Tuesday 13 November
Joe Cole has announced that he will hang up his boots at the age of 37. Mercurial Joe has been playing out his twilight years at the Tampa Bay Rowdies (not really the NASL side that Rodney Marsh turned out for but a successor team).
Cole started at West Ham but came across London to Stamford Bridge in 2003 and he was consistently brilliant even in Mourinho’s sides. He was never really pivotal but he always scored important goals and conducted himself with real class at all times.
Susanna Dinnage will take over as chief executive of the Premier League after shifty git Richard Scudamore announced that he will finally extract is snout form the football trough. Scudamore has been the gormless, unacceptable face of football since the Premier League was founded. A man who is only capable of measuring success in terms of greed. The game is well rid of his stain.
Dinnage comes from a broadcasting back ground but she can be worse than the incumbent.
Wednesday 14 November
England 3:0 USA
The Wayne Rooney tribute concert was a poorly attended mockery of the game but at least the overweight oaf didn’t score. Na, we don’t really mean it. Rooney has grown into an articulate speaker on the morality… almost the thinking woman’s vegetable. Ruben Loftus-Cheek did a steady job in midfield.
Michy Batshuayi netted twice as Belgium swept Iceland aside 3-0 and Croatia’s 3-2 win against Spain mean England can top the group if we beat the Croats on Sunday.
England Under-21s defeated Italy 2-1 in a friendly, with Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter, Jay Dasilva and Tammy Abraham all started but Jake suffered an early injury and was subbed.
There is a suggestion going around that each Premier League club should pony up £250,000 each to buy Richard Scudamore a parting gift/bonus worth £5m. It would be a fitting tribute given that the grassroots of football are crying out for resources that wretched arseholes like Scudamore have been keeping for themselves since the Premier League’s inception.
That will be one whopping carriage clock.
Thursday 15 November
The FA met and decided to adopt VAR from next season in order to distract journalists from the size of Scudamore’s going away present.
Rumours in France that we will be found guilty of improperly signing U18 players. Fifa’s integrity and compliance unit (stop sniggering, Fifa can apparently recognise integrity if it bites them in the arse). We have been under investigation for about a year now with occasional leaks about a ban without anything actually happening.
Given the wholesale trafficking of youngsters from Africa to Europe that Fifa ignore, it would be astonishing if our academy were found guilty over a few technical infringements in the signing of Bertrand Traoré.
Friday 16 November
Andreas Christensen’s Denmark beat Ethan Ampadu and Wales 1-2 to win promotion to the top tier of the Nations League. Meanwhile, France took a 3-0 pasting from the Dutch, that group is still in the balance. Giroud and N’Golo Kanté both started.
Willian didn’t get on as a sub as Brazil played Uruguay but jet-lag will not be an issue as the match was at the Emerates.
AFC Wimbledon in the Checkatrade Trophy with the tie to be played at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of December. Straight knockout in this round with no extra-time – straight to penalties.
Saturday 17 November
Italy were held nil each by Portugal in the nation’s league and thus the European champions progress to the finals next summer and at the same time bagged the right to stage the mini-tournament.
Kenneth Omeruo and Nigeria secured a place at the Africa cup of nations by drawing away to South Africa.
Sunday 18 December
Chelsea 5:0 Yeovil Town
Millie Bright, Ji So-Yun, Erin Cuthbert and Ramona Bachmann had us 4-0 up at the break with Yeovil down to ten. But their backs-to-the-wall defending meant Bethany England’s late strike was all we clocked in the second. The women are up to third.
England 2:1 Croatia
Phew, what a blinging finish to a match to snatch a group win from the jaws of relegation in front of a packed house. International football hasn’t been this entertaining in years and it is largely thanks to Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland sticking to a passing style.
Ross Barclay played well as England created a string of chances but it was Croatia who took the lead in the second-half. Late England goals from Lingard and Kane propelled us to the giddy heights of qualification for the finals in Portugal next summer.
Where we could play the Swiss, after Eden Hazard’s Belgium surrendered a two-goal advantage to lose 5-2 in Lucerne. Thorgan Hazard scored both of Belgium’s goals.
Monday 19 November
The nations league finals line up in Portugal next summer will be England, Switzerland, Portugal and … the Netherlands.
It is possible to turn off a match too early, the televisual equivalent of leaving five minutes before the whistle “to beat the crowds”.
With Germany leading 2-0 at home with five minutes on the clock we went to do the washing up… only for two late Dutch goals to snatch the draw they needed to beat world champions France to the top of the group.
Add to that the fact Germany are relegated and we take back everything we said about the nations league. It was always a good idea and at no stage has been a confusing, disorganised farce.
The row at the Professional Footballers Association rumbles on. Gordon Taylor, long term chief executive of the PFA, has been repeatedly challenged by chairman Ben Purkiss. The main issue is the financial difficulty of retired footballers, their mental health and the PFA’s role a charity in looking after them but the structures of the organisation have been challenged as well as the fact that Taylor doesn’t appear to have been elected to his role. Taylor’s side even questioned Purkiss’s right to hold his office because he is a non-contract player at Port Vale. Non-contract players have, however, long been members of the union and entitled to hold office.
The Football League (styled the EFL, because they’re run by marketing arseholes) has announced a healthy sounding 35% increase in its deal with Sky. The £595m deal is already under fire from some of the bigger clubs, Leeds, Aston Villa and Derby to the fore, who argue that the league is undervalued and the deal differs from the outline they were given at their last discussion.
Tuesday 20 November
Olivier Giroud scored the penalty that handed France an unconvincing 1-0 over Uruguay.
Brazil travelled all the way to Milton Keynes to play Cameroon and also won an unconvincing match 1-0. Willian provided the corner that was headed in by Richarlison.
Jay Dasilva and Fikayo Tomori both played parts as England U21 thrashed Denmark 1-5. Weirdly the Danes had most of the possession and better chances but couldn’t handle England on the break.
Wednesday 21 November
Didier Drogba has hung up his boots. The retirement announcement came after he left Phoenix Rising. Didier scored 164 goals for us in his two spells at the club and is rightly regarded as one of the finest players ever to grace the Stamford Bridge pitch. He scored against Arsenal in virtually every match, snaffled four league crowns and scored the equaliser in the European Cup final as well as the winning penalty. When you tell your grandchildren all that they’ll scarce believe you.
Friday 23 November
Chelsea U23 1:1 Tottenham Hotspur U23
Charlie Brown’s late strike saved our bacon. What looked like another home defeat was snatched out of the fire by Brown’s goal.
N’Golo Kante has signed a five-year extension to his current deal. The French midfielder has been the bedrock of our side since arriving from Leicester in 2016 and the news is great for stability given all the speculation over our squad players.
Saturday 24 November
Tottenham Hotspur 3:1 Chelsea
It had to happen one day, a below par performance and determined opposition and for once this season we didn’t have much to show for an afternoon’s work.
Sarri said afterwards: “I am disappointed because we played very badly. I think we played very badly in all directions – physically, mentally, technically and tactically.”
As always it is how you bounce back from disappointment that counts and the game against Fulham next week starts to look more important.
Giroud scored our goal.
Fulham U18 0:0 Chelsea U18
A nil each is a rarity for the U18s and apart from a couple of strikes against the woodwork we didn’t really grab hold of the game. Fulham showed very little ambition but we couldn’t punish them.