CV-risky jobs: Managing an elite club

MANCHESTER UNITED are going through what amounts to something of an identity crisis. The astonishingly high standards set during the Ferguson era meant that whatever followed him would be an anti-climax, but the club has made a series of poor judgement calls, partly in desperation to return to winning ways – and that means league titles – and partly because of the need to maintain … Continue reading CV-risky jobs: Managing an elite club

Everyone loves Chelsea’s reborn Jorginho

YOU’RE ONLY as good as your manager allows you to be. That should sum up the Jorginho story in his two seasons at Chelsea. Last year, Jorginho was less than popular with the Stamford Bridge regulars – he was seen as representative of the so-called “Sarri ball” philosophy of uncomfortable manager Maurizio Sarri. He moved to London from Napoli with Sarri and was, naturally, linked … Continue reading Everyone loves Chelsea’s reborn Jorginho

Liverpool slipped up, but trademarks are important

WHATEVER next, trademarking the air? Liverpool’s bid to trademark the name of their city has, appropriately, been rejected, and supporter groups such as “Spirit of Shankly” have expressed their relief. It must be something of an embarrassing situation, for this is a club that has long aligned itself to the city’s culture, the very meaning of being “scouse” and regional identity. To trademark the name … Continue reading Liverpool slipped up, but trademarks are important

Chelsea’s lack-lustre CL return – now the task looks harder

PERHAPS Chelsea’s season will be tougher than their 5-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers might have suggested. In a fortnight’s time, should Frank Lampard’s young team lose in the Eurostar city of Lille, they may get a chance to defend their Europa League crown. It’s surely premature to write Chelsea’s Champions League obit, but against Valencia they lacked guile and midfield creativity and man-of-the-moment Tammy Abraham … Continue reading Chelsea’s lack-lustre CL return – now the task looks harder

In search of Willie, the Giant Custodian

ANYONE who knows anything about the early history of Association Football will have heard of the name Willie Foulke. At 24-stone, Foulke, who played in goal for Sheffield United, Chelsea and Bradford City, and made a fleeting appearance for England, holds the record for the heaviest professional footballer in Britain, if not the world. I came across some ancient, although surprisingly clear, footage of Willie … Continue reading In search of Willie, the Giant Custodian

12 games that shaped a football club: Chelsea

CERTAIN games can mould the history of a club. Chelsea have had many high points in recent years, but it is not just success that influences the culture of a club. These 12 games have all played their role in shaping the Blues. Of course, the list will prompt debate, but these have been selected for their overall importance to the club’s development, from the … Continue reading 12 games that shaped a football club: Chelsea

Great Partnerships: Osgood and Hutchinson – short-lived but sensational

CHELSEA fans will never forget Peter Osgood and Ian Hutchinson, they were, after all, two of the key figures in the club’s unforgettable 1969-70 FA Cup triumph. These two players helped define an era, a swaggering Chelsea team that was fashionable, exciting, hard as nails at times and confident to the point of arrogance. But it is not always appreciated that their time together – … Continue reading Great Partnerships: Osgood and Hutchinson – short-lived but sensational

With Lampard, it may be different

REMEMBER when Chelsea went left-field and hired André Villas-Boas, the 35 year-old Porto head coach? It was meant to be bold, innovative and – with absence making the heart grow fonder for the man who brought two league titles to the club – a Mourinho-lite appointment. It all turned sour and inexperience, over-expectation and tactical confusion led to AVB out of work in mid-February 2012. … Continue reading With Lampard, it may be different

Chelsea and Lampard – where’s the biggest risk?

REMEMBER when Chelsea went left-field and hired André Villas-Boas, the 35 year-old Porto head coach? It was meant to be bold, innovative and – with absence making the heart grow fonder for the man who brought two league titles to the club – a Mourinho-lite appointment. It all turned sour and inexperience, over-expectation and tactical confusion led to AVB out of work in mid-February 2012. … Continue reading Chelsea and Lampard – where’s the biggest risk?

The Grey Neutral: Who can truly blame Sarri?

CHELSEA may be in the process of being treated in the same way they have dealt with their long stream of managers in the Abramovich era. In other words, Maurizio Sarri has told the club he wants to leave – just one year into his contract. Sarri, of course, ended the season with Champions League qualification and a trophy – his first (and probably only) … Continue reading The Grey Neutral: Who can truly blame Sarri?

UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

IF Arsenal or Chelsea were not up against a local rival, Baku and the Europa League might not mean as much as it probably does to the fans of both clubs – those that decide to make the journey to Azerbaijan. The fact that the clubs have returned tickets to UEFA says a lot about the appeal of Baku as the stage for a major … Continue reading UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

Commentary Box: Into perspective – England’s quartet

THIRTY years ago, it would be nigh on impossible for one country to provide all the European finalists. The only way it could have happened was if the holders of the European Cup and European Cup-Winners’ Cup were English and the qualifying clubs from England were not the holders. In 1971-72, we had a UEFA Cup final between Tottenham and Wolves – a competition where … Continue reading Commentary Box: Into perspective – England’s quartet