Monday 11 July
David Stride has died at the age of just 58. David was a very able left-back in the late 1970s making 33 appearance in the dreaded 1978/79 season – which was our first as a regular. He went on establish himself as a hard man in US soccer into the 1980s.
It is very sad news to start a positive day as Antonio Conte gets his feet under the desk for the first time and the players start to run the summer’s rust out of their systems.
Andy Myers has moved to be assistant coach at Vitesse Arnhem. Andy has been knocking around as U21 assistant and is now looking to spread his coaching wings with our Dutch cousins. Ian Howell steps up from U13 to fill Andy’s role with the U21s
Tuesday 12 July
The academy has been granted category one status for the next four years after an audit. Honestly I think we were expecting a tick from the inspectors after winning everything within sight and filling England squads in every age group.
Willian got the call from Abramovich again as he put pen to paper for a new four-year contract. Our player of the season last term was then pictured with our prison issue away kit. We had been ignoring it but it looks dreadful.
Over in Germany with the U19 England Dominic Solanke netted in a 2-1 win over France. Fikayo Tomori, Izzy Brown and Tammy Abraham also played their part.
Wednesday 13 July
Sam Allardyce is in talks about the England manager’s job. That the FA would consider the former Bolton defender a credible candidate for the national coach is almost beyond parody.
They confound the mistake they made in appointing Roy Hodgson and failing to sack him after Brazil by appointing one of the only candidates worse than the departing manager. It is almost criminal.
Let’s recap: Allardyce’s credentials – he has never managed a side in Europe, never qualified for Europe, he struggled at Bolton, failed at Blackburn and was noticeably worse than his replacements at Newcastle and West Ham.
The only thing he ever won was the league of Ireland with Limerick in 1992.
That the FA and a few commentators have said the England players would play with more heart under the Sunderland manager is a symptom of the disease.
England’s opponents have never lacked passion or heart but they have possessed something Allardyce could never provide – a tactical system, a method. Italy did well under Conte at the Euros because he made them difficult to beat and constructed a side to make the most out of the players available – Big Sam plays it long into the cannels and talks about hitting it into the mixer. The beautiful game it is not.
Sadly, we appear to be heading for the same mistake we made last time and guaranteeing failure.
Failure is built in to the English game from the top down.
Back in the sane world and Antonio Conte took training for the first time this morning and was a very active and vocal coach.
Tomas Kalas has joined Fulham for the whole of next season. The Czech central defender is going to be one of the best as he has proved in loan deals with Vitesse and Middlesbrough.
Friday 15 July
Chelsea U21 2:1 Charlton Athletic U21
A Cobham friendly saw the U21 squad tested as most of our players are drawn from the U18 age group. Ike Ugbo scored our equaliser early in the second period and Martell Taylor-Crossdale scored the winner from a George McEachran cross.
Dominic Solanke and Izzy Brown scored the gaols as England U19 beat the Netherlands and booked their place in both the quarter-finals here and the next U20 World Cup in South Korea.
John Swift has joined Reading on a permanent deal as he looks to take his first steps on his own in the adult game. John is one of the best we have produced and should have a successful career as he proved with seven goals in 27 Championship appearances for Brentford last term.
Kasey palmer is taking his first steps on loan with Huddersfield Town. The deal is a season-long loan for the England U21 attacking midfielder.
Saturday 16 July
Rapid Vienna 2:0 Chelsea
As Rapid had been back in training for a month there was a distinct difference in physical approach but all eyes were on Conte’s style and system.
John Terry started as captain in a 4-2-3-1 with Matic and Obi John sitting in midfield and Willian, Ruben Lotus-Cheek and Victor Moses supporting Diego Costa.
We let in a goal almost immediately and struggled for tempo. Gradually we started to take control of possession but couldn’t convert the chances we made.
It is almost impossible to draw conclusions from what was little more than a shake down against opponents who have already played a competitive match.
One player Conte can add to his next side is N’Golo Kante. £29 million of your English pounds separated the versatile France midfielder from the champions as we beat a host of other top clubs to the 25-year-old’s signature.
If you fancy Conte picking up a trophy or two, why not take a look at the current online Chelsea odds.
Chelsea XI 1:2 Bergerac Perigord
A return fixture at Cobham after last summer’s trip to France to celebrate the Dordogne side’s centenary and a lot of our older academy graduates had a run out. The French side though stole the show with a cracking opener and a second long range strike in the second-half.
Chelsea U18 2:0 Queens Park Rangers U18
Martell Taylor-Crossdale is having a good pre-season with a brace here sinking our near neighbours.
Before the match at Vienna’s new Allianz Stadion our pan-disability side played a short exhibition game narrowly being edged 3-2 in front of thousands of fans.
The pan-disability side won a European tournament a few days ago in Switzerland against teams such as Manchester City and AC Milan. It is good to see the disability lot still flourishing 15 years after Ken Bates first adopted them. You see Ken wasn’t all hotels and piracy.
Sunday 17 July
Chelsea 1:2 Arsenal
Damn, the women played well created the better chances but ultimately lost to a Danielle van de Donk goal in the second-half.
It is a bad slip at this stage of the season as Manchester City now have a point and a game in hand at the top of the table.