Friday 1 July
Israel U19 1:3 England U19
A shot in the arm for the age groups as Harvey Vale leads the U19s to the European championship crown. One down and playing badly the England team rallied to equalise and score two in extra-time. The first of those created by Vale’s pass.
Bashir Humphreys, Teddy Sharman-Lowe were both in the squad too and Cobham had a hand in the development of the Brentford ’keeper, Matt Cox and the Juventus winger, Sam Iling-Junior. As well as Arsenal’s Brooke Norton-Cuffy however briefly when he was 12.
Derby County have been bought. David Clowes, a local property developer, stepped in to bring the Rams out of administration and provide some stability. He isn’t promising the earth but now owns the stadium and the club. It is good to have another club out of peril.
The new website design didn’t get off to a good start. All the youth, reserve and women’s match highlights instantly disappeared. Perhaps they have work to do.
Monday 4 July
Andreas Christensen is officially a Barcelona player. The young Dane came through our academy, winning both FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League after joining from Brøndby as a 16-year-old. In ten-years at Chelsea Andreas won the Champions League, the Europa League, the Club World Cup and the Super Cup. He missed our last league triumph in 2016/17 on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he was name player of the season ahead of the then captain Granit Xhaka, who was club captain.
That another one of our established centre-halves leaves it is confusing to be continuously linked to attacking options and a 37-year-old has-been.
There are stories that Thomas Tuchel has final say on signings and that he has no taste for a striker who is likely to disrupt the squad and is too old to be bothered to press.
The government announced that standing will return to Premier League and Championship grounds this season. It will take a few years and remember, if you have been sitting down all these years, that standing demands stamina.
Tuesday 5 July
Len Casey passed. The left-half (for those of you who know your positions) was a regular in the seasons after we won the league and an early team mate of Jimmy Greaves. Before he was a player Len was in the crowd for the famous Dynamo Moscow game in 1945. At 91 Len was our oldest player. Our thoughts are with his family.
A new name in the women’s squad as Katerina Svitkova joins us from West Ham. The Czech international had been with the Hammers for two seasons after joining from Slavia Prague. Attacking midfield with an eye for goal, a modest five for West Ham but a whopping 188 in 177 in the Czech first division. The 26-year-old also has 17 goals for her country.
Wednesday 6 July
England 1:0 Austria
A win at the start of a tournament is a bonus but Fran Kirby’s performance had us expecting greatness. The Chelsea midfielder showed all of the composure we are used to as she fed Beth Mead for the goal and she made dozens of other chances for her England colleagues. Tonight, they only converted one but this tournament could make Fran a world star. Monday against Norway the next England game.
An extra pre-season game will be played against Udinese, Friday 29 July, in Italy.
Thursday 7 July
The much-delayed home kit for 22/23 has been released. A tribute to Ted Drake, apparently. Honestly it look nothing like the kits we wore in the 1950s and has a weird turquoise pattern in the collar that looks like it ran in the wash. The shirt features the Whalefin sponsorship. It looks like we endorse Japanese whaling fleets but actually it is a crypto-currency sca… m, um, er, market. At £20m-per-year, let’s just hope we got the cash up front in sterling.
Maren Mjelde and Guro Reiten both shone as Norway thumped Northern Ireland 4-1 to move top of the group ahead of England who face them on Monday. Reiten scored with a free-kick to restore Norway’s three-goal cushion.
Still no signings. Rumours place Todd in Barcelona talking about midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Who, if he does leave Barcelona, wants to go to Man Utd. The meeting also concerned the future of Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta who Barça have been chasing for a while. If we do let them go, with pre-season underway we’ll be needing four new defenders… and quickly.
The new academy scholars – those not yet old enough for a professional contract – are, Josh Acheampong, Travis Akomeah, Ato Ampah, Somto Boniface, Luke Campbell, Chinonso Chibueze, Teddy Curd, Tyrique George, Michael Golding, Noah Hay, Harrison McMahon, Donnell McNeilly, Max Merrick, Harrison Murray-Campbell, Reiss Alexander Russell-Denny and Kaiden Wilson. And, yes, the reason we list them all every year is so the spellcheck can get used to them. Very few players in our spellcheck don’t go on to a good career and England representation.
Prince Adegoke is one and after a run to the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup last season he will be on loan with Warren Feeney’s Welling United in the National League South.
Friday 8 July
The academy are heading to the United States too. Our men and women are already booked across the Atlantic and alongside Wolves the Stiffs will play in the MLS Next Pro Invitational. Real Monarchs, Colorado Rapids 2 and Toronto FC II join the PL2 sides in Salt Lake City later this month.
Michel Platini and Sep Blatter have been found guilty in a Swiss court… on no, actually the guilty parties have been inexplicably been cleared. Perhaps in Switzerland all you just need your replacement to have secret meetings with the Swiss attorney general to ensure the burden of proof increases.
The guilty parties were not guilty of a not-illegal payment, nor is there any suggestion that they took millions to award the world cup first to the corrupt Russian regime and then to Qatar where it is so hot in the summer that you’ll die if you run around outside.
The guilty are the only two Fifa executives to be found innocent in the whole corrupt cess-pit that international football was before Gianni Infantino swept to power with a clear mandate to make sure that the corruption could carry on behind closed doors… Kick-ins instead of throws, a world cup every two-years, migrant-worker’s bones under the pitch, Fifa brings it all to life.
Jack Wilshere retired from football at the age of 30. A promising early career with Arsenal and England petered out with injury diminishing his contribution. Remember him when people tell you that footballers are overpaid. They might earn well but they may only have a career that lasts a few seasons.
Saturday 9 July
Chelsea XI 4:0 FC Köln
Academy pre-season’s first match and frustrating few details. All we know is that Jayden Wareham scored two, with Derrick Abu and Jude Soonsup-Bell adding the others. Pre-season football is up and running.
Idiots N’Golo Kanté and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be touring America with the squad because they haven’t been vaccinated. Dolts. Both Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are in the touring party for the trip. The loan returnees are included including Tino Anjorin and Levi Colwill. Harvey Vale and Teddy Sharman-Lowe are the only youngsters on the trip.
N’Golo Ruben will at least miss the magnetized, ball-swelling, microchip misery the rest of us suffer.
Jamie Cumming is returning to Milton Keynes on loan. He made 23 appearances for the franchise last term finishing with a play-off semi-final defeat to Wycombe. Being trusted by a League One club to be their main goalkeeper is great progress.
Monday 11 July
England 8:0 Norway
This was supposed to be the difficult game, the test but after an early penalty, England’s women created their own history. No team had ever scored six before half time, no side has ever scored eight in a finals game and Fran Kirby was at the heart of every move. She is in danger of sweeping the tournament like Gazza in 1990.
Guro Reiten and Maren Mjelde both had a difficult evening but can hold their heads up.
Serina Wiegman’s toughest job as England manager so far is to keep everyone’s feet on the ground. The Occupied Six-Counties on Friday at St Mary’s.
Tuesday 12 July
The women will start the new season at home to West Ham United. With Man City at Kingsmeadow in our third match. The season finishes away to Reading in May.
Wednesday 13 July
Raheem Sterling is a Chelsea player as the rumours of the last few days coalesce. The deal is for £47m with add-ons is the first men’s . Raheem started out at Loftus Road, no, don’t laugh, before moving to Liverpool and from there to City.
At 5’6” if Kai Havertz get injured we could have the smallest attack since Mark Stein and John Spenser.
Kalidou Koulibaly is on his way to London for a medical ahead of a £37m move from Napoli. The 31-year-old is Edouard Mendy’s captain in the Senegal national team. We have been linked to Koulibaly so often, over the years, that he almost seems like an old friend. He is definitely the kind of quality we need to replace Rüdiger but the fee will be a record for a player over 30.
Thursday 14 July
Raheem Sterling takes us to another level of cool. The £47.5m man was photographed in a Chelsea shirt outside The Troubadour in west Hollywood.
New girl, Ève Pérriset, and France confirmed their quarter-final place by beating Belgium 2-1. It was a tighter affair than their first game thrashing of Italy but guarantees top spot in the group. Final group-game on Monday against Iceland.
Friday 15 July
Boreham Wood 2:4 Chelsea
Both of our vaccine hold-outs played as N’Golo Kanté and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as well as Matt Miazga and Baba Rahman contributing to the U21s, as they will be this season.
The first half was a possession exercise until a clumsy trip led to a Wood penalty. Leo Castledine equalised after a flowing move involving Loftus-Cheek, Silko Thomas and a knockdown from Dylan Williams. Level at the break.
Trialist Jez Davies’ deflected effort gave us a lead before he buried a chance when Lewis Hall’s free-kick deflected onto the post. Mason Burstow got our fourth before Wood pulled another back right at the death.
Northern Ireland 0:5 England
A few expected a few more but England romped through their group and Fran Kirby slotted the opener. At the edge of the box as the ball deflected to her curled effort flew into the top corner.
Maren Mjelde and Guro Reiten bowed out as Norway lost to Austria. The Norwegians never really got into gear in this tournament and the thrashing by England can’t have helped.
Ian Maatsen’s loan to Burnley in the Championship is confirmed. Ian turned down Feyenoord last month and the rumour was he might join the first-team squad. He isn’t in the USA touring party and a loan to the Championship after his exploits last season will at least put hairs on his chest.
Meanwhile, Omari Hutchinson joins from Arsenal. The 18-year-old caught the eye for the Gooners last term as an attacking midfielder.
Saturday 16 July
Koulibaly is officially a Chelsea player. He arrived in Las Vegas after an undisclosed sum move from Napoli. The fee is expected to be a record for a player over 30, certainly the largest since the £16.8m we paid for Claude Makélélé in 2003.
Not your usual centre-half, the captain of Senegal is highly regarded. The Premier League will find ways to test that reputation but a natural leader and fine footballer he will make us stronger at the back.
A four-year deal for a player over 30 is a departure from the club’s previous policy. Possible one that is overdue.
Pernille Harder bows out of the Euros as Spain beat Denmark 1-0 at Brentford’s community stadium to set up a quarter-final with England. The Spaniards only needed a draw in a game to finish second to Germany in group B. The match with England is in Brighton on Wednesday.
Sunday 17 July
Chelsea 2:1 Club América
A typical first game back as two XIs played each half. In the first Ben Chilwell played his first 45-minutes since his return from injury. Conor Gallagher and Kai Havertz were busy and industrious, while Hudson-Odoi got into some tussles. This wasn’t the friendliest of friendlies, with the Mexican side already three games into their season it was a stern test.
Goals in the second half came from Timo Werner, who slotted a rebound from his own shot. We scored all the goals as Reece James played a blind-pass back to Marcus Bettinelli and the goalkeeper wasn’t where the England right-back thought he should be.
Mason Mount scored a real peach of a winner, picking up the ball on the edge of the box and curling a shot into the top corner. He doesn’t need to contribute more than he does but more goals like that in the league would be welcome.
Overall a good test for a first game and the squad rolls on to Charlotte on the east coast.