Monday 31 August
John Terry has signed a new five-year contract. That is hardly news to anyone who followed this summer’s will he won’t he saga involving Manchester City, new challenges, and Mr Chelsea tags.
He is earning anywhere between £8.8m and £10.4 a year depending which paper you choose to disbelieve.
Tuesday 1 September
Portsmouth reserves 2:5 Chelsea reserves
After last week’s hammering at home the reserves will feel a tad better after inflicting another bid defeat on sorry Portsmouth.
The stiffs have lost more than a full team of players on loan and with Carl Magnay already injured and Jeffrey Bruma on international duty, it was a further blow to lose Sam Hutchinson to an illness. In the absence of so many we gave reserve debuts to Kenny Strickland who was released by Manchester United in the summer and Conor Clifford.
Yet it didn’t seem to weaken or distract the players too much. Adam Phillip poked us ahead after three minutes and we sailed home from there. Phillip score another two and Fabio Borini scored the other two.
Both Carlo Ancelotti and Ray Wilkins travelled down to watch.
Wednesday 2 September
Ashley Cole has signed a new four-year contract, worth anywhere between the first figure you heard, add ten and multiply by your shoe size. We doubt he nearly swerved off the road when he heard the figure, it could be around £6.5m a year. The club issued the tersest announcement on their site saying just that and nothing more. Ash has already played 135 times for Chelsea, which seems like a lot in such a short time.
Thursday 3 September
Chelsea have been banned from registering players until 2011. The, frankly, staggering decision comes from Fifa’s dispute resolution chamber (DRC) after a complaint from the French side Racing Club de Lens that we induced Gaël Kakuta to break his contract. Gaël signed for us in 2007 and has looked, head and shoulders, the best player in both youth and reserve sides. A foot injury prevented his breakthrough last season but many expect him to make first team appearances this. He has been fined £682,000, which for a young footballer is a hefty wedge; hopefully Roman will pay it for him.
Chelsea will pay £114,000 “training compensation” to Lens and Kakuta is banned from playing for four months.
Fifa are being particularly cruel in preventing Kakuta from playing. If Chelsea are guilty of enticing him to walk away from Lens then, and as a minor, he is not wholly responsible for his actions, then, fine, fine Chelsea, ban us from signing players, but to punish an 18-year old for taking a chance many would jump at is perverse.
A Chelsea spokesman spat the pips out his mouth before saying: “We cannot comment further until we receive the full written rationale for this extraordinarily arbitrary decision.” There will be an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport.
Gervais Martel, president of Lens talked out of an orifice to say: “We expected this kind of decision. The player was under contract with us and they came and stole him away from us … Chelsea didn’t follow the rules. They contacted the player when he wasn’t even 16.”
Chelsea will probably rely on appeal on the fact that Kakuta was not on a professional contract with RC Lens when we signed him but an ‘elite training’ contract. They might also point out that players are not chattels and that the decision breaches restrain of trade legislation.
Protecting players, especially minors, from the worst excesses of football should be something both Uefa and Fifa keep as a high priority, but an eighteen month ban from signing players is nonsensical.
Could Uefa better spend its time trying to stop the wholesale trade in young Africans brought to Europe by shady individuals who are simply abandoned on the streets if they don’t perform well in trials.
Swiss side FC Sion have a similar case going through CAS at the moment, in their case they signed a Turkish goalkeeper and the punishment was similarly over the top but has been suspended until the court’s decision allowing them to trade this summer.
CAS have form though, recently they upheld a Fifa decision in the case of Matuzalem, a Brazilian transferred from Shakhtar Donetsk to Real Zaragoza. There was no inducement in that case but an €11m fine was enforced.
Oddly a Fifa official chose to give the lie to CAS’s impartiality after that case: “In fact, this is an issue in which it is crucial that FIFA, representing the entire football world, and CAS are pulling in the same direction”, said one, excepting the technicality that courts are supposed to enforce the law without favour.
Given that Alex Ferguson pinpointed the age of our squad last summer as a weakness eighteen months without a new face would stretch us to the limits. Suddenly, Uefa’s moves to prevent clubs splashing the owners wealth and keeping their spending within their football earnings from 2012 means we might only have a year to rebuild the team.
Friday 4 September
Macedonia U21 1:2 England U21
Daniel Sturridge and Michael Mancienne both played as England came back to win from a goal down. In the Netherlands Jeffrey Bruma played his first game for the Dutch U21 side at the tender age of 17.
Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira both played a practice match between two Chelsea sides made up of anyone not away for internationals, both came through unscathed and Joe scored an equaliser before his team lost 2-1 to goals from Fabio Borini.
In a it never rains but it pours fashion the amateur French side ASPTT Marseille will be reporting us to Uefa for poaching Jérémy Boga. Boga’s father moved to London from France after a divorce and so the 12-year-old is free to move with him. However, ASPTT seem to be suggesting that we bought him a house and moved all his family over. Ken Bates has been bleating from somewhere up north about how despicable Chelsea are but we can’t be bothered to report what the serial hypocrite has to say.
A curious anomaly has arisen about our appeal on the transfer embargo, if we leave our appeal the full 21 days after we receive the written verdict then any case cannot be heard before Christmas and the sanction will be lifted for January, if we get our homework in early the case can be done and dusted before the fat man straps on his reindeer and we will not be able to trade.
The question is then one for the Stamford Bridge strategists, if they expect the ban to be reduced to one transfer window then surely it would be better to miss January coming than the following summer. If the appeal fails to reduce the punishment then surely it would be better to take the medicine early and be able to recruit in January 2011 than wait another five months during which time the squad would simply get older.
Michael Ballack has been talking of possibly retiring after the World Cup next summer. Which would be a bit of a kick in the teeth if the transfer ban stays in place. He actually said he wouldn’t think about it until after the World Cup by which time he will be out of contract at the Bridge.
Saturday 5 September
England 2:1 Slovenia
Just a day after John Terry was telling the world that everyone dives but the English, Wayne steps up or rather hauls a defender down and then claims a penalty. It isn’t his fault that the ref gave the decision and he didn’t exactly dive, but he asked for the penalty when he must have known. Frank Lampard’s finish was just inside the right hand post of a ‘keeper who guessed the right way.
JT hit the bar and then attempted a bicycle kick on the rebound, after last season’s stunning volley against Wigan Athletic he must believe anything is possible.
Slovenia were picked for their similarity to Croatia in style and they played their full part in the game, attacking with flair down England’s right. Ashley Cole was the man of the match for his performance in both attacking and defending on the other side of the pitch.
Jermain Defoe scored England’s second and you can’t really blame JT for their late goal back.
Elsewhere in qualifying there were mixed results for Chelsea boys: the Portuguese lads will be sweating on other results going their way after drawing with Denmark 1-1. José Bosingwa, Deco and Ricardo Carvalho all played. Petr Cech’s Czechs drew the latest Slovak-o-Czech derby 2-2 but only just, his side equalised at the death after the hosts had a man sent off, Miroslav Stoch was on the bench for Slovakia.
France are also struggling, Nicolas Anelka played in the 1-1 home draw with Romania but Florent Malouda didn’t even make the bench. France now need to beat group leaders Serbia away from home to have much chance of playing in South Africa.
No such problems for the Elephants as Didier Drogba scored two in their 5-0 win over Burkina Faso; Salomon Kalou also played. They have a 100% with two to play and should easily.
Michael Ballack’s Germany cruised to a 2-0 against tournament hosts South Africa. Yury Zhirkov is still not fit so he missed Russia’s 3-0 win against Liechtenstein. The Russian’s play Wales next so Guus will be back in the country for a few hours.
Bristol City youth 0:1 Chelsea youth
A surprising number of journalists in a small crowd all, presumably, hoping to write about what a waste of time Chelsea’s academy are, sadly for them the young Chelsea lads won only 24-hours after a training ground match at Cobham. Philipp Prosenik headed our first-half goal.
Sunday 6 September
Michael Essien is the first Chelsea player to qualify for the World Cup as Ghana beat Sudan 2-0, Michael scored the Black Star’s second goal. By the looks of the party Michael might need a week off.