Monday 3 October
Aston Villa reserves 1:0 Chelsea reserves
An unbeaten start to the season for the reserves came to an end tonight. A team lacking Josh McEachran, Jamal Blackman, Todd Kane and Nat Chalobah away with England at various age groups found a first start for schoolboy striker Alex Kiwomya and a spot at centre-back for Ben Gordon.
Villa named three first-team regulars so it is hardly a surprise that we struggled to get going. They scored just before the half hour when a shaky clearance from Rhys Taylor, in a shaky performance, fell to a Villa striker. We had some positives: Adam Nditi’s cameo from the bench the most notable.
Tuesday 4 October
The club announced an offer to buy out the CPO shareholders. The announcement came as a bit of a bombshell – sneaking out after eight at night – and appears a straight money back deal.
For those too young to remember the Chelsea Pitch Owners was set up in 1993 after Ken Bates allowed the freehold of the ground to fall into the hands of property developers. The CPO currently owns the freehold, the turnstiles and the name of the club. Within the CPO rules the Stamford Bridge site has to be used as a football stadium and only Chelsea can call it home. Fans paid £100 each for a share and many got a handshake at half-time from whoever was injured at the time. Remember back then Bates regarded ex-players as little better than tapeworm.
The club stressed that they don’t have any immediate plans to move but that they have considered alternative sites in the past, including White City (which might as well be Siberia being, as it is, miles away and surrounded by QPR fans), Earl’s Court (if you have to move home then just down the road makes it less painful) and Battersea (which would be perfect because it is right on our doorstep).
But then the caveats started cropping up. If they move before 2020 it will be within a three-mile radius of the current ground. Which automatically makes you ask what happens after 2020, how far will we be drifting? There are a few other oddities other than the timing of the announcement: the club have invited shareholders to a meeting in three-weeks time on Thursday 27 October at 10.30am. Which sounds fine if you are able to take time off work and if you were home much before 4am after the Carling Cup tie at Goodison Park which is the night before. Extra-time and penalties in that game and you might as well head straight to the meeting.
The club have booked a 400-seat room and are presumably hoping that all 12,000 shareholders don’t show up.
This is going to divide opinion like nothing else. On the one hand we are hemmed-in to a ground that is too small, thank you master Bates, and earning £35m a year less than we could be. On the other hand Stamford Bridge is our home. Some will quibble that if you pulled down the hotel and cantilevered over the railway you could squeeze in 60,000 seats. But the reality is that hotels, flats and offices would have to be bought out and a huge wad of cash spent on rebuilding. Moving and starting afresh would automatically be cheaper and we’d have the money from selling the current site to start the project.
Friday 7 October
Montenegro 2:2 England
Ah, missed the first-half, in which we apparently played well and only saw us crumbling to minnows in the second after Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic in the qualifiers. Nobody comes out of this well. Ashley Cole looked vulnerable as both crosses for their goals came from the right and John Terry didn’t really command things in the centre.
The positive is that we have qualified for next summer’s European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine; the real silver lining is that nobody is going to expect us to win.
Elsewhere, Branislav Ivanovic scored Serbia’s goal in a 1-1 with Italy that means they can still make the play-offs.
Juan Mata scored for Spain and Fernando Torres set up another as the current champions beat the Czech Republic with Petr Cech in goal.
Florent Malouda scored for France as the beat Albania 3-0 and Raul Meireles played the first half as Portugal beat Iceland 5-3.
A special mention for Jeffrey Bruma who played all of the Netherlands home win over Moldova and now has nearly as many international caps than he does first-team games.
The club broke the sad news that Rex Williams has passed away aged 89. Rex was the oldest surviving Chelsea player and our last link to the game against Dynamo Moscow in 1945. Rex joined from Watford but injuries and the tail end of the war hampered his career.
Saturday 8 October
Chelsea youth 0:3 Arsenal youth
We could and/or should have been four up at the break as Adam Nditi, Daniel Pappoe, Alex Kiwomya and Amin Affane all had glorious chances, hitting the woodwork twice in the first-half.
Arsenal stepped up a gear in the second and took all three chances they were offered in the last quarter of an hour.
Jon Obi Mikel and Nigeria will not be going to the African cup of nations; a 2-2 home draw with Guinea put the hosts out and the visitors through. It is a bit like Brazil or Germany not qualifying for the world cup.
Sunday 9 October
Down on the Ivory Coast, the Elephants are back playing home games in Abidjan and wrapped up the group with six wins from six. Kalou played from the start while Didier came on at half-time as the hosts beat Burundi 2-1. Manchester City’s Toure brothers got the goals.
Jamal Blackman, Todd Kane and Nat Chalobah have all been playing with England U19 in Limoges winning a mini-tournament by beating Portugal and the Ukraine and drawing with the hosts.