There's more in the afternoon Mailbox about Jose Mourinho and his potential return to Chelsea, while there's also a link to some pictures of eagles that look like Arsene Wenger...
After a disappointing end to his three years at Real Madrid, could Jose Mourinho struggle to bring immediate success if he completes his anticipated return to Chelsea?
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Did Benitez Plan His 'Rant'?
Why is it that so few people can see what the Benitez 'rant' is all about? Here's a quick timeline for you.
Late last week: agrees/asks to be interviewed for Football Focus show to air this Saturday (tomorrow).
Wednesday: has rant.
Thursday: films interview.
It's agents-putting-out-feelers season and his contract is up in May. So in other words, it's damage limitation time. Distance yourself from the problems and make yourself visible. It's fairly transparent and I'm not really criticising him for it. It's every idiot who can't see it I'm having a pop at.
C'mon, the guy speaks fluent English and knowingly signed a 7 month contract but still claimed the fact he'd be given an interim title was lost in translation. Have a think about it, guys. And the cherry on top is that, courtesy of conflicting persecution complexes (oh beautiful irony, how much Rafa and some idiot blues have in common), the rabidly negative atmosphere that has thus far just been the raving imaginings of straw man constructors who've been nowhere a Chelsea game in their lives will be exactly what Benitez is enveloped by on Saturday.
He's no football manager these days, but he's not an idiot.
First time writing into the Mailbox but after hearing about people getting star struck meeting footballers I feel compelled to share my story.
I was having a routine night out in Leeds, when a rumour spread round that Davide Somma was in the toilets, bearing in mind this was when he was hot property for Leeds and had just gotten a call up for the South African national team, so I did what any reasonable man would do and ventured into the toilets to investigate.
Long story short It was him and unable to think of anything witty to say I settled for looking at his penis at the urinals and making awkward eye contact before we parted ways, never to see each other again.
Dan F(Smaller than you'd think) Leeds.
How, How, HOW could you miss out Obafemi Martins! That 5000 mile per hour shot against Tottenham that almost took Paul Robinson's arms off as it smashed in to the back of the net. He could do it with both feet too. Has to be in there!
BNabs, THFC, London
...To Theo (LFC) 28/2 pm, with your Thunderbastard X1, I'm not going to argue with you about your choices as they all seem fairly reasonable to me, although we all have our own favourites.
But Peter Lorimer, who played for Leeds in the late 1960's and early 1970's, would always be included in any sort of similar list I might even attempt to compile. God, he just hit the ball so hard. And bear in mind, the ball was so much heavier all those years back.
(Can we be done with this 'Thunderbastard' thing soon, please? Can it go the way of 'twunt' but a bit quicker?
...A world Thunderb**tard XI with none of Theo's team members:
GK - Oliver Kahn
RB - Michael Essien
CB - Alex
CB - Koeman
LB - Roberto Carlos
DMF - Fernando Hierro
MF - Wesley Sneijder
MF - Johan Neeskens
MF - Juninho Pernambucano
CF - Didier Drogba
LF - Diego Forlan
Riise is a great pick though, Ballack or Scholes would have been strong candidates as well for the PL.
Tony Rev, Chelsea FC
...In response to Theo,
RB Ronald Koeman
CB Demetrio Albertini
CB Sinisa Mihajlovic
LB Roberto Carlos
RCM Sunday Oliseh
CM Torsten Frings
LCM Dejan Stankovic
RF C Ronaldo
CF Adriano (Inter '04)
LF Zlatan Ibrahimovic
...In response to the Thunderbastards XI,
I know you are a Liverpool fan, but how you can put Riise ahead of the king of "Thunderbastards" - one Roberto Carlos is definitely a blind spot. Would have maybe put Lamps in there instead of Gibson, although Gibson has a great shot. And how you left out Cristiano Ronaldo I don't know! This sums it up quite nicely I think...
Sam, MUFC, NZ
...OK, maybe I'm showing my age with some of these nominations but, here goes:
Ronald Koeman (Can't believe Theo LFC left HIM out, in favour of Julian Dicks? Really?)
Branco (For references, check out Brazil's 1994 QF vs Holland)
Eusebio (Even with a sodden, rock-heavy ball)
John Charles (Thanks to huge neck muscles developed from boxing, could score thunderbastards with his head!)
...Loved Theo (I wish Chilavert had played in the Premiership) LFC's Thunderb**tard XI, but if he's looking for a keeper that does have PL experience then he could do worse than pick Kevin Pressman, who scored my favourite penalty of all-time with what can only be described as a thunderb**tard of a shot. See here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSMi02ghN3s
It's the sort of penalty that starts to get you shouting 'TW*T' at the top of your voice in your best Partridge impression.
Ali (would have picked Hughes and Hitzlesperger as well), London
What Does It Mean?
Gareth Bale & other sport stars celebrate a goal or similar by forming a capital 'A' with their fingers ( one hand is an upside down 'v' while the other hands index finger crosses them).
With the fear of sounding daft I've searched everywhere & asked friends/colleagues etc, without success.
I know it could be a sign language word or phrase but again I'm unable to confirm either way.
Colin Ivin, COYS!
Chelsea Need A Bastard Of A Manager
Why can't Chelsea fans or the majority of fans for that matter read between the lines when an intelligent manager makes a statement. Benitez is not complaining that he should be treated any differently than any other 'interim' manager who has been called an 'interim' manager in the past. But he's saying that it's crazy for the Chelsea board to do it at that club - you know the club where the players have turned on every manager they've had after Mourinho with the exception of maybe Hiddink.
The Benitez story is taking a turn that's very familiar with every manager who has ever gone there once they go through a bad spell. No matter what happens during said bad spell it's never the players' fault. It's not Lionheart John Terry. It's not Diamond Geezer Frank Lampard. It's not the World's Greatest Left Back, Ash Cole. No - reports in the press will suggest that the ultra-modern professionals at Chelsea are questioning the training methods (cause they're dead professional, see), and rumours of back-room bickering will abound. Every manager that has gone there has been undermined and disrespected by the playing staff. The Lampards and Terrys (with their contract clauses demanding they get paid more than any other player at the club - even if Messi signed) and their associated cronies are the problem at the heart of the reason why the squad Mourinho built never reached the heights it should of once the players turned on him too. So to send a manager in to that rabble with the pre-fix 'interim' invites disrespect and weakens his position before he even takes a training session.
That squad needs a bastard of a manager to put the ship straight. A manager who will go toe-to-toe with Terry or Lamps or Ash if they give him any sh*t. A manager that Abramovich respects more than any of the aforesaid players (any wonder Hiddink is the only one who hasn't had these problems). In short Roman needs to become bestest buddies with Roy Keane, pay him a shed-load to manage the Russian national team for a season or two, then parachute him in to the Bridge. It won't happen and the sore will fester however...and how the rest of us all will laugh.
Dessie, Belfast, LFC
Just been reading the Thursday evening mailbox. I understand why some people aren't a fan of Benitez; he's divisive, brazen and does have a hint of arrogance about him.
Sounds like someone Chelsea fans may be familiar with?
It's the following statements which I am gawping at, open mouthed:
He obviously saw the opportunity to take over one of the most talented squads in the Premier League, a squad that when he took over were still involved in five competitions, and with the players at his disposal had a good chance of winning all five. - Will, Chelsea Fan. Sure, he would have done well to win the Champions League as they were all but eliminated when he took over.
How does he think criticising the fans will help matters? What on earth does he think the reaction will be at the Bridge this weekend? - Will, again. Different, definitely. Because they've been so supportive of him so far.
Chelsea's players have been notoriously bad for taking responsibility for their own failings. The Stamford Bridge dressing room would need an overflow to house the egos. Lampard's response last year when asked about life under Di Matteo was: 'At least he picks me, unlike the other guy!' Villas-Boas' achievements dismissed with a disrespectful snub. And of course, Lionheart JT. The rumours of a rift between him and Benitez were inevitable from the start. It's Terry's club after all...
Chelsea fans: The owner is the problem. When you pump countless millions into your plaything, you do indeed get the right to hire and fire who you want, when you want. You weren't complaining when he bought the club and invested heavily. If you want Abramovich's money, you have to put up and shut up. Do you think he gives a damn about you or what you think? Villa fans didn't like McCleish; they didn't make Villa Park poisonous for their team. They got behind them. And now, their owner's failure to invest looks quite probably like it's going to end in relegation.
Chris, Hampshire then said: 'Chelsea fans have every right to be upset.' No Chris, they don't. Eleven years ago they were a solid, top half team with European aspirations (and infinitely more likeable). They've accepted the Roubles, and success has made them greedy. I'm no United fan, but the only side in the Premier League who can understandably have a sense of entitlement is Manchester United. Consistent performances, often outstanding football and a will to win inspired by one of the greatest club managers to have graced the game.
Wind your necks in. Remember where you came from. Would you go back to that? Because that tradeoff is the price of Russian cash.
...Stan, LFC is right about Chelsea fans directing their ire at the wrong people, but as he rightly states they sold out. The predicament for Chelsea fans now is how are they going to get any semblance of control back within their club, nobody is going to help them I'm guessing, surely most are seeing this as the inevitable conclusion to an expensive social experiment and are looking on with morbid but hilarious fascination. They remind me of a certain person.
Jocelyn Wildenstein had numerous expensive surgeries to keep her husband happy and eventually looked akin to a cat, (her hubby liked big cats apparently). After numerous chops and changes her husband eventually decided she now looked pretty God damn hideous, and most people looked on and laughed and ridiculed her. She could do nothing to rectify the problem as she got her money from her husband. He called the shots. Turns out she was never going to be the thing he wanted and he left her for a newer younger model because he could afford to. She is left with some nice memories, but in a real mess, a freak show some would say.
Chelsea are becoming the footballing version of the Bride of Wildenstein, and as soon Roman leaves, and he will, who will love what's left or who will point and say 'Thats what happens when you sell out '
Chris ITFC, Liverpool