Chelsea fans turn on Thomas Tuchel as Graham Potter cited as an alternative

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel is being blamed for the current woes at Chelsea but we also have mails on managers, Christian Eriksen and yet more VAR.

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Tuchel out
I’m not even going to wait for the end of the game. Chelsea are a shambles and the only possible thing to change is the manager. The players are playing awful football which may well be their fault, but the players can’t be changed unfortunately so the only thing that can, must.

No idea who replaces Tuchel, there are no elite level managers available, and none in danger of being imminently sacked. I’d love Potter but he’d be mad to leave Brighton right now. Give it to a caretaker and just consider this season pissed away? Good lord we are missing Granovskia and Cech.
Will, CFC, (What a waste of a summer)


…Okay yes it is the players but Tuchel refuses to change the system, we went with 3 at the back as we can’t defend for toffee, yet we concede every game and we look so damn frail.

It’s a joke that no one questions Tuchel, if Roman was still around he’d be given his p45 already.

Playing three centre backs doesn’t work when all of the centre backs are doing impressions of Harry Maguire, the midfield is completely lost and we rarely play a striker but even when we do we don’t make enough chances for a striker to finish!

I’m beyond angry.
Greg “Tuchel OUT!” Herts


Talking of Graham Potter…
Watching Brighton demolish Leicester really highlighted the typical story of an English manager.

How long does an up and coming English manager, have to stay at a club before their best before date expires?

We have seen numerous English managers feted for a short while but unable to make or get the next step up. The England manager job is touted as the one to get the required exposure but that is a bit of a poisoned chalice. It is unlike club football in almost every way. The frequency of the games poses a challenge on the manager’s skill at rotating a squad while getting a short time to prepare for the next game. The ability to buy players to fit but also screw up. And let’s face it, only winning a World Cup would be deemed a success.

Howe and Dyche both appeared to outlive their tenure at clubs they helped promote from the lower divisions. Some would say they stayed loyal but it was also likely they weren’t getting offers that would be a jump in level. Premier League clubs outside the big clubs seem to move up and down regularly – so hard to pick one that would be considered a step up. (While not English, Rodgers jumping to Leicester as a great chance to get back to the EPL at a higher level and get the exposure needed shows how fraught it can be as clubs jostle to make the biggest of jumps.)

While Howe’s career is finally being resurrected at Newcastle, there are only so many times deep pocketed owners are going to buy clubs and provide an opportunity – and it was telling that Howe was not top of the pundit and media lists but someone from foreign climes.

Now we see Potter excelling. His Brighton are never struggling with relegation but until this year not capable of a top 6 finish. Even now, that may not be possible but he is showing he is a talented and capable manager/coach. But where does he go next?

No big club experience, no Champions League experience, no experience buying and managing big name players, etc. Yet no manager with those credentials started that way.

It will be a little sad if he ends up sliding back down as others have before him if the club can’t sustain the excellence in being run they have shown to date.

Perhaps Allardici was right all along and unless Howe, Potter et al change their last name to something more exotic they will never get a top job.
Paul McDevitt


Not catching the Eriksen hype train
Am I the only one who isn’t ready for the Eriksen Hype train. Yes, he plays some beautiful passes and takes set-pieces so much better than others at United, but is he the final answer to United’s midfield issues? A firm No. Is he the stop gap for De Jong? I hope not. His performances for United in midfield have been decent but I doubt they’ll be enough. Most of his highlights in past few matches have been from a no.10 position such as the run and set up for Rashford for the 3rd goal against Arsenal. Eriksen’s defensive contribution is also negligible. He probably would do better as a No. 10 or part of a true 3 man midfield (Bruno also is a No.10, gives away too many balls / Hollywood passes to be a no.6/8). Adding a 30 year old Casemiro isn’t ideal to this but we don’t have enough data/matches for the 3 of them playing together. The less said about McFred the better.

I hate to bring up the other point, that is Eriksen’s fitness. With Europa League, Cup games and a full PL season, there will be a lot of matches to play, and there doesn’t seem to be a back up to Eriksen. Add a winter world cup where Denmark will at least play 3 games in Qatar heat and I am genuinely scared for Eriksen. It has been just over a year since his collapse. I am sure the folks at United are monitoring his health and everything but anything like that to Eriksen would be devastating.

When we lost Matic, Pogba and Mata at the end of the season, and signed Eriksen, I had looked at Eriksen as the new Mata, a version 2.0. I am glad he has done much more than that but we are still missing a piece in Pogba (or what Pogba was supposed to be).

I hope to be proven wrong, I pray that nothing happens to Eriksen like last year, but these were just some of my concerns in the longer run for at least this season.
Rahil, Man Utd, Mumbai (Also Rashford is not a no.9, he is only effective as a left forward. His assist for Antony’s goal was one of the rare times he acted as a No.9)
PS: Do Arsenal fans feel scammed now that their previously released captain for free in Jan helped keep a broke Barca afloat in CL qualification, leading them to sign a 34 Lewandowski for 45 mil and then sold the said captain to their bitter rivals Chelsea for another 15 mil. Surely, there could have been a sell-on clause there somewhere. I hope they learnt their lessons, Bellerin oops.

Man Utd midfielder Christian Eriksen claps supporters


Ask the managers if they want VAR
Ed Q made a valid point about the managers being most guilty of complaining about refs when there was no VAR. These are the same ones who now complain when the VAR decision goes against them. So why don’t we let the managers decide if they want video assistant refereeing for any given game?

Both say yes before the game: VAR is there.
Both say no: just the ref, no VAR present for that game.
One says yes the other says no: the home team gets its way and in the reverse fixture, the other team’s wishes.

Result: we might hear comments like this in post-match interviews:
-It’s a shame the ref got that wrong, but we asked not to have video interference.
-The VAR might have spotted that, but he wasn’t there and it was down to us.
– VAR was particularly pernickety, but hey, that’s what we wanted
– we’re looking forward to the reverse fixture to even this out.

I’d be really interested to see which manager votes not to have VAR.
Paul in Brussels (enjoy lower-league football if you don’t want your goal celebration cut short)


Ask this guy if he wants VAR
I’m a referee, and have been for years. I mainly do club youth level matches, but occasionally do college level, adult amateur (Sunday League) and on rare occasion semi-professional friendlies. There is so much going on. You need to keep track of the ball of course, but there are 22 players on the field with you, and you’re also responsible to keep an eye out for off-ball shenanigans, and anticipate the play so you can properly position yourself. You also need to keep an eye on the benches, as well as visually communicate with your ARs almost constantly. It’s difficult, mentally taxing, and at times overwhelming. Do I sometimes make bad calls? Do I have to make an educated guess of things that happened in the periphery of my field of vision? Do I get caught out of position due to the speed of play when something consequential happens, so I don’t have a clear view? You can bet I do. Every match!

I follow teams in four different National Leagues (the MLS, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and the Argentine Professional League). I watch a lot of matches. But while watching the matches, I also pay close attention to the match officials, and what they’re doing. If you’re a fan of the Premier League you are lucky, with maybe the exception of the Germans, you have the best and most professional referees in the World. Do they make mistakes? Yes they do; a relative few a match. And you know about it when the replay from 26 camera angle runs and some pontificating stuffed shirt drones on about how the official on an 80 meter full-out sprint – trying to catch some amazing pro athletes- misses a call. And those athletes are definitely pros. They’ve learned (and been coached) to position themselves to mask their shithousery.

That’s why VAR is so good. It allows the referee a chance for a “re-do” when they get it wrong (we’re all only human and we definitely do get it wrong sometimes). It makes for better calls, a fairer game, and reduces the chance of things going seriously wrong. There’s at least one situation in every match I officiate I wish I had VAR so I could have that second look.
Stephen, USA


VAR from a mess
There seems to be a big push (and has been since the inception of it) for VAR to have similar rules to other sports whereby a captain or manager gets a certain amount of challenges per game (it seems to range from 1 per half to 3 in total, per game). Three things with this:

1) It adds punishment to a team for what could be a very close call. As in if you challenge an off-side, and it turns out your attacker was a toe offside, you’d lose it, which would still bring up many of the same problems we have now.

2) Who is to say the captain or manager sees the incident? Is Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal supposed to use his 1 challenge per half on a potential penalty in the opponent’s box? While there are definitely some decisions they could see, there are many they won’t.

3) And the biggest point, which in my opinion makes the challenge system useless from the outset, is that the problem is with the decisions made by VAR, not with VAR looking at incidents. So Declan Rice or David Moyes could have had a challenge left at the end of the game (maybe, considering it was late on), but VAR would’ve still made the same conclusion, and the very thing that is the problem now would still be the problem then, because the ability to challenge or not isn’t the major problem.

In my opinion, VAR is good all round and I agree with the point made that no one says anything about how many times VAR gets it right. Leeds should’ve been awarded a penalty against Brentford in my opinion, but Brentford were also awarded a goal that would’ve been removed without it. Obviously, this favours Brentford, but it could’ve worked for Leeds too.

I think the main issue is better education/ training to those working VAR. If that can’t be done, then I think a good option would be to take your best referee and make him full-time for VAR instead of changing them every weekend (this is another major issue people forget; it’s different people handling it, which is the same as having different referees in games, which is why decisions can be very different). You’d lose a good ref for games, but the big calls they’d most likely get right.

I also agree their mics should be turned on too.
James, Galway


Goalkeeper protection is real issue
While I agree that VAR is extremely lacking in its implementation on far too many occasions, I wanted to highlight something else: The calling of fouls regarding contact with goalkeepers. I do agree there needs to be some protection for goalkeepers, but in my opinion, it has been taken to a ludicrous level. Two of the VAR decisions directly related to contact made with the keeper. Yes, VAR got it wrong, but the way the rules around protecting the keeper are these days, it almost isn’t surprising they were given the way they were.

Here is how it should be: A player into a goalie, foul; a goalie into a player, no foul (or maybe a foul on the goalkeeper); both into each other, whoever touches it first, just like out in the main pitch. These are, of course, guidelines and not firm rules, an elbow to the head would merit a different response regardless of the coming together. I understand that this is much easier said in writing than put into practice, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of discussion around it.
David (It’s really shaping up to be a fun season, despite the VAR debacles), California


Enough now please
Can we stop talking about the thing that everyone is talking about. I was bored by referee analysis and I’m doubly bored now. Let’s talk about football.

Can Spurs combine Kulusevski, Richardson, Kane and Son or is that being silly?

What is the breakout formation this season? Are long balls getting more accurate since advent of gegenpress? What is the idea way to play the gegenpress?

So many more interesting things to talk about. I barely have time to watch football so I’m leaving my life vicariously through you guys. Please enlighten me about anything apart from officiating.

Ta very much.
Captain (Potatoes)


Sing a song for Stanno
‘Sing a song for Stanno.

We will never let you go.

You’ll always be.

At City with me.’

When Adam Stansfield arrived at Exeter City in 2006 after spells at Yeovil Town and Hereford United, very few fans realised the seismic effect his four year spell would have on our team‘s fortunes and how his footballing DNA would course through our club for decades to come. He was our very own Steve Bull (one for the kids there) in attitude and hairstyle.

Both men gave every ounce of energy for every minute of every game for the shirt. Not in some vacuous crest-kissing way, but by using every ounce of determination underscored by no little skill. Stanno’s footballing passion was from his dad Roger, a huge Forest fan. His description of his son as someone who ‘just kept plugging away’ was one of so many reasons why The Big Bank took him into their hearts and never let him go.

Adam didn’t even turn professional until he was twenty three, by which age Bull had been playing for Wolves for a couple of years in division four against Exeter before going up as champions in 1988. For Adam, he would go on to grace the City shirt for four years, playing one hundred and forty two times and scoring thirty seven, often barnstorming, goals. He joined us while we were in the Conference League, and was in the team that won a return to league football after beating Cambridge United 1:0 at Wembley in 2008. But, in April 2010, he would be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Then, despite surgery and chemotherapy, he died four months later at the heartbreakingly young age of thirty one.

Fast forward to September 2nd 2022 and the bipolar platform of Twitter was lurching from City desperately needing new blood to what seemed like delusional fantasist talk of Adam’s son Jay choosing to leave Premier League Fulham for our little trust-run club in sleepy Devon.

Claim and counter claim ricochetted around this often fact-free environment and, by the evening, there were even those wearied by the talk of Stanno 2.0 joining us. We are so conditioned to players, once in the hermetically sealed Premier League universe, preferring to warm substitute benches rather than leave for The Championship or, heaven forbid, League 1. Stockpiled talent carelessly collected by state-owned behemoths kick their heels and kill careers while collecting outrageously expensive tat for Instagram to gorge on. But then, at 4:51 the club sent out a ‘nine minute warning Tweet’ teasing a new player we all knew could only be our boy. The video showed the shirt, the number nine and a dozen years of chanting for Stanno melded into one pure moment of joy.

Like a street corner born-again Christian, seeing that shirt I knew it was him. I had to tell someone: anyone. ‘Have you accepted Stanno into your life?’ I know you are only here to deliver the post, but this was Stanno’s will’. Every week as I stood on the Big Bank basking in the sunshine or stamping my frozen feet, we sang our ode to Stanno. When the Adam Stansfield Stand was still under construction, the house-sized Stanno shirt would often be hoisted across the emerging structure that also followed us to our three heartbreaking visits to Wembley playoff disaster ( at least only our cardboard cutout selves were there to witness the hat trick of heartbreak).

When it was placed over us on The Big Bank, there was something collegially spiritual about reaching up to touch his shirt together and move it on for other fans to commune with. There always seemed to be onions sliced in the pie shop to our left on days when that happened. Strange…

That number nine shirt teased on a Friday evening by our amazing media team of Craig and Scott had been retired for nine years. Suddenly we knew. No one else would wear it other than Jay, who had left us in 2020 to join Fulham where he made four appearances, was capped for England’s under 18 and 19 and, displaying his dad’s Steve Bull-style shaven head and furious tenacity that drew his dad to our hearts, now one of our own was coming home (admittedly on loan) after maturing through our academy system.

Talking to The Athletic’s Peter Rutzler in January 2022, the inspiring memories Adam forged wearing the city red and white allowed his family to cope with his death by creating the Adam Stansfield Foundation that could help save the lives of others. As well as educating people on the insidious signs of bowel cancer, it also makes magic happen by focussing on one simple mission statement that changes lives for the better. As it declares on its website:

‘The foundation is committed to providing charitable funds for young people/ youth football teams who would benefit from the assistance.’

Underscoring this understated declaration comes a legion of stories. Young players who can’t afford transport for training or trials. Those who love to play but wear glasses and need them protected with expensive covers. Children who can’t afford boots. All of them are referred to the foundation for assistance and every act of support becomes a hat tip to the memory of Adam When he passed, the family was inundated with unreported stories of his kindness, but it was the shirts filling up their postman’s sack that gave those memories a place to breathe. As his mum shared with Rutzler:

‘At The Cat and Fiddle, Gig has a brought bag of vintage Exeter shirts to be passed on, ready for auction. From signed shirts to jockey breaches, all kinds of equipment has been sent their way. “The poor postman,” says Jack. “The stuff just piles through the letterbox.”

“I suppose in a way, for us to be doing this foundation, it’s always there. They have seen that their dad played a lot, they have all got their phones and see the social media. But the ongoing stuff with Adam, with the foundation, you are conscious of it, it’s almost like he’s still with us.”’

Sky Sports’ iconic presenter Jeff Stelling, who in 2017 used Exeter’s St James’ Park to start his March for Men to raise money and awareness about prostate cancer by walking fifteen marathons in fifteen days and visiting forty football clubs before finishing at the other St James’ Park in Newcastle spoke for us all.on September 3rd 2022:

‘So today (assuming he starts) he will run out for the club his dad graced, he’ll play in the shadow of the stand named after his dad and he will wear the number nine shirt that had been retired: the shirt that his dad graced.’

Stanno’s oversized shirt and the names many of us carry on the back of our replica kits have sustained us for these dozen years. So many players have come and gone, often without leaving much of a mark apart from creating obsolescence for their shirt (I always used to chuckle seeing shirts from 2016 with former Spurs reserve Troy Archibald-Henville on the back. A man who was to make twenty appearances for the club…over four years.)

More than most clubs, the cream is often removed either before we have had a chance to enjoy it ( Alfie Pond to Wolves and Ben Chrisene to Aston Villa being dispiriting examples) or made us dream of promotion before being picked up by lowballing Premier League clubs (Ethan Amapdu to Chelsea) or respectful ones willing to pay a fair price with empowering add-ons ( Ollie Watkins to Brentford) but Stanno stands for stability. Despite leaving us in the worst way imaginable, our shirts carry the memories, aspirations and stories of a man who, like ‘Bully’ were of his place and never lost the feeling of wearing a shirt that gave him an invitation to enjoy what he loved more than anything. To play his beautiful game.
Matthew Riley