Owner Todd - you’ve f****d up.

Published: Monday, 09 January 2023

Not for a minute do I blame Graham Potter. What was he supposed to do? One of the best football clubs in the world offers you the chance to become coach. You’re ambitious. Your reputation is growing. You’ve done a really good job wherever you’ve been so far in your career and you back yourself. So you take it.

I backed him. I was delighted to see a young British coach given a chance at one of our big clubs. I wanted it to work. I genuinely thought it would. What was to go wrong? He had good people around him - Marina Granovskaia - one of the smartest operators in the game - and Peter Chech, who was fast establishing himself as a very good technical director. Any problems and surely they’d be able to advise Potter?

What I didn’t expect was that they’d both quickly be shown the door by an American owner desperate for headlines and equally keen to show British Englanders how to run a soccer ball club. Of course owner Todd knew best. A game that had stood the test of time had to change and he was the only one that knew how to change it. One of the most successful soccerball clubs in the world had been doing it all wrong. Owner Todd was about to show us how to do it.

So having appointed rookie coach Potter - and he was by Chelsea’s standards - owner Todd set about destroying the structure of the club so that he could take charge of everything.

And let’s not forget owner Todd was the chosen Johnson govt buyer. He was green lighted by foreign secretary Liz Truss, who was central to sanctioning Roman Abramovich following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and insisting he sell the club. Never mind that the same Tory govt had elevated other Russian oligarchs (Tory party donors) to the House of Lords. And waved through huge deals allowing Russian money to flood into the U.K.  And gloried in Chelsea’s success. Johnson, Truss and owner Todd. What could possibly go wrong?

What’s happening at Chelsea is the best argument I can think of for keeping govt and sport a million miles apart. It’s why we don’t need an independent regulator in football. Who chooses the regulator? Oh yes - in the cunning plans of Tracey Crouch and her mis-guided supporters - it’s govt. Brilliant. No thanks.

Owner Todd wanted to ‘soften’ Chelsea. Play soccerball ‘the right way’. Coach Potter was perfect for the job. And he would do exactly as he was told. Never mind Thomas Tuchel putting up sound arguments as to why owner Todd might be wrong about almost everything he suggested.

It’s clear that without good people around him Potter is deeply out of his depth. He’s got to go. Other than his ambition to turn Chelsea into Brighton - he’s failing on all fronts. His players don’t want him there. Nothing could be clearer. It always is when players aren’t happy - and this is a club where the dressing room doesn’t take prisoners.

Potter says he’s struggling with injuries. At Chelsea? Who have one of the best squads available to a coach. Nonsense. He also claims the team needs re-building. Nonsense.

Silva, Koulibaly, Kovacic, Havertz, Mount, Ziyech, Pulisic and Sterling, who featured in both recent defeats against City, all played in the World Cup and are established internationals. Most of Potter’s team played last season - finished third and got to two cup finals. Have they all become old and poor overnight?

It’s sideways and backwards in the pursuit of possession stats. Possession? Stevenage had 21% of the ball at Villa. Chelsea saw less of the ball than City when they beat them in the CL final of 2021 and in the s/f of the FA Cup that same year.

Chelsea fans don’t want to see pretty patterns - sideways and backwards. They want to watch a team that can win - that can overpower an opposition. That believes in what it’s doing. More importantly - that knows what it’s doing. They don’t want to watch Brighton ‘lite’. Owner Todd has dug himself a huge hole and it won’t be easy to get out of. His ego will be his biggest obstacle. He won’t like admitting he was wrong.  

What a result for Stevenage. Thank goodness for dinosaurs like Steve Evans.

And well played Wrexham. Theirs truly is becoming a Hollywood fairytale. At Coventry we can now concentrate on the league. 😂.

I felt sorry for Wolves. They really should be in the 4th round. There was nothing wrong with the ‘winning’ goal at Anfield. Don’t blame Mike Dean and VAR though. Dean didn’t have definitive angles to prove the goal was good. He could see it was. We all could - but VAR gets involved only when the operator has proven angles of what he/she is judging. If he/she doesn't - the decision stays with the on-field officials.

Blame a farcical disgrace. VAR shouldn’t be used in a ko competition like the FA Cup until Wembley. I said this years ago. It’s ridiculous that it’s used in some games but not others. How is that fair? It isn’t. We’re never going back to a time when it isn’t used - and Howard Webb has already made huge and positive changes about its protocol - but it’s got to be used fairly and for the benefit of every team.