Monday 6 February
Fabio Capello has told Italian television that he absolutely does not support the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy. Capello stressed that a man is innocent until proved guilty: “I thought it was right that Terry should keep the captain’s armband … I have spoken to the chairman and I have said that in my opinion one cannot be punished until it is official and the court – a non-sport court, a civil court – had made a decision to decide if John Terry has done what he is accused of.”
That the FA should get something like this spectacularly wrong is nothing new but Capello’s support will be a huge boost to John and means he is almost certain to play in the summer.
Monday 6 February
Tuesday 7 February
Roman Abramovich has been at the training ground on a regular basis over the last few days. AVB will obviously be delighted that his owner has shown up to give him so much support.
Roman might be protecting his investment as details of the last accounts reveal it cost a combined £28m to sack Ancelotti and hire Villas-Boas.
Back in the team are Obi John and Frank Lampard after injury.
Wednesday 8 February
Just after you’ve done making predictions about the summer then Fabio Capello resigns and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs can’t pin a charge on Harry Redknapp.
Capello had a reputation as hard-bitten, only he was expected to crack down on players not FA board members sticking their oar into team selections.
Having called for his sacking before the last World Cup we shouldn’t be crying now but he did appear to be standing by John Terry. The stage seems set for Harry Redknapp, as caretaker (no player transfers in international football) to lead us to Euro-glory before stepping down and leaving Roy Hodgson to chart the three lions to perpetual success … sorry, there have been complaints of insufficient optimism in this column…
The Ivory Coast might actually win something with their golden generation after a solitary Gervinho goal was enough to see them to the final of the Africa Nations Cup. Mali were too poor and unambitious to pose a threat. They’ll play Zambia in the final after Ghana were beaten in the other semi.
Refereeing in Africa is of a different order. Half the Mali side and at least as many from the Ivory Coast would have seen straight red cards in the Premiership.
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers will cost a penny if we need a replacement for AVB in the summer. He signed a contract extension until 2015 at the Liberty Stadium today.
Thursday 9 February
Chelsea’s accounts were out yesterday and despite the headline loss of over £67m there are grounds for optimism.
The exceptional items on the books this year include £28m for sacking Ancelotti and his staff as well as hiring AVB. Add in £7.4m in write downs and £6.4m to HMRC and you have a massive £41m in one-off payments that will not be repeated this season. With wages and costs both down we appear to be heading for the sunlit uplands of Financial Fair Play. How many other will be joining us is unclear.
Saturday 10 February
Everton 2:0 Chelsea
Roman Abramovich will not be taking the blame for this despite being at the training ground all week to oversee what is going on. AVB took responsibility but the players looked as woeful as the scoreline suggests.
The team selection didn’t encourage any optimism with Cahill again on the bench and Bosingwa still playing right-back.
This was a shambles from start to finish. Everton blasted into a fifth-minute lead and never looked back.
We had some meaningful possession as the first-half progressed but couldn’t raise more than a couple of long-range efforts.
The second-half was as dire as a Chelsea side has been in recent years. Mata off for Malouda was particularly unpopular but the crowd didn’t need to remind AVB that he doesn’t know what he is doing. He is bright enough to work that out by watching the abject surrender of his team.
Why do we always get Everton when we are in a slump and they are flying?
Sunday 12 February
Not to be for the Ivory Coast either as Didier Drogba missed a penalty in normal time and, despite scoring from the spot in the shoot-out, his side lost the penalties 8-7 to Zambia. The Zambians have been waiting for a few years after they lost the best part of a whole national squad in a plane crash in 1993. Ian Porterfield did his best to pick up the pieces and there is little doubt that this result will be popular in the world of football as a whole, even if it completes a truly miserable weekend for those in blue.
Cheer up, the Champions League starts again next week. Er.