Sunday, 8 April 2012

Martinez On Ivanovic Offside – FA Face Self-Created Headache

Even the most dyed in the wool, one-eyed, biased, blind to all Chelsea fans found themselves agreeing with Roberto Martinez yesterday. Branislav Ivanovic’s 61st minute goal was clearly offside; it was so offside that there can only have been two people in Stamford Bridge who missed it; the referee and his assistant. This was not a marginal, hard to make call; there was clear daylight.

As a Chelsea supporter, I’m not going to lose sleep over a goal which kept us in the hunt for 4th place but that does not stop me sympathising with Wigan. What interests me in this matter is what the FA will choose to do.

In the past, whenever a manager speaks out against poor refereeing decisions they have ignored the mistakes and instead fined the manager. But if they now treat Martinez the same way they will be fining a manager doing nothing more than speaking the truth; a truth even the opposition concede.

But if they don’t fine Martinez then what does that say of their treatment of other managers fined for honest comments following other, albeit more marginal, refereeing errors?

I have no sympathy for the FA; this is a quandary of their own making. Their mismanagement of the national game has long since passed farcical. That mismanagement continues to unjustly fine managers and players and leave the people who fund the sport (us fans) angry, bitter and frequently bemused.

We, the fans, have it within our power to change all this. We, the fans, must start boycotting the FA and their sponsors. If we don’t, we, the fans, will end up with the sport we deserve.

Let the FA, the media and everyone else know that you do not approve of the continuing mismanagement of the national sport, use the hashtag #NotMyFA on Twitter and encourage other right minded fans of all clubs to do the same.

Of course, you don’t have to join me. Just remember though that next time the FA pisses you off – don’t come bitching to me. We, the fans, have the chance to change things. Let’s do it!



Read more on #NotMyFA here:

Tweet suggestions:
Why I’m boycotting @theFAdotcom #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting @vauxhall #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting Budweiser #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting @umbro #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting McDonalds #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting Mars Bars #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting @WilliamHillNews #NotMyFA

And don’t forget you can post on their Facebook pages too!

*If anyone knows Twitter handles for Budweiser, McDonalds or Mars, please post in comments (below).

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The FA – It’s Time For Fan Power!

Admit it, you, just like me, have had enough of the FA our so-called ‘guardians of the game’. The national governing body for football in England are not really interested in the well-being of the national sport – unless there’s some cash in it for them.

This season has seen a long list of shameful decisions (and non-decisions) from the powers that be at Lancaster Gate and we, the fans, just swallow it time after time after time.

Enough, I say. It’s time to hit back. But before I explain how we, the downtrodden, can do that let’s have three reminders out of potentially hundreds as to why we should.


To us Chelsea fans it was Foygate, the worst 90 minutes of refereeing many of us have witnessed in a lifetime of watching the beautiful game. To supporters of other clubs there have been a string of shocking refereeing performances. Not one off, human error, single bad decisions but appalling 90 minute demonstrations of incomprehensible shite. Yes, a number from Chris Foy, our own favourite excuse for a ref but he is far from alone.

Managers complain and get fined. Players complain and get fined. Fans complain and get accused of bias. The FA does nothing, the guardians of the game take no action to protect the integrity of football and we are supposed to just accept it.

England Shirts

In the middle of the biggest economic downturn for years and after only 8 (yes, eight) matches in the ‘new’ shirt design, the FA announce another new shirt to replace the ‘old new’ shirt. And at only £55 who cares how long its shelf life is, the FA certainly doesn’t! No, they don’t see fans they see mugs with wallets.

The Straw That Broke This Camel's Back

Of course, there has been more, you don’t need me to tell you. But the straw which breaks this camel’s back is the decision not to allow Chelsea to switch our FA Cup semi-final to allow more preparation time for our (potential) Champions’ League semi-final the following Wednesday. Oh no, sod that an English team might do well in Europe, sod fixture congestion, sod common sense – that might all impact on TV scheduling and hence the potential to exploit income opportunities for the FA. It is shameful and, before supporters of other clubs laugh, it is a precedent that the FA have now set and it is a precedent which could cost you in the future. It is not a decision in the best interests of football (the looking after of which is their job), it is a decision in the best interests of dosh. It is not a decision based in common sense, it is a decision based on greed.

Fan Power - What Can We Do?

It’s really quite simple. I’ve already started but on my own won’t have any impact. My solution? Boycott everything to do with the FA until they start putting the best interests of football, of English clubs and of fans back to the top of their greedy little priority list. (Match tickets not included – no point in cutting off the nose to spite the face).

That new £55 England shirt? Don’t buy it; hit them in their grubby little pockets. Other official England merchandise? The same; it isn’t like there isn’t plenty of unofficial stuff you can buy to show your support for the national team this summer. And wearing a shirt that is only eight games old or dates from 1966 says exactly the same without giving further support to the wankers at Lancaster Gate.

I’m also going further and invite you to do so too. Until the FA starts looking after football properly, staring with the rescheduling of a certain FA Cup semi-final,  I’m boycotting their sponsors too. Now that is a source of income they really would miss. I’m going to shout about it too so the sponsors know why.

Want to join me? It means not buying products, services or food from:
  • Vauxhall (are their cars that good anyway?)
  • Budweiser (American for tasteless lager)
  • Umbro (£55 for a new shirt after only 8 games? ‘Nuff said)
  • McDonalds (American for shit, unhealthy food)
  • Mars (it’s not like there are no other options if you eat chocolate)
  • William Hill (plenty of other bookies too)

These companies have chosen to associate their brands with the FA. They deserve to be boycotted.

Share this message on social media (use #NotMyFA), get fans of other clubs involved. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions who have had enough of the FA. On my own I can’t change things; together we can and doing it this way allows us to still support the team. See below for some ideas for Tweets to get you started.

Of course, you don’t have to join me. Just remember though that next time the FA pisses you off – don’t come bitching to me. We, the fans, have the chance to change things. Let’s do it!



Tweet suggestions:

Why I’m boycotting @theFAdotcom #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting @vauxhall #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting Budweiser #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting @umbro #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting McDonalds #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting Mars Bars #NotMyFA
Why I’m boycotting @WilliamHillNews #NotMyFA

And don’t forget you can post on their Facebook pages too!

*If anyone knows Twitter handles for Budweiser, McDonalds or Mars, please post in comments (below).

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Europa League – An Unfair Idea?

I have wanted to write this for a few weeks but put it on hold while the two Manchester clubs were still involved in the Europa League and also just in case (sounds crazy now) we got knocked out of the Champions’ League by Napoli.

Why? I didn’t want to be accused of sour grapes when making what I think is an important point.

The Europa League is an unfair idea. It goes against all the principles of fair competition, in other words the principles of sport.

To me, the whole idea of the teams that finish third in their groups in the Champions’ League then getting a free run at another trophy is wrong. It is unfair on those teams contesting the Europa League from its group stages but worse it gives a team that has by definition failed, the opportunity to win a European trophy while the team that knocked them out can end the season empty handed.

Imagine Manchester City had gone on to win the Europa League. Which team finished above them in the Champions’ League, thus knocking them out? Napoli. Manchester City could have picked up European silverware while Napoli did not.

Is that right? I don’t think so.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Why It Would Be Lunacy To Sell Your CPO Shares

Three recent news stories have highlighted why it would be utter and complete lunacy for anyone who owns a CPO share to consider selling that share to Chelsea Football Club.

First, last month, the club announced an annual loss of £70.9 million. That £70.9 million is the depth of shit Chelsea Football Club would currently be in for a single year’s trading were Roman Abramovich suddenly removed from the equation.

Second, earlier today, Glasgow Rangers went into administration for an estimated tax bill of £75 million. For those not watching closely, Rangers are a club who had a wealthy owner who bank rolled them and then moved on. The salaries and other running costs did not move on with him.

Third, a little over a week ago, Nottingham Forest owner Nigel Doughty died suddenly and unexpectedly aged 54. Doughty has been bankrolling Forest to in the region of £10 million a year. That £10 million per annum deficit has not died with him.

For the hard of thinking, let me explain why these three pieces of news are relevant to the CPO issue…

Should Roman Abramovich suddenly be removed from Chelsea FC in the same way as Nigel Doughty from Forest the club’s running costs would not be removed with him. In short, on current ‘form’ a £70 million black hole would appear in the club’s balance sheet. In less than 13 months that would become the same figure Rangers problem is estimated at but whereas their debt was built up over a number of years Chelsea’s deficit is an annual figure!

I am sure I am not alone in seeing the potential not only for trouble but for the demise of Chelsea FC.

Preventing such a demise was the very reason CPO was started. The above is why it still has a vital role in Chelsea’s future.

Remember, during the ‘debate’ over the club’s desire to purchase CPO shares before Christmas, not one club representative was able to offer evidence of any continuity planning from the current apology for a Board. Note, that is ANY continuity planning – standard (good) business practice – not just continuity planning should Roman no longer be involved.

Think about £70.9 million loss in a year. Think about a big club going into administration for want of £75 million. Think about Nigel Doughty.

Now, think about those CPO shares. Who do you think should control them? The fans who care that our club has a future or a Board incapable of planning beyond next week?

We are uniquely positioned as Chelsea fans in that we own our club’s ground. Other fans are jealous of that in that it makes us the club with the most secure future in the country. Why would anyone trade that for £100? It would be lunacy!


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Chelsea FC – Management And Squad; Simply Not Up To It

Back on Christmas Eve, before the January transfer window opened, I wrote a blog; ‘Time For An Honest Appraisal Of The Chelsea Squad.’ Now, here we are almost half way through February looking like a team that might, with a following wind, just squeak Europa League qualification and I thought the time right to revisit and update that blog.


Back in December I started with management and looked only at AVB. This time I will look above him too.

In December I said; “AVB came with a short but exceptional record but, as I have stated more than once, came untested by the kind of challenges that come with a downturn in form, with rebuilding a squad, with anything close to Premier League type pressure. In short, I would not have offered him the job but now he is here he deserves the chance to make amends for Carlo Ancelotti’s oversight in allowing a squad to both age and get thin without taking action. That task is not a small one and should we even fail to qualify for next season’s Europa League AVB must be given the opportunity to rebuild. Sacking him will only leave his replacement with the same squad and same task.”

The important point there is that he should never have been appointed in the first place and, whether you support sacking him or backing him what is indisputable is that whoever appointed him should go. I suggested at the time it was a poor choice and with the benefit of twenty-twenty hindsight have been proved correct – not that that pleases me, I would prefer to see Chelsea winning and to have been wrong.

What of AVB? With January gone, I have seen enough to now convince me that he should go. The rebuilding process required at Stamford Bridge should have begun in January if not with the signing of new players then with youngsters being given opportunities. Sticking to the same old same old is not an option and if it is all AVB has to offer then he should go. I see no rebuilding, only stagnation and regression. Those very reasons I would not have appointed him in the first place, the unknowns, are now becoming known and he has been found wanting.

The Squad:

In December I said; “That squad is looking desperately thin. Last season it was exposed when injuries to Lampard, Essien and Drogba left the team struggling in the middle part of the season. This season the picture is worse, especially if (God forbid) we have another couple of long term injuries.”

Has the depth of the squad improved? No. If anything it is shallower with youngsters sent out on loan, Anelka gone and although Cahill has arrived, Alex went.


In December (written after the Rottenham match): “Petr Cech has been at fault for both of the last two goals conceded but is still a world class keeper. But what if he should succumb to injury? Hilario and Turnbull are competent but would we really be comfortable if either had to have a long run in the side? They’re okay for occasional cover but not much more. We need better cover for Petr Cech especially given growing rumours his knees are ‘fragile’.”

No change.


In December: “We have some serious problems here. JT continues to be a legend and Ashley Cole although no longer at his peak is still by far the best left back in English football. David Luiz is good and will improve and Branislav Ivanovic has provided competent cover both at right back and centrally. The less said about Jose Bosingwa the better and Paulo Ferreira is a loyal servant but, for all his great game v the Spuds, is at the tail end of a career. It says everything about the squad’s problems at right back when the injured Essien, a midfield player, is our best right back by far!

As a minimum we probably need one if not two right backs and another central defender preferably one with pace.”

Cahill has been a good addition and Alex’s sulking won’t be missed. But what of rebuilding, of strengthening? The disastrous Bosingwa remains, much to the almost universal bemusement of the Blue faithful, even being preferred to Bertrand at left back while Cole was suspended. Some rebuilding, some strengthening.

With one central defender leaving to counter one arriving we are still one short in the middle. As for right back – heaven help us!


In December: “I am less concerned about the ability we have in the middle than I was at the start of the season although quantity is still lacking. Romeu has been a revelation relegating Mikel to competent cover in that holding position. I’ve made no secret of the fact I am not a John Obi fan but as cover, he’ll do. Whether he’ll be happy with that is another matter. Lampard is still brilliant but AVB is right to use him more sparingly and to get the most out of his twilight years. Ramires has improved no end, while Mereiles is mostly good but needs to show more consistency. Essien has yet to come back and we can only hope two long term knee injuries have not reduced his desire, energy or confidence. Then there is Josh McEachran, one for the future and who surely deserves more playing time, not to say needs it, for his development – perhaps a January loan?

Our midfield has got ability without depth, energy without quality and creativity. We need at least one midfield player of quality, an artist to match the industry.”

Essien is back and looking like he could play his way back to previous levels but, that huge positive aside, no change. Lots of industry, lots of endeavour but what of quality?

Up Front:

On Christmas Eve I said: “Thank F*** for Danny Sturridge and Juan Mata! I include Mata up front although have little doubt he could also provide the artistry our midfield lacks but what would that do to our front three (assuming we continue to play the same system)?

Nicolas Anelka has gone and had passed his sell by date anyway and Didier Drogba still looks good in flashes but, though we love him, is no longer the Drog of old. Salomon Kalou? Well if he is the answer someone is asking the wrong question! Florent Malouda comes out and goes in with the sun and his inconsistency in a side desperately needing players to ‘turn up and be counted’ adds him to my transfer list. Danny Sturridge has been brilliant (despite wasted chances) and will get better. Lukaku? I remain to be convinced but will be happy to be as wrong as I was about Ramires.

I know I haven’t mentioned Torres but I’m not convinced we signed the right player. Yes, he was quality but was he made for Chelsea or would we need to change too much else to accommodate the player he was. As for the player he is? Blind loyalty aside; the jury must be out. The African Cup of Nations offers him what, to me, should be his last chance to rediscover old form.

Nonetheless, even should the real Fernando Torres stand up, for a team which aspires to Champions League and Premiership glory our attack is under-whelming and only one injury away from being threadbare. We need at least two more decent strikers to back our likely end of season preferred trio of Mata, Sturridge, and El Nino.”

So, Torres has had that chance and if he grasped it with both hands he promptly fumbled it. I have nothing against him but the clock has run down, it is time he left especially with the Drog’s imminent return. Which brings me back to rebuilding and strengthening; I haven’t seen any sign, have you?

In December, I pleaded: “Ah yes, the African Cup of Nations! Don’t get me wrong there are some fantastic African players out there and I love watching the tournament but please Chelsea, don’t sign any more Africans!

Do however think about the youngsters who can be added to bolster the team, not forgetting that surrounding them with the right quality will bring them through far better.”

No new Africans but no increase in opportunity for youth either. The De Bruyne signing will, I believe, prove good in time but if rumours are true AVB didn’t even want him!

In December I went on to say: “It was only a couple of seasons ago I smugly looked at other sides and played the game of ‘how many of your players would make it into our team?’ It was rarely more than one or two, very occasionally three. Now? Against the Spuds possibly only four of our starting eleven would have made theirs. You may agree with me on that or disagree but surely you will accept my argument that we simply do not have the quality or the depth required right now.”

Here we are in February and……well…….I’m just glad I didn’t hold my breath on the promised rebuilding and strengthening! Yes, I know it won’t happen overnight but I’m desperately looking for signs work has even started! I just don’t see them.

In December I concluded; “AVB must start to earn that trust some fans talk about by beginning the rebuilding process with some sound purchases and some difficult decisions on who to let go come January and (given it  won’t all be done in one go) again in the summer.”

In February I must conclude it is time not only for AVB to go but also for whoever appointed him in the first place.


Monday, 6 February 2012

Not My FA

A badge for everyone involved in football who no longer believe the FA speak for them.

Three Lions yes - The FA no. Wear it with pride.