Tuesday 27 August
Bury FC have been kicked out of the Football League. After missing a hatful deadlines the League authorities finally withdrew their share. Bolton Wanderers have 14-days to finish a takeover or they will follow their local rivals out of the professional game.
Ex-owner Stewart Day and the man he sold Bury to, Steve Dale, are the men who have led Bury to collapse but the League need to look at their part in the disastrous chain of events. Debbie Jevans, EFL executive chair, has blathered about how the League have done all they could and mentioned AFC Wimbledon as a model. She didn’t stress that AFC Wimbledon was a project born out of the theft of a football club by erm, the League and the FA. She also ducked the question about how she had allowed Steve Dale to buy the club when he could not demonstrate that he had the funds to keep it afloat.
Now the League have killed its first club since Wimbledon in 2002 and Maidstone United in 1992 and are dangling a sword over another they should start looking at what an effective fit and proper person test might look like and how to properly administer financial fair play.
Laughably Owen Oyston of Blackpool, who stripped the Tangerines of £26.77m, still qualifies under the League’s ‘owners and directors’ test.
For every Chelsea fan not aware of why Bury’s demise is relevant to a Pensioners website: we were ourselves so nearly there in 2003 when a Jesper Grønkjær goal against Liverpool secured Champions League football and saved the club from collapsing under £93m of debt. Roman Abramovich took over that summer but we were effectively already in administration before the Roubles rolled in.
Most of the women’s squad are off on international duty.
England are playing a couple of friendlies against Belgium and Norway. So, Millie Bright, Carly Telford and Bethany England are with the training group. Fran Kirby had to report back with an unspecified injury, Hannah Blundell replaces her.
Sweden play Latvia with Magdalena Eriksson and Jonna Andersson.
Maren Mjelde, Maria Thorisdottir and Guro Reiten join Norway, Wales welcome Sophie Ingle, Ramona Bachmann is with Switzerland, Adelina Engman with Finland.
Thankfully for writers who have to list international call-ups Erin Cuthbert has an ankle knock so we don’t have to mention Scotland’s fixtures,
Wednesday 28 August
League Cup draw handed us a home tie against either Grimsby or Macclesfield Town.
Bolton have been saved at the last minute after a takeover by the snappily titled Football Ventures (Whites) Limited finally dragged through.
At the end of last week this takeover looked secure but by Monday it was off. Perhaps the collapse of Bury and their expulsion from the league yesterday banged a few heads together.
Thursday 29 August
Petr Cech did us few favours as his clumsy great paws drew Ajax, Valencia and Lille for us in group H.
It wasn’t as bad as it could have been with Real Madrid, Internazionale, lurking in the pots but Liverpool got an easy group (Napoli, Salzburg, Genk), Manchester City and even easier one (Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta) and Spurs should progress too (Bayern Munich, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade).
Ajax have lost players this summer but their coach is the same guy who took them past Real Madrid and Juventus on the way to the semi-final last season.
Valencia have a decent European record and La Liga sides are always strong. Lille are a bit more of an unknown.
We start with a home game against Valencia (Tuesday 17 September, and follow that with two away: Lille (Wednesday 2 October) and Ajax (Wednesday 23 October) before the fixtures reverse.
It is an even group and we will do well to come out on top.
Mason Mount made the England squad alongside Ross Barkley. Tammy Abraham has come to Gareth Southgate’s attention but that he is looking at some different options in this squad.
On the pitch and England’s women fought a battle against Belgium in a 3-3 away draw.
Friday 30 August
Chelsea U23 2:2 Tottenham Hotspur U23
Another last-minute equaliser saw us fight back from two down again, same as last week. Now, if we could only stop ourselves from falling two behind in the first place we might progress.
Antonio Rüdiger played his second 90-minutes in a week as he nears a return to fitness. Frank Lampard later said that he was ready for inclusion with the first-team squad.
Clinton Mola got one goal back for us before Tariq Lamptey popped up with a last gasp goal to snatch the point that keeps us top of the table.
Juan Castillo wasn’t available for this one because he departed for Ajax on loan this morning.
Trevoh Chalobah and Marc Guehi received the call to England U21 for the first time today. Tariq Lamptey and Conor Gallagher are in the U20 squad.
Eden Hazard has been named player of the tournament by Uefa for his skill and dedication in landing us the Uefa Cup.
Macclesfield and Grimsby will stage their abandoned league cup match on Tuesday 11 September
Saturday 31 August
Chelsea 2:2 Sheffield United
For all the bright movement and Tammy Abraham’s two goals this was another match marred by social media racism.
We created the chances to wrap this up and Frank will be concerned that we are developing a reputation as a side that is vulnerable to the second-half fightback. He might have to think about changing tactics for the second period and playing with two holding players to restrict midfield.
Kurt Zouma was the unlucky defender who deflected the ball in for their equaliser right at the death. The abuse he received on Twitter is now predictable but no less distressing.
We are not a racist club and calls for Twitter to do more are clearly falling on deaf ears with them and other social media companies.
Among all the hubbub Fikayo Tomori strode onto the Stamford Bridge stage and looked like he belongs. Fikayo was with Derby County last season where he, not Mason Mount or Harry Wilson, was player of the season. Obviously Frank feels he can trust the defender and these first steps, since a brief debut three years ago, suggest we have a player confident in his own passing ability and positionally aware.
Sunday 1 September
Danilo Pantic will stay on loan in Serbia but moves from Partizan Belgrade to MOL Fehervar, who were MOL Vidi when we played them last.
Tiemoue Bakayoko is also going out on loan. This time the big French midfielder will be joining up with Cesc Fabregas at Monaco. Bakayoko made his name at Monaco before joining us for £40m in 2017.
Arsenal and Spurs contrived to draw an interesting North London derby two each. VAR completely scrambled an equaliser for Villa against Palace earlier, after the incompetent whistler blew for a dive which was actually a foul before the ball hit the back of the net. Apparently VAR cannot correct bookings for simulation.
VAR did not feature in our match yesterday but we are starting to understand how it works – the referees set up the equipment, the slow-motion, video replay and comms links in the pub. They then drink so much that they refuse to admit that any of their colleagues are capable of making mistakes: “he’sh mah mate, see and ah luv ‘im aN he-sh nev, neveh wrong”. When VAR fails to intervene it is because they have nipped to the gents or back to the bar. Their failure to award penalties is just a misunderstanding: “Nah, we can’t have shot now… we’ve got the norf-north Larn-dun d’uh-derby to do later…b’bbetter make it a half…”