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.


2017/18 Premier League Fixtures Announced 

The moment football fans worldwide have been waiting for….The Premier fixtures have been announced.

Last season’s champions Chelsea face Burnley meanwhile newly promoted Newcastle entertain Tottenham, Brighton entertain Man City and  Huddersfield travel to Crystal Palace.

Opening weekend…

  • Arsenal v Leicester
  • Brighton v Manchester City
  • Chelsea v Burnley
  • Crystal Palace v Huddersfield
  • Everton v Stoke
  • Manchester United v West Ham
  • Newcastle v Tottenham
  • Southampton v Swansea
  • Watford v Liverpool
  • West Brom v Bournemouth

All fixtures can be found on the Premier League official site

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?

Begovic Completes Move To The South Coast

Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has today completed a move to AFC Bournemouth for a fee believed to be around £10m. 

The Bosnian has been at the club for two years and generally played second string to first choice stopper Thibaut Courtois. 

The big Bosnian had a brief loan spell with the cherries in 2007.

The former Portsmouth and Stoke keeper made his debut last season following a prolonged injury suffered by the Belgian and more recently played in the blues 4-3 victory over Watford. 

Overall he made 33 appearances and kept 10 clean sheets.

He will officially sign for the cherries when the transfer window opens on the 1st of July.

On This Day….. 30th of May

Memories from football past on this day in history.

1999 Second Division Play Off Final

  • Manchester City v Gillingham was an eventful game at Wembley that seems so long ago whem you see what City have become. For 80 minutes the game remained tense and ultimately goalless. The Gills then struck through Carl Asaba after 81 minutes and Robert Taylor after 87. The game looked won, but the citizens had different ideas and Kevin Horlock gave them a 90th minute lifeline back into the game. Could they? Yes they could…. Paul Dickov netted a 95th minute equalizer to take the game to extra time. After the additional half hour it was down to the drama of a penalty shootout. Having ridden their lick it was the blue side of Manchester that prevailed and clinched promotion winning 3-1 with Nicky Weaver saving 2 of the spotkicks.

2009 – FA Cup Final

  • Chelsea Caretaker manager Guus Hiddink completed his spell with a trophy followi f a 2-1 victory against Everton. The toffees had taken an early lead as Louis Saga scored the fastest ever FA Cup Final goal after only 25 seconds. Chelsea weren’t fazed by this set back and Didier Drogba headed the blues level 20 minutes later. Chelsea ultimately tasted victory after a Frank Lampard strike with 18 minutes to play settled the game in their favour.

2010 – League Two Playoff Final

  • Dagenham and Redbridge reached the 3rd tier of English football for the first time after an entertaining game at Wembley watched by a crowd of just over 32k. Paul Benson had given Daggers a 38th minute lead, but Rotherham United equalized immediately from Ryan Taylor. Going in level at half time…. The 2nd half saw Ryan Green give the East Londoners retake the lead, but once again Taylor was on hand shortly afterwards to put the Miller’s level. Daggers weren’t to be denied their greatest achievement as Jon Nurse fired them into League One with 20 minutes remaining.

2011 – Championship Playoff Final 

  • Swansea City booked their seat at the top table of English football after defeating Reading in the Wembley showpiece. Scott Sinclair got the swans off to a great start scoring from the spot in the 21st minute. He then immediately added a 2nd from the restart and Stephen Dobbie put the Welsh club into a commanding half time lead just before the interval.  The Royals started well in the 2nd half and after a Joe Allen own goal Matt Mills further reduced the arrears as the Berkshire club put themselves in with a chance. It wasn’t to be though as Scott Sinclair completed his hat-trick with another penalty 10 minutes from time.

2015 – FA Cup Final 

  • Arsenal clinched the 12th FA Cup in their history after a comfortable 4-0 win against Aston Villa. Villa had done a good job in the first half and looked to go into the break level. However, Theo Walcott gave the gunners the lead 5 minutes before the imterval. 2nd half goals from Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesaker and Olivier Giroud completed the rout and meant Arsenal retained the cup for a 2nd successive season.

What are your memories of these games? Please share in the comments section below….

It’s FA Cup Final Day

Today marks the end of the English domestic football season and although we have a long summer of no football to enjoy… We still have today to cherish. Singing ‘abide with me’ and enjoying every aspect of this magical day is top of my priority list. In recent years ‘Cup Final Day’ had started to play second fiddle somewhat, with the final being played before the end of the season rather than being the showpiece event to finish the footballing calendar. However, it is now back in it’s rightful place. Today sees a London derby as Arsenal take on Chelsea. It’ll be a fight affair full of tension, but going on this seasons league results it should give us some goals. The gooners triumphed in the first meeting 3-0 at the Emirates, but Chelsea replied with a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. 

Here are my favourite cup finals of years gone by…..

 1985 – Manchester 1 Everton 0. 

I only really have fond memories of this game because it was the first I remember as a small boy. Not greatly entertaining, but Norman Whiteside’s strike low in the corner just beyond the hands of Neville Southall sticks in my mind.

1997 – Chelsea 2 Middlesbrough 0
Fond memories on a personal level. As a Chelsea fan I’d never seen any real success until this day. The nerves were jangling, but Di Matteo scoring after only 43 seconds soon calmed the tension. Home grown hero Eddie Newton added the 2nd and I can still say  that even now it’s one of my favourite Chelsea moments despite all the recent success.

2006  – West Ham 3 Liverpool 3

This game simply had it all. The hammers raced into a 2 goal lead, but the reds hit back. West Ham retook the lead and must have thought it was going to be their day. However that man Gerrard hit a cracking injury time equalizer and sent the game to extra time. After 30 minutes of being unable to find a winner it was time for a shootout to decide who lifted the famous old trophy. Liverpool prevailed 3-1 and the cup was heading back to Merseyside

2013 – Wigan Athletic 1 Man City 0

This result summed up the magic of the FA Cup. Wigan up against the much fancied Man City. Only one winner was expected, but the latics defied all odds and to top it off won it ‘Roy of the Rovers’ style with Watson netted a 91st minute winner. A fairytale ending to a magical day for everybody associated with the club

So who will win today. Vote here…..

Goals, Goals, Goals and even more Goals

The last weekend of the Premier League season has passed us by and it was one that gave us plenty of goals. 

The most were seen at the KCOM as Tottenham stuffed Hull City 7-1. Harry Kane got a hatrick and therefore claimed the Golden Boot. At Stamford Bridge the title winning party was in full swing. John Terry playing his final game at home was given a rousing reception as he left the field to a guard of honour appropriately in the 26th minute( his shirt number) Chelsea surprisingly went behind early on, but got back in devastating fashion to win 5-1. Man City looking to confirm a Champions League spot convincingly beat Watford 5-0. Largely thanks to a Sergio Aguero double. Also hoping to confirm a top 4 spot were Liverpool. The reds beat relegated Middlesbrough 3-0. Arsenal beat Everton 3-1 despite having Koscielny sent off early on, but celebrations were muted somewhat after they failed to qualify for the Champions League. There is small consolation of a Europa League spot though. Their opponents will join them in the competition next season.

Elsewhere, Manchester United got ready for their big night in Stockholm with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace with youngster Josh Harrop opening the scoring.  Swansea ended their season on a high with a 2-1 win against West Brom, Leicester and Bournemouth shared the points after Stanislas had given the cherries a 1st minute lead. Peter Crouch scored the only goal of Stokes win at Southampton and West Ham finished on a high note with an Ayew winner in a 2-1 victory at Burnley.

Overall most issues had already been decided and the final league table shows the joy and pain felt by all the club’s as the curtain comes down on another wonderful season of Premier League football.