Monday 1 June
QPR have expressed dismay at the league restart in June 20 announced yesterday by the Football League. The Ha’s chairman said there had been no consultation at all before the announcement: “Incredibly, there has been absolutely no consultation with individual clubs nor with the Championship doctors’ working group by the divisional representatives – or anyone else in the Football League – regarding this matter” said Lee Hoos. He added that his coaching staff were not ready for the schedule.
For their part the EFL blustered something about having come under pressure to restart an, taking a leaf out of Boris’ management, seem to have stuck a pin in their diary.
Chelsea issued a ground breaking statement today: “Chelsea Football Club stands together with George Floyd and all victims in the fight against discrimination, brutality and injustice. As a club, we are committed to being a part of the solution, and we are joining our voice to all those calling for fairness, equality and meaningful change. Enough is enough. Together we are stronger.” All we can add is amen to that.
Tuesday 2 June
Chelsea players took a knee before training this morning. We cannot express how proud we are that the players have joined in the protest against the racism that led to the death of George Floyd.
Protests have been widespread in the US but there have been expressions of solidarity in the UK and around the world.
Jadon Sancho unveiled a supportive message when he scored for Dortmund on Saturday and will be happy to accept any charge for displaying a political message.
Wednesday 3 June
Tottenham have a member of staff isolating. They didn’t say if player or backroom staff.
There have been nine positives in the championship with Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday both admitting to one each.
The individuals testing positive have repeatedly returned negative results suggests the problem being poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly paid staff waving swabs around without any actual medical training.
There is no point in testing if you are not doing it properly.
Thursday 4 June
Actual football news: Chelsea have reached an agreement in principle to buy Timo Werner from RB Leipzig. The release clause was £54m and is a bit steep, if that is how much we pay, but the 24-year-old has battered in 32 goals this season. With Hakim Ziyech already on his way all we need is a left back.
Werner had been heavily linked with Liverpool but we were the only club to come close to the buyout clause.
It is also 25 years since we signed Ruud Gullit. If that doesn’t make you feel old nothing will.
Five substitutes will be allowed at the resumption of the season and nine on the bench to help make those squad’s go further.
Spurts have borrowed £175m from the Bank of England to tide them over the until the apocalypse is over. Rottenham you’ll remember were the first to try to furlough their staff until shamed into a retreat. Now they are scrounging cash from a government fund established to help genuine businesses in genuine distress because of the covid lockdown.
Rottenham Hotspurts owner, Joe Lewis, is worth $6.2bn.
Friday 5 June
Chelsea are WSL champions. On a points-per-game basis we eclipse Manchester City with 2.6 to their 2.5.
Liverpool are furious about being relegated with eight games to play they were only a point behind. Aston Villa will replace them in the top flight.
There is a lot of bad feeling around but also some unrealistic expectations of what could have been achieved with the pitiful state of testing, tracking and tracing in the UK.
Sky have released the restart fixtures with Aston Villa against Sheffield United on Wednesday 17 June our first look at empty Premier League grounds. We have to wait until super-soar-away-Sunday for our match with Villa.
The Timo Werner deal is getting closer with around £49m being touted as the official price. Quite how we are going to balance the books if we bring in a left-back as well is a mystery but it is an exciting possibility.
With two blank windows Chelsea needed to rely on the academy last season and when we did sign we need players to augment that base of homegrown talent. In Werner and Ziyech we have done just that. The potential this squad now contains promises great football. If only we could get back to playing it.
£13.4m of the fee will be covered by Mario Pašalić’s permanent move to Atalanta. The Croat midfielder has been ours since 2014 but has been on near permanent loan. His Career has already seen him rack nearly 150 games for the likes of Monaco, Milan and Spartak Moscow before finding a home with Atalanta. We wish him well.
Over in Germany, where they are playing football, Ethan Ampadu resumed training after a back injury which has left him out of action since February.
Saturday 6 June
Chelsea held practice match at the Bridge today. With so little Chelsea football in the last three months it would have been good to see it broadcast live. Ruben Loftus-Cheek played and scored as did Ross Barkley. There has been some mention of Christian Pulisic wearing Willian’s number 10 jersey but we are told not to read anything into that.
Tino Anjorin, Henry Lawrence, Lewis Bate, Karlo Ziger and Armando Broja all took part in the session and some of them will be moving up to the first-team next season.
Monday 8 June
Tino Anjorin signed a new contract that keeps him at the Bridge until 2025.
Tuesday 9 June
N’Golo Kanté is back in full-contact training with the rest of the squad. The French midfielder had been training on his own.
Leagues One and Two have finally accepted the inevitable and voted to end the season early. They had to change the rules to ensure that only 51% teams in the league were needed to agree the deal after six clubs in League One wanted to keep going.
Peterborough lose out on a play-off spot. Coventry and Rotherham go up automatically and Wycombe, Oxford, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town will contest a play-off.
Swindon, Crewe and Plymouth are all up from League Two.
Relegation from League One falls to Tranmere Rovers, Southend United, Bolton Wanderers.
It is always harsh on teams to have to take the hit even though there was so much of the season left to play but extracting the game from the covid mess is important.
That said the financial impact on all clubs hasn’t yet been addressed and if Spurs can borrow £175m from the government then the EFL could borrow the £40m that would bankroll both leagues.
Relegation from League Two is more complex. Stevenage should be slipping out of the league but the EFL have brought charges against Macclesfield which could see them docked three points for failing to pay their players. Given the financial state of the game at the moment and the fact that most of the football clubs in the country are insolvent and nobody can pay their players full wages it would seem vindictive to sink Macclesfield.
Stevenage would be delighted.
Wednesday 10 June
Chelsea XI 1:0 Reading XI
John Swift and Matt Miazga both played for Reading as Chelsea football returned at Cobham after 93 days – a fine Pedro goal decided the match.
The women’s team donated their £100,000 prize money for winning the WSL to Refuge. It is another act we can be really proud of as domestic violence has increased in frequency during lockdown. At one stage the Met said they were arresting 100 perpetrators a day.
It seems that domestic violence will never fall back into a low priority for the police but government cuts to refuges since 2010 have really hit the number of places available for families in crisis.
Even we have donated during the lockdown and encourage our readers to put their money in too. Donating the equivalent of a match ticket will really help those in most need at the moment.
Manchester City have presented their mountain of conclusive proof to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The guilty verdict is promised by the first half of July.
They actually think they have a chance but after having failed to provide a Rizla paper’s worth of proof so far the three day video conference isn’t likely to make much difference.
A little flicker of interest earlier as Paul Elliott was confirmed as the new Charlton Athletic owner but we can confirm that it is not that Paul Elliott.
Thursday 11 June
La Liga returned with a 2-0 win for Sevilla over Real Betis. A derby game and crowds of fans turned up outside. Sigh. You can only explain things so many times… don’t turn up for the match.
They tried piped supporter noise but it was too quiet.
Friday 12 June
Four players are preparing to take the club to court over racist bullying they experienced in the youth set up back in the 90s under Gwyn Williams.
Having settled amounts with the victims of sexual abuse and admitted this bullying took place it is a bit weird to read that the club are allowing their insurers to take this case to court.
Compensation is rumoured to be higher than the levels already paid out but settling amicably and quickly would be better for all concerned.
The case is expected to drag into 2022.
Sunday 14 June
Chelsea XI 7:1 QPR XI
Behind closed doors is becoming familiar. At Stamford Bridge today we rattled seven past a poor QPR with first half strikes from Willian, Giroud, Mason Mount and another from Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The second period was mostly about Billy Gilmour as he added two to yet another Lotus-Cheek strike.
Charges against Callum Hudson-Odoi have been dropped and the investigation ended. Callum was restrained a dignified in saying: “I have learned that being a footballer and playing for one of the best clubs in the world comes with a great responsibility, and going forward I will try and use my platform as a Chelsea player to be the best role model that I can be.”
Given the seriousness of the allegations we hope we can hold his behaviour in future to the highest standards.
The club have not commented.
Monday 15 June
Marcus Rashford has put his weight behind a campaign to keep school meals available for kids during the summer. Vouchers for the food are due to stop in England but continue in Scotland and Wales. FairShare UK are organising the campaign have raised £20m during the lockdown but government ministers confirmed the scheme will close.
Rashford said: “My mum worked full-time, earning the minimum wage, to make sure we always had a good evening meal on the table, but it was not enough.
“The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked.”
The implicit condemnation of Tory Britain is obvious. They said we were all in it together during austerity and now we’re all in it together again during lockdown. And yet, somehow, they got richer during austerity as we paid the price and we’ve all been locked up unable to earn while they have been taking trips to beauty spots on their wife’s birthday… sorry, to test their eyesight. It is a shame they can’t see the poverty and need generated by minimum wage and zero hours.
Tuesday 16 June
Adelina Engman has left us for Montpellier. The Finish finisher scored six for us in 25 injury-hit appearances including the equaliser at Brighton that ensured we finished ahead of Manchester City on points-per-game. We wish her well.
1.3m children will continue to get school meals vouchers after the government caved in to a series of tweets from Marcus Rashford.
Wednesday 17 June
So, it is back. Villa and Sheffield United bored the crap out of us, a reminder that however much we have missed it, football never changes – it can still serve up a stinker. It wasn’t only the players who are rusty as Michael Oliver’s watch failed to indicate a goal when Villa’s keeper fell over the goalline clutching the ball. VAR, after lockdown, is so pie-eyed he couldn’t see the screen.
The players observed a minute’s silence before kick-off for all those who have died during the covid-19 and took a knee for Black Lives Matter which was written on the back of every shirt.
The draw means United are four points behind us in sixth.
David Luiz, on as a sub, managed to get himself sent off in one of his more erratic performances as City thumped Arsenal 3-0. The Gooners lost two, Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka, to muscle injuries. Worryingly muscle problems are common in under-prepared athletes and all the players have been back for little over three weeks. City lost Eric Garcia but that was the result of a collision.
The echoing stands are more honest than the piped crowd noise. M*A*S*H was broadcast in the UK without a laugh-track and seemed funnier and more real for it. Yes, we really are that old, get over it.
The remaining Champions League games will be played in August. They haven’t decided if the remaining Round of 16 games are to be played at the original venues or on holiday in sunny Lisbon on the 7-8 August. A mini-tournament will decide the winner which will run 12-23 August.
If we are taking part in the 11-day tournament then we will have already witnessed the greatest game of football ever played – we trail 0-3 to Bayern Munich after the first leg.
Thursday 18 June
Timo Werner is confirmed as a Chelsea player from July on a five-year contract. It is the first time in ages we have signed a really exciting player. The potential this lad has is difficult to quantify but a squad with Werner, Abraham, and Giroud we should never be short of goals.
Interestingly, on Twitter later when a fan asked the club to announce the signing of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen, the tweet was like by none other than Kai Havertz.
In this new-fangled age that is as good as a five-year contract.
Friday 19 June
Anita Asante has left us after her contract ran down. Anita has been injured a lot of the time but she has won dozens awards in a trophy-laden career. She has been a great part of the community at the Bridge in that time and a vocal supporter of the antisemitism and anti-racism projects. Emma Hayes said: “The contribution she’s made in her playing career to date has been exceptional. She’s always around winning. She holds everybody to the highest standards, but also demonstrates them herself.” We wish Anita all the best for her future career.
Saturday 20 June
Manchester United managed only a point at Spurs despite looking the better side they had to rely on a United penalty. Pogba dived and VAR nodded it through – possibly AFK trying to get the fag machine by the gents to work even though its been empty for the last ten years. The ghost of Alex Ferguson still haunts referees… United have had twice as many penalties as any other side this season.
Leicester looked to have won the game at Vicarage Road with a 90th minute goal but Watford contrived to equalise in the 93rd.
Sunday 21 June
Aston Villa 1:2 Chelsea
A slightly lopsided selection with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kanté back in the side but there was method in this and Willian, Azpilicueta and Mason Mount ran the game in the first-half, complete domination and, being as it is still this season, we went in behind as Villa found Kortney Hause tapping in from Anwar El Ghazi’s shot. It was a blip.
We didn’t panic and second-half goals from the returning Christian Pulisic and a neat spin and finish from Olivier Giroud within a minute of each other handed us the win we deserved.
John Terry’s face – poor John had to strain every ounce of his professionalism to stop himself celebrating the equaliser.
Overall it was a little rusty but a three-point gap to United has become a five-points gap with eight games to play. We could really do with something on Thursday against City.