it was a Chelsea decision to cancel the Arnhem friendly. Am left wondering why.

    AVB stamping some early authority perhaps?

    I see Utd are about to announce their third signing of the summer. Thing is, I’m not sure I’m jealous of any of them. We’ve got the superstar keeper. Ashley Young just doest inspire me. Jones will, but in a few years.

    Hope AVB pays attention to the youth players. Definitely what is needed.

  45. Anonymous

    Wow, a job for Di Matteo. Didn’t see that one coming, but hugely pleasing from my point of view. Added to Steve Holland working closely with the first team, good news all round.

    Guess the playing staff ins and outs will start in earnest now.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Yes, great to hear that about Robbie.

      AVB pretty impressive in the press conference – good command of the language, handled some of the more awkward questions well and easily batted away the inevitable raft of ‘you’ve been linked with X, Y and Z players…’ with little trouble.  Very grounded, no apparent ego and stressed the importance of the team around him.  A lot to like about this guy – throw in some decent football / results and we’re laughing.

      He’ll never last… 😉

  46. bluebayou

    Great to hear that Robbie is returning. I assume his wife has been suitably briefed 😉

    Haven’t seen the press conference but people seem impressed.

    Did see a tweet from Lord Henry of Winter stating AVB had refused to meet the print media separately and this was a mistake.

    Blimey it’s not even July, he’s barley in the job and they’re getting upset. Still it’ll mean work for the travelling knife grinder. 

    One assumes they’ve already bugged his home, his car, hacked his phone in anticipation. JT can bring him up to speed.

  47. Anonymous

    I’m surprised how much my spirits have been re-energised by this appointment and I’m almost looking forward to next season now.

    On the other hand despite AVB’s fairly bold statement about having control of transfers in his press conference [ at least I think that’s what he said amidst the most abysmal quality, pause-laden, ultra low volume stream the website has put out for ages] I can find no reason to think that Roman and his suits will break their previous habits and will continue to hire and fire players and/or his assistants over his head as they see fit and show him the door if the CL is not nestling in the trophy cabinet by the end of season 2 [or 3 if they’re feeling generous].

    It feels entirely symbolic that Nick hasn’t even bothered to start a new blog topic following the appointment – and should he bother, really?

  48. Anonymous

    Cheery news about Robbie.

    I think I read somewhere today that AVB admits he expects to lose his job if no trophies are won. Heigh ho. Enjoy it while we can I suppose. Doesn’t sound like there’s much chance of a proper rebuild after all.

  49. bluebayou

    Eh Gad the season’s not even started and they’re at it already. This time it’s Gill (probably ’cause Fergie’s having a rest)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13974799.stm

    And I quote:

    -Gill, who was quoted in a new book about United called Champ19ns, questioned whether other players who commit a similar act to Rooney will receive the same punishment.

    “The club doesn’t condone it but Wayne recognised it was wrong and apologised almost immediately,” said Gill.

    “We have various issues with the ban – one being consistency. What’s going to happen now? Is the referee under pressure to send everyone off?

    “It’s a dangerous course the FA has gone down, because consistent application is what’s required and I’m not sure that will necessarily happen.

    “There are certain things you should wait until the start of the season to change.”-

    More holes in this than a cheap tart’s fishnets.

    Swearing into the Camera has previously drawn a more draconian punishment for one D Drogba from UEFA. It’s quite a rare issue so to talk as though it’s an every game occurrence is cobblers.

    The referee isn’t under pressure to send anyone off because of this. Rooney wasn’t sent if unless I’m very mistaken. The FA are now under pressure to treat a similar incident in the same fashion though.

    What did the FA not wait until the start of the season to change? Do they really have to specify that swearing into a camera might be punishable by a multi game ban? Is he really claiming that it’s a change of policy? Yes to suddenly come down on general swearage out of the blue would be inconsistent but this was slightly different.

    Crikey one doesn’t want to be seen arguing for the FA but this is just sh#t on a stick.  

    No doubt they threw a little controversy into the book and then made sure it was in all the press material otherwise the world mightn’t have noticed such a major contribution to world culture

  50. Anonymous

    AVB at his first press conference on
    Wednesday:

    “There is no need to rush into the transfer market, I want to take time to
    assess the current squad”

    Thursday : Club announces Bruma is off on loan to Hamburg for the season, with
    an option for a second year;

    Saturday: reports that club has accepted a bid of £750k for Jack Cork from
    Southampton.

    Not taking him long to reject our fringe youngsters is it?

    In the immortal words of Pete Townshend: “meet the new boss, same as the
    old boss” seems to apply to the youngsters at least?
     

  51. Anonymous

    I was afraid something like this might start happening when I saw us being linked with Modric and now Nasri.

    It’s the “Success Now” attitude, isn’t it? If you have to win straight away, why take a punt on youngsters when you can just buy someone who already looks good?

    My mild spark of enthusiasm for the coming season is spluttering and fading. It’s just going to be more of the same, isn’t it?

    My new season ticket arrived in the post today. For the first time ever I looked at it and thought I was a bit of a mug.

    Oh well. Must give the new fella a chance.

    • Anonymous

      Strangely I felt the opposite when my season ticket arrived.  I’m excited. We have the new Mourinho without the after effects.  It’s like alcohol that doesn’t give you a hangover.

      And Roman’s completely motivated and is going to spare no expense getting exciting, winning football.  The old days weren’t that great.  Would you rather Ken was still in charge and he’d just appointed Ian Porterfield? Come on. Rejoice!

      • Anonymous

        Apart from the word “Rejoice!” having vague Thatcher-ite Argie bashing echoes for me, I’m somewhere between you and limetreebower.

        I was pleased to see the season ticket fall out of the envelope, but even my optimistic side still thinks we need to find some more stable, sustainable position between our spend,spend/managerial revolving door and Prof. Wenger’s Holier Than Thou Cult of Youth.

        I suspect next year’s season ticket renewal period could be crunch time for me.

        • Der_Kaiser

          I concur about renewal next season – thought long and hard about renewing for this season when the form arrived. 

          Very much looking forward to seeing what AVB can do and certainly pleased about the the way he’s shaped his team so quickly and decisively, but concerns remain over Roman’s retinue of farkwits (who do deserve credit for securing AVB’s services, it should be noted) and the CL obsession.

  52. Anonymous

    Agreed. Long term prospects let go for the sake of chasing immediate success.

    Problem we have is the numbers that have left (and they’re youngsters) have been replaced by precisely no-one so far. Is it hugely likely to change? Or will AVB persist with the same old faces?

  53. bluebayou

    Simon Greenbarf

    Bet he didn’t expect this when he signed on with the ol’ Rup & Co.

    Still, seems to have found his level

  54. bluebayou

    Doc. Bayou – Data Analyst is concerned that anyone reading the above post may assume that he has engaged in “phone hacking” and the like.

    As his legal representative, he has asked me to make it clear that he is outraged and sickened that any one could engage in such monstrous illegality in the pursuit of information as has been revealed in the press in recent days. He has certainly never received large sums of money from newspapers to obtain information and is now wondering why.

    In his long career he has never at anytime suspected that journalists would get up to such nefarious practices and has certainly never thought that an editor of a major newspapaer would know what their employees are up to. He is just as shocked as all those other people who’ve spent their lives in and around and on the edges the world of journalism who never suspected for a moment that naughty people were working alongside them and being helped by the police, Frankly he’s had to sit down and have a cup of tea.

    He extends his sympathy to the fragrant Ms Wade who would seem to be the victim in all this and trusts that all those decent people at News International will conduct yet another very thorough investigation and stumble on some more important bits of information, which in the end will show they’ve all been completely blameless.

    After all this is just a case of one or two bad apples plus a lot of shit stirring by those pinkos at the Guardian and the BBC. The sooner they are silenced for ever the better.

  55. John

    Nasri would be a bit of alright … pace, control and technique. Maybe a little light-weight but is proven in the EPL. Plus he’s only 24 which is nice … 

  56. Ososdeoro

    This blog is actually good enough that I’ll boot up Firefox when it doesn’t work on Chrome.

  57. bluebayou

    Rebekah Wade goes horse riding regularly with David Cameron. Do they just ride on the roads or head into the countryside for a spot of hacking?

    Andy Coulson is having trouble answering police questions due to a nasty sore throat and a hacking cough.

    One of the detectives asks him whether he’s ever tried sucking a fisherman’s friend?

    He says, “What? Mulcair swore he’d destroyed those photographs”

    I’ll get my hacking jacket……

    • Der_Kaiser

      Arf arf.

      As was noted in many places last night, at least we need not fear slightly dubious looking sheiks flogging mountains of cocaine in Mayfair hotel rooms…

      Presumably JT and Ashley will be having a fairly sizeable party this weekend too.

  58. Anonymous

    Fucking hell, now we’ve sold ANOTHER young player. Cork gone to Southampton without ever playing for the first team. Can we honestly say we know he’s not going to be good enough based on reports from his loan clubs and U21 performances?

    Seems to me like another crop of young players will pass by without having the opportunity to show their worth.

    AVB may well be very good at his job, hence the reason we paid so much for his services, but I can’t see him transforming the same old faces into anything other than the same old faces. Does anyone think we’ll fare any better next season with exactly the same playing personnel to pick from? Particularly with the ACN arriving in January.

    EDIT – just back from hols. Maybe a little harsh and abrupt of me. Guess AVB needs time to assess who he wants, and no-one of note has really moved yet. Was hoping Murdoch Sports News would have some juicy tidbit for me. Alas no, but rumours of Nasri / Aguero / Mata and the like (all types we need) going elsewhere make me feel we’ll be left behind or too late.

    Sorry.

  59. Cunningplan

    I have to say these journos getting their comeuppance is proving to be a far more enjoyable sport over these summer months, than the usual dross dished up.

    Hands up anyone who works for a mobile phone company (Tony) that can access any transfer news…. cough!

  60. John

    Apparently Essien just did his knee in again during training. Fingers crossed he’s not out for 6 months like last time. 

    In terms of buying players, AVB does need time to assess the squad but I’m sure the club had already prepared a possible transfer target list. We did put in bids already for Modric and Neymar so things are moving at the club … we just aren’t having any luck. 

    Looks like Pastore could happen, he is quality and would be a great addition if we plan on playing 3 in midfield. 

  61. Anonymous

    Am I the only one that can see the link between Emenalo being appointed Technical Director and the club’s call centre closing for the weekend?

  62. bluebayou

    Murdochgate marches on

    Almost 20% price increases from British Gas

    Emenalo appointed Technical Director

    Essien’s knacked his knee the first week back

    Boy it’s a day for getting bad news out……

    “While supporting the work of the first team manager, Michael will lead the club’s international and domestic scouting network, and will assist in driving the technical programmes of our Academy and international youth network.

    Michael takes on a vital role that will assist the overall long-term football strategy of the club.”

    More woolly than Woolly Willy the worlds wooliest sheep.

    Reads like he’s being paid to hang around and let the brass know what’s afoot at Cobham……

  63. Ososdeoro

    omg, you’re busted Frankie and Paulo.

    That was a good read. I thought the one about not being able to watch TV or read a paper while undergoing a massage, or presumably working out, was interesting. That’ll hit the ratings of political and historical documentaries quite hard, I’m certain.

  64. Anonymous

    I managed to fight my way past the piles of “historic” last News of the Screws in the newsagents yesterday to pick up my usual Indie on Sunday/Observer to restore sanity after my weekly dose of the Daily Wail on Saturday  [bipolar or what?].

    The Indie had an interesting counterweight to all the Summer Transfer Madness Made-up Bollocks we seem to have been reading since the beginning of February:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/megabucks-clubs-spending-in-fear-as-platinis-dictat-starts-to-bite-2309874.html

    Ignore Steve Tongue’s ramblings about financial fair play and just look at the table at the end of how little most EPL clubs have spent this transfer window so far:

    9 clubs precisely zero;

    Apart from the Mancs finally spending some of that Ronaldo money and Liverpool ditto Torres, Sunderland, who were struggling to put out 11 fit players last season, are the only significant spenders apart from the inevitable Citeh.

    There are still 51 days or so to go, but could this turn out to be the biggest non-event transfer window ever?

    • bluebayou

      Bearing in mind who holds 39% of Sky, I’m sure the commentary team will have been warned about referring to any particulalry wild challenges as “hacking”………

      I thank you.

      • Cunningplan

        The way things are going with our Aussie crook… oops I mean friend, he might find the 39% will dwindle down to 0%

        As far as poor Essien goes, I have a feeling his footballing career might be coming to a premature end, also the Modric transfer saga, like all crappy soaps, will run and run. (bored with it already)

  65. Anonymous

    Essien out with ANOTHER cruciate ligament injury. A third spell of at least 6 months. He was woeful for most of last season anyway, this pretty much puts to bed any chance we’ll ever see the Bison of old.

    Big chance for Josh perhaps? Lamps is on the wane. Ramires seems to be one bright spark for Brazil this summer. I guess this will see at least one new midfielder signed.

  66. Der_Kaiser

    Shame about Essien – not good news at all given his injury history.  Still a bit early for Josh, and talk of Parker returning is surely wide of the mark.  Midfielders on the market that we’ve sniffed around just jumped in value by upwards of £5m…

     

  67. Anonymous

    Not Modric though. Can we just get Sneijder and be done with it? And Aguero, he’s playing well for the Argies.

  68. Ososdeoro

    Oops. ManUre now signing Sneijder, goddammit. Parker and Modric both look good to me at this point (though there are other middies Chelsea are pursuing, presumably).

  69. bluebayou

    United are spending a few quid. How unlike them to spend big. I thought it was all done with a magical youth policy.

    Still they can afford it.

    So the financial fairplay rules will stop clubs over-reaching themselves but I’m not sure I see the level playing field bit. It seems as though this will merely re-inforce those who have a dominant market position.

    Indeed, by cutting off the sugar daddy avenue to success it guarantees those who are currently at the top stay there unless they mismanage the situation themselves.

    The only positive is that it may over time depress the prices in the transfer market thus helping the odd prudent club to get to a place in the sun.

    We’ll see.

  70. Anonymous

    How or why are we not in the hunt for Sneijder (according to the press at least). Crying out for someone like him.

    Tidy finish by Yossi yesterday (check out YouTube for a clip). And Torres scored within 7 minutes of his introduction. Things looking up 😉 ?

  71. Ososdeoro

    ManU have agreed to the transfer fee, but they’re blinking a little at Sneijder’s demand for £250,000/wk. 
    Chelsea and Arsenal are both after Gary Cahill, apparently. And Tottenham has apparently made an offer for a midfielder…..

  72. bluebayou

    You have on the table before you a pint of Murphy’s

    http://images.travelpod.com/users/ilyaandrebecca/1.1256040688.murphy-s-pint-in-gallagher-s-boxty-house.jpg

    and a Pinto da Costa.

    http://gouveiajoao.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/pintodacosta14.jpg

    Read this and then decide which one is is stout and which is bitter (and possibly also stout, though I don’t have his waist size to hand)

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2011/07/13/2573200/andre-villas-boas-has-a-mourinho-complex-and-chelsea-are-not

    Take your time now…

  73. WorkingClassPost

    Ferge said he wasn’t interested in Snidjer last night…must be on his way to OT then.

    Anybody been watching the Copa America?

    Neymar looks like a poor man’s Robinho, hope we don’t get tempted, but Falcao seems well suited to EPL and Ramires is also playing well.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Not sure exactly why they need Sneijder anyway – creativity was hardly where they lacked last season.  Only so many combinations of Nani, Rooney, Hernandez, Valencia, Young (plus the likes of Owen and Welbeck) that you can put on the pitch at the same time.

      Great player, but Veron the second for them?

  74. Ososdeoro

    Courtesy of Blue Celery (posted to weaintgotnohistory.com), an actual copy of Luka’s formal transfer request has been obtained:

  75. bluebayou

    I see the tweet box refers to the worlds oldest pamphlet of football rules selling at auction for over £800,000. In the same auction the part manuscript of an unpublished Jane Austen novel, “The Watsons” dating from some 50 odd years earlier went for £112,000 more.

    No some will argue the pricing is the wrong way round because after all there are many Jane Austen novels but only one set of Association Football rules.

    But they’d be wrong.

    There are two sets of rules.

    One for the world and one for Old Trafford.

  76. Anonymous

    Should we recruit Rebekah Brooks to work in the Press Office?

    Or maybe pose as David Luiz’s double in press conferences?

    • bluebayou

      Why not give her a run out instead of him? Her tackling can’t be any worse than his. And she’ll add a bit of steel to the middle of the park as ex-hubby and well known “hard bloke” Ross Kemp will testify.

      Who needs Scott Parker?

  77. Der_Kaiser

    Josh has signed a new 5 year deal, it says here.  Bertrand another 4 years.

    Good news, I’d say.

    Personally, I’m clearing the diary and getting the popcorn in for Ms. Brooks’ appearance at the Commons next week – could be a cracking bit of telly.

    • Cunningplan

      I do like television that shows babbling brooks, I find it so restful.

      I’ll get my waders

    • Austin Solari

      It reported that in the Wail today but oh no …………. it also says we are hunting two midfielders!!  No, not Mr Parker or that nice Mr Modric but , for fukks sake, Jermaine Jenas and Nigel Reo fukking Coker!!!!  Surely that has to be the worse two signing we could ever make …….. even worse than Winston bloody Bogarde 

  78. Anonymous

    Yep, Jenas or Reo Coker for us to replace Essien.

    Not Parker. No link to Aguero, who seemingly wouldn’t mind a move to England. No mention of Nasri. Lukaku is going to Arsenal now as well. Guess it depends how much you believe the press as to how much of the above is true.

    Personally I hope Lukaku’s signed then loaned back; Aguero comes this summer with Sneijder. We’ll let Spuds keep Modric. Suits me.


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