Why John Terry Should Bite His Lip

Just because the new Chelsea boss has decided he’s not going to play verbal ping-pong with the opposition it certainly doesn’t mean an unusual peace is about to break out in the Premier League – not as far as John Terry’s concerned anyway.

Following on from Alex Ferguson’s comments on the ‘experience’ in the Chelsea side, which may well have been a little provocative although not exactly insulting, the Chelsea captain has countered with the suggestion that it’s actually Manchester United who are past their sell-by date.

After recalling last season’s tight finish Terry says “I don’t think United have another level to go to. They had a lot of players in their team who have been at the peak of their form for the last two years. Rio Ferdinand has been awesome for the last two years and Cristiano Ronaldo was unbelievable – I don’t think you’ll see that again. Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs – they have all been fantastic. With the injuries we’ve had, as players we can all raise the bar a little bit. With it being that close in the Premier League and Champions League they know we’ll give them a big run for their money. I think we can close the gap because Man Utd were at the very top of their game last season.”

Ok, so JT’s confident and maybe he’s trying to instil that in the rest of the squad, but isn’t there another way to go about it? I mean, whilst I can see he’s reacting to the claims that this particular group of Chelsea players (which let’s face it, are still more or less Mourinho’s back-to-back title winners) may have already achieved as much as they can without a more substantial overhaul, it would serve him well to remember he also predicted United would struggle to overturn a five point deficit during the early part of last season – only to see them win both the Premier League and Champions League at our expense.

And just like that prediction so early last season proved to be both inaccurate and ultimately unwise, the suggestion that a pretty talented and relatively young double winning side can’t match the current Chelsea side is neither realistic nor logical.

For a start, at least three of United’s most influential players have got years ahead of them in which to improve. Or is JT seriously trying to suggest United have already seen the best they’ll ever get from Cristiano Ronaldo (23), Carlos Tevez (23) and Wayne Rooney (22)? And what about players like Nani and Anderson who look to be improving all the time and who’s increased exposure to the first team can only benefit them?

Far be it for me to big up the opposition, but let’s just take a reality check here, if JT’s seriously suggesting these sort of young players are past their best, then what exactly does that say about the current Chelsea side? And whilst I take his point about our injuries and the hapless Avram Grant to an extent, firstly, we weren’t the only side to face injuries last season and secondly, is he suggesting that’s a problem we won’t have to face in the coming season?

I do agree with him that it’s unlikely (although not impossible) that Ronaldo will bag quite as many goals as he did last season, largely as a result of his absence at the start of the new Premier League campaign but with players like Rooney, Tevez and Nani in the side I just can’t see there’ll be a shortage of goals in his absence. Besides, if you consider the gulf in goal difference last season and the fact that we’re facing the start of the season without Drogba ourselves, maybe it’s us that should be worrying where the goals will come from?

Terry does concede that in order to really mount a challenge for this year’s title however, Chelsea need to kick the season off with a bang, suggesting “We need to start well and get off to a flyer, just keep winning. Man United have a few tough games early on. Liverpool have made some good signings and will be stronger this year. We need to focus. We have a good home record and if we can continue that and get off to a good start we’ll be all right.” But even here, he seems to be forgetting United didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts last season, and yet were still there when it mattered most.

So basically, as much as I’d like nothing more than to back the Chelsea captain every step of the way, on this one, I’m just going to have to hope his battles on the pitch are more convincing that those he’s choosing to conduct through the press.



Will Mutu Give Up The Fight Against Chelsea?

An announcement on the Official Chelsea web site yesterday confirmed Adrian Mutu has been ordered to pay the club £13.68million in damages. Mutu, 29 failed a drug test in October 2004 and was subsequently banned for seven months and sacked by Chelsea.

Harsh maybe? Well for a start, despite being in a privileged position, earning a substantial amount of money, Mutu was having far too much fun shovelling Bolivian marching powder up his nose to count his blessings. He had a contract, which I assume he’d read before signing and therefore knew the consequences. He also showed very little in the way of remorse either immediately after the test or in the time since.

In fact, Mutu and his agent have fought Chelsea all the way.  From the initial hearing with the Premier League and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who incidentally both agreed Chelsea were within their rights to sack the player for “sporting just cause”, on to FIFA’s Disputes Resolution Chamber. But rather than sitting back while the DRC initially declined to take up Chelsea’s case, Mutu was busy keeping himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons whilst whingeing about how unfair Chelsea were being in his fight against a decision. And despite being ordered to pay £9.6million some two months ago, Mutu and his agent again decided to contest this and drag it out even further.

On announcing the ruling, the club stated:

“This is an important decision for football.  Not only did the DRC make us a significant monetary award, the decision also recognised the damaging affect incidents involving drugs has on football and the responsibilities we all have in this area.” 

So, is FIFA’s decision to hand out the biggest ever fine to a player harsh?

Well, Chelsea paid out £15million for a player who ultimately failed to either behave in a professional manner or adhere to the terms laid out in his contract and whilst there are some who’d suggest the club failed him with the manner in which they responded to his drug habit, it should be noted it was his poor conduct and inability to carry out his job which prompted the test in the first place. So whatever the club did would be a risk: keep him and risk further negative press as well as the possibility a lengthy spell in rehab could fail (as is very often the case), leaving the club with a player who was neither use nor ornament and certainly un-saleable; or let him go and spend the next four years running up a six-figure legal bill.

Sadly, with Mutu almost certain to argue the decision yet again, it’s doubtful we’ve heard the last of this yet.

Chelsea Still Plan To Sign Kaka

Apparently, despite a rumoured enormous offer already turned down by AC Milan for Kaka this summer, Chelsea have not given up the chase. According to recent reports, Roman Abramovich is still hell-bent on obtaining the Brazilian’s signature and is now preparing to wait until next summer to do so.

The Times suggests, in a courtship similar to that of Andriy Shevchenko, Chelsea are holding out hope that Milan’s hints regarding possible business in the future will leave the door open to a potential deal in 12 months time and no doubt plan to kiss the odd rear-end in the meantime.

However, even with another 12 months on the clock, it’s a deal that won’t be done on the cheap. Kaka signed a new £6.5million deal in April for five-years and his wages would challenge even those of our World Exclusive’ signing Frank Lampard. And whilst Abramovich would probably be prepared to lash out when it comes to a player of Kaka’s pedigree, with renewals for players like Drogba and Joe Cole due around the same time, where would that leave the club in terms of re-negotiating contracts?

Anyway, the presence of new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari seems to have given Chelsea hope that the bond formed between the then Brazil manager and the 19 year old he gave an opportunity in their victorious World Cup, will be enough reason to see them reunited at Chelsea. Not that Kaka will be pushing to leave the San Siro against Milan’s wishes, but our apparent ‘close relationship’ with Milan is proposed as the key to a deal.

After all, patience was the key when Chelsea wanted to tempt Andriy Shevchenko away from the Milan fold and despite the vast majority insisting Milan and Shevchenko would never part company, we all know what happened there.

Although I’m sure we’d all hope history couldn’t repeat itself in quite the same way next time!

What’s Ashley Cole Done Now?

Well, he’s one of the few players to have kept fairly quiet over the summer but with the new season about to kick off, Ashley Cole may be about to hit the headlines. Naturally, with it being Ashley Cole, it’s got nothing to do with football.

It’s fair to say the defender has never quite replicated the form of his Arsenal day’s since his controversial move to Chelsea and last season, his private life and temperament threatened to overshadow his game even further.

As if it wasn’t bad enough we had to endure stories in the press of his ‘sick’ sex life outside of your usual marital boundaries, just a couple of months later it was his total arrogance and lack of respect following a pretty reckless challenge on Spurs defender Alan Hutton which saw even more negative press heaped on the club.

And now, with just days before Chelsea’s first game of the new campaign, we appear to have The Sunday Mirror confronting us with the latest scandal from the Cole household. So, what outrageous behaviour do we have to read about this time? Well actually, this time it’s Mrs Cole in the headlines. And her misdemeanour? She was caught at an X Factor press conference minus her wedding ring!

Has the woman not heard of the British Press?