First of all I would like to congratulate John Terry on getting the captain’s armband again for England. And another great result for the men’s first team which puts them very much back in the title race.
We’ve had a busy week in our preparation for the FA WSL. We played Lillestrom last weekend and against England U23s on Thursday in a behind-closed-doors game. Both ended up 0-0 draws.
I’ve been pleased with our defensive displays we just need to work up the top end of the pitch as we are getting in good areas in the final third but making the wrong decisions. We’ve got three weeks to get that right before our live launch game against Arsenal on Wednesday 13 April.
Carly Telford and Claire Rafferty have returned from injury which is a big boost, Claire has been at Chelsea a long time and Carly’s experience between the posts is essential. Danni Bird has also been given the all clear following her recent surgery so she will be back in full training by next weekend as well.
Tomorrow (October 20) is the anniversary of the day in 1982 when many Spartak Moscow fans died in a crush near the end of one of their games.
Naturally the home fans will be marking the anniversary and in a sign of solidarity with all football supporters, their Chelsea equivalents who have travelled to Russia will be paying their own respects. England of course has suffered the pain of stadium tragedy too.
What now seems remarkable is that the Lukhniki disaster unfolded with a crowd of not many more than 10,000 inside a stadium that holds close on 80,000.
Spartak were playing Haarlem from Holland in a Uefa Cup tie on a freezing night even by Moscow’s October standards.
In a scenario similar to the Ibrox disaster in Glasgow 1971, fans were leaving close to the end when a goal was scored, causing many to turn back. What is believed to have happened is the crush caused by the meeting of the human tides was exacerbated by a police line demanding to carry out a check on everyone leaving.
The slippery conditions under foot played a part as well and many were trampled to death.
This was in the years before the term Glasnost was known around the world and the Soviet authorities covered up the tragedy, only admitting to injuries.
It took until 1989 and a changing political scene in this part of the world for the full story to be reported with a death toll given at 66 (the same as Ibrox), although some believe it extended into the hundreds.
A memorial monument was placed three years later outside the stadium, near where the tragedy occurred with the names of the 66 upon it, and an explanation in several languages including English.
In 2007, Guus Hiddink was much involved in organising a benefit match on the occasion of the 25th anniversary.
Some records one really wants to see preserved.
Stephen Ireland’s is one of them. That’s nine times now that he’s played in teams against Chelsea and he has won on exactly no occasions. Long may that continue.
Unfortunately, until yesterday, Ireland had never even earned a point against Chelsea, and now, as a result of his team’s extraordinary second-half survival, he can at least claim that he’s done that. Which is slightly disappointing, obviously – especially as one reels back, in one’s mind, that superb Ashley Cole cross, late in the second half, and the ball meeting an oncoming Nicolas Anelka, and the header thumping down into the ground and onto the cross bar. Agonising. Did he not know the thing about Ireland?
(My own theory: Anelka was crucially unbalanced by the new beard. I take it that’s some kind of Chilean miner tribute on the striker’s part, but I’m happy to be corrected.)
Anyway, that’s another point that we didn’t get in last year’s championship-winning season. And though a seven-point lead would have been nice, a five-point lead is not to be turned away rudely, especially when it arrives on the doorstep as a consequence of Manchester United giving up a two-goal lead at Old Trafford for the first time since 1897 (or thereabouts). Incidentally, that’s five points that West Brom have taken from our two closest rivals so far this season. Could Robbie de Matteo turn out to be one of our most influential players in 2010-11?
Chelsea’s kitchen staff work to a tight remit, charged with providing the best and most suitable food possible for the elite level athletes they feed, and they never disappoint.
The chefs consult with Chelsea’s head of science, Nick Broad, over which foods should be eaten on which days. For example following a game players are encouraged to take on high levels of protein, which help repair the body’s systems.
Prior to a game the focus is on building energy, so high carbohydrate levels will likely be found in what is offered. More generally, the best meals will be a combination of repair, energy and protection foods, which are fruit and vegetables.
Use of the canteen is by no means obligatory, but like most people, the offer of a free lunch prepared by someone else can be hard for the players to turn down, particularly when there is so much on offer.
England trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will rarely miss out, the latter often staying afterwards to banter with Daniel Sturridge over the pool table, both professing to be better than the other but neither having yet got their name on the trophy currently held by Chelsea TV’s Ben Andrews.
Yury Zhirkov and Branislav Ivanovic are often seen dining together, as are Brazilian pair Alex and Ramires, who will also lean on regulars Paulo Ferreira, Jose Bosingwa or Hilario for translation while ordering his meals.
Of course, while some never miss out, the sight of some players upstairs is a rarity – among them Nicolas Anelka, frequently the first one out of the door following training, John Mikel Obi and Salomon Kalou.
One group who do often eat together is the coaching staff. Carlo Ancelotti has spoken numerously of his love for food, and is not often rushed at the dinner table as he exchanges ideas, information and jokes with his assistants before rounding things off with one of the many coffees available from the machine in the corner.
Elsewhere in the room there are some expansive corner sofas, facing TVs that are frequently broadcasting Sky Sports News, Sky News or, occasionally, and no one has yet found the culprit, BBC Parliament, or there is also the option of dining al fresco on a balcony that faces the front training pitches.
During periods of double training, usually pre-season, those sofas also form handy snooze stations for resting players between sessions, and duvets have been known to magically appear and create that homely feel.
So there, in summary, is an outline of life inside the Cobham canteen. Just in time for lunch.