A midweek bonus takes in master intercepticons Man United, Arsenal's wealth of scorers, Liverpool's set-piece mastery and Eric Lamela tackling but not creating...
On Friday we'll sit in front of our televisions or Twitter, glued to what is basic administration. Daniel Storey stands on his soapbox and scrooges about the World Cup draw...
So, it wasn't all about winning the Champions League for Chelsea's billionaire owner, then? It must be something else that he craves, although in the wake of Roberto Di Matteo's sacking, I'll admit I have no idea what that could be.
The best thing and the worst thing about football is that everyone has an opinion. And anybody can hold any other person to a conversation about football because it's a universal topic. It's what you talk about that determines how long that conversation lasts.
For some reason, the owners of the clubs I have played for have tended to make time for me; probably because I'm the only player who has never said to them: "How much money do you really have?"
Instead, I have always been interested by the things that go on behind the scenes, which probably goes a fair way to answering why I began writing 'The Secret Footballer' columns. Things like "How do you actually interview a prospective manager? What do you ask him? How does the board agree on the best man for the job?"
Fortunately, I have stayed in touch with many of my old chairmen and owners. I've also met some new ones by sheer coincidence. But there is one owner, in particular, who has always remained 'close', to the point where I can pick up the phone and ask him how things really work at boardroom level. The obvious starting point was Di Matteo.
"It's crazy, isn't it?" the owner told me. "Nothing surprises me down there any more. They had the most successful manager in their history and sacked him (Jose Mourinho), a World Cup winner (Luiz Felipe Scolari) and sacked him, a Champions League winner (Carlo Ancelotti) and one of their own, who actually wins them this bloody trophy they've all been after...and lo and behold, he (Di Matteo) gets the boot, too.
"Hiring managers on long-term, well-paid contracts, and then firing them six months or a year into the deal, achieves only one thing - a heavy loss on the club's balance sheet. Why on earth would I want that?"
Why, indeed? Perhaps Roman Abramovich has the answer.
Read the rest of TSF's thoughts only on www.thesecretfootballer.com.
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