Monday 2 July
We have two more Olympians in Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Bertrand. Well, they are in the 18-man squad so they should get a game. Sadly Stuart Pearce is picking the team so they’ll be busy in the build-up to Great Britain’s first match learning the subtleties of 4-4-2.
Josh McEachran’s disastrous loans last season cost him any chance of playing. Instead the foresighted, former-punk, fork-wit in charge picked Tom Cleverly because he plays for Manchester United. The picture of Doryan Giggs gets the chance to play as an impact substitute at nearly 40 and Craig Bellamy will warm a larger part of the bench than anyone else.
Most countries have known their Olympic squad for the past two years and have already honed tactics and have the squad together at a peak of physical fitness. Stuart Pearce, on the other hand, has summoned from the beach a scratch squad who have never played together before. The organiser of the national pub team was caught eulogising Euro 96 and the advantage he felt from the crowd being at home. Home advatage might just be all we’ve got.
Tuesday 3 July
Daniel Sturridge is being tested for meningitis at St Mary’s Paddington. Daniel was taken ill at the weekend and is being monitored by Chelsea’s doctors. He might have to miss the Olympics.
Andre Villas-Boas has taken the Tottenham job. Why a club would sack a successful manager and take a punt on one who talks about units and projects and having a way. Still, it’s their club.
It will be interesting to see how he copes with a settled squad. Many thought he was an excellent coach who stumbled over restructuring the team.
Chelsea will be delighted that AVB has found a new team so quickly as it means they’ll only have to pay four months compensation rather than two-and-a-half years worth.
Juan Mata will not get much of a rest this summer. He has been picked with Oriol Romelu for Spain’s preliminary Olympic squad. Many assumed that players who had been at the Euros would get a holiday as the new season starts a week after the Olympic final.
Wednesday 4 July
Daniel is being treated for viral meningitis but he says he is feeling better and is still optimistic about the games.
Meanwhile Roberto Di Matteo gave his first press conference as permanent Chelsea boss and said the usual things: no, he did not feel that he was keeping the job warm for Guardiola; he hinted that Eden Hazard and Marko Marin will not be the only new players arriving this summer; he talked with confidence of a better season than last; “We have a good team, we have an experienced team with some fresh players in it and I’m very confident for next season. The priority is to challenge.”
Glasgow Rangers will not play in the Scottish Premier League next season after the new company formed after the failure of the administration was not granted a place in the league.
Thursday 5 July
First day back in training for many. The new boys Hazard,
De Bruyne, and Marko Marin all turned up, everyone is back from loan with only the participants at the Euros and the ill or injured have been given a bit of an extended break.
Friday 6 July
Matt Beard stepped down as the women’s team coach after three years in the post. His timing is handy as there is a midseason break just around the corner. No gossip as to whether he was pushed or just felt he’d given his all. Harry Redknapp has not yet been linked to the vacancy.
David Luiz missed the cut for Brazil’s Olympic squad as it was trimmed to 18 names. The decision leaves our English or Spanish boys the only ones at the games.
Saturday 7 July
Gianfranco Zola is confirmed as the new Watford boss. A week after the Hertfordshire town sacked the popular Sean Dyche. Franco might struggle at first as the Watford public get used to the idea of the Pozzo project – they own Udinese in Italy and Granada in Spain – some suspect that Watford are going to be used a feeder club.
Salomon Kalou has joined Lille. He will aim to replace Eden Hazard in the French team who will play in the Champions League qualifiers later this month.
Six of last season’s FA Youth Cup winning side signed professional contracts: John Swift, Nathan Aké, Lewis Baker, Anjur Osmanovic, Alex Davey and Adam Nditi are all now full-time pros.
While serial injury victim James Ashton has extended his contract for a year.
Sunday 8 July
The new manager of France will be Didier Deschamps. Our former midfielder is the first former Chelsea player to become an international manager – as far as we know. His first game is against Uruguay next month.
Sorry, older and wiser heads have already pointed out that Ron Greenwood who managed England to the 1982 World Cup had played for us as a youth and then won a league medal in 1955. Are there any others?
Oh and Glenn Hoddle of course… Didier Deschamps joins the growing list of former Chelsea players to become international managers.