Northwood FC 0-0 Chelsea Reserves – Let’s Take a Ride, and Run with the Dogs Tonight, in Suburbia

With 1905 suburbs in the Greater London area it’s deeply flattering to me that Chelsea choose to play an annual pre-season friendly in my home suburb of Northwood. I mean fair’s fair, I travel all around the UK, and now Europe on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Tottenham fans please note), following the Chels so occasionally the club has to make a bit of an effort and visit the fans.

Northwood is on the London Underground Metropolitan line which was the first underground railway in the world, although by the time it reaches Northwood it’s overground.

Northwood is also home to Northwood Headquarters, the UK’s principal military HQ site which is home to four Operational HQs (Permanent Joint Headquarters (including the JFHQ), the Commander Naval Forces North (one of NATO’s three major Commanders) and Headquarters of Commander in Chief Fleet). Therefore in the event of any scraps between John Terry and opponents, military assistance is close at hand to quell any trouble.

Northwood is well located and within easy distance of the Central and Piccadilly lines to get to Stamford Bridge and the Metropolitan line is only seven stops from Wembley, our second home.

First half

We fielded the under 21’s and surprisingly the game was 50-50. All that expense of trawling around Europe to find the best youth available and then treating them to the best facilities money can buy in Cobham against a team of locals that looks like they’ve had a few kebabs but still managed to compete. Roman had better not put his cheque book away just yet.

Second half

We changed almost every player bar the centre-back and our average age dropped two or three years. We played much better and had at least 80% possession but obviously the players watched a little too much of Spain in the Euros and followed the philosophy of why shoot when you can pass.


It’s equally important for us fans to ease gently into the season so although my limbs will be aching tomorrow it’s important to get matches under my belt to be able to withstand the rigours of a full season.

Result: Northwood FC 0–0 Chelsea Reserves

Match photos on Flickr

There are 47 comments

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  1. Ryan

    Good one mate. Are Chelsea reserves going on a brand-building preseason tour of places on the tube map that everyone has heard of but no-one ever goes to? Morden Town, Hainault Rovers and Athletico Arnos Grove F.C still to come. Can’t wait.

    The U-18s thrashed Yeovil 12-1! Apparently Charley Musonda impressed along with a few other new recruits. All good signs for the future.

    I really fancy a kebab now, so thanks for that.

  2. bluebayou

    Well done Mark. While some of us haven’t even had our holidays, the truly dedicated are back on the treadmill. And you’re right a good pre-season is always vital for when the going gets tough later in the year.

  3. GrocerJack

    Northwood is also the former home my godparents, Aunty Kathy and Uncle Dick (now sadly deceased). It was the termination point of the first route I took as a learner driver from my manor (Hayes) and this was because my dear old mum used to let me drive her to her sisters with the L plates on. I believe the pub I used to go in on my visits there was called The Reindeer. Northwood was generally much nicer than Ruislip. And a huge amount nicer than Hayes. Fond memories…..

  4. mark_25

    The Reindeer has now been demolished.

    Locals still reminisce about the young learner driver from Hayes performing a 27 point turn on Maxwell Road outside the pub.

    • Ryan

      Yeah. He’s good. Lacks a bit of physicality but he is only 20. You’ll get chance to see him playing at the Olympics. He’ll be Brazil’s first-choice #10 but he is capable of dropping deeper and linking play. Can score goals too. Most Brazilians seem to recognise him as their next superstar (think of him as the Kaka to Neymar’s-Ronaldinho!). Wouldn’t think he’d be a regular starter straight away. It may take him a year or two to adapt but general consensus is in a straight choice between him and Lucas Moura most good judges would pick Oscar. As I say though, you’ll be able to form an opinion during the Olympic tournament. Don’t know if that helps.

      • Blue_MikeL

        It does help Ryan, thanks for you reply. I certainly will pay my attention to this player during the Olympics.  

    • Blue_MikeL

      Mark, I trully hope that will be the punch line about the guy during the whole season 🙂 

  5. mark_25

    We’re also being linked with Hazard’s brother which will lead to many headlines involving the Dukes of Hazard.

    • mark_25

      Just watched it on Chelsea TV.

      Hazard looks as good as the hype.  Marin not too shabby.  I’m getting excited about this season.

      • Cunningplan

         Currently stateside and caught match highlights, appreciate the the oppo wasn’t much to write home about, but Hazard does look rather tasty. I think a few premiership defenders might be kicking a few lumps out of him.

      • Blue_MikeL

        Yes, they both look very interesting! Two wingers we were missing for such a long time.  I am happy for Lukaku. He scored two good goals, if he continues like this soon he will be the first choice striker.  

  6. Cunningplan

    On a totally non related football note, to all of us old enough to have remembered Deep Purple… RIP Jon Lord.
    Machine Head, and Made In Japan two of my all time favourite albums

    • Blue_MikeL

      yes, died on my son’s birthday 🙁 I remember seeing  them (Deep Purple) live in Israel it was back in 1991, I think. It was gig on the beach of Galilean See (Kinneret) Deep Purple were my heroes along with Led Zeppelin and some other masters of hard rock. RIP John Lord. 
      By the way what about “In Rock” don’t you like this album?    

      • Cunningplan

         Yes “In Rock” was excellent, just had a preference for the other two, especially the track “Child in Time” and “Smoke on the Water”
        Zeppelin all time best IMHO

        • Blue_MikeL

          Haaa, exactly the same opinion here. I grew out of Deep Purple, but I could never forget Zeppelin and even today it is one of my favorite bands. 

  7. Ryan

    Kakuta is probably done at CFC after last nights performance. Pre-season or not.
    Lukaku will almost certainly go on loan and my gut feeling about him is that he’ll never be world-class (I’d be happy to be proved wrong). While he certainly has exceptional physicality, he doesn’t seem to have the touch or skill of a Drogba or an Ibrahimovich so it’ll be up to him to improve or develop other parts of his game to compensate (he isn’t particularly great attacking the ball in the air for example and @ 6’4″, he could definitely do better).
    KDB probably needs a loan for a year or two before being a viable option against decent opposition, he does appear to have what it takes to make it eventually however.
    Sam Hutchinson isn’t a RB and he may have a great back-story but will never quite cut it as a starter.
    Chalobah is class, get him out on loan somewhere he’ll play week in, week-out even if it’s for a good championship side. We should also start to think about nailing down his best position to avoid him becoming a jack of all trades, master of none type. Granted he is still a baby but in two or three years I’d like to see him settled at CB or RB. Which one I would favour will probably be decided by his physical development.
    Piazon is also top quality. His performance was a little in and out last night but he was playing out of position, in a senior game, against very respectable opposition and he didn’t play from the start. Started our best move and applied the finish. Another year around the senior squad, followed by a loan move.
    Not a great performance last night but another step on the way to full fitness, match sharpness and getting some more of the squad back together. At this rate we should have everything sorted by 23.55pm on 31st August. As ever.
    Oh yeah. And Ashley Cole is now on twitter if anyone is interested!

  8. mark_25

    Kakuta is proof that it’s much safer to buy fruit that’s ready to eat rather than ‘ripen at home’.

    I prefer to feel and squeeze the plums rather than take a risk.

    • Ryan

      Well I don’t object to buying fruit to ripen at home, provided it doesn’t get me banned from the supermarket and then ripens into a Championship footballer.

      Squeezing plums that don’t belong to me, in public would be a serious breach of my probation if I understand you correctly.

  9. Ryan

    Something has been bothering me today. Listening to the radio at work lots of football supporters criticizing Modric for being greedy re: his move to RM. Not one person has mentioned Daniel Levy being greedy. He knocked back (apparently) £40million for Modric last year and now can’t get the same fee this year. Tough. That deal isn’t on the table anymore. And as he is unwilling to sell to a PL team there can’t be much of a bidding war to drive the price up. Modric doesn’t want to go to PSG even though they’d likely pay him more than Madrid. So it’s a footballing issue not a money issue. Not for Modric anyway.

    I’m pleased we didn’t buy Modric for £40 million. We haven’t given Spurs a fortune to spend. They’ll still lose their best player and we’ve instead bought some great young talent that will actually have a resale value or potential for multiple contract extensions.

  10. Ryan

    Anyone see Brazil last night? Very good performance from Oscar. Two assists in the first half an hour. Never really gives the ball away, always seems able to find space to receive a pass and, importantly for his CFC career, able to switch positions effortlessly (orthodox #10, slightly deeper lying playmaker and on the left or right of the three attacking midfielders).

    I wonder how long it’ll be before we see…

    GK Cech
    RB Ivanovich
    CB Luiz
    CB Terry (c)
    LB Cole
    DM Mikel
    DM Ramires
    AM Hazard
    AM Mata
    AM Oscar
    CF Torres

    This would probably work as a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. The beauty of a lot of the players we have bought is their ability to interchange positions. Mata, Hazard and Oscar all able to rotate from either flank or in the more central role and Ramires able to push on as a more conventional RW if required. Haven’t even mentioned what Lamps brings to the team here but he could (as ever) be instrumental in our success.

    With good cover at the back (assuming we get one of Azpilicueta or Debuchy) and a plethora of options in midfield we probably now only require a top striker to rotate with FT. Lewandowski has impressed me. He only has two years on his contract at Dortmund and he has said he is keen to move to the PL. One assumes he won’t sign an extension, which means Dortmund sell in this window or risk having to take a reduced fee next year (I think it’s called “doing an Arsenal”). We’ll have to wait and see on that but I’d prefer him to Cavani or Falcao based on age, price, likely wages and potential. Victor Moses might seem a more likely target but with our midfield options he would see a lot of the bench and isn’t a significant upgrade to Sturridge (who didn’t show a lot for GB last night) at CF. So while I like him I’m not entirely convinced a move makes sense for him this year. Maybe give him another year at Wigan, see how things go this season and just pay the compensation at the end of his contract?

    Definitely looking forward to next season.

    • Blue_MikeL

      yes watched Brasil especially because wanted to see Oscar in action. Seems to be a good player and that lineup you put there is very impressive. 

  11. Ryan

    Daniel Sturridge does not run in behind or offer any particularly good attacking movement. Considering his apparent preference for the CF position he doesn’t exactly look like a natural. I know he’s not fully fit and he’s in an unfamiliar team but he looks better playing out wide to me. If the reason he prefers playing as a CF is because it frees him from any defensive responsibilities he needs to realise that he is a pretty average CF but he could be a great attacking winger/inside forward if he just worked at his all round game a bit but what do I know? Just an observation.

      • Ryan

        It’s not as though I really feel any particular way about him and I’m not an expert but he just doesn’t look like a striker. He does have the ability to be in the right place at the right time but there were times tonight when he just wasn’t getting in CF positions or even offering a run. As far as I could see he favours the striker-role more when the team is defending (i.e. he just stays up the pitch) but tends to just stand and watch the play when the midfielders are attacking or gravitates towards the ball when it is played wide relatively early in the attack. He gives the ball away far too often when he drops off and tries to link the play too.

        It’s a small sample size I know but it’s not really looking that good for Studge at CF.

  12. Ryan

    That said he has scored two goals in the last two games so maybe I’m being a little harsh but I’m just looking at how his performances bode for us next season if he is going to be Torres’ back-up.

  13. WorkingClassPost

    So your secret’s out Mark, you’re a northerner!
    It kind of explains that willingness to travel up there to all those away games and your robust sense of humour, and also demonstrates the cosmopolitan nature of Chelsea’s fan-base.

    Been maintaining a mostly Olympic free zone and haven’t seen much of the going’s on, but if DS can get some games and goals then it might set him up for the new season – only a couple of weeks away now.

      • WorkingClassPost

        I know that used to be the case, not sure if it still holds true after all those boundary changes.

        Perhaps a nationality test is in order…

        How many Working men’s clubs are there per square mile, in Northwood?

        How many pie shops are there, and how easy is it to get mushy peas on a Monday?

        Do you have bellow/above average numbers of Estate Agents on the high street?

        Must admit that listening to you on the Podding Shed, you don’t sound very Northern, but I’d put that down to possibly being educated down here.

        Anyway,  diversity is always welcome, and as long as you take care when venturing across the Watford Gap, all should be OK.

        • mark_25

          How many Working men’s clubs are there per square mile, in Northwood?
          NONE – but I once knew someone who owned a whippet

          How many pie shops are there, and how easy is it to get mushy peas on a Monday?
          NO PIE SHOPS – but my local fish restaurant will add mushy peas as a special order to accompany my grilled Dover sole on the bone with new potatoes and hollandaise sauce

          Do you have bellow/above average numbers of Estate Agents on the high street?
          NATIONAL AVERAGE – like all high streets we only have three types of retail outlet alternating between estate agents, charity shops and bookies

          Must admit that listening to you on the Podding Shed, you don’t sound very Northern, but I’d put that down to possibly being educated down here.
          DISCIPLINE – my governess was very particular that I spoke the Queen’s English and luckily she chose HRH instead of Christopher Biggins

          • WorkingClassPost

            Congratulations, Mark. You’ve passed the test!

            The merest fact that you have reacted so strongly to being considered Northern, is proof enough that you are indeed of true Southern stock.

            I’m sure that you won’t be offended in any way, and accept that we do need to run full and proper background checks to ensure that our allocation of Northern supporters has not been exceeded.

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