Rafael Benitez – Enough is Enough

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I was one of the few who didn’t hate Rafael Benitez. Maybe because I am, after all, not a real fan in that I do not reside in the UK and as much as I try to follow everything to do with the English Premier League and watch most of the games (all Chelsea games and nearly all of the rest), I probably still can’t claim to understand what you real fans out there feel. I rather liked Rafa (as much as his type of lack of charisma can be liked) maybe because those Chelsea versus Liverpool Champions League ties I will remember for the rest of my life. Maybe because I always saw him as one of the relatively few managers who is a scholar of the game (a quality I really do admire, maybe a little naively). Someone who takes football seriously not only on the pitch (as most other former players turned managers do), but also off the pitch, where it’s so boring for the rest. I even read his book, not because I’m a fan, but because I try to read any book written by a proper manager about the game. I hate biographies, I don’t care about the person, all I want is his wisdom or lack thereof. His book wasn’t very good, frankly, but that’s down to his ghost writer and him being a boring fucker.

But enough is enough. That’s all I can say. He was never welcome here, he’s not one who can ever truly gain the respect of the squad so that they’re ready to die for him. Sure, the players probably like him. What’s not to like? He isn’t a tyrant, he rotates like crazy, but somehow I think no one inside the squad really hates him. But no one loves him either. I wish the man well, but we was doomed from the beginning and has shown it just isn’t working. There’s no future with him. He won’t destroy the team, he won’t do anything really bad, but he won’t really get us anywhere either.

I was against Pep Guardiola from the start as I feel he himself knows he isn’t good enough for anything but Barcelona (that sounds really weird, but I do hope you see my point). And his decision proves the point. He’s a coward. He picked the easiest option. He picked the option with very few challenges. And the shame in that is that we won’t see him fail. Because the guy probably can do a good enough job of training a group of football players. And that’s all they need from him at Bayern Munich. The rest is handled by professionals. So he’ll probably win the Champions League with them and the league and people will praise him even more, despite the fact that he’s basically managing Barca II. He’s evading all the challenges of the modern game. The rich crazy owners, the crazy star-struck out of control players, the crazy press, just the overall chaos of the Premier League and… let’s say, Real Madrid. The things Jose Mourinho craves, Pep is afraid of. That’s why he’ll never be better. He’s a smart, smart man, who knows his stuff, but this calculated approach shows the real Pep. He has the balls to realize what a failure he’d be at Manchester City, Chelsea or even Paris Saint-Germain (or AC Milan…) and what a devastating blow it may have on his career. Barca is actually doing better without him. They were an amazing team before him, with Frank Rijkaard. Sure, he just ended up in a time period when the team truly blossomed and gained its trophies. He made some great decisions, but within the framework of his home club, home team, surrounded by awesome players. He’s smart but he ain’t no Jose. He isn’t a winner at heart. I’m not, either. That’s why I admire people who are. So it’s all for the better. He would have fared no better than Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea.

That leaves us with… no one, actually.

Postscript: And for all the goals that we sometimes score… Am I the only one who thinks that Chelsea FC is fucking boring now that Rafa’s here? Maybe not the football, but the overall atmosphere is one of the most uninspiring in a long time. Everyone’s just lost and tired… We need a kick in the ass, the fans, Roman Abramovich, the board – everyone.

Originally posted as a comment on Premier League: Stoke City 0-4 Chelsea – A Riddle, a Mystery and an Enigma

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There are 43 comments

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  1. peterw

    If we’re reposting comments, here’s mine from last night…

    This is what I worried about with Rafa. I didn’t like him much as a person, but his record at Liverpool was basically not all that great. My abiding memory isn’t the two well-organised but rather fortuitous 1-0 wins in the semis v Jose, but the ease with which we destroyed them at Anfield in the league 4-1 and under Hiddink 3-1. They were spineless, gutless, we mullered them. 
    And then, in the other semis in the return legs, he cocked up so badly – freezing when 2-0 up at half-time at the Bridge (in the epic 4-4- which we really should have won 6-2), and then taking off an actually quite good Torres in extra time in the Avram Grant semi, effectively surrendering the match. If this guy was the master of the two leg knockout, how did he get bettered by Avram Bloody Grant?
    I hadn’t really registered Benitez during the Jose games, he was shapeless, but it was these games that put me off him as a coach – and the way he opportunistically slagged off Drogba before the semi in 08 was pathetic and poorly judged, making me question his character as well.
    We’ll carry on with the odd great win and disappointing draw and crappy defeat, but we won’t make any progress – nothing that couldn’t have been achieved by RDM at half the financial and emotional cost. 

    • Andy

      Spineless is the word. Massive gaps in the middle of the pitch, and you look to the bench to see who could come on, and the only thing i could think of was Luiz into midfield, and JT at the back.

  2. mark_25

    Nice post Gleb.  You don’t have to be born and bred on the Fulham Road to be a real fan!  I’m 13.9 miles or 22.37 Km from the Bridge yet I’m not a real fan but just a plastic rent boy.

  3. Gleb

    It’s a great honor to have this published! Thank you! Strangely enough, it was one of my least thought-out comments, I just kind of wrote it and clicked Submit.

    It’s interesting how football’s popularity has so much to do with what happens after the game. Very few other sporting activities have this. The whole world is discussing everything that goes in the world of the beautiful game. Most of the time we don’t agree with each other, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s one of the few truly “in the moment” things in life. So whilst it sounds really daft when, for example, I call Pep a coward – the man has won everything there is to be won and I’m just some guy, – that’s what football is about. I wouldn’t say something like that about cycling, for example. Neither would you. And Chelsea wouldn’t be have the fun without us here and everywhere else scrutinizing their every move.

    So…. Keep posting, guys! All of this is not one bit less important than the 90 minutes!

  4. Der_Kaiser

    Good read, Gleb – always interesting to hear the perspective of someone who isn’t necessarily right in the thick of it, i.e. going to games and so on but has a degree of distance.

    Comes down to the point Pete makes and what my feeling was at the time he was appointed; aside of all the Liverpool baggage and the feelings that stirs amongst some of our fans, there was probably a very good reason why he’d been out of work for 2 years – I just don’t think he’s that good a coach or (more importantly) has the temperament for the PL.

    Some improvements have been made, but we’ve deteriorated elsewhere – one step forward and two back and I don’t think we’re any further on than we would have been with Robbie in charge.  

  5. mark_25

    I’m usually wrong about managers!

    Who knows who our long term (ha!) manager will be but let’s say in the summer we get everyone’s ideal appointment, whoever that may be.

    Assuming you’re all right about Rafa who should we appoint as the Interim Interim?  Or shall we just stick him out till the summer?

  6. peterw

    We have to stick him out, there’s nothing to be gained from sacking him. But then I’m not somebody who fetishises finishing fourth – probably because I am not the club accountant.

    Just think it’s been a pointless and pretty dispiriting exercise for everybody. 

  7. mark_25

    Ok

    So unlike Guus Hiddink who got an end of season chorus of “We want you to stay” presumably Rafa will get “We want you to go”.

    • Blueboydave

      Rafa will be lucky if that’s all he gets if we continue his run of 1 home EPL win in 5 attempts [ including the might of Fulham, QPR and now Southampton] for much longer – assuming there’s enough fans still able to face turning up for home games.

      I settled last night for wrestling with a self-assembly computer chair [non-Ikea] with the Arsenal v Swansea game burbling in the background in case the Gooners turned in another of their classic comedy defending performances.

      Not a fun evening, but still better than freezing my bollocks off watching the tedium that the Sky highlights suggested our efforts produced.

      I think I’ve now skipped attending more home games in the Rafa era than I did in the previous 20 years.

      I’m coming to the conclusion that Dan Levene is right and following the Ancelloti sacking we have excluded ourselves from securing the top managers any longer [Guardiola/ Mourinho] and must settle for promising up-and-comers [AVB/RDM] or the involuntarily unemployed looking to salvage their reputation so that they’ll get a less fraught offer elsewhere [Rafa].

      Doe that mean I need to hope Rafa somehow rescues the League Cup or wins the FA Cup so some other club will be dumb enough to take him off our hands in the summer?

  8. limetreebower

    Nice post Gleb, and I hope it’s not patronising to say that you write very well in what I assume is your second language.

    My beef with Rafa was always that I just don’t think he’s a very good manager. It was embarrassing how easily Fergie made him melt down into a red-faced ranting maniac; his Liverpool teams were ball-achingly dull (I remember a 0-0 in the Avram season which made all of us who were there want to strangle ourselves); he never gave any impression of being able to mould a team into something more than the sum of its parts, something with a personality.

    I’m in 100% agreement with Pete: we’ve gained absolutely nothing from sacking Robbie, at the cost of alienating the fans, creating massive discontent around a squad which at the beginning of the season looked young, optimistic and promising, putting off every sane manager who might be interested in taking over the club, and of course blowing a huge sum of cash on buying Robbie out. Well done, Chelsea. Jolly good work.

    It’s such a shame. After last year’s to be honest rather freakish triumph, this would have been the perfect season to calm things down at the club, commit to youngsters, accept a few losses, and generally reorient towards the longer term.

    Whereas now the next five months will all be about Frank and José.

    One of the many miserable things about last night was how hesitant and clumsy Oscar looked. Everyone was off form — even Mata didn’t play well — but Oscar wasn’t just bad, he looked destroyed: trying too hard one minute, screwing up the next, not knowing what to do with the ball after that. I wonder whether Rafa’s final legacy won’t be that he f**ked up one of the most promising talents I’ve seen since I’ve been going dahn the Bridge.

  9. jonners

    I actually feel a bit sorry for Oscar as since Rafa arrived he has largely been excluded due to Moses being given a regular slot in the team.Prior to that under RDM Oscar played in the number 10 role with Hazard and Mata playing on the wings.However I think Rafa quickly sussed out that Mata’s best position is as a number 10 so Oscar was left out and since Moses departure to the ACON Rafa has either left Oscar out or as in the case of last night played him on the wing ,a position he is not at all suited for.Personally I believe his best position is in a deeper role as a playmaker but that would mean him probably replacing Lampard which would bring the rath of his adoring fans plus the media down.on Rafa . Difficult problem but that is what Managers are  paid to solve…… 

  10. grocerJack

    GrocerJack
    14 hours ago
    “But enough is enough. That’s all I can say. He was never welcome here, he’s not one who can ever truly gain the respect of the squad so that they’re ready to die for him. Sure, the players probably like him. What’s not to like? He ain’t a tyrant, he rotates like crazy, but somehow I think no one inside the squad really hates him. But no one loves him either. I wish the man well, but we was doomed from the beginning AND has shown it just isn’t working. There’s no future with him. He won’t destroy the team, he won’t do anything really bad, but he won’t really get us anywhere either.”

    Well said Gleb. Pretty much perfect description of how I m starting to feel. i can’t/don’t hate Rafa because his rather timid insults to us as fans bounced off me (I’m an adult you know). But this insipid style of football, which was there under RDM as well is what sickens me most. We’re Barca lite. Diet Barca. Low cal Barca.

    Yes folks we have finally become Arsenal. Tippy tappy intricate pussy football better suited to arcade games. It’s arse gravy. It’s for girls. It stinks. Loads of wank passing with fuck all steel and no end product. How many times did we run out of ideas last night in the final third. Thats when we reached the final third. Yes, every single fucking time. Clueless and riddled with complacency, laziness, incompetence and arrogance. Frankly I’m sick of the whole shebang and maybe it’s time to use the Viagogo service for a few weeks and take a fan sabbatical. After all thats what the players seemed to do.

    Hazard gets a little credit for running a lot last night. Luiz as well for never letting his head drop. Frank watched a game go by him last night. Oscar and Ramires stunk the house out last night. even Dave at right back looked like he’d smoked 20 Rothmans pre game last night as he chugged up and down the flank chasing lost causes wearing red.

    So, bearing in mind Rafa is literally caretaking to keep him visible in the game I am rather hoping we get Jose back to instil a top down winning mentality making us feared at home and hated everywhere else. because I’m not really prepared to shell out a grand for a season ticket to be entertained by a bunch of passionless circus performers.

    Oh, and well done Pep for showing Abramovich that money isn’t the be all and end all of life. You’ve taken a good option there rather than the insanity and constrictions of a club that is run by a despot who seems to model his ownership on Putins presidency principles. His way is the only way …Roman is the emperor and he rules.

    I’d rather like him to sell up now thanks.

    reply

  11. grocerJack

    I’ve also reposted here from last night. Disqus does not like Chrome on the iPad so I couldn’t prologue that I was reposting. I’ve been a pretty isolated figure in semi-defending Rafa and thinking he deserves a chance. However my patience is waning and I’m almost ready to admit I was wrong and he’s just not as good as I remember him being. I always thought he just didn’t have the right backing but perhaps it was just him. So we have him until May where he might show enough to other chairmen that he can help them. He looks like he’d do Ok somewhere like Villa or Newcastle.

    Sacking Ancelotti wasn’t what made us the pariah as employers in football, but merely underlined what many thought after sacking the man who turned the entire club culture from also rans to feared ruthless winners from the tea lady upwards. Jose Mourinho.

  12. grocerJack

    iPad enforced pause.

    I don’t think Simeone is right for us(another non English speaker I believe) and Laudrup after one season seems a risk. Klopp seems far too sane and grounded to risk his career with us. Some have criticised Brendan Rodgers for his career comments on us and then joining Liverpool but the starting point is lower and he’ll get the time there. Time/patience isn’t an attribute of our dictator RA. I’d take Jose back in the blink of an eye. Season ticket sales guaranteed, merchandise revenue through the roof, rand awareness sky high. Fans happy. Press happy.

    Win-win. Unfinished business resumed.

  13. Gleb

    Thank you everyone for your kind words! It’s great to have a second post here after all these years. Had I known my insignificant comment would turn into a post, I’d have written a more thorough and structured text. Which would probably get rejected. Go figure 🙂 

    • mark_25

      Probably best you didn’t think too hard about it and just wrote what you thought at the time.  Like strikers it’s better to be instinctive rather than dwell on it.

  14. Gleb

    About Pep: the English press, I see, is hailing this as a godly triumph of reason over money. What they chose to forget, though, is that Guardiola will earn (or just get, without earning) 17 million Euros a year, making him the highest-paid manager in the world. More than the 15 that Jose gets and more than the 13 that Carlo gets. And more than the 16 that Messi gets. Boo fucking hoo.

    • Radicalevan

      They are not suggesting that he is not a well paid man. They are suggesting that Roman would have paid him more. The conclusion they draw is that money would have been the single draw for him to come here, which may not be far off.

      We don’t know a great deal about the man, but from his time at Barcelona we can gather that he is a somewhat fair-minded individual who favours an organically grown, possession based football rather than direct or power based football. The German set-up is likely the most fair-minded league around considering wage structures, ticket prices, and general league dynamics. If Munich are prepared to let him tinker with the academies and such, that’s fine. 

      Does Chelsea offer him that opportunity? No, I think. What we did offer was a challenge, one that he ultimately chose not to accept. Maybe he is waiting to go to Arsenal, the only club in England that have an established style of playing.

  15. Vik Sohonie

    Good stuff, Gleb. There’s a good chance Rafa will stay because, as Gleb points out, who exactly is left? Mourinho is going to leave Madrid whether he wins the Champion’s League or not, more likely if he does, and there are only a handful of clubs he would choose: United, City (doubtful), Chelsea and PSG (if Ancelotti cocks it up). But what manager in their right mind will come to Chelsea now? You’re not safe even if you win the biggest prize in football. 

  16. NorthernVA

    I don’t really understand the shots taken at Guardiola. Why wouldn’t he chose Bayern? Have you seen their roster? They’re loaded. Why come here and spend six months trying to “get the best out of Fernando.” That has been a successful venture for all predecessors. Why risk potentially damaging his “brand” when he can go to Bayern win shit and walk into the United gig once Fergie steps aside.

    Furthermore the notion that there is any less pressure to manage Bayern Munich is nuts. Good luck dealing Der Kaiser, Hoeness, and Karl! Have a look at the rate in which managers can fall on the sword over there. It won’t be necessarily a cake walk. Did you happen to see how City managed against Dortmund? I don’t believe Schalke struggled mightily with Arsenal either.

    Don’t really by the whole top managers won’t come here argument. What do you classify as a top manager? If you are looking at salary the problem lies in that 3 out of the top 6 earners have already plied their trade at Chelsea. Chelsea Football Club remains an attractive job prospect for most. Hiring and firing hasn’t made Madrid nor Munich and ideal destination for most managers.

  17. Der_Kaiser

    A mate of mine remarked that speculating / getting excited about the identity of the next Chelsea manager is a bit like winning a goldfish at the fair and going through the process of naming it, fairly safe in the knowledge that it’ll be dead inside of a week anyway.

    • Blueboydave

      There again, you might try a “What Shall We Call The Next Goldfish From The Fair” recurring item in the Podding Shed with a premium rate phone-in line for listener voting, to raise some revenue from those who like to obsess on this matter 😉

    • mark_25

       If only that were true.  Ours lasted 10 years and I ended up having to clean the tank even though the kids promised to take responsibility.

      • GrocerJack

        Or in our case it was hamsters. ‘Dad we promise to look after them and clean them’

        Which I ended up doing. They wouldn’t even bury the little bastards when they died. Hamsters i mean…not the kids…

        • Der_Kaiser

          Got all that on the march home from school today in a blizzard.  “Daddy, when can I have a guinea pig?”

          Realising that “not while I’ve got a hole in my arse” wasn’t a suitable answer for a 5 yr old, I said “we’ll have to see…”

  18. BlueChampion

    Great piece on Pep’s decision Gleb. Totally loved it! Posted the section on Pep over at my BlueChampions blog in the comment section with link to this blog.

  19. DrEvil

    Your dart hits the spot for me, Gleb. Guardiola has this carefully cultivated image (grey suit and black v-neck, etc) of ‘thoughtful’, ‘aesthetic’, ‘beautiful game’ thinker when actually his CV shows that he is a Barcelona product – player, youth team coach and manager. Easy to do all that when you are in amongst one of the richest UNICEF-endorsed clubs in the world! Not so easy in the real world….
    And totally unsuited to CFC of course. Given that no manager with half a brain would risk his career on Roman’s management style. Modelled, as I imagine, on the NKVD at the Battle of Moscow shooting under-performing officers on the spot.Which style leaves us, as Dan Levene tells us, with candidates who could only really be desperate for the job.”Sigh”

    • NorthernVA

      With all due respect your first two sentences make you sound like a jilted girlfriend. He WAS NEVER GOING TO COME HERE. Sorry about the all caps but it’s a trick a learned from my right leaning brethren on this side of the pond.

      • DrEvil

        Nope. Not jilted girlfriend. More like the girl who emits a sigh of relief when she learns her arranged marriage isn’t going to happen after all.

  20. Gleb

    Look, the world of modern football is ruthless, mindless, chaotic and follows no logic. Pep chose to evade that. Fair play to him. That is a very sensible decision. But one that requires no sugar-coating. Bayern are a legendary club playing in a very good league. No doubt about it. But the man left Barcelona at the first sight of trouble. Took a year off. And joined basically the same kind of team where everything is running well, where you don’t have to dig through tons of shit to get some kind of result. Again, fair play to him. It’s as rational a decision as can be. But it’s football of the 21st century we’re talking about here. Love it or hate it, it is what it is. If you want to prove yourself, you’ve got to do better than that. If you want to just manage well-run, stable football clubs, so be it. But that’s not what separates the men from the boys. Hell, Mancini is a joke of a manager but even he deserves respect for working under such pressure day in, day out. Pep got scared. The press, of course, highlights his cold mind, his love for the game and disgust for what happens off the pitch. Highlights his desire to work in better conditions. It’s true, but one can’t lie to oneself. Pep knew the EPL is in a league of its own not in terms of quality but in terms of how hard it is to work here. Precisely because the likes RDM and Adkins get fired, the press destroys the rest, the overall chaos. It might be an ugly thing, but it’s there. Yet if one emerges victorious (and alive), it’s so much more rewarding!!!

    P.S. Was never talking about Chelsea. Was talking about the EPL. Didnt want Pep here precisely because he’d fail and we – the world – would lose a great talent. I love Pep! I just feel so… disappointed… So let down. Bayern… Legendary club, a club I grew up with, but don’t lie to yourselves: are you really going to follow Pep’s career there, day in, day out? Is there anything really challenging to look forward to? I want one of my favorite managerz put under pressure every minute, forced to make dramatic decisions, pushed to the edge of his footballing genious! I’m a fan, I have a right to want that. Just as Pep has the right to a calm work.

    • NorthernVA

      Actually Pep went well past his sell by date for Barcelona managers. That’s part of the reason why he left. If you really believe that working as the manager of Barca, Madrid, or Bayern is any less difficult than being the manager of any club in England..,I’m sorry but that’s crazy. 

      How can you say that the Bundesliga has any less quality. Dortmund ripped City to shreds. If not for Drogba same would have happened in Munich. Arsenal put up very little resistance to Schalke. Not as cut and dry as you make it seem.

    • NorthernVA

      And honestly brother I didn’t want Pep here from the beginning. I just think that slamming the guy when he has never done the same is a bit classless.

  21. Gleb

    It’s not about which team is better. Or which league is better. I don’t really want to turn this into a huge debate because my position is doomed from the start. It’s based on emotions. On feeling. Of course Pep is a huge figure, of course Bayern are a massive club. Of course his decision is rational and probably the only right one for him at this stage.

    It’s just that… Out of all the possible options to test himself, to learn something new, he picked the safest. Not the easiest, the safest. Look at it this way… Bayern was the only team who didn’t really NEED Pep Guardiola. They are truly a club greater than any manager. They are a great club. They’re doing fine. Not in terms of trophies (been losing one too many finals recently, thankfully :)), but in terms of their solid future. Obviously Pep is a great capture for them. I’m sure it’s gonna work out well. Heck, Pep might even produce a miracle and resurrect a very potent, very dynamic and under-appreciated league. But they still didn’t need Pep and only Pep, like all those other options.

    Sure, them other options sounded silly: “We’re begging you, please come, here’s a load of cash, here’s a load of players, do whatever you want, but save us, we’re in deep shit, you’re fucking Pep Guardiola, save us, do something! But if you happen to lose a couple of games in a row… you’re fucked!”. It’s mad. Of course it’s mad. But… it’s so much more thrilling, isn’t it? Any other option, it’s not even about the leagues.

    But Bayern were the only ones who just, you know, needed a decent coach to replace a departing legend. If it happens to be Pep, well, that’s great. If it happens to be someone else (a professional, of course, but there are many), not a problem. They’re a German machine, they’ll keep on going.

    So this feeling, this atmosphere, this serenity is what I’m talking about.

    It’s a great decision, and it won’t be easy, but it’s the least exciting one. The one with the lowest probability of a grand fuck-up. And as I said, as a fan, as a stupid fan of a game where grown men run around chasing a ball and the whole world is watching, I’m entitled to expect the thrill of a grand fuck-up but ALSO of a grand victory.

    I hope I’ve explained my point. The last thing I wanted to do was start a debate about Dortmund vs Man City, Shalke vs Arsenal and the like. Totally not the point I was making. But you do have to take into account the difference between a single (or a double) CL match (where British clubs have often been “found out”) and a league as intense as the EPL. The intensity is the key here. The EPL was never the most technical, never the most tactical, probably not as high in attendances as Germany, but it somehow retains this unrivaled intensity. It’s subjective, but common…

    Every fucking player, every fucking manager, Spanish, Argentine, Italian – somehow always mentions England as, at the very least, an interesting and challenging destination. And Pep himself has said that. Quite recently. But went to Germany. Again, fair play to the man. I sincerely wish him well.

  22. Blueboydave

    The arrival of Arsene’s boys tomorrow reminds me that I read somewhere recently that Wenger won 3 EPL titles and 4 FA Cups in his first 9 years in charge of the Gooners before their current 8-year and counting drought began.

    As was pointed out, this is spookily similar to our record in the first 9 years of Roman rule give or take a couple of League Cups and that CL win [and I’m happy to take them thanks]. 

    I guess we will now start to see if the Roman Managerial Merry-go-Round method is more effective in the long term than Wenger’s approach or if we will slump into a similar trophy drought.

    Also, I see today in my hard copy of one of the gutter press a table of all 14 Chelsea managers’ record in their first 5 League games in charge in the EPL era [when football began, of course] which shows Mad Rafa holding up bottom place alongside Ian Porterfield with that magnificent W-D-L of 1-3-1.

    What was it Bruce Buck said again about how Rafa would “come in and immediately help deliver our objectives”?

  23. Dylbo Baggins

    I thought it was just that contracts beyond a one year extension wouldn’t be offered to those eligible for senior’s cards….. 

    Apparently Cole’s is only for 1 year.

  24. limetreebower

    Nice of the Arse to stand back and admire our play for 45 minutes.

    Once they realised this was possibly a bit unwise things were rather dicier. We looked knackered by the half-hour, too.

    Good win though. Azpilipilipilipilicueta’s looking like a smart signing, eh?

  25. Vik Sohonie

    We play like we did in the first half and there isn’t a team in the country that would have a prayer.  Ramires was awarded MOTM but Mata, Cahill and Ashley all deserve a fair shout. Good win and always great to a double over L’Arse, been a few since we’ve done that.  Onwards and upwards, hoping for a 4-2 at Swansea!

  26. Musumba

    frankly IMO i thought Mata has not been playing well, he gave away the ball far too easily in dangerous positions and his decision making against the opposition was at times wanting. In fact he has been doing it quite often, yes he is a fairly good attacking midfielder but i really don’t think he is world class and cant rise to the occasion like Lampard, Drogba, Terry Ivanovic et al

  27. Girl_lover_55

    Have some faith boys…We still have Guus Hiddink…With his contract at Anzhi expiring at the end of the season. KTBFF


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