Chelsea Transfer Policy – Will they regret Traore Sale?

Courtesy: Olympique Lyonais twitter

As youth football goes Chelsea have an extremely successful set up when it comes to winning trophies. In recent years the young blues have tasted plenty of success in the FA Youth Cup and won the youth champions league in back to back to season’s. They are the current youth league Champions as well, having completed a treble last season.

When will we see these talented youngsters given a fair crack of first team football. Things have improved a tiny bit in recent years with a number of youngsters getting a number of games, but the last star to come through remains John Terry.

Now, Bertrand Traore isn’t a youth product in the same guise as the likes of Nathaniel Cholabah or Ruben Loftus Cheek, but he did originally go into the set up when arriving as a triallist at the age of 17.

The young African then went on loan to Vittesse Arnhem before coming back and joining the first team squad.

During the 2015/16 season he was given a chance amid unrest at Stamford Bridge and showed what a star he might become.

A fabulous long range effort against Stoke and a neat header against Manchester City were the highlights and it was highly thought the Sierra Lione striker had plenty to offer.

The ever changing managerial merry-go-round at Chelsea can’t help and although you can in no way fault Antonio Conte, it is obvious the difference of opinion from manager to manager does appear to effect the chances youngsters get at the bridge.

Traore found himself out on loan again. This time at Ajax. His performances in Amsterdam did seem to divide opinion with reporting problems with the Dutch clubs management. He did hit score 13 goals though, most notably 2 in the first leg of their Europa league semi final against Lyon.

Yesterday it was announced he was on the move away again. This time a permanent move to Lyon. The fee of €10m (£8.8m) does seem a snip for a 21 year old who has shown so much potential.

The Chelsea policy of buying potential and then loaning out is without doubt a winner. The clubs net spend has been low in recent seasons and 2 league titles in 3 years shows it works. It is frustrating when young talent leaves, but football is very much a business these days.

Will Chelsea regret it? Only time will tell, but you do have to look at where he stood in the pecking order in South West London. Michy Batshuayi is ahead of him and doesn’t get a look in. In addition you have youngsters such as Abraham and further down the list there’s Ugbo. Not forgetting the constant links with top strikers to replace the departing Diego Costa.

I certainly hope Chelsea won’t regret it and wish Bertrand Traore the best of luck in his career.

On This Day… In 1953 USA v England 

64 years ago today the USA entertained England at the iconic Yankee Stadium in New York. It was the first time England were to play under floodlights. The friendly attracted a crowd of 7,271.

England took the lead just before half time with a goal from Ivor Broadis. 

The 2nd half saw a glut of goals….. 2 from Nat Lofthouse and another from Tom Finney put the three lions into a comfortable 4-0 lead. However, the stars and stripes hit back with Otto Decker hitting a double in a matter of minutes and a George Atheneos penalty putting them right back in the game with 20 minutes remaining. England hit straight back through Tom Finney and Redfern Froggatt then completed the scoring as England ran out 6-3 winners.

Scotland v England – Memorable Matches

On the 30th of November 1872 Scotland entertained England for the first time. They have gone on to face each other a total of 113 times officially and there have been some memorable clashes that have taken place in Scotland over the years.
Here is a small selection of games involving the two rivals:

1954 – World Cup Qualifier
Scotland  2  – 4  England           

1966 – British Championship

Scotland 3 – 4 England 

1976 –  British Championship

Scotland 2 – 1 England 

1985 – Rous Cup

Scotland 1 England 0

1999 – UEFA Euro 2000 Playoff

Scotland 0 England 2

Of the 113 times they have met, England have the edge with 48 victories to Scotland’s 41. The remaining 24 being draws.

On Saturday 10th of June the two will clash for the 114th time in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park.

On This Day…. The 1968 European Championship Started

Picture: Wikipedia 

Today marks the day the 1968 European Championship began. Hosted by Italy, 4 teams took part after a successful qualifying campaign. It was a simple knockout format to determine who would be champions.

Competing in the 3rd competition of its kind were hosts Italy, World Champions England, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

The first game saw Italy take on the Soviet Union at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples in front of a crowd of 68,582. The game finished 0-0 after extra time and so was decided by a coin toss. Something common in those daysdays before penalty shootouts. 
The 2nd game saw England take on Yugoslavia at the Stadio Comunale in Florence. An attendance of 21, 834 saw plavi clinch a place in the final. Dragan Dzajic was the hero with an 86th minute winner in a 1-0 victory. Allan Mullery was later sent off for the three lions becoming their first ever player to see red.

Three days later the 3rd place match and final took place at the Stadio Olympico in Rome. In the battle for 3rd England faced the Soviet Union and made some amends for their semi final defeat with a 2-0 win. Bobby Charlton gave them a half time lead and Geoff Hurst added the 2nd after 68 minutes.

The final, later that night… Matched Italy with Yugoslavia. 68,817 were there to see a 1-1 draw AET. Dzajic had given Beli orlovi the lead after 39 minutes and they came close to seeing the game out. However, Gli Azzuri weren’t to be denied as Angelo Domenghini put them level with 10 minutes remaining. Extra time couldn’t separate the teams and so it was a replay rather than a coin toss to decide the champions.

Two days later at the same venue in front of a smaller crowd of 32,866, the Italians were crowned European Champions. First half goals from Gigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi made sure of the hosts victory.

Remembering Being A Member Of Those Who Remember The Full Members Cup – Do You Remember?

1985 and English clubs are banned from europe following the Heysel Stadium diaaster. Suddenly there are several spare midweek football slots to fill. What do you do? Well obviously you create a competition for the top two divisions in English football to fill that void. Could this be something to excite the masses and rival the league cup and of course the world’s oldest competition… The FA Cup? 

Well in a nutshell…. No!!! However, there were exciting games during the 7 seasons it ran for. Crowds weren’t exactly sellouts, but nonetheless it had a place… sort of.

The Cup was the brainchild of long serving Chelsea chairman Ken Bates. Yes, the former dairy farmer who bought the club for a quid and then sold them to Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich for £140m. 

Now, it’s fair to say the competition wasn’t everybody’s ‘cup of tea’. Actually if it was a cup of tea it would be one those weak poor brews that your mate that doesn’t like making you one serves up. Many clubs pulled out some years and in particular Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham declined the invitation completely. 

The format was pretty simple as teams were broken into a regional draw… North and South. They did trial a first round group system but It a was in the most part a knockout competition that included a two legged regional final before the regional winners faced each other in a Wembley showpiece final. Who wouldn’t want a day out at the twin towers to cheer on their team?

The first final took place on a Sunday between Bates own club… Chelsea, and Manchester City. Surely not great to have to rearrange a league fixture for a ‘meaningless’ cup game you might say. Well, no because both clubs played league games the day before. ‘Excuse me, what? How would today’s players feel about that? Could you imagine Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero facing off in a cup final only 24 hours after a league game? No nor me.

As it turned out it was an entertaining affair as Chelsea ran out 5-4 winners. The blues were 5-1 up at one stage before a City comeback was too little too late.

So after the great advert the final gave the competition it continued. Blackburn Rovers defeated Charlton Athletic 1-0 and the competition them gained sponsorship in the form of Italian Sportswear manufacturer Simod. 

Reading were the winners next in what was a rare success for the royals. Following a sponsorship change with the competition being called The Zenith Data Systems Cup… Nottingham Forest won the competition twice in 1989 and 1992, Chelsea added a 2nd title in 1990 and Crystal Palace enjoyed a day out in 1991. 

So was it all worth it? Yes I believe it was. As a Chelsea fan I was there in 1990 at the tender age of 12 to see Tony Dorigo curl in a fabulous freekick in what was the only goal of a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough. I’d hope there were fans like me who enjoyed their club having a dream day out and seeing their club lift a trophy. 

On the whole I can’t see there being a ‘Bring back the Full Members Cup’ campaign in the near future, but it is one that for some brings back some happy memories of how football used to be.

What are your memories of this competition?

On This Day….. 29th Of May

Another date in years past highlighting football memories. I must note that being at the end of May…. A lot of playoff games feature and there have been more that have taken place on this date. The games covered are those that were the most entertaining/dramatic.

  • 1969 – Inter Cities Fairs Cup Final 1st leg

Newcastle United built up a 1st leg cushion winning 3-0 at St James Park against Ujpesti Dozsa. All the goals were in the 2nd half with Moncur netting twice and Scott adding a 3rd. The Magpies went on to win the away leg 3-2 and therefore clinch their one and only European trophy. 

  • 1993 – Scottish Cup Final

Murray and Hateley scored Rangers goals as they clinched the Scottish Cup for a 26th time. Richardson replied late on for Aberdeen.

(Full Match)

  • 2000 – First Division Playoff Final

Ipswich Town gained promotion back to the premier league after an eventful afternoon at Wembley. Barnsley had taken the lead after an unlucky own goal by Richard Wright. However Mowbray equalized and the teams went in level at the break. The 2nd half started with the blues on top and  goals from  Naylor and Stewart put them a step closer to the top flight. However, a Hignett penalty for the tykes with 12 minutes remaining made it a nervous finale. But Ipswich weren’t to be denied and as Reuser sealed premier league football for the tractor boys in the 90th minute.


  • 2005 – League One Playoff Final

    Favourites Sheffield Wednesday took the lead on the stroke of half time as they looked to seal a return to the Championship. Drama insued as the monkey hangers equalized through Williams early after the break and then with 19 minutes remaining took the lead thanks to a goal from Daly. With time ticking by MacLean leveled from the spot for Wednesday and the game was headed for extra time. The Yorkshire club took the lead in the 94th minute through Whelan and Talbot added a last gasp 4th to seal promotion for Wednesday after a 4-2 victory.

    • 2011 – League One Playoff Final

    Peterborough United were the victors at Old Trafford after a 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town. All the goals came within the final 12 minutes from Rowe, Mackail-Smith and McCann as the Posh made an immediate return to the Championship.

    Please share your memories in the comments below. Maybe you were at one of these games?

    Arsenal Deny Chelsea Double

    It was without doubt a tense afternoon at Wembley for fans of both clubs. Chelsea went into the game hoping to complete a 2nd double in their history. Arsenal are the other hand were trying to salvage a disappointing season. It was The gooners who started to the better…. and say what you like about the controversy of the goal… offside? Handball? By the half hour mark, not for the intervention of Gary Cahill it could have been 3 or 4. Chelsea simply hadn’t started, they ‘weren’t at the races’ and looked increasingly lethargic as the half went on. Arsenal on the other hand looked well drilled and closed Chelsea down at every opportunity as well as moving the ball forward quickly with precision and accuracy. The blues did improve in the 2nd half, but Arsenal still had a stranglehold on the game. Victor Moses stupidity of diving, particularly after being booked minutes earlier summed up the day for Chelsea. Despite playing with 10 men, Chelsea did start to show a desire and Diego Costa’s equaliser could have changed the result as momentum swung towards the blues, but it wasn’t to be as Arsenal remained calm to re-take the lead minutes later thanks to an Aaron Ramsey header. You could question Chelsea’s mental attitude and concentration at this point as a day of so much expectation saw only a few show to required desire. Gary Cahill, Pedro and Diego Costa for me were Chelsea’s top performers. Arsenal were great all over the park with Alexis Sanchez playing a starring role. Holding and Mertersaker were also excellent at the back. 

    Congratulations Arsenal on a record breaking 13th FA Cup.