Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’

Chelsea v Stoke Odds
PLUS: Potters Triumph of ’72 Ended Chelsea’s Seventies Swagger

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Stoke skipper Peter Dobing shakes hands with Ron Harris

It was a game that proved the end of that fabled – and it should be remembered relatively short – period when Chelsea were the rock ‘n’ roll team of English football at the start of the Seventies.

Having won the FA Cup in 1970, then defeated Real Madrid to lift the European Cup Winners Cup the following year, Chelsea made it three Cup Finals in a row when the faced Stoke at Wembley for the League Cup Final of 1972.

Stoke had beaten West Ham in an epic semi-final that after two legs went to two replays and were considered underdogs, even more so as they had lost their previous seven against The Blues.

But although Peter Osgood equalised a Terry Conroy opening goal, veteran George Eastham hit the winner. It remains Stoke’s only major trophy in their history having been beaten by Manchester City three years ago in their only final since.

The below clip gives you the story through the eyes of some of Stoke’s heroes from that day;

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That defeat by Stoke saw Dave Sexton’s exciting side break up and the club go into a long period of decay.

Now New Chelsea, who have won the Cup four times in the past nine seasons, are aiming to win the trophy for the eighth time in their history.

It’s difficult to see Stoke, managed by former Chelsea striker Mark Hughes and holder of four FA Cup medals (Ashley Cole has a record seven), stopping their progress to the fifth round. But they won when the two sides last met and they will take heart from that.

THE ODDS

Chelsea v Stoke City, FA Cup 4th Round, Sun Jan 26th, 3.30pm. Live on ITV1

That 3-2 win for Stoke back in December is their only victory over Chelsea since the turn of the century, the Blues having won 10 and drawn 2 of those 13 meetings.

CHELSEA:  2/9   DRAW:  5/1    STOKE CITY:   9/1

Selected Bets:

Chelsea to win;  1-0: 15/2, 2-0: 6/1,  3-0: 13/2,  3-1: 10/1, 4-1: 14/1

Draw; 0-0: 16/1,  1-1: 11/1, 2-2: 25/1, 3-3: 80/1

Stoke to win; 0-1: 25/1, 0-2: 66/1, 1-2: 28/1,  2-3: 66/1

First Goalscorer; Eto’o: 3/1, Hazard: 9/2, Oscar: 5/1, Lampard: 11/2, Ramires: 9/1, Crouch 11/1, Arnautovic: 14/1, Adam: 16/1, Walters: 16/1, Ireland: 20/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY – Eto’o to score first and Chelsea to win: 4/1

Odds courtesy of William Hill.

 

Dec 1990: Derby 4-6 Chelsea
BOBBY Recalls Ten Goal Thriller at the Baseball Ground

by Karl Hofer.

Chelsea overcame a resilient Derby side at the weekend in what could have been a tricky encounter in the FA Cup.

Goals from Oscar and a collectors item from John Obi Mikel were enough to see the blues through to the next round.

Whilst it was an absorbing match it did lack the spark of a game played between the two teams back in 1990, one in which an astonishing ten goals were scored as Chelsea won a see-saw game 4-6.

It’s a game I remember with great fondness, because I was there.

In those days I traveled the country watching Chelsea continually flatter to deceive at a variety of grounds, most of which no longer exist.

The Baseball ground was one such stadium. The home of The Rams was a weary place but cloaked in the kind of history none of these modern bowl-type stadia could ever capture. And also unlike many modern grounds it was conducive to a great atmosphere.

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Durie ran Derby ragged

In what was a lively affair Chelsea started brightly and went ahead after Kerry Dixon converted a cross from Gordon Durie, but within a few minutes Derby had pulled level through Dean Saunders.

The next half hour didn’t provide too much by way of entertainment, and it was at this point my mate Vince who I had traveled with went to queue for halftime refreshments. No sooner had he disappeared under the stand Chelsea were ahead again, Dixon once  more in the right place to tap in after good work from Rodney Trotter (or David Lee as he was also known).

Two-one quickly became three-one after some poor attempts at clearing the ball from Derby resulted in Durie slotting home. Halftime followed and I tucked into my pie trying not to laugh too much at Vince who was fuming that he’d missed the last two goals.

Chelsea’s grip on the game was always a brittle one (as was the way in those days) but the Blues defence completely fell apart after the restart as Ken Monkou had to go off injured. On came Peter Nicholas to replace the big Dutch man but he was unable to offer much by way of resistance.

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Saunders netted 17 goals for Derby that season

Within minutes Trevor Hebberd fired home after Mick Harford had caused disarray in the box to bring the Rams within a goal. Derby were  then level after the unmarked Saunders rose to head in Callaghan’s excellent cross for his second and fans spilled unto the pitch in celebration.

Celebration turned to jubilation when Gary Micklewhite made it 4-3 and the Derby faithful could not contain themselves, dancing on the pitch in front of the away end.

In a little over 13 minutes Chelsea had turned a winning margin of 3-1 into a 4-3 deficit, and sadly it was Nicholas, in what turned out to be his last appearance for Chelsea, who was getting the blame.

It was pretty grim in the away end at that point, with Chelsea having offered nothing by way of attack since the second half began it was feeling like one of those best forgotten games. Vince was particularly unimpressed having missed Chelsea’s second and third goals but with a splendid view of Derby’s comeback strikes. All was not lost however…

As Derby continued to try and exploit Chelsea’s utter inability to defend in any way, Graham Stuart broke from the back and fed Durie who delivered an inch perfect cross onto the head of the smallest man on the pitch. Suddenly parity had been restored thanks to the head of Dennis Wise. Yes, that’s how bad the defending was in this game.

Back came Derby again, but a long throw from Dave Beasant set Durie loose once more from the halfway line, and this time he advanced on the Derby goal himself to fire Chelsea 4-5 in front. We were delirious!

The icing on the cake came in added time from the young Graeme Le Saux who converted Stuart’s cross to make it six past England’s Peter Shilton (highlights are below).

At the final whistle Vince was smiling – not many away days ended like that I can tell you!

It was a game you could probably label under ‘How Not to Defend’ – which was surprising as Derby’s lineup included two of England’s stars from the World Cup that Summer, Peter Shilton and Mark Wright.

But Derby would win only 5 games all season and finish bottom, relegated along with Sunderland with Luton Town just surviving (only two went down). Top scorer Dean Saunders joined Liverpool for a record fee of £2.9m.

Chelsea would finish 11th that season, level on points with Spurs.

Teamsheet

 

 

The Wandering Doc
This Man Boasted he had More Clubs than Jack Nicklaus

 

by Richard D J J Bowdery

During the last six weeks nine League managers have been sacked across all divisions.

In the same period 45 years ago one football manager had three managerial jobs, two of which he left on his own terms and the third he started this week in 1968. His name: Tommy Docherty.

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Tommy is seen here preparing to fly out to Lisbon for Eusebio’s testimonial match with George Best.

He was managing Rotherham United when the opportunity to take the helm at Queens Park Rangers came up. He was there less than a month before Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis poached him, on the 18 December.

But this story does have a sting in the tail for Docherty. On the 19 January 1970, just 13 months after taking charge, he too was sacked. Perhaps the grass wasn’t so greener back then.

Of course one sacking, in 1977, caused a blaze of publicity both within and outside the world of football and it owed more to his performance off the pitch than his team’s performance on it.

Docherty was manager at Manchester United at the time and playing away didn’t only apply to the club.

In the summer of that year news of his affair with the wife of United’s club physiotherapist, Laurie Brown, became public and in July he was dismissed from his post.

Controversy seemed to follow Tommy Docherty around. During his time as manager at Derby County he became embroiled in a bitter Court case when he sued the ex-Manchester United captain Willie Morgan and Granada television for libel.

The case was eventually dropped and the end of the Court case coincided with the end of Docherty’s managerial career with Derby.

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United won the Cup with ‘The Doc’ at the helm

But if his off-field antics made the front pages for all the wrong reasons his on field successes received glowing coverage on the back pages.

As Chelsea manager he gained promotion to Division One in 1963 and won the League Cup in 1965. With Manchester United he won the Second Division championship in 1975 and the FA Cup in 1977. The only blots being losing two FA Cup finals: in 1967 against Tottenham Hotspur, and in 1976 against Southampton.

On his appointment as Altrincham manager in September 1987, he stated that they were the ‘Manchester United of non-league football’.

For the record the Doc’s wandering took in the following clubs:

·        Chelsea: 1961–67

·        Rotherham: 1967–68

·        Queen’s Park Rangers: 1968

·        Aston Villa: 1968–70

·        Porto: 1970–71

·        Manchester United: 1972–77

·        Derby:  1977–79

·        Queen’s Park Rangers: 1979–80

·        Sydney Olympic (Australia): 1981

·        Preston North End: 1981

·        South Melbourne (Australia): 1982–83

·        Wolverhampton Wanderers: 1984–85

·       Altrincham: 1987–88

He also had a stint as manager of the Scottish national side between 1971 and 72.

Docherty brought the curtain down on his managerial career while at Altrincham at the end of 87/88 season. He became a media pundit and after-dinner speaker.

With the frequency of sackings in today’s professional game how long will it be before we have a 21st century contender for the wandering Doc..?

Tommy-Docherty

Tommy in his Chelsea days.

 

Will the Gunners be Singing the Blues Again?

by Richard Bowdery.

Have you heard the one about the Englishman, the Irishman and the Scotsman? Two wore red, one wore blue, all three scored and it was the first time their clubs had met. No?

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Frank Stapleton scored in Arsenal’s first ever meeting with Chelsea in the League Cup

Well it was thirty seven years ago this week that Arsenal faced Chelsea for the first time ever in the League Cup. They met in the fourth round and goals from Frank Stapleton and Trevor Ross for the Gunners saw them gain a 2-1 victory over the Blues whose only goal was scored by David Hay.

Fast forward to Tuesday 29 October 2013 and they meet again in the fourth round and the rivalry will be just as intense; although it is probably fair to say this particular cup competition isn’t held in the same esteem as it was in the 70s. But then again calling it the Milk Cup does have a devaluing effect.

In total both sides have met five times at various stages in this competition with Chelsea claiming the bragging rights over Arsenal, so far, having won three times to Arsenal’s two successes. That could all change when the referee blows for full-time on Tuesday.

Both clubs have reached the final stage of this competition a combined total of 13 times since its inauguration in 1961 (the winner’s that year were Aston Villa who beat Rotherham United).

Their respective records are:

Arsenal – winners in 1987 and 1993 and runners-up in 1968, 1969, 1988, 2007 and 2011.

Chelsea – winners in 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007 and runner-up in 1972 and 2008.

Those eagle eyed among you will note that both sides featured in the 2007 final which was also another first: the first time two London club’s contested a League Cup final. Arsenal took the lead through Theo Walcott’s first ever goal for the club but a goal in each half from Didier Drogba sealed the win for Chelsea in an incident packed match (see below).

And the reference to the Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman at the start of this piece? You have the names, so I’ll leave you to work it out…

 

richard@bobbyfc.com

Gunners Get The Blues Wenger and Mourinho Look to Gain the Upper Hand

Morrow

Steve Morrow scored Arsenal’s winner in 1993. In this pic Tony Adams is just moments away from breaking his arm…

by Rob Shepherd.

There was a time when Arsene Wenger used the League Cup sponsored by Capital One as a test lab for his young players.

But no longer.

Without any silverware since 2005 Wenger has increasingly taken the competition more seriously.

But The Gunners have lost the two finals they have reached since, in 2011 to Birmingham and 2007, yes to Chelsea.

That was the season when Mourinho left and Avram Grant ‘took over’ as manager – although most of the time it seemed the senior players ran the show, like Didier Drogba who terrorised the Gunners and scored the winner in that final.

This clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at The Emirates is the plum tie of the Capital One Cup Fourth Round.

One suspects the winners of this game can win the cup. Both are priced at 7-1 so now is the time to get on one or the other.

Wenger has indicated he will play a strong side. Chelsea may well rest John Terry and Frank Lampard. But with David Luiz and Juan Mata to come in it could be some game.

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George Graham won the League Cup as a manager with Arsenal and as a player with Chelsea

And Chelsea have a stronger heritage in the League Cup than the Gunners. The Blues have won it four times, only Manchester United and Aston Villa have won it more.

Arsenal have only won it twice, in ’87 and ’93 back in the George Graham era.

Interestingly Graham played for the Chelsea side that won the trophy for the first time in 1965 when they beat Leicester over two legs.

Bobby Tabling and Terry Venables scored for the Blues at the Bridge. But both times the goals were equalised until Eddie McCreadie went on a late dribble and beat Leicester’s keeper….Gordon Banks.

The second leg was a goal-less draw. The Chelsea manager ? Tommy Docherty.

Below are the highlights of Gianluca Vialli’s first game in charge of Chelsea, which was against Arsenal in the semi-final of the League Cup in 1998 – Watch out for a thunderbolt from Robbie Di Matteo.

 

Blues are World Wide thanks to Webb How Chelsea Owe it All To Dave Webb

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Here’s a tremendous shot of Chelsea defender Dave Webb, back when proper footballers were seriously hairy creatures, seen here in preseason training in Mitcham, South London, before the 1970-71 season.

Webb initially failed to make the grade with West Ham but went on to play professionally for over two decades, turning out for Leyton Orient, Southampton, Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City, Derby County, A.F.C. Bournemouth and Torquay United.

But it is for his six years at Chelsea that Webb is best known, particularly for his role in landing Chelsea their first ever FA Cup success in 1970. Having been given a torrid time at Wembley by Leeds winger Eddie Gray, manager Dave Sexton moved Webb to centre-half for the replay, meaning Gray would instead enjoy the company of Ron Harris at Old Trafford.

The move worked wonders and Chelsea played much better in the replay, with Webb emerging as the unlikely hero, heading in Ian Hutchinson’s long throw in extra time to win the cup and cement his place in Chelsea folklore.

A change of positions was nothing new for Webb who during his time with The Blues played every number from 1-12 (back when numbers indicated positions) apart from 11. That included a few games at up front – from where he hit a hat-trick against Ipswich Town in December 1968 – and even a full game in goal three years later (also against Ipswich) in which he remarkably kept a clean sheet.

What a lot of people forget is that Webb also managed Chelsea. It was twenty years ago in fact when Webb received the call from Ken Bates to take over from Ian Porterfield, who had been relieved of his managerial duties with Chelsea in free-fall and under threat of relegation without a win in two months.

Under Webb Chelsea found some consistency and strung some good results together to finish in a comfortable 11th place at the end of the season. Chelsea fans were keen for one of their greatest heroes to get the job full time, but ‘Cuddly Ken’ had other ideas…

Risking the wrath of the Chelsea support (not for the first time) Ken appointed Glenn Hoddle, the Spurs legend, as Chelsea’s player-manager for the following season.

It was that brave appointment that transformed Chelsea, certainly in the eyes of the movers and shakers in European football, with Ruud Gullit signing for Hoddle’s Chelsea revolution in 1995. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Would Chelsea have become such an attractive investment opportunity for Roman Abramovich 10 years later if Bates had bowed to supporter opinion and given Webb the job full-time back in 1993..? It seems unlikely…

Of course you can also argue that Chelsea would not have been able to attract Hoddle to the managers job had Webb not saved them from relegation in the first place. So perhaps Chelsea are now World Wide thanks to Webb.

 

by Karl Hofer

One 2 Eleven with Nigel Spackman

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Spackers

Nigel James Spackman was born in Romsey in Hampshire in December 1960 and is 52.

He played for Bournemouth, Chelsea, Liverpool, QPR, Rangers, Chelsea again and Sheffield Utd.

He also had managerial stints at Sheffield United, Barnsley and Millwall.

Nigel is now a regular pundit on a number of foreign TV shows covering the Premier League and La Liga.

First Car: A Mini: Mini 1000 I don’t know how I got in or out of it! That’s when I was with Bournemouth, It cost about 400 quid! Next up was a 1275 GT Mini and I bought it off Dave Webb. [Webb was manager at the time and known in the game a bit of an Arthur Daley type! – Ed]

Best Ground: Anfield.

Worst Ground: That’s a tough one… Crystal Palace, Selhurst Park. It always seemed cold there for some reason and a bumpy pitch.

Best Goal Scored: The one I scored on my debut for Chelsea against Derby in 1983. I scored the first of the season. Kerry Dixon scored two and we got promoted that year. The most important goal I scored – the one that people remember me for – was Rangers against Celtic and my first Auld Firm game, New Year 1990 at Celtic Park.

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Eddie Niedzwiecki, Joe McLaughlin, Nigel, Kerry Dixon, Pat Nevin and player/coach John Hollins all signed for John Neal’s Chelsea in 1983 and swiftly won promotion

Boyhood hero: I loved George Best and was lucky enough to play with him at Bournemouth for nine games and then went on to work with Bestie on Soccer Saturday.

Best Manager: Man-manager would be Kenny Dalglish. Best coach-manager I’d say Glenn Hoddle.

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Nigel likes Rihanna, but he doesn’t know why…

Best Friend in the Game: I’ve had several really good mates in the game from Liverpool and Chelsea, Ian Rush is one.

Best Memorabilia: My medal from 1998 when I won the League title with Liverpool. The Simod Cup with Chelsea in 1986 would be second on the list!

First record bought: T- Rex [Spackers breaks into song] “Oh Girl I’m Just a Jeepster For Your Love”….It certainly wasn’t Gilbert O’Sullivan!

Most recent: I like a bit of Snow Patrol. I like a bit of Rihanna too…but I don’t know why!

Best Country visited: I’ve been lucky to visit some beautiful places….but the best? I’d have to say The Maldives.

Subs:

Red or White Wine: A nice Italian Amarone

Drogba or Dixon..?: [Chuckles ] Has to be a bit of Drogba… just a little bit better. Kerry will kill me for that!

 

Spurs v Chelsea: Hoddle’s Verdict

GLENN Hoddle believes that Christian Eriksen is the creative No 10 who can “unlock the door” to Spurs success this season.

Hoddle believes that Spurs have a better team all round – and a stronger squad – since the sale of Gareth Bale enabled the acquisition of so many new talented players, with Eriksen the key signing.

Hoddle was discussing the Saturday clash between the London clubs he managed, Chelsea and Spurs, at the launch of his own young talent search – ‘Zapstarz!’ – at Planet Hollywood in London on Thursday.

Hoddle said: “Spurs are now a stronger squad, and possibly team, without Gareth Bale and much of that is down to the signing of Christian Eriksen. They needed somebody to unlock the door, the type of player Spurs haven’t had for some considerable time.

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Eriksen: Hoddle is a big fan

“In fact, I was asked today whether he is the No 10 that has been missing since the days of myself and Ossie Ardiles.”

The question was posed with Hoddle standing next to his old friend Ardiles with a battery of cameras and journalists’ microphones picking up his every word.

Hoddle avoided that question, as it is not for him to say – and Ossie smiled!

But Hoddle does believe that the young Dane could be the game-changer Spurs have been crying out for. Before the ex-Ajax star’s beat-the-deadline signing, Hoddle believed Spurs’ other signings had given them more strength and power – but they still lacked a major creative spark. Then Eriksen arrived.

“Eriksen is making a huge difference to Spurs’ style of play,” he said, “notably in the creativity department. I am really looking forward to this one as it has the look of a fascinating encounter which could go either way.

“I’m expecting an exciting game. Naturally as I managed both the clubs I will be keeping a keen eye on this match.  Spurs look as though they have a really strong squad, while Chelsea have already had a strong squad for the last couple of years.

“But Spurs are progressing and I really do think they are going or make the top four this season, they might even be considered title contenders, who knows?  Much depends on the next few results, and if they can keep their confidence levels going.

“I saw Spurs earlier in the season and I was scared for them. They had just sold Gareth Bale and everyone was looking to see how that would affect them.  If they had kept Bale maybe they would now have a chance of winning the league because the arrival of Eriksen has provided them with the creative player they have been missing.

“With Eriksen and Lewis Holtby coming into the picture they look as though they are strong in midfield. Eriksson, though, has taken them to another level.”

Hoddle  believes Chelsea, despite teething troubles since the return of Jose Mourinho, have the quality available to win the title.

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Mata destroyed Spurs last year, but will he even figure this time..?

“Chelsea could win the League because they have so many good players although it is a big surprise they are not playing Juan Mata,” he said.  “Maybe there is some kind of political reason for it, I don’t know, but he has been such an excellent footballer for Chelsea for the last two years and he has elevated them.  I cannot believe he will be out of the picture for much longer.

“Perhaps with Chelsea’s early-season troubles this is a good time for Spurs to be playing Chelsea. I am not sitting on the fence because I managed both teams but I see it being a draw, but a very entertaining draw, maybe even a high-scoring draw.

“Spurs have spent a lot of money because they let Bale go but they look good for bringing all those players in.  It looks like money well spent. It looks good enough for me to believe they can make it into the top four – and might even challenge for the title.

“For me, the title is more open than it has been for the past two years which makes it all the more exciting.  Spurs would love to win this one as they are at home and Chelsea are not yet firing on all cylinders but. I see Chelsea getting a draw.”

The Odds

Tottenham: 13/8 Draw: 9/4 Chelsea: 17/10

History is very much on the side of The Blues for this one. In 3,780 minutes of Premier League football – that’s 42 games in old money – astonishingly Spurs have won just thrice!

By my reckoning that would suggest odds of around 14/1 on a home win, but alas the bookies see it differently and you’ll get a little under 2/1 for your money if you fancy a home win.

If after reading Glenn Hoddle’s words you think it will be a score-draw and honours even, then you can get 12/1 for a 2-2 final score.

Of course the team here at BOBBY very much respect history, for that reason we’re going for three points for The Blues with a correct score of Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea at 9/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY: Samuel Eto’o to open his Chelsea account with the first goal of the game at 6/1

Other selected bets:

Paulinho to score first: 12/1

HT/FT: Chelsea/Draw: 12/1

Chelsea to come from behind to win: 12/1

Soldado to score 2 or more goals: 17/1

Odds courtesy of PaddyPower.

Stat of the Day: Tottenham have conceded more Premier League home goals to Chelsea (38) than any other team.

BOBBY BONUS: Below are the goals from Chelsea’s win in the League Cup against a Spurs team featuring Lineker and Gazza back in 1990.

The 100 Club: Lampard Joins a List of Legends

by Rob Shepherd

The day before he made his England debut against Belgium at The Stadium of Light in 1999, I asked then manager Kevin Keegan if he felt Frank Lampard had a great international future ahead of him and could even go on to captain his country.

Keegan retorted with a “steady on” smile but agreed young Lampard had the qualities and potential to have a chance of going to the top of the world stage.

Some of the other football writers in the room were less diplomatic, a few even chuckling with a certain disdain at such a suggestion.

Even before he had kicked a ball for his country a bizarre campaign started by West Ham fans – that Lampard was not really good enough for the top level – was a in motion and had begun to seep into the psyche of parts of the media.

And the footage we showed in a recent article of a West Ham fan giving an 18 year old Lampard pelters now looks plain ridiculous (see the clip on Bobby TV on our home page).

Fourteen years after that, ahead of a pivotal World Cup qualifier against Ukraine all the media fawned over Lampard at a press conference as he spoke about the prospect of picking up his 100th cap for England in Kiev.

France's Zinedine Zidane holds the World Cup trophy after an exhibition soccer match in Saint Denis

Zidane: Knows a thing or two about football. And headbutts.

And while he has only captained his country on the odd occasion no less an authority than former France star Zinedene Zidane suggested that 35 year old Lampard – rather than midfield side kick and skipper Steven Gerrard – is the key figure in the England team.

Zidane said: “The one that is standing out for England and is really a leader is Lampard.”

In that respect one wonders what might have been for England had Lampard been seen as an integral part of the side in the early days of the Sven Goran Eriksson era.

Lampard was often on the periphery of what for too long effectively became ‘Team Beckham’.

Indeed I remember sitting with Lampard in a hotel in Kensington doing an interview after the 2002 World Cup finals reflecting on what had gone on. Lampard had been omitted from the squad but Beckham travelled even though he had still not recovered from a serious injury and would eventually play despite not being fully fit.

When other midfielders started to pick up knocks England’s chances of success in Japan were undermined by a lack of midfield options in the crunch game against Brazil.

It seemed farcical that Lampard after completing an impressive first season with Chelsea after moving on from West Ham had not been in the squad. He was frustrated but vowed eventually to force his way into England’s midfield even if there didn’t seem much room with Beckham, Gerrard and Paul Scholes around.

But Lampard has energy and goal power; he has scored 29 for England putting him one short of Alan Shearer, Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse as joint seventh in the all time list.

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Billy Wright and Ferenc Puskas exchanging pennants in 1954

And his appearance in the Ukraine means he becomes the eighth member to join England elite Centurion Club.

The first was England’s giant of a captain from the Fifties, the Wolves centre-half Billy Wright who played 105 times.

Then there was Bobby Charlton (106) and Bobby Moore (108) who played in the games when there were no ‘cheap’ caps to be won from the bench and when there were less international games to be played.

Peter Shilton retains the record with 125 and had he not had to battle with Ray Clemence for the no. 1  spot for so long it could easily have been 200.

It was a long gap until Beckham made it over the 100 line and he sits third with 115 caps.

And it’s been a bit like London buses since with Ashley Cole, Gerrard (each 104 not out ) and now Lampard reaching the milestone.

Had it not taken so long to establish himself as a regular after that debut (in which he was overshadowed by cousin Jamie Redknapp) then Lampard might well have over taken Shilton by now.

And he admits there was a time under Steve McClaren when again he was not always included, that he questioned whether he had a future with England.

But a deep determination and dedication to succeed has seen him drive on. It’s an attitude instilled by his father Frank, the former West Ham player, who won just two England caps.

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Lampard: A chip off the old block

“Reaching this landmark is obviously a very proud day for me and my family” said Lampard.

And young Frank thanks his dad for “bullying him” to the top.

“My dad was a hero” said Lampard. “Mind you, when I was a kid, not as much as Frank McAvennie and Tony Cottee (West Ham’s star strikers of the Eighties). They put the ball in the back of the net. My dad was a ­left-back!”

“But he was my hero, day in, day out. He put that work ethic in me. He always made me very aware of my weaknesses.

“He’d praise the good things but he was always on about my pace, about trying to get in the box and score goals, and have the energy to be able to do that.

“There was no easy way to get there – he let me know that. It was extra runs, extra hours ­practising shooting and finishing, that became ingrained in me. He probably bullied me into it a bit in my younger years. I didn’t always like it. But I can’t thank him enough for it now.

Peter Shilton of England

Shilton leads the way with 125 caps for England

“If you are going to try to get to the top and get 100 caps, it was something I needed to do. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without that.”

 

England’s Centurians

Peter Shilton 125
David Beckham 115
Bobby Moore 108
Bobby Charlton 106
Billy Wright 105
Ashley Cole 104
Steve Gerrard 104

 

 

Hijacked Transfers: The Stories of Mo Johnston & Gianluca Vialli

by Rob Shepherd.

Transfer deadline has become Soap Opera as evidenced by the hysterical and smug coverage on Sky Sports News who have hijacked the day and turned it into a kitchen sink drama, with their front men pretending they are the ones breaking the news when actually they are just reading the auto-cue of tales coming from off the wires, web sites or Twitter.

And it beggars belief that after three months of the transfer window being open so many clubs leave it to a last minute Christmas Eve style trolley dash to spend vast sums of cash.

willianChelsea

“Yes, I always wanted to play for Spurs. Sorry, what was that..? A phone call for me you say…”

Some deals will go to the wire and even then extensions are asked for when servers crash and emails don’t get sent. Where IS an old photocopier and fax machine when you need one…?

Three years ago Tottenham signed Dutch forward Rafael van der Vaart after a move from Madrid to Bayern Munich was in the balance, under the midnight oil and were allowed to finish the paperwork the next day.

And of course as the day unfolds several clubs will be jostling with each other for the same player, as on Sunday when Liverpool beat off West Brom and Wigan to take Victor Moses on loan.

There will be gazumping, auctions, Dutch auctions, who blinks first shenanigans, brinkmanship and bullshit.

And even hijacking as witnessed last week when Chelsea embarrassed Spurs when they singed Willian from Russian club Anzhi after the Brazilian player had not only agreed terms to join Tottenham but had even completed a medical.

That ‘steal” prompted us at BOBBY to think back to some other infamous hi-jack transfer tales.

Perhaps the most notorious of all time was when Mo Johnston opted to join Glasgow Rangers – a Chelsea of that era if you like given the financial muscle they had – from French club Nantes in 1989.

Now when Johnston had joined Nantes from Celtic two years earlier there was a buy-back clause and Mo was indeed on his way back to Parkhead when then Rangers boss Graeme Souness intervened.

There was obvious outrage from Celtic at losing the player to their bitter rivals.

But the bile was even more bitter from the majority of staunch Rangers fans who were apoplectic that their club (with its fierce Protestant principles) had signed a Catholic.

Now while Catholic based club Celtic would actively sign non-Catholics (Aflie Conn had preceded Johnston playing for both clubs) Rangers had not pursued a Catholic of any prominence to play for the club since the end of World War I in 1918.

Mo Johnston

Gathered reporters, expecting to see John Sheridan unveiled, gasped as Mo Jo entered the room

It was a policy rooted in deep seated religious bigotry and so instead of being elated that Rangers had pulled a fast one on their rivals many fans were incensed and burned scarves and season tickets, while to Celtic followers Johnston was “Judas”.

Rangers fans mellowed as Johnston scored three goals in matches against Celtic in his two year spell there (taking a pie full in the face from the away fans after one of them at Ibrox!) and he would go on to score 46 goals in 100 league and cup games. But tension remained and although a number of Rangers fans took great delight in the one-upmanship over Celtic, many fans were not sorry to see him or Souness move on within a couple of years.

Vialli Scoop

A personal transfer hijacking memory for me also highlights the pressure a football reporter can be under and bizarre newspaper politics. It was before the transfer window had been introduced but there was still a frantic summer rush as the season approached.

Ruud Gullit had taken over from Glenn Hoddle as Chelsea boss and wanted a star signing and had identified his old pal at Sampdoria, striker Gianluca Vialli.
But at the time Rangers still had money and clout and it looked as if Vialli had opted to move to Scotland.

I was working for the Daily Mail in London and the Scottish office were convinced Villa was on his way to Ibrox. They had run a back page exclusive to say so.

The following day I got a call from a good contact -a leading agent infact – who told me Chelsea had hijacked the deal and Vialli would fly to London and sign for Gullit the next day.

I filed the story at about 6pm. First edition deadline was looming. The sports editor called me into his office and explained the Scottish office were adamant the move to Rangers was still on and my story was being dismissed by the Scottish sports editor to the point where he was championing ‘his’ reporter and rubbishing me.

A few heated phone calls between the editors followed.

“How Good is my source ?” Good. “Was I Sure?” Well, as sure as I can be. “Will he definitely sign for Chelsea?” As it stood, yes but how could I know if he slept on it and then changed his mind …?

It was getting silly.

Weren’t we meant to be on the same side ? Could we not work together on this one. In the bizarre world of behind the scene machinations at national newspapers than answer was no.

Ridiculous really.

Did I think my info was correct ? Yes. Would I have bet my mortgage on it ? No.

In the fickle football world a done deal is never done until it is done. But I stood by my story and suggested to the editor it was his call.

He went with my story. The Mail’s back page in all but one its editions went with: Vialli to sign for Chelsea.

But since the Scottish edition of the paper had a lot of autonomy their back page the next morning was: Vialli to join Rangers.

GullitVialli

Gullit signs the man who would eventually replace him as Chelsea manager

Now getting such stories wrong were not quite sacking offences but you could get knocked way down the pecking order if you got such a big one wrong.

At 11 am the next day the Press Association wire service announced Chelsea would be unveiling a new signing at Stamford Bridge at 1pm.

Chelsea had indeed successfully hijacked Rangers and in a bizarre twist I had scooped one of my own colleagues.

I later told Vialli that the night after he joined and all the copy (it felt good writing it!) had been filed, several bottles of champagne had been consumed by the Mail sports desk close to its London offices in Kensington, not far from Stamford Bridge, each toast being in Vialli’s name – and that my expenses credit was good for the tab.

Gianluca, who became a Chelsea legend, had a good laugh about it and then smiled: “If anyone thought I was going to sign for Rangers after Chelsea had come in for me they must have been mad…”