Another of today’s meetings between one of the Super League conspiracy clubs and one of the 14 they intended to leave behind in a diminished league while they hoovered up £300m golden hellos from JP Morgan and Florentino Perez. Chelsea were the first of the 12 plotters to cut and run, opting for the sack-cloth and ashes of remorse without reform. They’re sorry for provoking such an excoriating backlash to their attempt to pervert 133 years of our football history and steal the game from those on whose backs and bucks it was built but are only sorry about the backlash not what caused it – their greed and monstrous sense of entitlement. Oh, and if we could all stop talking about it now, as Jurgen Klopp requested this morning, that would be nice. Let bygones be bygones … until the next time.
Having said that Chelsea were the first of the dominoes to fall, which makes them, shall we say, a tiny bit less tarnished than Real Madrid and Juventus. Let’s not render words meaningless by seeking to apply ‘honourable’ as some have to their volte-face. As I wrote earlier, let vigilance and reform be our watchwords. The barbarians are not at the gate of football, they’re in the boardroom. These reticent, largely uncommunicative, unaccountable and elusive billionaires have taken over football like the stoats and weasels took over Toad Hall. This week shows that another way is still possible if we stick together.
Right, on to more trivial matters. Chelsea, sitting in fourth place, have the same number of points as West Ham United in fifth but enjoy a superior goal difference to the tune of eight.
The visitors have a Champions League semi-final first leg tie against Real Madrid next week and, having drawn with Brighton on Tuesday, the day the house of cards collapsed, are sure to rotate at the London Stadium. West Ham, who squandered that fightback against Newcastle late last weekend, are a long way off full strength with Craig Dawson suspended, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio injured and Aaron Cresswell a major doubt after missing last week.