Tuesday 16 June
Carlos Tevez is apparently top of our shopping list, it is probably time to talk about his appearance, if Chelsea really want to become a global brand we are going to have to insist on no close-ups.
Portsmouth have accepted £18.5m from Liverpool for Glen Johnson which will save us from having five right backs on the books at the same time but only one on the left.
Wednesday 17 June
Are you watching this? It’s a disgrace. It’s a fcuking disgrace. Uefa banned Drogba for six games (two suspended for two years) and Bosingwa for four (one suspended) for expressing their contempt for Tom Henning Øvrebø’s performance. Uefa also fined Chelsea £83,000 for the missiles apparently thrown and for failing to control their players. Eighty three thousand will not break the bank but contrasted with the £2,060 Luis Aragones was fined for calling Thierry Henry a nigger. The £58,000 they fined the Spanish FA for the systematic racial abuse directed at England’s players five years ago seems much more important than the 150,000 Swiss francs they’ve just slapped us with and demonstrates where Uefa’s priorities lie.
Chelsea have three days to consider their response after the “dispatch of the reasoned decision” the trouble is there is so little reasoned about this decision it is hard to know how to respond. The reaction, which should be belligerent, will probably be a simple acceptance; after all Uefa can always increase the penalty.
Fixtures day and we draw Hull City at home for an instant chance for Ancelotti to prove he is better than Scolari. The early fixtures are relatively gentle, with Sunderland, Fulham, Burnley and Stoke. We have just been reminded that independent websites are not allowed to give too many details of the fixtures without buying a licence. Another layer of charmless greed.
Games against the other members of the ‘big four’ are evenly spread with Liverpool and then Manchester United at home before an away trip to Arsenal before Christmas.
We are home after five of the early European games.
Bayern München have turned down our initial bid for Franck Ribéry, believed to be around £40m. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, “there is a certain value at which we’ll have to accept.” Which sounds like we need to add a few million, Manchester United are apparently unwilling to sign players over the age of 26, which leaves Franck two months passed their buy by date, Real Madrid seem to have run out of steam, leaving Barcelona as our main challengers. There have been rumours that Jose Bosingwa was going to be part of the deal but with Liverpool in for Glen Johnson, that situation appears to have clouded.
Thursday 18 June
Chelsea are angry and considering an appeal against Uefa but they have to ask themselves: if the vindictive bastards decided on these pointless, punitive decisions while leaving Øvrebø free to practice as a referee without sanction, what hope can an appeal have. They are simply protecting their back, while justice has been suspended.
Italy managed to perform like world cup winners by losing 1-0 to Egypt. Brazil shrugged off the USA to book a place in the semis.
England’s U21 are in the semi-final after beating Spain 2-0, we contrived to miss a penalty but for once looked technically superior, in spells.
Friday 19 June
We will appeal Drogba and Bosingwa’s European bans. JT said he had no idea why Bosingwa was banned: “obviously every player was feeling what Bosingwa felt and, thankfully, nobody else said what he said. But he said what every fan and every player was thinking” he added that he thought Didier’s apology would have softened Uefa’s attitude: “I think he realises that kids were watching and he deserves a ban. But to that extent, I really don’t think so. Maybe a two-match ban”.
Gianfranco thinks Ancelotti will be a success: “for Carlo it’s an opportunity to start over … he will have enormous motivation and, with his skills and Chelsea’s, this means he can do well, very well. He can break Manchester United’s dominance, making the Premier League more fascinating”, bless his Sardinian socks.
Setanta have lost their rights to show Premiership matches, the struggling broadcaster missed a deadline and failed to pay £10m in advance on their 46 games scheduled for next season. The FA have now to find a bidder quickly and it is too much to hope that the BBC might find the money under the bed.