Monday 20 August
Blackburn Rovers U23 0:3 Chelsea U23
A very strong showing from a side with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu. We scored from the first attack and never looked back. The goals came from Billy Gilmour, Daishawn Redan and Luke McCormick.
Magdalena Eriksson signed a new contract; The left-sided defender will be with us until 2021.
Tuesday 21 August
The spineless Crown Prosecution Service has dropped the case against the filth in human form that is Norman Bettison.
Bettison was the policeman in charge of lying about the Hillsborough disaster, he made up the stories about Liverpool fans being drunk and ticketless fans breaking open the gates. His lies led the Hillsborough families to spend decades seeking for truth and justice.
After the independent panel report in 2012, he showed his complete contempt for football fans by continuing to blame Liverpool fans on the day the report exonerated them.
The CPS said that he had no case to answer because two witnesses changed their evidence and a third had died. But this is little short of a cover-up. Bettison is about as guilty as you can get but because he is a member of the establishment, holds a dishonourable knighthood and has spent years with his snout in the Chief Constable’s trough, the CPS has bent over backwards to find a way to drop the charges.
Gormless Norman stood up in front of the media and said that he had been forced to deny that he had done anything wrong… “today’s outcome vindicates that position.” That is the final lie that should condemn this odious man to hell. He concocted the lie that Liverpool fans were drunk, he briefed Tory MPs, the Prime Minister and the press with the lie that drunken, ticketless Liverpool fans stormed the gates at Hillsborough and killed the 96.
He was responsible for a massive attempt to pervert the course of justice. He was in charge of a force that altered police statements so they all said the same thing. He was front and centre of a police force that covered up its own responsibility for the deaths by blaming fans.
Younger Chelsea supporters have said to us that they don’t understand Hillsborough, why it unites those of us who weren’t there that day and don’t support Liverpool … It is hard to explain that in the 1970s and 80s being in a surge of fans pressing forwards, down the terrace, crushing the air out of you, as a chance was missed or a goal scored, was commonplace. These days you stand up as it gets exciting and sit down if it disappoints… in those days you could be carried, off your feet down half the terrace, squashed against half the humanity in the crowd, but it would ease back, and your lungs would fill again and you could climb back to a place away from the crush.
The police back then always treated you like shit. The best title of a football memoir “Horseshit and Hamburgers” summed it up as the sullen mounted division lined up across the Fulham Road every week. One match at the Bridge the half-time entertainment was a display of the Metropolitan Police dog unit. Those of us expecting dogs running through obstacles against the clock were disappointed as the line of police dogs and their handlers stretched across the pitch, marched forwards towards the Shed and faced the Chelsea fans as a direct threat. They stood, in silence, facing the Shed for the whole of the interval.
The thing was that you could come up for air. The crowd would recede, you could walk out of the ground and on Monday morning the coppers would be back to calling you sir if you asked the time.
Bettison, and the stain on this country that he represents changed all that.
Liverpool fans who survived Hillsborough talk of the same thing, they were accustomed to a crush, a surge forward and the ebb tide as bodies flowed back up the terrace … what happened on that Saturday in 1989 is that the surge kept on going, it didn’t let up. People kept pouring through the gate the police opened and into the narrow pens, created by fencing designed to contain the animals within… there is a brief bit of footage taken by a camera coming down the terrace in the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough and, in it, still crushed into a block of bodies at the fences are the dead at the front of the terrace. Others died later, who had been dragged out but those crushed against the fences were still there, the purpled corpses of football fans .. that morning they had been so excited about getting tickets, thrilled because the FA Cup still meant so much … Liverpool didn’t often win it … and a semi-final was a huge event … squashed into a mass of the dead. Saying they never returned home from going to the match doesn’t really say enough.
We feel the same way as Liverpool fans about this, not just because we are human, can understand the horror but because we stood on those terraces too … in 1981, 38 Tottenham fans were crushed in the same part of Hillsborough many sustaining broken legs… you can go back through history to Ibrox where 25 died in 1905, Burnden Park just after the war where 33 die when a wall collapses during and FA Cup tie between Bolton and Stoke, 1968 Boca Juniors and River Plate play a match where 71 die, crushed by blocked exit gates as they try to escape what they think is a fire, Ibrox again in 1971, 66 die after a late equaliser sent fans back up a stairwell… remember the stairs up the Shed … Valley Parade Bradford 1986, where the chairman has had multiple businesses go up in unexplained fires – 56 people die, their charred corpses still visible when Gabby Logan visits her father, Terry Yorath, at the ground later that day …
The list goes on. It still happens when fans in large numbers meet barriers. UEFA banned standing at their matches after Hillsborough but they still allow the fencing that actually kills.
Bettison is a small, pathetic footnote to all of this. His crime was to attempt to cover up the South Yorkshire police’s culpability for the deaths. He concocted the lies that led to the Sun running the headline: “Hillsborough: the truth” which turned out to be exactly the opposite. Bettison was in charge of the cover-up, it wasn’t just that they covered up their own guilt .. they sought to blame the dead … South Yorkshire police carried out blood alcohol tests on dead children. They are beneath contempt.
So, yes, every time this comes up we will be witnesses. We stand with them, the Liverpool fans, and Bolton fans and Rangers and River Plate and Bradford City and Juventus and Bastia and Zambia and Spartak Moscow and the Kaiser Chiefs and many others because we are football fans and there but for the grace of god, goes us.
Millie Bright signed a new two-year contract with the women’s team.
Thursday 23 August
Tomas Kalas has signed for Bristol City for another tilt at the Championship. He was at Fulham for the last two years and progress would have seen him in a Premier League loan rather than one with the struggling Robins.
Friday 24 August
Chelsea U23 0:1 Derby County U23
The flood-lit night at the Bridge wasn’t supposed to end like this but for all the efforts of a strong Chelsea side it was Derby who scored and we had to traipse home in the rain. Charly Musonda’s red card with 15-minutes left didn’t help.
Saturday 25 August
Tottenham Hotspur U18 2:0 Chelsea U18
A surprise defeat for the U18s at Spurs. Karlo Ziger in the Chelsea goal really needs a sweeper called Zager in front of him to pass into Chelsea legend.
Wolves beat Man City 1-1 with an unusually aggressive defensive strategy. They strung five across the back but pressed and broke forward with every opportunity and deserved their point.
Hopefully, this means more sides will actually try to play City this season instead of just admiring their attacking and hoping to keep the score down.
Mason Mount bundled in a goal for Frank Lampard as Derby beat Preston North End.
Sunday 26 August
Newcastle United 1:2 Chelsea
Marcos Alonso swept in a last-gasp goal to hand us back the lead and a deserved win.
The match looked like a stalemate as Newcastle sat five men in defence and a screen of four in front of them. Sarri’s men initially tried to batter a path through the middle but a half-time change to use more width and eventually, Alonso danced into the box and was tripped from behind. The penalty was controversial only because a slow-motion shot from behind the goal suggested the defender touched the ball. What was undeniable was that he cleaned Alonso out at the same time.
Eden Hazard marked his first start of the campaign with the penalty.
Their equaliser came from a strong header but only after Olivier Giroud had been flattened by a forearm smash. The defence was, understandable, distracted by their colleague being assaulted by the player who crossed the ball.
The winner came almost instantly as man-of-the-match, Alonso thrashed in a shot that deflected in off the toe of DeAndre Yedlin.
Newcastle fans felt aggrieved but the penalty was fair and you can’t expect more if you line up with five at the back at home.
London Bees 1:6 Chelsea
Continental Tyres Cup action for the women and two from Bachmann and two from Spence gave us a 4-1 lead at the break and some discussion about who would get their hat-trick first… as it was Fran Kirby stole the next goal after the break. Drew Spence did step up to take the penalty when Kirby was upended later but her effort was saved and Beth England netted the rebound for six.