Monday 19 July
Joe Cole signed a four-year deal with Liverpool. This is madness. Roy Hodgson will be delighted, so far this summer we have given him £5m and Joe Cole. We did get Yossi Benayoun in exchange but the Merseysiders have got by far the better deal.
Worse news, if that is possible, Didier Drogba’s agent says he has been in talks with Manchester City about a £20m move. Couldn’t happen though, could it?
Chelsea youth 1:2 Plymouth Argyle youth
As the first team were stretching their legs at Selhurst Park on Saturday the U18s were looking at some new faces. A game we dominated from the start slipped away with two late goals before a Danny Stenning penalty at the death. There was plenty of talent on display and eight or nine subs after the break kind of fractured the team’s rhythm and play. Kudos goes to the kid with the enormous afro.
Wednesday 21 July
Petr Cech will miss the next month or so with a calf muscle tear. With just the nervous Hilario and the jittery Turnbull on the books it would be sound business to buy a new ’keeper.
Paul Furlong has joined Kettering Town as player-coach. It seems like just yesterday when the temporary benches at the shed end opened and we watched Furlong score on his debut against Norwich but it wasn’t yesterday it was in 1994.
Manchester City denied any knowledge of a bid for Drogba but it might have planted the germ of an idea.
In France with the U19s, Gaël Kakuta stands on the brink of the next round after scoring in a 5-0 rout of Austria, while England will now have to beat the French in the final group game to go through. England, with Jacob Mellis in from the start, had an equaliser in their 1-0 defeat to the Netherlands but a cowardly linesman said handball. It wasn’t. Fabio Borini once again captained Italy who laboured to a 0-0 with Croatia, which, at least, means a clean sheet for Matej Delac in the Croat goal.
The whole thing boils down on Saturday.
Thursday 22 July
First Petr now Alex is out for a month with a muscle problem.
No vuvuzelas at the Bridge. We have been late to this particular party with most club’s bans already in place. Blackpool is your destination if you want somewhere to blow your own trumpet.
Friday 23 July
Ajax 3:1 Chelsea
If it weren’t for the comical goalkeeping a very young Chelsea side could have had a draw with Ajax. Jeffrey Bruma gave them the lead as he inadvertently diverted a cross in off his goalkeeper. The second illustrated how poor Ross Turnbull can be; sliding out to meet an up field punt he completely misjudged how far and fast he needed to come and whether to use his hands or feet, you could see his brain freeze with indecision and the Ajax striker rolled the ball into an empty net. In between the calamities, Daniel Sturridge cracked a left-foot beauty from the edge of the box.
Their third was the last kick of the game. While this result will disappoint this was actually a pretty solid performance from a very young side. Only Essien and Obi Mikel from the first-team played, there were plenty from the youth cup winning side, with Josh McEachran again the outstanding performance.
Both Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda have been suspended from the next French squad, oh, hang on, the entire French squad from South Africa have been suspended. Nothing like proportionate, new France coach Laurent Blanc asked none of the squad be selected for the Norway friendly next month.
Whatever the reaction from Anelka and Malouda it looks like a great opportunity for Gaël Kakuta to win his first senior cap.
Manchester United are having trouble selling their season tickets with some 4,000 available immediately. Their premium and executive seats are also rumoured to be easy to get. It seems the waiting list of 60,000 has melted away. There will not be rows of empty seats for this coming season but this is what happens when nobody likes the owners and you ramp up prices in a recession. Ask Ken Bates.
Saturday 24 July
Crawley Town 3-0 Chelsea reserves
With the first team taking the reserve squad to Amsterdam this was a U19 side in all but name. The goals came from first-half headers and a late shot. Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah who both played yesterday in the Netherlands played the first-half. Steve Holland declared himself happy with the workout.
Didier Drogba will miss the next month after surgery on his groin. The club said the operation yesterday was minimally invasive and should mean he will be back for our second game of the season. It will give him some time to rest after a bruising season and playing a world cup with a broken arm.
The Madrid based sports paper AS has quoted Ricardo Carvalho saying: “If there was a possibility to sign for Madrid, I would go there right now swimming or running”. Which sounds quite definite, he added: “Chelsea have a commitment with me to let me go this summer, for reasons which those responsible at the club and I know.”
With Alex injured and only our back-up ’keepers to rely on it would be a bad time to lose a defender as experienced as Riccy.
England U19 progressed to the semi final after a 1-1 draw with hosts and group leaders France. Jacob Mellis again played 70 minutes and Kakuta impressed for the hour he was allowed.
Italy with Fabio Borini and Jacopo Sala will be limping home with just a point. Serbia and our next young ’keeper, Matej Delac, thrashed Portugal 5-0 to meet England in the semis.