Monday 17 May
Michael Ballack will miss the World Cup after a scan in Munich this morning revealed ligament damage that will take at least eight weeks to heal. Kevin-Prince Boateng has ruined Michael’s last shot at a World Cup and dashed the hopes of a nation and his motivation was petty revenge. Michael Ballack can be proud of how he conducted himself and his contribution to German football over the years.
Kevin, well Kevin is a bit of a child.
There are plenty of things to catch up on from yesterday when we have to confess to a little bit of over celebration and even a couple of toasts to the cricketers at the other Oval in Kingston Jamaica. Apologies should go to the cast and crew of the Pineapple who supported our tired and emotional bones after the beer showers and singing of the Fulham Road and kept us upright and on a bar stool until the winning runs were scored.
First up in Italy where Jose Mourinho secured the league, just with a streaky 0-1 win at relegated Sienna. While Ranieri’s Roma beat Chievo 0-2 they needed Inter to slip up.
Either Internazionale or Bayern München will win a treble as our Bavarian friends added the German cup to the Bundesliga with a 4-0 thumping of Werder Bremen.
In Spain Barcelona celebrated again winning La Liga after a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of Real Valladolid who are relegated as a result.
To sum up the rest (with thanks to Uefa.com): FK Ekranas, FC Basel 1893 and Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC clinched doubles after winning the Lithuanian Cup, Swiss title and Israeli crown respectively, while there were knockout successes for FC Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, FC Porto in Portugal, KAA Gent in Belgium, Apollon Limassol FC in Cyprus, Dundee United in Scotland, SK Sturm Graz in Austria, SC Tavriya Simferopol in Ukraine and UE Sant Julià in Andorra. On the league front, the champagne flowed for Bursaspor in Turkey, Lech Poznań in Poland, AC Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic, CFR 1907 Cluj in Romania, FC İnter Bakı in Azerbaijan and FK Rudar Pljevlja in Montenegro.
In the league 1 play-offs Swindon Town are going to Wembley as they beat Charlton Athletic on penalties..
Finally, Dagenham and Redbridge, the closest the league gets to a pub team, won their play-off semi final with Morecambe 6-0.
We told you it was a busy day.
Tuesday 18 May
The Guardian have reported that Roman’s loans have not been written off or converted into shares as we had been led to believe. When he took over the club he used a company called Chelsea Limited to buy the company that runs the club Chelsea FC plc. Chelsea Limited lent Chelsea FC plc £700m and it was the loan between the two that was turned into shares. A few months ago Chelsea Limited changed its name to Fordstam Limited and a total of £726m is owed to Mr Abramovich by Fordstam repayable on 18-months notice.
Confusingly, the club then released a statement that flatly contradicts the Guardian’s story: “Contrary to media reports today, other than a small residual balance Chelsea Football Club and our parent company Chelsea FC plc are debt free and do not owe any money to our shareholder (Fordstam Ltd). Neither do we owe any money to Roman Abramovich.” So, that has cleared that up.
Deco has been in provisional talks about a transfer with Fluminense in Brazil but will not make up his mind until after the World Cup.
Millwall will meet Swindon in the League 1 play-off final on May 29 after beating Huddersfield 2-0 at the New Den.
Wednesday 19 May
Rotherham will be in the league two play-off final after disposing of Aldershot 3-0 on aggregate. They’ll play Dagenham and Redbridge unless that Daggers screw up a 6-0 first leg lead.
Wolves might not get Michael Mancienne next season because new rules stipulate that each squad must contain eight homegrown players.
Thursday 20 May
Petr Cech is 28 today. Morecambe beat the Daggers on the night 2-1 but couldn’t overcome the six-goal deficit from the first match so Dagenham and Redbridge will play Aldershot at Wembley next Sunday.
Friday 21 May
Bruce Buck has been talking about the new Uefa regulations and the restrictions they will place on contract negotiations. Michael Ballack and Nicolas Anelka are expected to sign new deals so the message was probably aimed at Joe Cole: “We have looked very closely at the proposed rules and, starting now, we are going to have to be very careful on transfer fees and in salary renegotiation because having a positive profit and loss statement will be crucial in getting a Uefa licence and participating in the Champions League. Even if we wanted to spend more money we just won’t be able to, so we have to do what is necessary to comply with the new rules”.
Neither Slobodan Rajkovic nor Nemanja Matic will be going to the World Cup as Serbia slim down their squad to 23. Branislav Ivanovic does make the cut.
Saturday 22 May
Every Premiership fan’s dreams come true as Blackpool are promoted after beating Cardiff City in the play-off final. All the goals in a 3-2 came in an exciting first-half, which we didn’t get to see. The bit we did see was simply tense and nervous but on the final whistle every fan of a Premiership team in the country started planning to “make a weekend of it”. The next fixture list will be keenly scanned for an autumn or spring away game with the Tangerines.
Internazionale Milano beat Bayern München in the European Cup final. Two goals from Diego Milito were comfortably enough to beat a Bayern side that lacked invention and penetration. But then every side that plays Mourinho’s teams seem to find that. Like Lionel Messi before him, Arjen Robben was peripheral.
Mourinho becomes only the third manager to win it with two different clubs.
Sunday 23 May
Jose Mourinho was pretty blunt about leaving Inter for Real Madrid. Nothing is signed yet but he apparently gave an understanding to Madrid on Friday before the European Cup final.
Franck Ribery has signed a five-year contract extension at Bayern München and so will not be the marquee signing for us this summer.
It is odd how quickly and naturally the phrase marquee signing has dropped into football vernacular. Apparently Bruce Buck first used it last year and it spread like wild fire until everyone, including the thick-set bloke at the corner of the bar, uses it in conversation as if it is as natural a part of the football lexicon as ‘early doors’ or ‘Hollywood pass’.
Don’t tune in to the England match against Mexico tomorrow expecting to see Chelsea players. They are being given the night off after only arriving at the training camp on Wednesday. No doubt still nursing a bad head from the weekend. David James is similarly rested.