Monday 8 July
Calm down; a nation unused to wining is all excited about lawn tennis, as always the trophies are being handed out in West London. Meanwhile in Cobham the players are assembled for pre-season. Confederations Cuppers have a longer break but everyone else is here. Mourinho held a team meeting and the medical staff did tests before some balls were kicked.
Time was when they’d all be out running until they chucked their breakfast; modern footballers don’t know they’re born.
Norwich City rejected a £6m for John Ruddy. It is possible that the Norfolk club just want a bit more cash.
Tuesday 9 July
Norwich dragging their feet over John Ruddy led Chelsea to opt for Mark Schwarzer. The former Fulham and Middlesbrough ’keeper joins as a free agent on a one-year contract. It is good to see the over-40s getting gainful employment but it doesn’t address the number of home grown players in the squad.
WBA have rejected our offer for Isaiah Brown, which is a bit rich considering the youngster is already training with Chelsea. A tribunal will have to sort the mess out.
Thursday 11 July
The squad flew from Gatwick to start their Asia tour in Thailand. The Confederations participants are still on their hols so joining the initial tour are Nat Chalobah, Sam Walker, Lucas Piazon, Jamal Blackman, Islam Feruz and Tomas Kalas.
They will settle into fitness work before next Wednesday’s opening fixture.
Talking of fixtures, the first shifting for television has been announced – a bit later than normal – our opening game against Hull is on the Sunday at 4pm but the trip to Old Trafford has been shifted to Monday night. The club simultaneously announced subsidised travel for a few tricky away ties, Manchester being one.
Meanwhile, down the road, Fulham are in talks to sell their soul. They got the sugar daddy in Mohamed Al Fayed but he is off loading after a decade of under investment. Watch this space…
Friday 12 July
Oriol Romeu is to spend a season at Valencia honing his mojo. Romeu signed from Barcelona two seasons back and at times pushed Obi John onto the bench for a holding role. Injury curtailed last season so he didn’t get to find out if Rafael Benitez rated him.
The list of players on loan for next season is already long and we’ll produce a list a bit nearer the start in August.
Saturday 13 July
Shahid Khan is the new Fulham owner. This time they have opted for one with a tash. Khan made all the right noises by saying that he saw himself less as an owner and more of a custodian. But fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Khan’s NFL franchise, might choke into their pisco sours – Jacksonville finished last season with the worst record in the recent history of gridiron (2-14).
Saturday 13 July
Chelsea U18 2:0 Brighton and Hove Albion U18
Chelsea football is back after a two-month break. It was only the youth team readying themselves for a tour of Austria on Monday but most of those involved in last season’s U18 set up appeared and many of the U16 also getting a run. 19 players were used in all and Charly Musonda and Nias Butungu had the honour of scoring the first Chelsea goals of the new season.