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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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 22 points
    ForeverCarefree

    Gonzalo Higuain

    Only been in England for a day and already reached more cup finals than Harry Kane.
  7. 22 points
  8. 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"
  9. 21 points
    That would require a very huge FA Cup rule change
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 21 points
    David Nicolson

    70s photos of Shed Boys

    It's David again. Please contact me. Here's a photo of Eccles:
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 20 points
    No real Chelsea fan ever wants us to lose!
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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"
  20. 20 points
    Applauding Boro fans after shaking all the opposition hands. Just a class act of a man. Thankful to have him
  21. 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:
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 18 points
    Official statement from Antonio. At least he had the class and grace to thank everyone.
  27. 18 points
    If anyone wants to know who’s going to win the Grand National, PM me.
  28. 18 points
    Charles Ryder

    RIP Ray Wilkins

    https://weaintgotnohistory.sbnation.com/2018/4/4/17199606/ray-wilkins-tributes
  29. 18 points
    Charles Ryder

    RIP Ray Wilkins

    Franco Baresi prior to tonight's Derby della Madonnina. https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/981572691244195840
  30. 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.
  31. 18 points
    TomCFC85

    Alvaro Morata

    Jose is managing. Everyone will be in the box.
  32. 17 points
    Scott Harris

    Sarri - In or Out?

    I hate this type of attitude. One day the trophies will dry up, and you will be begging for another League Cup, FA Cup or Europa League victory. I don't like to use the words spoilt or say people aren't proper fans of the club, but in this case, I think it's fair to say you fit both of those. To say you're not interested in winning any trophy outside of the Champions League and Premier League is so ungrateful. You're basically saying that half of what we have won in the Roman era and almost everything we won before it in our history means nothing.
  33. 17 points
    There is something magical about this photo.. Look at the pride in his eyes. It's one for the ages, no doubt.
  34. 17 points
    You're not going to watch your team in a European Final because we might lose? Shocking mentality.
  35. 17 points
    mclovin83

    Jose Mourinho thread

    Can't say I am sad about this. In fact, I am happy he has left having never won a top level trophy with United. They are the first and only club that he has been at where he has not won the domestic title. In relative terns for Jose, it's been a failure at United. You do wonder if, when he looks back in a few years and see's the United job as the sh*t stain on his career which it is, whether he will regret sacrificing his relationship with Chelsea fan's to try and be 'one of them' I am sure over time the animosity between Chelsea & Jose will diminish, but there is a part of me that feels he had his chance to cement his legacy in Chelsea folk law and he somewhat chose to sacrifice that with his actions as United Manager, which were not needed. He could have been the bigger man, but that's just not Jose. Sad in a way that this is probably how his time in the Premier League will end. In his prime (2004-2006) he really was something special. The best Chelsea team I have witnessed was under his control, and I will never forget that. What he has become is a shadow of that man however, and a rather pathetic excuse of a top flight Manager. He has become reminiscent of a past his best heavy weight boxer who should have retired years ago.
  36. 17 points
    Forget formation, forget style, forget Sarri ball, that was won by commitment. End of.
  37. 17 points
    Hey lads, PAOK fan here, it was a honour playing with a club like yours. Chelsea is one of the most dominant clubs to ever play in Toumba Stadium and we faced lots of decent ones the last 5 years( Schalke, Ajax, Dortmund , Benfica, Tottenham etc.). I have never seen a club destroying us like you did today. just another level of football. You gotta respect the way Sarri's clubs control the game. Tactical masterpiece. I guess you are dissapointed by the incompetence of PAOK against such a strong rival, but you also have to take into account that our club plays with its 3 arch rivals in the next 10 days for Greek league and domestic cup, so our coach decided to play very conservative. People here are obsessed with those matches and losing them will be a disaster probably. Losing with dignity from Chelsea is not a big deal though.. Even full strength the difference of the clubs would be chaotic though, like 2-3 goals difference at least. Wish you luck for PL this year, it is a disgrace such a team not to participate in CL. See ya in London.
  38. 17 points
    Raven8er

    Jorginho is a Blue

    Met the man himself today during the meet & greet here in Perth! Didn't speak a word of English but was always smiling and (from help by his translator) expressed how happy and honored he is to have signed for a club like Chelsea and thanked the fans for his welcome to the club! He even argued with the staff at the store so he could stick around to sign autographs and take photos with some of the supporters that were told they were too late (despite being at the event on time), quality bloke!!
  39. 17 points
    Ewell CFC

    Next Chelsea Manager

    Can’t really see any big deal. If a manager gets sacked mid season his replacement takes over and normally witnesses an upwards bounce in results, despite having spent no time with the players. The World Cups in full flow, all our competitors are in the same bout re participants being late back to training. Regarding signings who else has set the world on fire? What is it about this forum and fair weather fans who like nothing better than a good old moan up. Edit- there’s something about the miserablist mindset of our more negative contributors, who somehow think by moaning all the time, it’s somehow connected to them “ caring more” about the club. Load of bollox- we all care but are able to realise that spreading false gloom isn’t necessarily pleasant for the readers.
  40. 17 points
    Valerie

    We want you to stay Courtois

    Don't forget to make a large donation towards the upkeep of this forum that allows you to post your drivel. The donation button is at the top of the page. Thanks.
  41. 17 points
    What's wrong with having a neutral net spend? Why do you and others have some misguided conception that owning a football club means you are obliged to constantly spend money? I think it's amazing that Roman pumped his own money in to build the club to the global force and brand that it is today and has turned us into a club that can sustain itself and remain competitive for trophies on a consistent basis. Go and ask a Blackburn fan about how a football club looks that competes artificially on the back money being pumped in by a benefactor. It's not a pretty picture if that benefactor suddenly pulls the plug/dies/runs out of money. Roman has built the club to the extent that it is no longer dependant on his money. This is a great thing to be celebrated, not complained about.
  42. 17 points
  43. 16 points
    Beerqueen

    Thibaut Courtois

    Courtois' heat map so far
  44. 16 points
    Zeta

    Thibaut Courtois

    Hopefully his ex moves to London now.
  45. 16 points
    Upsetter

    RIP Ray Wilkins

    Devastatingly sad news, for his family and friends especially, but also for the extended Chelsea family. We truly have lost one of our own, another link with what many older fans will always think of as "our" Chelsea. Ray was the same age as me, lived next door to my uncle way back when. Not that I knew him well, more of a friend of a friend, same goes for his brothers. You'd often see Ray on the Underground on a Saturday morning on his way to the match. At the time he was already a first team regular, our youngest ever Captain, and a full England international - somehow I can't imagine meeting any of the current crop of players under similar circumstances. Not a dig at the modern game, just an indication of how much things have changed. Described as a footballing nomad, no matter where he went, no matter who he played for, at heart Ray Wilkins was Chelsea through and through. RIP Ray Wilkins 1956-2018
  46. 16 points
    The Liquidator

    Eden Hazard

    Some of our fans don't deserve Hazard. Some of the things I read about this player sometimes is appalling. 2 time PL champion, arguably the best player in 2 title winning campaigns under two different managers, 3 time CFC player of the year (all time record), one of the only 3 Chelsea players to win the PFA player of the year, most team of the year appearances by any Chelsea player ever. Yet some of you talk about him like he's nothing in a moment of adversity or/and dip in form and just right off what he's achieved. He's been very loyal to us. He didn't hand in a transfer request like Suarez did. He didn't hand in a transfer request like Coutinho did. If he wanted he could have left last season or the season before. Let's show some loyalty in return to a Chelsea legend. It's only fair.
  47. 16 points
    dkw

    Worst in 35 years

    In the past 6 years Chelsea have won: The league twice The FA cup The champions league The European cup The league cup That's better than every other English team in that time period.
  48. 16 points
    Davey Baby

    Diego "the guv'nor" Costa

    We've lost a 20 goal per season forward but let's remember he played almost every minute of both our title-winning campaigns, so you'd expect him to score a few goals. Some will say the fact he played almost every minute proves how invaluable he was, and that's true to an extent, but there were other players who were more valuable. Diego Costa is replaceable, there are more prolific and better strikers out there and let's just hope we've signed one in Morata. I'm not saying Diego isn't top drawer I'm just saying there are better out there which is an undeniable fact. Let's not forget also he went through spells in every season with us when he went seriously off the boil, yet because he's such a high-maintenance player, he couldn't be dropped because his ego couldn't take it and it may have resulted in him losing interest, or worse than that, being a disruptive influence, something a manager wouldn't want to risk. Look at Jose, he finally dropped him against Spurs at WHL and it was long overdue. Costa had a face like a slapped arse on the bench. Anyone remember his warm-up on the touchline during the second-half? He couldn't have looked less interested if he tried. Then of course there was the bib-throwing incident. It's telling that the only time Conte dropped him was at Leicester and he could cite a back injury as his reason, and against Spurs at Wembley when he conveniently also dropped Hazard, which I guess massaged Costa's ego as it made him believe he was as important to the team as Hazard and therefore was being rested for the league game. That was expert management by Conte. Costa needed to be dropped as he was playing so poorly but he had to find a way to do it that would keep the player onside and instil some belief. The only time Conte subbed Costa when we needed a goal was the Cup Final, which tells us everything we need to know. He didn't care about Costa's fragile ego at that point as he knew it was his last game and if he lost the player it mattered not a jot. I imagine Costa is a very high-maintenance player to manage, particularly if he's not settled or truly happy, which he never really was at Chelsea. He's attention-seeking and self-centred in my opinion, and contrary to many people's view of him he actually tends to go missing in big games, because he's not quite as big and tough as he thinks he is. I said way before the season ended that Conte would get rid with relish as soon as he could. Conte being the arch pragmatist kept him onside by the skin of his teeth in order to win the title but as soon as he got his chance he cut ties. We needed Costa to win those titles, yes we did, mainly because we didn't have adequate replacements, but now we do, and I really won't miss him one bit. I won't miss all the nonsense, on the pitch and off it, and I won't miss all his pining for Atletico. I won't miss him punching teammates in training nor arguing with teammates on the pitch in crucial games. I imagine his act can grate a bit after a while behind the scenes. It might be fun at first but after a while I bet the management feel like they're having to mollycoddle a toddler, because that's what he appears to be, a child inside a man's body, a man who's yet to grow up. Conte texted him, I've no doubt of that, but what's telling is that Costa squealed to the press immediately, whereas when Costa threw his dummy out the pram in January the manager kept it all in-house and only spoke highly of the player. In January it would have been apparent to Conte Costa wanted out. Everybody knew Costa wanted out, he even waved goodbye to the SB crowd in his last home game. He was the one that was angling for a move, and yet, as soon as Conte texted him he went squealing, trying to portray himself as the victim. This is the guy that was seduced by China midway through our title challenge and this is the guy who's been pining for Atletico since he arrived. He likes to play big and tough but really when it boils down to it he's just a big girl's blouse, running to the press as fast as he can possibly can. Diego, it's been entertaining, I'll give you that. There's been goals and there's been good performances aplenty. Don't let the door slap your arse on the way out.
  49. 16 points
    Chelsbear

    Alvaro Morata

    That's garbage IMO. Torres has always spoke well of us when with us and when he left. He regularly tweets when we do well and such. i prefer not to be bitter I guess
  50. 16 points
    RIP Mourinho

    Diego "the guv'nor" Costa

    Signed. Helped us win 2 league titles (hopefully). Pissed off every other team. Left and doubled our money on him. Not a bad transfer in the grand scheme of things.

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