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  1. 41 points
    BCFC22

    Tammy Abraham

    Good evening all you Blues fans Hope you don't mind but Im a Bristol City fan visiting your forum as I thought I'd take the time to pass on some comments about ( your )Tammy Abraham Im no starry eyed teenager but a a mid 50s , bit of a grumpy , Bristol City follower ,and someone who is losing love for the game I've lived and breathed for 50yrs Ironically the Blues are a team I followed closely for a number of years after you signed my childhood Chris Garland in early 70s, I even have a slightly scratched prized 'Blue is the colour' 45' !! I had a 10year spell scouting for a number of League Clubs and spend periods of games even now watching individual players rather than the game / following the ball so like to think I can provide a reasonable assessment of a player. So Tammy Abraham... First and foremost , alongside just about virtually every City fan I know , we are extremely grateful to Chelsea that have been fortunate enough to loan Tammy this season. If we avoid relegation it will be largely off the back of this lads young shoulders. Without him we would have been dead and buried weeks ago Im not a close follower of Premiership Football (Seems a million miles away from where we are) , particularly in respect of watching games in the flesh, and so I'm not in a educated position to say whether Tammy is likely to break through at his home club. As a top four club , who sign players of the quality of Hazzard , Costa etc I fully understand how and why it's always going to be ridiculously tough to break into such a quality side Ive seen all but two of our games this season and increasingly been watching Tammy and his development in his first taste of senior football. Tammys goal return as a standalone stat is indeed impressive but I can assure you doesn't IMHO come close to reflecting his ability or contribution The Championship , is a tough place to make an impact , especially at his age, and He has scored 22 goals this season in a very poor side in turmoil. He's scored those goals , in spite of extremely poor service and support , not because of decent or even reasonable service and support. He has been deployed for virtually the whole of the season as a lone striker with an overweight and unfit Lee Tomlin deployed as a 10 to support him, which he doesn't , save for a single game in front of Sky Cameras !!! As a result Tammy has been a isolated figure up top with poor support and a service normally thrown in his general direction and often somewhere around his throat. Centre halves in the Championship tend to be physical, often with some premiership experience and I'd say are probably more physical (as they can get away with a bit more in Championship !) and this lad has in truth, been battered most of the season from two centre halves in opposition sides , as I said often in a losing cause with dreadful support and Service. From the first minute he has appeared for us , does this lad lose faith or become demoralised - Not a bit , on a dozen or so occasions this season I've Sen him clattered and go or stay down in obvious pain but the lad gets treatment , gets up, and shakes himself down , time after time , game after game .... fantastic Every single game the lad comes off the pitch having left absolutely everything on it - fantastic to see, noticed, and appreciated by suppporters - the standard response to our (regular) defeats has been 'Tammy , Tammy ....Abraham' ringing round the ground , just that , always that , which sort of says everything Hes a talented lad no doubt, good first touch , with decent service can hold the ball up well and link play, and a willing runner in the channels.His finishing is pretty damned good, not perfect but he has the skill of finding space in the box and reading the game to be in the right place to poach goals - lovely to see a poacher, but he's a whole lot more than that and has shown when on the rare occasions he's clever enough and good enough to make the most of any decent service. He's not the polished gem yet but has developed even with us and has got to grips with the physicality and pace of First Team football week by week In my 50 years of following my club , as some of you will have , I've seen hundreds and hundreds of players and over a hundred loanees In all those years Tammy comes a very close second to Andy Cole in the obvious and significant impact he's had at our club over all those years As good as Andy Cole , close but not quite , but Cole was 21 when he came to us and Tammy has another two years before you could make a fair comparison - In two years time Tammy will be up there with a 21 yr old Andy Cole from what I have seen. I won't try and tell you anymore about your player whose career I will follow closely - I have no doubt that he will go on to forge a good career in the Premier League , hopefully in a Chelsea shirt and I'm confident that he will represent his country, possibly as a mainstay in a few years time So a massive Thankyou for the privilege of having this lad at Ashton Gate this season And finally and most importantly Ive started to fall out of love with the modern game and the modern footballer , full of ego and only interested in £££ , but this lad is a complete breath of fresh air in absolutely everything , about his commitment , humility , attitude , desire - truly awesome The way he conducts himself both on and off the pitch has been a complete joy as has witnessing his obvious and deep desire to play well and to achieve results His interaction with supporters is a joy and he has become admired and idolised amongst our fanabse and will walk our player and young player of the year and rightly so Embarrassingly his desire , commitment and obvious pain when the final whistle blows and we have been beaten is far in excess of every single one of our own players ( At Brentford on Saturday he mouthed 'Sorry' to our away following !!!! as he left the pitch after another defeat, despite having played HIS heart out for 90 mins ploughing a lone furrow up front again - when do you ever see that from a modern player !!) I have some connections at Bristol City and reports of this lad confirm everything I've witnessed, humble, extremely hard working, always has a smile on his face, eager to learn and improve ..... tick tick tick This lad has Id suggest a World Class attitude , whatever his ability is eventually assessed to be and I , as a football fan hope the lad goes on to have a fantastic career at the highest level and reaps the rewards that would bring .... because you know what..... this kid deserves everything he gets I thought you may like a third part view of the lad from someone whose seen lots of him this season and watched him closely in all aspects If he gets the chance at Stamford Bridge please get behind this lad as he is a gem , certainly attitude wise and will give everything for the shirt , that I can promise you He is a complete credit To Chelsea Football Club, to the academy and the staff that work there Most of all he's a credit to his parents , and most of all to himself - So nice to say that about a young modern footballer I will be really sad to see this lad go back to you in May as he's helped me keep some faith in modern day footballers Good luck for the rest of the season - undoubtedly another title possibly a double is on its way :) Love Conte - Think you are in for some years of sustained success !!!
  2. 37 points
    Boyne

    Our New Stadium

    Thanks. Sorry for the delay in posting other comments about last night but was in a meeting in the Foreign Office. If I've missed anything from the comments below or I realise that something is wrong i'll add or correct. I think Carshalton Blue is going tonight. Would be grateful to see what he or anyone else who goes thinks and if they hear anything to the contrary. Sorry that comments take up a lot of space but wanted to write down as much as possible. Interesting times. Apologies if stuff below has already been covered, haven't read through all the posts. I went to the Bridge last night for the meeting with the consultants about the redevelopment about ground. It was not only Chelsea fans at the meeting but also local residents with no affiliation with the club. From what I could gather a large number people had attended during the day. It is expected that the redevelopment will take three years. Prior to the work starting there will be a couple of years of planning, approvals etc so if work started now the earliest the new Bridge will be completed will be 2020. Having been involved in a number of office moves and refurbishments over the years I know how long the planning can take. A lot of planning has already taken place and from what we told by one of the consultants that from discussions which have been held with the council and most local residents and businesses are content with the plans. On Monday evening the consultants had a meeting with representatives from the council. Obviously not everyone will be content but it is going to be difficult to please everyone. Last night I heard a resident who lives on the Fulham Road and not from the East Stand complain about the noise from the East Stand and in particular the air-conditioning units. It was pointed out to her that the walls of the new stands will thicker to cushion the noise. On a match day there will always be noise. Given that we’re only play games for less than 10% of the year noise and disruption will be minimal. As for noise and disruption during the re-building there are rules in place about when works can take place. Roman has had several meetings with the consultants and architects and they have highlighted to him the risks etc of the project and he has told them to press on. I think that is a good sign and shows his commitment to the club not only in time but in money. From speaking to one of the consultants it became clear that they did not want to make plans public until they had enough information to give out and have plans in place. To me that indicates they are a long way down the planning route. The Memorial Wall will remain which is excellent news. The remains of the Shed Wall will also remain as it will not get in the way of the re-development. We were told that it will also act as a barrier for those houses between the ground and the Fulham Road. We were told by one consultant that there will be no area for standing in the new ground. That does not come as a complete surprise; however, speaking to another consultant later it is possible that the lower tier of the new Shed End could be built to allow it to be converted into standing. Something to look out for. There will be three tiers in each stand and away fans will be located in the corner of the Shed End near the East Stand i.e. where they are at the moment. The height of the new stadium will be the same as the current one; that is to ensure that views from surrounding buildings are not blocked. Apparently a resident has said that their view of Richmond Park will be spoilt if the height of the stadium is increased. Not sure how that will be the case given that Stamford Bridge is the tallest building in the area. Also building higher will block out more sunlight; one of the concerns of the residents of the Oswald Stoll Home when the new West Stand was built in the nineties. I think it is only right and proper that we cater for our service veterans. As the new Bridge cannot be any higher, the builders will dig down to allow for the third tier. The builders will dig down four metres. Someone on here asked (sorry I can’t remember who) about what was being built at the East Stand and over the railway line. It will be a walkway. There will also be a walkway from the Underground Station to the Matthew Harding Upper. The walkways are to make access and egress easier. The new Stadium will be solely used for Chelsea matches i.e. there will be no other sports played there (remember the ground was used for American Football matches in the nineties) and nor will it be used for concerts: Under the Bridge will go. As for where we play when we move out of Stamford Bridge, Wembley is looking the favourite. When asked that Spurs could have first refusal on Wembley the consultant replied “money talks.” As for prices of tickets when we move back no decision has been made yet. With the increased capacity there will be more seats available for members. At the moment there are only 8,000 seats available to members. Tickets may following the move back to the Bridge be given to residents. There will also be more areas for wheel-chair users and access and egress will be easier. There was a notice at the presentation which stated the average age of Chelsea fans is 50, the oldest of top flight clubs. Hopefully, with the increased capacity there will be an opportunity to reduce prices for youngsters and families.
  3. 31 points
    Dorset

    Why Conte Must Roll Away The Stone

    “We played with fear. To play football in a great club, it means you must have a personality. It’s simple to play when there is the confidence. Especially in this type of moment, you can see who is [ready to play] for a great club, to play with personality and also to risk something.” Antonio Conte's most telling words after the Watford defeat and, perhaps, the first indication that radical change in player personnel will happen if he is allowed to continue in his job. For continue he must, not only to right the wrongs he has openly admitted to regarding team selection, but also to put an end to the continual flow of managerial departures every time the going gets tough at Stamford Bridge. It has become the Bridge of Perpetual Sighs throughout Roman's rule, as we the fans mourn the passing of a managerial loved one far too often for our own good, let alone the well-being of the club. The Guardian's Barney Ronay has already referred to this latest performance as 'a 90 minute Viking funeral for the Conte era' pronouncing death by missing adventure in the rest of his article. Sadly, he is probably right, but if ever there was a reason for breathing fresh life into the boss, as opposed to giving yet another coach a kiss of death call, it is the young talent emerging from the Academy and the mandate he has to get it into the first team as soon as possible. For Conte that time is right now, or next Monday to be precise, against West Brom in what amounts to an archetypal risen-from-the-dead moment when he has to roll away the stone currently blocking the pathway from Academy to first team football and allow some of the kids to venture forth into the cold, unforgiving light of a Premier League match. Much as he might want to send out the same bunch of regulars to redeem themselves, Conte can't, unless he wants to dig his own grave in a sub-plot generously offered to gullible fans by the media in exchange for their loyalty to the Italian. Instead, chances have to be given to as many of the side just defeated on penalties by Lincoln City in the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final as he can justifiably shoehorn into the starting eleven, with at least one other waiting in anticipation on the bench. Suicidal many may say, but surely some sort of statement of future intent is necessary, even if it means leaving a few previously damn near permanent members of the first team out of the picture altogether. Without wishing the current three-day respite to turn into gardening leave longevity, my casualty list has to be headed by Tiemoue Bakayoko, though I have some sympathy for him, confronted by late replacement referee Mike Dean, who as per usual needed no second bidding to make a spectacle of himself by giving Baka two early yellow cards simply for being not very good. Gone are the days, it seems, when you had to cut a player in half 'Chopper' Harris style to warrant a yellow, although I doubt Watford players would have been treated in the same way by this official, who throughout his career has been nothing if not scrupulously unfair and totally inconsistent. Radicalism being the watchword and paying due regard to Andreas Christensen's injury, other names listed should be defenders Gary Cahill and David Luiz, making way for a quartet of Under-21 players who have shown they are worthy of fast-tracking and, while in the mood to cull anybody who didn't perform against Watford, I'm afraid to say a decidedly jaded Victor Moses sits on the bench alongside the following:- Willy Caballero, Reece James, Emerson Palmieri, Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley and Willian. Next, the starting X1 that will need a captain and Thibaut Courtois and Dave are the obvious candidates, but, in keeping with the whole Children of the Revolution vibe I want Conte to bring to this table-topping squad, they should both stand down in favour of Ethan Ampadu [deputising for Andreas Christensen] and before the laughter on this site gets too loud let me point out that it will not be too long before this kid proves his leadership qualities for his country, let alone his club, so the sooner we tap into this JT-esque attribute the better. Now for the full team in 3-4-2-1 formation:- Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Ethan Ampadu; Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, N'Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Edin Hazard, Callum Hudson-Odoi; Olivier Giroud. Such a high level of radicalism is wishful thinking, of course, but it would be nice to know exactly how far in this direction Antonio is prepared to take us, if at all. To give those Watford selections an opportunity to redeem themselves en bloc is in itself bordering on an admission of defeat and would only serve to strengthen the belief that he sees no real alternative to more of the same with, hopefully, a different outcome. That, to my mind, if it proved to be anything other than an emphatic victory, would be a worrying sign - no kick up the backside for the players who thought they were in the comfy seats without competition for them and, perhaps more importantly, no indication that the Conte era can be extended beyond the one season wonders label it will obviously have stuck on it should we not start the development process immediately. Stumbling on in similar fashion after scrapping and scraping a victory against West Brom would be like watching a much-loved boxing champion start to take far too much punishment far too early in their career. Roll those punches Antonio. Risk something. Trust in the enthusiasm and personality of youth and remember how young you were when you made your Serie A debut.. Roll away the stone.
  4. 29 points
    Neilando

    Our New Stadium

    Hi. Here is a first *rough* colour render. I've so many things to fix on this image, but thought I'd show you what progress has been made.
  5. 28 points
    Brizzleblue

    Jose Mourinho thread

    Once again player power wins over common sense. Thank you Jose you truly are the special one!!
  6. 27 points
    Hi guys. Hope you're all well. Don't we all love West Ham a little bit more? Or should I say, dislike them a little bit less? Erm, yes I think we do. Anyway, on the occasion of that brilliant victory last night, I thought I would write some thoughts on Antonio Conte's management this term. For me, he's passed every single test with flying colours, so far. Obviously there's still five very important matches still to be played and I hope this post isn't premature, but I thought I'd put these thoughts down anyway, as I'm feeling lucky. The first thing we have to remember is that he only joined us after the Euros. In other words, he started later than everyone else. Furthermore, this was his first time outside Italy, in a tough league, a new language, etc etc. It's easy to forget this in light of how well he's done. Mourinho had managed 6 seasons in England prior to this one, this is Pochettino's fourth season in England, Klopp had had time to adjust to England last season and Guardiola had a whole summer to focus on his new job, plus an unlimited budget. And then there's Wenger....... When you look at Arsenal, their fans often complain about their players. They say their signings aren't good enough, the likes of Mustafi, Xhaka etc. They complain about Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsay, Ozil, Giroud, Bellerin, Coquelin, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs etc etc. They complain about ALL their players, apart from maybe one or two. The problem it strikes me is not the players but the manager and this is where Conte comes in. Conte gets the best out of his players whereas others patently don't. We're top of the league with a back three of David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Azpilicueta, with Azpilicueta as a right-sided CB and Gary Cahill as the left-sided one. This back three have played every single Premiership game together since Luiz came into the team. Luiz, remember, was mocked upon his return. Cahill will never be considered an elite player. Azpilicueta is hardly the tall, strong prototype for CBs up and down the Premiership. It's an unlikely combination, to put it mildly. Furthermore, we all know Conte had his heart set on other defenders in August, but it hardly mattered, because this guy knows how to get the best out of what he's got. Look at Luiz. He's been outstanding this season. Even his fiercest critic would admit that. We all knew he had ability but did he have defensive discipline? Conte has given him that discipline. Luiz likes to get involved in the game, to run upfield, to carry the ball, to go chasing the ball, to run out of position. We all know this. Conte had to get inside his head. He had to change his game completely. In a way, he had to take the fun out of it. He had to say to Luiz, "Look, I know you enjoy playing the game a certain way, but I want you to play another way, I want you to enjoy defending, I want you to enjoy being the leader at the back, the guy who hangs back, I want you to enjoy stopping, heading and clearing and tackling and blocking, I want you to enjoy that". Look at the transformation. When Luiz went down against Tottenham at Wembley, when Alli stamped on him, how did you feel? I bet you all had your heart in your mouth. Luiz has become a key player. Enormous credit must go to the manager, remember this was a player Mourinho couldn't wait to get rid of. From the moment Mourinho arrived he let it be leaked that he was open to offers for Luiz and Mata. Those were two players he deemed a luxury. Nobody's calling Luiz a luxury now. Let's move to Cahill. I've never been a massive fan. This has undoubtedly been his most impressive season. Remember the Arsenal defeat and how poor he was? That followed poor performances at Swansea and also Leicester in the LC. His confidence was shot he looked a liability. Unbelievably, Conte changed the system, kept Cahill in the team and moved him out of position. Cahill is bad enough with his right foot let alone his left. He is as poor with his left foot as anybody you've seen, yet he's been immaculate since switching to the left, been a real important cog in the machine. He was missing against Tottenham yet we hardly missed him because Ake came in. I read these boards prior to the next game against Southampton and everybody was saying Ake should keep his place. Not Conte. In his pre-match press conference he said Cahill was coming back, because, and I quote, "Cahill is a player with a big heart". Imagine how Cahill felt, hearing that. Cahill came back in the team and scored the vital goal before half-time, a header with a big heart. Brilliant management. He made Cahill feel that little bit bigger, that little bit stronger, that little bit more important. Remember Conte was also a limited player. A limited player with a big heart. This guy doesn't need a team chock-full of superstars. Talking of that game at Wembley. Remember seeing the team-sheet before the game? No Hazard no Costa no Fabregas? Where was the wit and invention and goals going to come from? Didn't Conte understand how important this game was, against Tottenham? I remember reading the match thread before the game, let's not pretend we were all calm about things. For me, this was Conte's most inspired and impressive move this season, and not only because he was able to bring on the big-hitters after an hour and win the game. More, it was his treatment of Costa and I was surprised nobody commented on it. Conte had a problem with Costa, a massive problem. He needed to drop him, we all knew that. The guy just wasn't performing, the guy didn't appear to have his heart in it. Every player is permitted the odd bad game especially if they've been so pivotal in propelling you up the league, but if it carries on you have a problem, not just because they're playing badly but also because it creates a credibility problem with the rest of the squad. You're supposed to pick the team on merit, right? How do you justify continually picking somebody who's forgotten how to play? Furthermore, we were in a bit of a pickle going into Wembley. We had lost to Palace and there was THAT performance at Old Trafford, where we didn't turn up for whatever reason. The trouble was, Costa is a problem player, he's high maintenance, to put it mildly. If you drop him, particularly for a showpiece game, his pride will be pricked, you may lose the player completely, he may become a disruptive influence, you have to tread with caution because you might have an even bigger problem on your hands............ What did Conte do? He dropped Costa AND he dropped Hazard, our best player, our superstar, our game-breaker, our magic man, against Tottenham in a potentially title-defining game, at Wembley in a semi-final. This would have massaged Costa's ego. This would have told Costa, you and Hazard are my main men, I'm leaving my big-hitters out of this game because I need you more against Southampton, because you're too important, because I can always rely on you from the bench. Instead of injuring Costa's pride he pumped it up. He made him feel bigger instead of smaller, and look, he came back with a bang against Southampton. Expert management. Incredible management in fact. He dropped him and he made him feel bigger. Now that's a feat. Management is all about problem-solving. Conte had a problem and he solved it. Remember Mourinho trying to drop Costa at WHL and remember how that worked out? Costa threw his bib, he sulked on the touchline and Mourinho's authority was diminished. You have to play these things right. You have to manage the man, and Conte has been managing the man all season, the very difficult man. I bet he can't wait to get shot of him this summer but in the meantime he has to manage his squad, he has to win football matches, and that's where Conte excels, he doesn't get into personality politics, he doesn't get sidetracked he doesn't focus on the noise, he stays focused and he never loses sight of his task. He always seems to see the bigger picture rather than getting embroiled in the trivial. He's not interested, he has a title to win. Remember when the sh*t hit the fan with Costa, back in the winter, when this offer came in from China? Again, Conte overcame that potential crisis with little fuss. We lost our record at WHL, Costa argued with Pedro on the pitch, news came in about a bust-up behind the scenes, Costa was out of the next game at Leicester, supposedly with a back injury. This had the potential to derail our season. We lose to Leicester and the vultures will really be circling. What happened? We dispatched of Leicester with ease, and we showed great unity. From a position of potential weakness we emerged stronger, and you could see how pumped up the players were and how important the win was. Nobody was going to be allowed to be distracted from the cause. Again at Wembley, we had a potential problem, Tottenham were on an incredible run, we had started to wobble, our lead had been reduced, Tottenham were feeling invincible, the media were doing their best to ramp it up. We did what we had to do. We showed our mettle and our quality. Don't underestimate the importance of that victory. Conte was brave, with his team selection. He was vindicated, as he's invariably been this season. Alonso and Moses. These guys wouldn't get into a bottom half team at the start of the season. They've been brilliant. They've both been key. When we sign a player I usually go visit the selling club's online forums to see what their fans think about it. Fans are usually the best barometer because they see the player week-in week-out. The Fiorentina fans were laughing, when we signed Alonso. They couldn't believe the fee. It's not that they thought he was bad, but they didn't see anything special. They said he was a liability defensively with a tendency to switch off. They said he lacked pace, etc etc. It's fair to say I was underwhelmed with the signing. I couldn't see the sense in it, particularly when we had Ake on our books and whom we could have kept. I assumed we signed Alonso because we lacked left-footers and we needed cover, both in the CB and FB departments, and that was it. Then he played, when we switched to a back three, and he looked out of his depth, he was torn to ribbons on a couple of occasions, it didn't look good. Conte knew what he was doing however. Alonso has great stamina, he's great positionally, he's an elegant footballer rather than an exceptional one but Conte has got inside his head and got the best out of him. When was the last time he was seriously troubled on his flank? Man City away? That was a long time ago now. He has become a serious footballer under Conte. Furthermore, as the season has progressed and the pressure mounted, players like Alonso and Moses are in unchartered territory. How will they cope with the pressure will their performances falter? You'd never know they've never been in this position before and again for that Conte deserves enormous credit. He's stayed calm and he's allowed his players to stay calm. If you'd seen our line-up before the season started, the first choice XI we'd be going with this season, with Luiz and Cahill and Alonso and Moses and Matic and Pedro, you'd have thought top four was a pipe dream. It's worth remembering that when we reflect on Conte's performance. Unlike Wenger, this guy gets the best out of his performers. This guy knows how to manage them. There was a time recently when I started to get a little worried. Performances had dipped. Luiz, Moses, Matic, Pedro, Costa etc, they weren't playing quite as well. It's one thing getting your players to perform but when they lose form you have to perform another task. That's where your management is really tested. I look at those players now and they're all back on track. Last season, once players lost their form, Jose had no idea how to get it back. Conte's management appears to be a bit more subtle. Conte has asserted himself where he's needed to. When he's needed to, such as against Mourinho in the FA Cup, he bared his teeth. He showed he's going to be nobody's pushover, he's not going to allow anybody to take liberties. He hasn't gone looking for trouble however, he hasn't invited controversy, nor gone seeking attention. He's a breath of fresh air. Let's not underestimate the task he had. He's brought the good times back, he's brought back the feel-good factor. Watching Chelsea is a delight again. Our best players are allowed to play, he doesn't clip their wings, yet we're organised, we're well-drilled and we fight. He's got the balance right and that's why we're where we are in the league. Don't forget this is the most competitive Premiership there's ever been, with more clubs with greater resources and more high-profile managers. We were not supposed to be in the mix. You talk to fans of other clubs. Ask them what they think of Conte. He's the best thing that's happened to this club in a very long while. This season he's provided an object lesson in the art of management. The way he's handled Terry the way he's handled Fabregas. Willian was our POTY last season yet he's invariably on the bench. Yet it's all happened with little fuss, with everybody committed to the cause. Sometimes a manager comes in and you think, "This job's too big for him". I have never had that feeling with Conte. Conte does things his way but he doesn't make a song and dance about it. I hope Roman appreciates the quality of his work and I hope he rewards him this summer, in the form of purchasing the players he wants. Whoever Conte asks for he should get because he's done enough to earn our trust. This guy is a far better manager than I ever imagined. This season has surpassed all our expectations by a million miles. We are incredibly lucky. Courtois, Hazard, Costa, Pedro, Matic, Cahill. Think about their performances last season. There is no comparison. Conte has restored their belief and their confidence and we're reaping the reward. Ultimately as a manager you live or die by your decisions. You decide who to back and who to discard, you decide what to say and what to do, you pick the side and the formation. I can't think of too many bad decisions, can you? Not bad, considering how many decisions you have to make in a season. We're already a good team. Imagine if Conte gets the players he wants. I think we all know there's room for improvement, and that's what makes his performance this season so impressive. Lastly, I'll end this mammoth post with a quote from Conte's press conference yesterday. Typically in his press conferences he preaches the value of hard work, good behaviour and so on. He stresses the importance of remaining focused and together. He reminds players to think about the team rather than themselves. Yesterday he expanded a little bit and it was quite unexpected. I usually like Conte because he's so serious, especially when we lose. On the touchline he's full of passion but away from the pitch you get the feeling he's a deep thinker and that's what I want from a Chelsea coach. Yesterday we got a little glimpse into his world. He was asked if he could continue keeping Fabregas happy if he can't offer him a starting berth. Here's his response....... "I'd like to underline a concept. I mustn't keep happy the player. We must win. You can be happy and arrive tenth and to play every game. If you are unhappy in this season that you are fighting for the title or to win the FA Cup? I don't like when I listen this type of question. I don't like. You speak about happy and I speak to win, and to work very hard. I know that to work very hard is not simple. The player is not always happy to work very hard but I think that my target is to put in the head of my players a winning mentality, and a winning mentality doesn't exist to keep the players happy because it's very difficult to keep twenty players happy, above all because I don't want to, I don't want this, I don't want this, I want players ready to fight and to try to put themselves in the team and to try to win together. Then if you are happy or unhappy I don't care for me." I don't care either Antonio. You just keep doing what you're doing. You're doing a f**king incredible job.
  7. 26 points
    drjonesy1994

    Welcome N’Golo Kante

    Let me explain betting even further Bobby. If you bet £10 pounds on Arsenal to win the league - you will lose £10
  8. 26 points
    dkw

    Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    My God the irony.....
  9. 24 points
    Davey Baby

    Our New Stadium

    Went to the exhibition today. First thing to say is it was very well done, very well-attended, and the staff were incredibly helpful and informative. There were free refreshments on offer and it was all very slick, and very friendly. The next thing to say is this is VERY exciting, far more exciting than we realise I think. This is going to be an incredible stadium, by the sounds of it, and the general vibe from the staff (who were all very close to the project or close to Roman) is one of optimism, determination, and a real sense of awe at what is being planned. They've seen more than us, don't forget, and they have a better idea of what could potentially happen, and there is a real buzz amongst them surrounding this. I was pleasantly surprised and came away with a real belief this will happen, such is the vibe I was getting. So, questions .. 1. The flats will need to be purchased, including the one that belongs to Bates. They are in discussions with all the owners, including Bates. Compulsory Purchase Orders are being ruled out for the time being, because the area doesn't need regeneration, therefore they will be harder to obtain. Besides, they don't think it will come to that, they think they will find a way. 2. Building over the railway line behind the East and North Stands. Network Rail and Transport for London seem happy with the proposals, so far. 3. There will be two new entrances/exits. One direct to the tube station and one directly on to Stamford Bridge (the bridge itself) on the Fulham Road. The one from the tube takes you directly to the North Stand and the one from the bridge takes you directly to the East Stand (South East corner), above ground level. This is the viaduct you see in the drawings. 4. Once inside the stadium you can walk all the way round, i.e. if you're sitting in the North, you can enter the stadium from the South. 5. The South Stand will see the biggest increase in capacity, it will double more or less. The North Stand is the only stand which will get taller to any meaningful degree. It will also see a significant capacity increase, as will the East, while the West will more or less stay the same, in terms of capacity. 6. 60k seems to be the limit, unless safe standing is introduced. They may be able to go slightly above 60k, and that will be looked at, if possible. 7. It's a complete rebuild. Every stand gets demolished. Don't forget your hard hats. 8. The megastore will be underground and it will be MEGA. Entrance will be near where the smaller store is currently, on the right as you walk in the main entrance. 9. There will be no "ring of silence", as there is at Wembley and the Emirates for instance. The middle tiers will not be occupied solely by corporates. 10. North Stands and South stands will be corporate-free zones. 11. Capacity will not be reduced for CL games. Happy days. 12. The pitch will become slightly bigger, a metre longer and three quarters of a metre wider. Currently it is on the small size for PL. It will become standard size. 13. There will be more space between the bylines and the stands behind the goal. 5 metres I think, so players can run on to the ball without fear of crashing into the hoardings and ending up in the crowd. This is not an issue with the touchlines as the gap is sufficient but the stands behind the goals are a bit too close. The gap is still going to be on the small size because of sight lines with people in the lower rows. 14. No properties or sites outside of the current site have been purchased, or need to be. 15. In terms of timeframe, once they have received feedback from this exhibition, they will produce more detailed plans and a model around September time. There will be further consultation at that point and a planning application submitted this year, all being well. Planning should take a year, and then there is another year of more stuff, and then hopefully building can start, maybe as soon as 2017 but 2018 should be a more realistic target. After that it's a 2 or 3 year build (I can't remember). We could be playing in it as soon as 2020. 16. Season tickets holders will sit in the equivalent seats in the new ground. More younger, disabled, and local fans will be accommodated. 17. In terms of the council, they have been brilliant apparently. The club is not dealing with them, they look after football matters. Roman has separated this project from the club in that sense, they are one company and there is another company that handles the stadium project, and the relationship with the council is very good, thus far. 18. The brickwork will be London Stock. You can google it. 19. Apparently the most pressing concern raised at the exhibition by Chelsea fans is that the stadium might resemble the Emirates, i.e. a soulless bowl. Thankfully this will not be the case. 20. Funding. Roman pays for everything. We will not be getting any help, unlike other clubs, firstly because the area doesn't require regeneration and secondly because when Roman comes to the table everybody knows he's minted. If I think of anything else I'll post it.
  10. 23 points
    Liam

    Season's Player Ratings with NOBS on

    Season’s player ratings out of 10 using an innovative decimal system which gives me 20 available rating points. This week’s specious comparison is the Nationality of Best Suitability (NOBS) – an assessment of the nationality a player should be based on my expert assessment of his personality and my extensive knowledge of national stereotypes based on a lifetime of working with Johnny Foreigner. I’ve left out a few players so you can have a go because I’m a giver. Kepa – 7 - Bonus point for the excellence of his distribution and his undoubted bravery in taking the ball in tight situations. Never shy in making a routine save look spectacular and does not dominate his box in any way whatsoever. Will hopefully improve and could yet be a notch or two below world class. NOBS – Saudi – Exhibits a sense of entitlement often seen in the “there are no poor people in my country – insurance, what insurance” Saudi male. The women are great. “I’m not coming off the pitch, you can’t make me”. Dave – 6.5 – Lovely man, Captain in name only. Never any issue with effort and defensively sound but severely lacking in the “offensive phase” being about as useful as a wall angled at about 70 degrees. NOBS – Belgian. Bland, safe, unremarkable in every way, inoffensive, harmless, who you could accept as a son-in-law if it looked as if nothing better is on the horizon. Zappacosta – 5.5 – Made a few brief appearances and had no appreciable effect whatsoever. Limited. NOBS – Syrian. It’s the murine appearance, I’m afraid. Luiz – 6.5 – Obviously not a centre half. Not really any type of a defender or meaningful contributor to the *defensive phase”. Not a holding midfielder and not much use in any other position. Anything he has won has been in spite of him. Sprays the odd nice pass and smiles a lot. Would be a good man to have around in an orgy you’d think. NOBS – Brazilian. Everybody’s second favourite nationality. It’s the smooth facial skin like a carefully maintained mons pubis – and the teeth. Alonso – 5 – Found out this season, unfortunately. Tall. NOBS – Danish. No real defining characteristics. Tall. Kovacic – 5 – Library book of a footballer, careworn, slightly frayed, easily misplaced, forgettable. Wouldn’t get near a Mourinho midfield, lacking, as he does, any semblance of athleticism. Reminds me of an extremely poor man’s Ray Wilkins. NOBS – Any Eastern European statelet you can spell. Let him stay in your spare room while he sorts himself out and he’s still there 3 years later. Hazard – 8 – Happily I think the few wise old heads among us do know how lucky we have been to have had this diamond with us for so long. Outrageously talented, resilient, brave, imaginative and possessed of a measured intelligence, he has been a once in generation adornment to our beloved club. NOBS – Irish – Everybody’s favourite nationality. Perhaps it is the 800 years of being oppressed by less than benign imperial neighbours that has produced a nation of modest, fun, universally loved rogues. Kante – 8 – Completes our complement of two world class players. Showed his footballing intelligence by regularly excelling in a position which does not utilise his vast cannon of skills. He just gets on with it in a way that is rare in today’s pampered multi-millionaire. We are lucky to have him. Short. NOBS – Japanese – When they are not concealing cameras in toilet bowls they are actually modest, industrious, all-round good eggs. Short. Hudson Odoi – 7 – We must keep this young man or it could rival the De Bruyne/Salah worst decision in the history of sport category of which we are the reigning world champions. Just roll him the ball and let him play. NOBS – Citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Are you staying or leaving? We want to leave but you won’t let us. Just go for feck’s sake – sorry if we don’t look like we’ll fall apart without you. Can we just pretend to leave but really stay? Willian – 5.5 – Sorry but you are playing in the best league in the world, for one of the best clubs, treated like royalty, with a decent amount of talent, basically living the dream, yet you slope about the place looking f**king miserable you pouting stream of piss. No one likes you. NOBS – Israeli – No one likes them. Sarri – 7 – Strange man. Off the scale stubborn and clearly incapable of even listening to advice. Yet is capable of getting his message across to the players. I like him as he is clearly in touch with his death wish and has worse teeth than me, which very few do. NOBS – Russian living in Germany. Dour, joyless and somehow incapable of appreciating the break that life has given.
  11. 23 points
    Mick Harford

    Super Frank's Derby County

    Rams fan here. Must admit I never thought I'd be joining a Chelsea forum unless it was to talk about that 6-4 game back in about 88. I've semi-adopted Chelsea as my team to follow in the Prem due to Frank coming to us. A plus is that Mick Harford played for us both, and he's my favourite ever outfield player for the Rams. Just to give an idea, last season under Rowett was very divisive for us Rams. Yes we won a few, but by God we were dire and uninspiring. Then we went on long runs without points or a win. Some fans were firmly pro-Rowett (ex-player and all that) and some were anti, with others (myself) just hoping for some continuity given the succession of managers that we have had in recent seasons. But I cannot stress how poor the football was, following Derby was a chore at times it was that uninspiring and devoid of excitement. I'm sure those of you that follow football know that we annually fall off a cliff after New Year, and we duly obliged by limping into the Play Offs last season. There is also a larger story behgind transfers at teh club and the over reliance on certain agent(s) which has led to an unbalanced and bloated squad. Then Rowett went, and the usual names were mentioned as a replacement, and we heard the name Lampard mentioned. A load of us thought "why not?" as we've literally tried experienced with promotions under belt, ex-player, previous manager, highly rated assistant and none have worked. Frank has been a breath of fresh air, he speaks well and with a purpose. None of the cliched platitudes that get trotted out usually, what he says makes sense. He has brought in youth (39 was consider youth for Rowett) and has manoeuvred a few out. We are blessed to have borrowed Mount off you guys for a season, the guy looks quality and to my mind even passes that go astray are due to players not being on his wavelength rather than inaccuracy. Tomori, to my mind, is a rock. That is not to say both are without faults, but they are young and are why they are on loan at Derby and not still at Chelsea, they will learn and grow. The buzz is fantastic around Frank as well, bit of worldwide coverage that we've not had since THAT season in 2007. As it stands for a novice Frank has done really well, Leeds outclassed us and we were beaten by the better team, Millwall could have been a draw or snuck a win but we got lucky at Reading so swings and roundabouts and all that. Also we are lucky that Jody M came with Frank, he seems top class and I reckon eventually both of them will return to Stamford Bridge, but it was great to watch that documentary on him on YouTube again. I'll post in here periodically to keep you abreast of how things are going, but until then best of luck for the season ahead.
  12. 22 points
    ForeverCarefree

    Gonzalo Higuain

    Only been in England for a day and already reached more cup finals than Harry Kane.
  13. 22 points
  14. 22 points
    TomCFC85

    Random Rumours

    In the Shed End Forums, his account was raised. The rumour mill was where he spent most of his days Chilling out, bullsh*tting out, lying it's a wrap And making up accusations, full of crap When a couple of users, saw right through his disguise Started calling out his obvious lies Got in one little fight, And his mum, you bet Said "Timmy, you should stay off the internet"
  15. 22 points
    g3.7

    Eden Hazard

    well bobby it isn't that simple because it is a matter of opinion not a matter of fact. for example, I don't agree that he had a run of poor games; liverpool away he didn't get into the game often and second half against hull he struggled but otherwise I haven't seen too much to criticise. more fundamentally, I don't think that a player deserves to be criticised for every poor game or mistake they make- IMO that is immature and unrealistic. and that is a general view- when you're talking about a player who has done it for the club on countless occasions over the years, lead the club to a title and has been a key player in a side that is unexpectedly top of the league in february, never mind by 9 points, I think that player shouldn't be questioned severely (not necessarily by you in fairness) because he goes a couple weeks without giving an 8/10 performance. and then when you remember the player is eden hazard, who is an attacking player, and an attacking player who doesn't lean on an outstanding physical attribute to be effective, and who plays nearly every game and takes more physical punishment than any other player in europe, then perhaps even more slack could be cut for him? I can only imagine what people would be saying in this thread if he put in a performance anything like alexis sanchez' on saturday.
  16. 21 points
    That would require a very huge FA Cup rule change
  17. 21 points
    dkw

    Christian Pulisic - Official

    This is a 20 year old who has played 114 times for Dortmund, yet people have decided he is a Commercial purchase, nothing special, overrated before he's even played a single minute for us. Unbelievable.
  18. 21 points
    Davey Baby

    Antonio Rudiger

    For me the most interesting aspect of this transfer is what it tells us about the team Conte is trying to build. Last season he brought in Batshuayi, Alonso, Luiz and Kante. This season it seems he's going to build the team more in his own image, with quick, athletic, raw, pacy and strong players, all of a certain age, that magic spot in your mid 20s when you're yet to hit your peak, when you still have a lot to prove and you're motivated, when you should in theory be giving your team the best years of your life. Rudiger, like Lukaku, has just turned 24. Bakayoko will be 23 next month, Sandro is 26. They're all tall and they're all imposing athletic creatures. Nobody's going to bully us, nobody's going to dominate us in the air and nobody's going to outpace us. I know there is some debate over Lukaku but these are all technical players too, these are all top-level performers, who perform on the international stage and, with the exception of Lukaku, the CL stage. I think many are underestimating Rudiger on this thread. This guy was a full German international at the age of 20 and he remains a regular in the German squad. Considering he's just turned 24, considering he had a bad injury last summer, considering Germany are the world champions, 16 caps isn't bad. Those saying he isn't an upgrade on Ake need to consider this guy has nearly 200 club appearances to his name, whereas Ake has just over 50. That's not to say Ake won't turn into a top player, he's clearly a good player and he's doing very well for his age, even though it's worth considering he's only 2 years younger than Rudiger. One thing's for sure, Ake will never have Rudiger's pace nor his height, although he does match him for versatility. That's the other interesting thing about this transfer, the fact Rudiger gives us options in a number of positions, as he can play anywhere along the defence. I'm sure Conte already knows where he ideally wants him to play however, be that at FB, WB or CB. It's possible Conte sticks with the 3 man defence, plays Rudiger on the right of the 3, and plays Azpilicueta as the RWB instead of Moses. Either way, it seems Conte has identified an area of the team that needs strengthening, and he's identified Rudiger as the man to strengthen it. Rudiger may not be a beast, in the mould of a Koulibaly or whoever, he may not be the world's best defender, but he's still a top player playing at the top level, with bags of experience for one so young. We'll be challenging for the CL as well as the PL this season and with that in mind, Rudiger's presence gives us a far better chance than Ake's presence would have done, and that's why Conte's made a pragmatic choice. Truth is, it's hard for a young player to break through at Chelsea, as we all know. Kids have to play or their development is stifled. Conte has to decide if he can give that kid enough minutes. He decided the answer was no in Ake's case, and sad as it may be, that made it the right decision to sell him. He's had his loans, he's 22, this was the time for the manager to make his decision and he made it. He's seen the player and he's made his judgement. Chelsea play at a very high level and the manager's no mug. As a youngster you're going to have to be very special indeed to break through. Rudiger simply plays at a higher level. That may not be the case in a season or two but that's the case now, and Ake will be forever stifled if he stays at Chelsea, so it was the best thing for all parties. Don't forget Christensen's back too, and if he's as good as they say he is, he's going to need minutes as well, otherwise we'll lose him. Then there's Zouma, who may or may not go out on loan. His chances have definitely diminished with Rudiger's arrival and maybe it's time for him to consider his future too. Either way we have to make room to accomodate these players and that means we have to make sacrifices too. The manager gets paid the big bucks to make these calls. The top managers get these calls right more often than not. That's what makes them top managers. Sure, Rudiger may not have been Conte's first choice but maybe his first choice wasn't available, or maybe the club weren't prepared to be held to ransom, which is fair enough. You never know, maybe another CB is going to come in. Maybe Conte has plans to play Rudiger at WB. Either way I think he represents good value, I think he'll make us stronger, I think he'll develop under Conte, and I think he's likely to prove a good signing. Edit: I'm happy with this piece of business and I think you should all be too.
  19. 21 points
    David Nicolson

    70s photos of Shed Boys

    It's David again. Please contact me. Here's a photo of Eccles:
  20. 21 points
    dkw

    Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    Hes completely changed the formation, tactics, starting position, job and attitude of almost our entire team from last season, of course hes had a massive impact. You were wrong about him, you still are wrong about him and will obviously always be wrong about him as you cant bring yourself to admit hes doing incredibly well. Pretty pathetic in truth.
  21. 21 points
    PloKoon13

    Jose Mourinho thread

    Incredibly upsetting moment. We all (including José himself) were incredibly invested in the ten-year legacy plan; to have it masterminded by a club legend, and one who was seemingly immune to failure offered us a promise of magnificent and lasting glory. To see that promise in complete ruin is extremely painful, but nonetheless I will always be grateful to José and the massive amount he has done for the club; for me he will forever be a club legend. His first spell was magic and took us to heights we could never previously have dreamed of. I'm far from a veteran Chelsea fan, and the worst I've ever really experienced of us was the bottom half of the Premier League, but in my childhood I never dreamed that I'd see us win the league. To see it happen so soon, so spectacularly, and two years in a row was a time of unthinkable joy. His second spell started beautifully; I remember well how good it felt to have one of our own, arguably the most talented manager in the world, return home after the horrible experience of instability and infighting that was the 2012/13 season under Benitez. I didn't necessarily have expectations of us romping home with the title (although in the spring we were mighty close), but the feel-good factor was a blissful break from the previous year; add to that the great moments we had: Torres' last minute winner against City, Eto'o's hat trick against Man Utd, tactically embarrassing City away, blitzing Tottenham 4-0, the legendary 6-0 humiliation of Arsenal, and hilariously ruining Steven Gerrard's legacy in the 2-0 at Anfield. Then of course came the title win, an absolute romp. We [ostensibly] fixed all the holes in the first XI quickly and effectively, and then strolled to the title. The first few months were sensational, we were tearing teams apart. We even beat Tottenham in the League Cup Final! Another magnificent contribution from José to immortal Chelsea legend. But despite the pain of this decision, and the wonderful memories, I think this was the right move, for both parties. It was painful to watch José flailing around desperately, casting blame on everyone from the players to the medical staff to the summer transfers. It really was unpleasant to see him in such a position of weakness, the target of every schadenfreude-loving journalist and opposition fan (the latter being more understandable). I want to see him go on and succeed (ideally abroad). He thrives entirely on winning; I don't want to see him fail, I certainly don't want to see him fail here, and it was becoming increasingly clear that he had no ideas or strategies to stop what was becoming increasingly inevitable failure at the end of the season. I kept the faith for as long as I could justify, but after the Leicester game the evidence overwhelmed me and I really gave up all hope of José being able to turn this around. Previously I suspected a fitness issue, but that would have been resolved by now. Such a long-term, widespread and dramatic downturn in form (to the point that we are not only underperforming, but we are below a total shambles of a Newcastle side in the table) suggests something is horribly wrong behind the scenes. It may well not be something as dramatic as a full-on factional war or mutiny in the dressing room, but at some point José completely lost the ability to instruct and motivate these players (and let's face it, our squad is at absolute worst the third-best in the league), and that is ultimately his job; thus the responsibility for our failure this season lies at his door. No other manager would have been given this much time or this much leniency - Robbie D was sacked having won the Champions League six months previously, when we were third and four points off the top of the league! (With a worse squad no less) As a result I don't particularly understand the fury being directed at the board - they were as patient as they possibly could have been, suggesting they have learned their lesson of the past decade, but unfortunately José's position had become untenable and this is the right move for us and him. The board have done the right thing; if they appoint Hiddink (i.e. recognising that the fans might want a familiar face associated with good memories rather than a lame duck like Ramos), it suggests a certain understanding of the fondness we have for José and that we are the ones who matter. To be honest I have no doubt in my mind that any future slumps and missteps will see the return of the recriminations and pining for José we used to see before he returned, but I don't think that will be particularly helpful. I also hope whoever is appointed as José's temporary and permanent successor (assuming they are not the same person) receives the full support of the fans. Kicking off and creating a negative atmosphere at the Bridge will help us achieve nothing. The disgraceful behaviour the club showed during Robbie/Benitez fiasco warranted a reaction - this is not that. It is incredibly sad, I will never forget what José has done and won for us. I wish him a return to his usual stamping ground of the very elite of world football as soon as humanly possible. Thank you José!
  22. 20 points
    abramovich

    Big Pete Retires

    Don't care that he's been with Arsenal last few years, he's always been and will remain CFC legend. The man won everything at the club, put his body on the line, and was pure class on and off the pitch.
  23. 20 points
    Davey Baby

    *Official* Pedro to Chelsea

    At the risk of upsetting yorkley and having my entire post dismissed as just "stuff" and having him bare his arse* at me, I'll wage into the debate about KDB. When a young player breaks into the first team, if they're to have any chance at all, you have to be a bit patient. I remember Lampard at the age of 23 coming to Chelsea. He wasn't that good. I remember people saying he was sh*t. I also remember people calling for patience. You can't rush to a judgement with new players, particularly young ones, and Lampard wasn't even that young. What Lampard did have was a nurturing manager, and that's where he got lucky. By the time Jose came along he was already a fabulous player, as was JT. Jose may have taken their game up a notch but had he arrived at Chelsea three or four years earlier there's no way JT or Lampard would have even been at the club, and if they were, their development would have been stifled, and they'd never have become the same players. KDB was bought by Chelsea with an immense reputation. He was already a Belgian international. He had inspired Genk to the title, as well as other domestic cups. He was getting goals and assists galore, and he was a teenager. This was a prodigious talent, and in those days, we had enough clout to get him. He spent the next year and a half on loan, with a year in Germany, where he scored 10 goals in 30 games. Not bad for a 21 year old kid, playing his first season in a major league. Not a bad goal tally, considering he wasn't a striker, he either played central midfield or on the flank. I remember saying at the time, on this forum, that he reminded me of David Beckham, and I predicted he would be even better. I'm not blowing my own trumpet. It was obvious he had quality. We knew he had quality. That's why we went out and spent good money on a teenager. So, a year and a half after signing, he finally gets his chance, and what a debut, man of the match in a resounding win, Sky giving him the award. I remember that game vividly. I had waited a long time to see him in a blue shirt and I was very excited to see him develop. It was clear he had massive potential. I also remember that game for another reason. We were 2-0 up at HT, playing some lovely free-flowing stuff and the second half promised to be fun, except, sadly, Jose had different ideas. "Fun" wasn't what Jose did. The football was clearly too free-flowing. The players were playing with a carefree abandon. At half-time he rectified it, and the second half turned into a non-event, but I'm sure Jose was happy with it, because the players were no longer ignoring his instructions. There was the warning sign right there. Jose put the handbrake on at half-time and ordered the players to conform to his structure, and, having played Hull off the park in the first half, he succeeded in sucking all the life out of the game. I remember being very disappointed. Tellingly, KDB didn't feature in the next match. He had impressed everybody watching but not the manager, and therein lies the story. KDB got a few games after that, I'm not sure how many but not many, and then he was out, because he wasn't doing what Jose wanted him to do tactically, or maybe because he simply wasn't interested. I have a hunch (which is backed up by a reliable source) that KDB felt that Jose was too intent on making him a better defensive player, rather than a better offensive one. KDB wanted a little creative licence, a little freedom on the park, and in that sense it soon became apparent he had the wrong manager. KDB wasn't obeying his instructions to the letter and Jose lost patience, rather quickly, and took him out the side. KDB was given scant opportunities after that, the odd game here or there, but Jose felt this wasn't a player who hung on his every word and worshipped the ground he walked on, so he was sold. It was a pitiful lack of judgement, but KDB had got his judgement bang on. Jose was happy. He could turn Oscar into Lee Cattermole instead. There are those that say he deserved to be sold, because he did nothing in a blue shirt. Laughable. He. Wasn't. Given. A. Chance. Same with Salah under Mourinho. Not. Given. A. Chance. A handful of games does not constitute a chance, especially when you're young and foreign, and especially when you're new to a big league and a big club, with all the pressure that brings. Some managers want to build, some want to nurture, some are only thinking of the short-term and go into a sulk when they can't have ready-made stars to fill every position. Jose was one of the latter. He wasn't interested if a player was going to be good tomorrow, and KDB had shown enough promise hitherto in his career to suggest he was going to be very good tomorrow, otherwise I don't think Wolfsburg were going to smash their transfer record for him. They knew something we didn't. They knew he was f**king good. KDB and Salah played a handful of times for Chelsea, and yet we have fans saying they deserved to be sold. How could they possibly know? They hadn't seen them for any meaningful period. They'd watched them for about ten minutes. The problem wasn't the players. It transpires it was the manager, giving them too many messages, messing with their heads, telling them to track back instead of forward. Either way, people shouldn't be too quick to judge. Give a player a little time, before you make your assessment. You never know they just might surprise you. Look at Lampard. So KDB went to Germany, and immediately won POTY in the Bundesliga, just like he'd won the award for best young player when we'd loaned him to Germany previously. Fancy that. He was good before he joined us, and good immediately after. Maybe he was good when he was with us. He just wasn't given a chance. He could have stayed at Chelsea of course and picked up his wages but he took a step down because he wanted to play and he knew he was good enough. Sadly his manager at Chelsea wasn't so astute. It was the best career move the player ever made. Of course many Chelsea fans felt we got good money when we sold him, and they were happy to see him go. I wasn't one of them, but there you go, we all get some things right and some things wrong. Since he's left however, it's been amusing watching people trying to convince themselves he isn't that good. He was great in Germany but it was only Germany. He looked good for City but what had he won for them? He never turned up in big games apparently. Strange, because all I ever saw was a great player, a top player, who was only ever getting better. * It's a great arse. Let's make no bones about it.
  24. 20 points
    Back in 2005 both Jamie Carragher and Rafa Benitez came out and said Steven Gerrard made the right decision in turning down a move to Chelsea to remain with Liverpool for the rest his Premier League career, but 12 years on chances are they will think differently if asked about Ross Barkley biting this particular bullet. Scouse centre backs and their cult hero managers may view things differently to the rest of us (special nights and all that) but even they cannot fail to see this was a career-making offer the Evertonian couldn't refuse. The fact that Stevie G chose instead to stay true to one club and wallow in title-free splendid isolation for the rest of his days says more about his lack of nerve back then and everything about Barkley's ambition now. Chelsea's reputed long-held belief in and pursuance of him is also the clearest indicator yet of the club's chosen path post-Conte-driven success and pre-Abramovich-driven Stamford Bridge renovation, that fast-approaching nomadic state during which we will need to be as penny-pinching as Arsenal were immediately after their Highbury move, but hopefully without displaying the same haughty martyrdom that accompanied it back then, a state of mind that has only served to undermine their title ambitions ever since. Remember, Chelsea bid £32m for Gerrard all those years ago and initially offered a mere £35m for Barkley this time around, so our move for him made obvious financial sense and with Antonio Conte also said to be an admirer there were no negatives other than there being nothing not to like. The boss has subsequently shown signs of distancing himself from this comment and perhaps all other deals, but there is no denying the transfer coup when measured against the outlandish sums spent in recent weeks on players of relatively similar age and ability. Moreover, continuing the comparison with his Liverpudlian counterpart, Barkley is thought to fit perfectly into Antonio's preferred 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 formations, much in the same way as Gerrard would have slotted into Jose's 4-3-3 alongside Lamps and Makelele. In the end it was 'The Bison' who played the hoped-for Gerrard role, replacing Tiago in what was a typical Mourinho power-based decision. It goes without saying that Conte would have done exactly the same thing, preferring muscle in midfield himself, and now there is every likelihood we will see Barkley, Kante, Drinkwater, Bakayoko and the one exception to this rule, Cesc, fight it out for three places every week. Like it or not (and, by the look on his face of late, he doesn't) it is clear that the boss sees these players in these formations as the only way forward and is content/resigned to work with them in a somewhat make-do-and-mend attempt at counteracting Pep Guardiola's all-conquering system. As we all know, it will take a shock of seismic proportions to stop Manchester City walking away with the Premier League title this season and, if every fawning pundit in the land is proved right for just once their life, the Champions League trophy and World Club Cup will not be far behind. Antonio's doing his hamstrung best, Jose's being well funded to do his worst, Arsene's done his usual, Klopp's pressing for all he is worth and Potch has strutted his Spursy stuff, yet to no avail. Guardiola is The Man, we are now told in one never-ending stream of print and podcasts, and his team is The Team, not only of the season so far, but also of the rest of it, the next, the one after that, on and on until he tires of world domination and books in for another of those New York sabbaticals. But to be fair, anyone who has watched City play of late could not fail to be impressed and they are undoubtedly the best team we have come up against other than the singularly inspired Roma outfit in that group stage game at the Bridge. Their points record also speaks for itself, so why should there be any doubting their credentials when it comes to predicting an unprecedented decade of domination? Well, have the last few months really been so spellbinding in terms of the football played and the tactics deployed? Has the aesthetic difference been so stark, between Pep's boxing clever style and Antonio's 3-5-2 formative overhaul of last season as to warrant so much effusive praise being heaped upon the Catalan? I think not, though others will disagree and it is, of course, a contentious subject for debate. However, perhaps the more pressing matter for Chelsea fans is not the prospect of City domination, but the ways and means of our suppressing it [ahead of our rivals] should the nightmare become reality. Options are limited, due in no small part to our impending stadium renovation, but nevertheless the first to be considered has to be matching fire with fire, finance with finance. Of course, option A - Financial Doping of the Wenger kind is no longer as effective as it once was, even though it now appears to be the acceptable face of capitalism in some quarters, those Abu Dhabi boys having used it to the fullest effect to get them where they are today while receiving nowhere near the amount of criticism levelled at us in the past. Still, moaning about it does not help the situation, which is summed up by realistic acceptance of the fact that City will outbid any other English club in the transfer market if and when it wants to and the rest of us must put up with what amounts to the second rate from now on. That said, Virgil van Dijk isn't second rate and he chose Liverpool ahead of City, but at a hefty price. Alexis Sanchez is also no second-rater, but in the end his agent drove too hard a bargain for everyone bar United, a club Arsene Wenger has grown to respect as being more like his own, apparently. Turning a blind eye to the hypocrisy of placing clubs with 60/75K capacity stadia on self-sufficient moral high ground whilst at the same time looking down on the rest as either financial dopers or no-hopers, the Frenchman appears only too pleased to do Sanchez business with an Ed Woodward who noodley-doodles all the day in preference to taking twice as much from the coffers of cash rich but classless Man City. Quite frankly, mock though the media may do at our links to Carroll, Crouch, Dzeko et al, Chelsea is better off out of all this tawdry, grossly inflated, double-standard dealing, both literally and metaphorically. A second, far more radical, option B would be to Give the Head Coach Increased Powers, lock, stock and barrel, including sole responsibility for everything on the transfer front. This radical change in policy would find favour with all those fans who continually criticise the board for every failure in the transfer market, but would Conte really want the increased workload and in this day and age isn't the whole concept of giving your manager a free rein an impractical proposition unless you have unlimited funding and can afford to make the occasional £50m mistake? Consider too that a once reined-in Conte may still simply go for highly experienced players rather than make greater use of the Academy, an acceptable strategy for many and not necessarily a bad thing if it meant continued success while we were away from the Bridge, but it is also worth recalling at this point that when Jose had much less on his plate and much greater clout over transfer dealings he chose to sign off on the permanent departures of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah. Suffice to say, this option is fraught with danger and perhaps we would do well to remember the time Chelsea paid £13.2m to bring Andre Villas-Boas to Stamford Bridge to enact his Barcelona-lite ideas that had previously worked for him at Porto - in just over a year AVB was gone, the club having spent an unprecedented amount of time, effort and compensation to achieve very little, the remit being to drastically overhaul the club in a way many feel Conte should be empowered to do now. The onus would be on the Italian to deliver within budget, which in itself might be off-putting, but Conte has recently indicated he accepts the current Mancunian duopoly when it comes to the marketplace, stressing the need to overcome it in the only way possible... work, work and more work. Encouragingly, he has stated he is prepared to do this with the players at his disposal, even going so far as to say that he is happy with the current crop and his presence at both FA Youth Cup and Chekatrade Trophy games is also a sign that he feels there may be more where Andreas Christensen and Ethan Ampadu came from. It is because of this work ethic and an acceptance that, albeit grudgingly, living within our means and making the most use of our own resources is a necessity proving to be the mother of a new invention, a third way emerges which is arguably the only realistic one if the club does not want to forever follow in the footsteps of the North West Wastrels. So, what was already a remarkably fallow field of options is narrowed to just one, option C - An Academy Pipeline Fuelling The First Team Squad and supplemented by the purchase of players on the manager's wish list, over time and whenever financially viable. With a core of Academy players graduating each year, not only becoming part of the first team squad but being regularly used, we would in one fell swoop reduce the need to buy to merely satisfy squad depth requirements. No more short term fixes, the Drinkwaters, the Zappacostas, the hulking centre forwards Plan B-ing their place in the squad when Tammy Abraham does the job just as well, if not better, it would be a clear policy change and a pathway for Academy players. And to answer those sceptics who believe that the quality simply isn't there to call on, I would ask them to take a quick look at these recent Development Squad teams and their achievements:- FA Youth Cup - Chelsea 4 Sc**thorpe United 0 (Man City go out 6-5 on penalties and Man Utd go out 3-1 on penalties) Chelsea team (4-diamond-2) Jamie Cumming, Reece James (c), Marc Guehi, Ethan Ampadu, Juan Castillo, Conor Gallagher, Tariq Uwakwe, Billy Gilmour, George McEachran, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Martell Taylor-Crossdale. FA Youth Cup - Chelsea 7 West Brom 0 Chelsea team (4-2-3-1) Jamie Cumming; Tariq Lamptey, Marc Guehi, Jon Panzo, Juan Castillo; Conor Gallagher (c), George McEachran; Tariq Uwakwe, Tino Anjorin, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Daishawn Redan. Checkatrade Trophy - last 32 MK Dons 0 Chelsea 4 (Man City went out 4-3 on penalties to Chesterfield and Man Utd did not put a team in) Chelsea team (3-4-3) Eduardo; Reece James, Ethan Ampadu, Jake Clarke-Salter (c), Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Kyle Scott, Kenedy, Charly Musonda, Michy Batshuayi, Callum Hudson-Odoi. Checkatrade Trophy - Quarter finals Chelsea 3 v Oxford Utd 0 Chelsea team (3-4-2-1) Marcin Bulka; Dujon Sterling, Reece James, Ethan Ampadu, Trevoh Chalobah, Juan Castillo, Kyle Scott, Ruben Sammut (c), Harvey St Clair, Callum Hudson-Odoi; Daishawn Redan Some names appear repeatedly, others forever to be referred to as World Cup winners and six of them, Ethan Ampadu, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dujon Sterling, Kyle Scott and Trevoh Chalobah, having all been involved with the first team squad already. The link established, these players train exclusively to mesh with the playing style of the first team and here is the first core of graduates ready and waiting to fulfil their roles at the highest level next season. This half-dozen includes 17/20yr-olds, but age should not be a factor any more (the Oxford United team average age was 28yrs, Chelsea's was 18yrs) just bring them in and concentrate all financial resources set aside for transfers on world class players in the next age bracket of 21/25yr-olds. The loanees could also play their part, Tammy Abraham having already been mentioned and guaranteed to return to stake his claim alongside the likes of Charly Musonda, Kenedy and Jake Clarke-Salter. The mantra should be 'if you are good enough, you are old enough' and in this new environment no position, save that of a Hazard, a Kante or Courtois, would be safe from the threat of a young usurper like Callum Hudson-Odoi or, as has already occurred, Ethan Ampadu Over the next few months Chelsea's priorities under Antonio Conte are the duel challenges of Barcelona in the Champions League and the need to consolidate our position in the top four of the Premier League. Failure on the first is acceptable and to a certain extent anticipated, but to end up fifth or lower in the league would signal the end for Antonio, a situation that may be more of an inevitable and acceptable way out for the Italian (who would obviously cite a falling out with the board as a major factor) than a failure on his part to shape our future after winning the title in his first season. The man may well be jockeying for position right through to the summer, and who can blame him given the club's record on managerial appointments over the last decade, but if he genuinely wants to stay, to work and work with this squad, he does have this third option. Giving a longer rein to the kids means a longer reign for Conte and the Abramovich hobby horse is there for someone, at some stage, to ride for all it is worth rather than be continually confined to the stables. Imagine a Premier League five years from now in which the same top six clubs are fighting for the title with squads assembled at vast expense and there in amongst them is Chelsea, primarily an in-house creation constructed at half the cost, containing younger, hungrier players, all of them on long term Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes-free contracts, the Academy pipeline fuelling the system and setting an example for the rest to follow. It could happen, it should happen... and if Antonio doesn't want to spearhead it, then Roman should bring in someone who will.
  25. 20 points
    No real Chelsea fan ever wants us to lose!
  26. 20 points
    Our “useless incompetent” board somehow managed to get 60m for a 29 old costa and replace him with a 23yr old replacement for the same fee who’s already banging in the goals Got 40m for a 29 old matic and replaced him with a 23 yr old who’s already a huge upgrade for less Got Rudiger and brought back Christensen who’ve made our defence even more solid and with more options than last year Almost as if these highly paid experienced people know more than forum dwelling nobodies.
  27. 20 points
    Zeta

    Alvaro Morata

    Last time we broke our transfer record for a Spanish striker, I went out and bought the shirt with his name and #9 on it and wore it to the pub for his first game. To this day I take responsibility for the calamity that followed and I shall not be repeating my mistake.
  28. 20 points
    Zeta

    Tiémoué Bakayoko

    Monaco: "We want £40m" Marina: "£35m" Monaco: "Not good enough. 38m at the least Marina: "£35m" Monaco: *Sigh*.. "Ok, really the lowest we'll go is 36m. Pay it and he's yours." Marina: "£35m" Monaco: "f**k it! Fine! £35m!" Marina: "£30m"
  29. 20 points
    Applauding Boro fans after shaking all the opposition hands. Just a class act of a man. Thankful to have him
  30. 20 points
    David Nicolson

    70s photos of Shed Boys

    Hi Scott and many thx for your response. I really am so eager to get into contact with any of the Shed guys I knew in the 70s. I'd be v grateful for any help you might give me in contacting them. Can you spread the word? Meanwhile, here is another photo of the hundreds that I have:
  31. 20 points
    Scott

    Jose Mourinho thread

    The king is gone but he's not forgotten
  32. 19 points
    dkw

    Sarri - In or Out?

    So, Sarri leads us to 3rd, loses one final, then wins a European trophy, unbeaten in the competition and has the biggest Cup final win in our history. We'll done to the gaffer.
  33. 19 points
    The Brit

    Jose Mourinho thread

    I'm sure no-one, myself included, who is criticising the fans for abusing mourinho last night, is saying we should love jose when we face utd...but don't hurl abuse at him ffs...some people have very short memories and are ungrateful...he may say the odd bs thing, but we should know better than anyone it's bs...as mentioned above, get behind antonio, get behind our team...Mourinho deserves our everlasting respect, even when he does act like a nob
  34. 19 points
    JMaher94

    David Luiz back at Chelsea

    Not a Conte type player, they said. Can't defend, they said. Liability, they said. 4 clean sheets in 4 games, oh.
  35. 19 points
    dkw

    Welcome N’Golo Kante

  36. 19 points
  37. 19 points
    Backbiter

    Diego "the guv'nor" Costa

    When teams play us, it is an accepted tactic for defenders to use the 'dark arts' to wind him up. No pundit or journalist has ever written a word condemning teams for this approach, which basically amounts to trying to get him sent off. Yes, Costa could have had a red for making contact with Koscielny's face, but the sh!te he's getting in the media for everything else he did yesterday is beyond a joke. And the sanctimonious bleating from Arsenal fans is hypocrisy of the worst kind. On their last three visits to the Bridge (when their beautiful football has yielded zero goals) they have had three red cards. Yesterday, Koscielny's two footer on Oscar should have been a red card but Dean ignored it. Last season they should have had FIVE reds: one for Koscielny for his trip on Hazard when clean through. One for Sanchez for punching Ivan. One for Wellbeck for a two-footer on Fabregas. One for chambers who was let off a second yellow after a cynical foul. And one for Whinger for shoving Jose. You can add in Ospina knocking out Oscar which was a blatant red last season. They are officially the team with the worst disciplinary record in Prem history, and get the media are so up their a**es that they are always portrayed as a club with class who play the game the right way. Utter bollox, in my view. And Wenger is the most ungracious loser in the game, as Jose correctly pointed out after the game.
  38. 18 points
    I love that this club never accepts defeat when things are going wrong. Everything about this final was going badly for the club, our transfer ban, Hazard and Sarri's future being up in the air, an ill timed friendly in America which ended up with one of our key players picking up a serious injury, Rudiger still on crutches and Kante almost having a malfunction just before the final, and we still won the cup. The attitude to never give up has played a massive role in our success in the last decade. It's almost become our thing now.
  39. 18 points
    David Nicolson

    70s photos of Shed Boys

    Hi. My name is David and in the early 70s I spent at least a year with Bubbles, Jean, Eccles and all the Shed Boys taking hundreds of photos of you all for the Sunday Times Magazine, one of which you reproduce on your web site. I was a long-haired Yetti, but you kindly took me under your protective wings, guarding me against 'enemies,' such as the Arsenal, while I was snapping some wonderful photos. I still have all the original negatives, and they provide excellent historical images of you in all your glories! I would love to make contact with you all, particularly Bubbles, Jean and Eccles, so that I can share my memories and photos with you. We could create an album of photos to celebrate those great times, and post them on your web site as a permanent record of your glory days! I attach a photo of Bubbles and Jean and will be very grateful for any replies. All the very best, David
  40. 18 points
    Official statement from Antonio. At least he had the class and grace to thank everyone.
  41. 18 points
    If anyone wants to know who’s going to win the Grand National, PM me.
  42. 18 points
    Charles Ryder

    RIP Ray Wilkins

    https://weaintgotnohistory.sbnation.com/2018/4/4/17199606/ray-wilkins-tributes
  43. 18 points
    Charles Ryder

    RIP Ray Wilkins

    Franco Baresi prior to tonight's Derby della Madonnina. https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/981572691244195840
  44. 18 points
    What a difference a year makes. This time last season I was so taken with our new manager, who despite not getting the players he'd asked for managed to put together a brilliant title winning side, which was just what the doctor ordered after the 2015-16 10th place fiasco. Now it's the opposite feeling. i still blame the board and owner for not backing him in the transfer market but that's no excuse for giving up and bitching and moaning at every opportunity about your hard lot in life. Disgraceful is what I call it. Magnificent in his first season and absolute shambles in the second. It's not even that we've been losing, it's the defeatist attitude coming from someone whose job is to motivate the players. I've already said it on this very thread, he should have walked in the summer, I'm sure he would have had no problem getting a job in a top club after the title winning season. If he's such a man of principle that he reminds everyone who'd listen at every presser how he was let down by the club, why not just leave and go where you'll be appreciated? No, he chose money and a bigger contract for the same duration. So why then are you constantly bitching how tough your job is? Non one forced you to stay. Shut the f**k up and get on with it. We have a separate thread to discuss how sh*t our board is, so I won't mention them here. But there's simply no excuse to fail like the team did this season. Cry all you want about broken promises, about the players you didn't get, and crappy players you got instead, the fact is, you've had more than enough to finish in a top four spot and you f**ked up. This is on you.
  45. 18 points
    TomCFC85

    Alvaro Morata

    Jose is managing. Everyone will be in the box.
  46. 18 points
    f**king legend
  47. 18 points
  48. 18 points
  49. 18 points
    Posted by Raul Mereiles today.
  50. 18 points
    dkw

    The John Terry Appreciation Thread

    CPO evening with John Terry On the day that John Terry signed an extension to his contract to keep him at the club another season, the Chelsea Pitch Owners hosted an evening with the Blues Captain, a celebration of his career which included a surprisingly candid, extensive interview on stage with former Chelsea player Jason Cundy. Terry obviously felt comfortable and amongst friends, which he certainly was, and so was surprisingly honest as Cundy skilfully wove him through his career starting at the very beginning when he signed professional papers with the London club. He recalled how when the time came, he had a straight choice between Manchester United and Chelsea. His father and the majority of his family were United fans but he explained how he had felt at home at Chelsea from the very beginning, despite the chasm between the two clubs in those days. His father did not take his decision well and on the day that Terry was due to sign his papers on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, Ted Terry was shouting demanding to see then manager Glenn Hoddle to try and stop his son signing. JT remembers crying in the tunnel following the row with his father but defying him anyway and signing the papers with his mum by his side. His father is in no photos of the day and the Chelsea Captain said it was a “very quiet drive home”. He then spoke of his early days at Chelsea – his loan to Forest which he enjoyed but also focussed his mind on the fact that he wanted to play at the highest level. So he trained hard there, but on his days off would return to London to train with Chelsea too. He spoke of the influence that Graeme Rix and Ray Wilkins had on him and later Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf. He explained how he would stay well after training had ended, practicing more with Rix and Wilkins trying to hone his skills, something he says that youngsters these days seem loath to do. He is still in contact with Marcel Desailly to this day, and said that the former French Chelsea captain gave him advice every day on how to improve and told him not to worry if that meant that Terry usurped Desailly’s own place in the team – that he just had to give it his all and be the best that he could be. Humble is not a word you would associate with today’s footballers, but that is exactly how Terry came across, especially when asked about how it felt to be considered in the “elite” band of players. He recalled how he never thought he was, how he was awestruck by some of his team mates and how he didn’t feel he could even come close until he was voted POTY by his peers – an honour that remains unrivalled he feels. Cundy then moved Terry onto the Abramovich era. JT was on a golf course when news broke of the Russian buying the club – the players had been as much in the dark as everyone else but he said that the impact was immediate. Talk of amazing new facilities, expectations of the new owner, major changes etc – exciting times. Terry then remembers his first meeting with Mourinho. The Special One’s appointment had only just been announced when Jose turned up at the England hotel to speak to the Chelsea players. John Terry said he knew there and then that this man was going to make them winners. He continued – Mourinho made them fitter physically but more importantly mentally – that when they walked out on that pitch for that first game against United – they did not feel equal to them but superior to them – Jose made them feel like the best players in the world. Mourinho installed John Terry as his captain and Terry said that he obviously felt proud but more acutely he felt he carried the weight of the fans expectations on his shoulders – he continued, rather than feel pressured by that he thrived on it – that it gave him even more reason to work harder to give his all every time he pulled on the shirt. It also gave him the hope of possibly one day becoming England Captain. He spoke of the hurt following the exit to PSG, how he felt that Mourinho had prepared them fully but on this occasion it had not been successful and how with hindsight it’s always easy to criticise tactics. He remembered the exhilaration of scoring against Barca then and possibly still considered the best team in the world with certainly the best player in the world (in his opinion) in Messi. He told us all of the time he was knocked out in the Cup Final against Arsenal and he woke up in the ambulance and asked the driver to put the radio on so he could find out the score – he then discharging himself from hospital to go and celebrate the with the team. He didn’t get home until 4am where he promptly fell asleep….for three days straight. His wife was so worried that she called the Chelsea physio – who confirmed that he was still alive!! But the thing that keeps him awake at night is that missed penalty in Moscow. He has never got over it, never will get over it, that he still wakes up three of four times a year thinking about it. Yet he is philosophical about his absence from the Munich final – it was not meant to be that he played he says – but it was meant to be that Chelsea won it. The interview is then turned back to Mourinho. JT admits that he and the team were devastated when Mourinho left – that it took them a while, him especially to get over it. He is especially honest when asked about the other managers he has see come and go – Avram Grant did nothing, changed nothing, Scolari had arguments early on with Drogba and Lampard and lost the dressing room soon after, JT got on well with Ancelotti and Villas Boas but not so Benitez. The Chelsea Captain recalled how he knocked on the Interim Manager’s office door and asked to speak to him about perhaps putting out a statement to diffuse some of the comments he had made in the past about the club and the fans – he told ex-Liverpool boss that he thought it was necessary. Benitez was furious and not only refused but took against Terry from that day onwards. The Spaniard also had a fractious relationship with the rest of the team and their was a sigh of relief when he went and joy on Jose’s return. Fully relaxed now, JT talked about how losses still affect him – how he just wants to lock himself away. He spoke about how he felt he could not enjoy himself if the team lost – the fans would be hurting and so would he, although he felt it was a bit unfair on his family. on the subject of his family, John Terry relates an anecdote of being on holiday and getting some “grief” by a couple of Spurs fans, he ignored them but his young daughter was having none of it and proceeded to sing a Stamford Bridge favourite chant which includes lines about Terry winning the double, her twin joined in although the Chelsea Captain claims to have stopped them before the bit about Tottenham winning f**k all again….. He also shares a story with the audience on team mate Gary Cahill. As many fans know, the players take it in turns in delivering the team talk. For the Southampton game, the team were prepped and focussed – they looked to Cahill expectantly who blanched and blurted out “oh f**k, I’ve forgotten what I was going to say” Much laughter….but then the serious and final question….are we going to win the league. He diplomatically says that the international break will serve the team well for the run in. He smiles a knowing smile but will not say it out loud. The interview ends to a standing ovation but John Terry isn’t whisked away by some faceless Chelsea PR guy. Instead he stays until every one of the 250 people in that room have the picture or autograph they want – making every one of those fans, including me, feel important – as we matter. Terry is from the old school who cleaned toilets and boots as an apprentice – worked hard, learnt from his peers and it shows. We should appreciate him and players like him as in these days of multi million pound deals for 14 year olds we won’t see many of their like again. Our captain, our leader, our legend.

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