Is Boehly tanking Chelsea on purpose? Would ChatGPT be a better Blues boss than Lampard?

Editor F365
Chelsea interim manager Frank Lampard alongside club owner Todd Boehly.

The Mailbox wonders if Todd Boehly thinks tanking is a thing in football. Also: AI would do a better job as Chelsea manager than Frank Lampard.

Get your views in to


Todd tanking
I think I’ve worked out what is happening at Chelsea, under their new American ownership model.

In US sports, the teams who finish near the bottom of the table have a greater chance of getting early draft picks for the following season. Towards the end of a season, if a team can no longer make the play offs, there is essentially an incentive to lose, as you might get to choose a better young player in the next draft. This is usually referred to as ‘tanking’. It is particularly prevalent when there is a clear wonder kid ready to turn pro, such as this year in the NBA; everyone wants the chance to draft French player Victor Wembanyama. One team even got fined for benching all their best players to essentially ensure they lost a match, just because they would get better odds in the draft.
Maybe someone needs to explain to Todd Boehly that European football doesn’t work on the same principal. Because I can’t think of any other reason why you would give Frank Lampard a job, unless you were intentionally trying to lose every match!


Singing the Blues
Frank Lampard and the Basics would be a fantastic band name.
MAW, LA Gooner


Artificial manager
I genuinely think that Chelsea would be better off with ChatGPT picking the team at this stage.
Dave, Dublin


Fit to drop
So are there ANY Chelsea fans left who think bringing Lampard back was a good idea?

I was disgusted he was brought back in the first place, I was more shocked when I saw how many fans were delighted with him back.

I’m a Chelsea fan, I appreciate Lampard for his legendary playing days. Hes not a f××ing player anymore though is he.

Chelsea deserve to be relegated with all the sickening mismanagement this season. 600 million. MILLION. Pissed away on nothing.
Will CFC (F××k the club, bring on the championship)


…I know Liverpool aren’t having the greatest season, so I shouldn’t take the p, but it’s pretty funny that it’s May and Chelsea are not mathematically safe from going down. All hail Frank.
Mike, LFC, London


…What a shambles. Forget for a moment how Todd Boehly has run the club. Forget for a moment the recruiting of all the attacking midfielders in the world without a proper number 9. This is still one of the most expensively assembled squads with world class players in every position. This is still the team that won the champions league two seasons ago and were competing for two domestic cups just last year.

What must Thomas Tuchel be thinking? He is probably fine given he has the biggest job in Germany now but sacking him was probably the worst managerial decision in a season full of bad managerial decisions. What must Graham Potter be thinking? Sure, he has one of the worst points per game record of any Chelsea manager in the Premier League era but even he ended with 7 points from his last 5 league games as manager + a fine 2-0 win against current second placed Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. What must Bruno Saltor be thinking? Even he was able to get a point from his one game in charge versus Liverpool.

But this is all about Frank Lampard. A laughable decision even at the time of his appointment, he has stunk the place out. No new-manager bounce, no tactics, no discernible style of play, nothing. 100% loss record after 6 games in charge is mind boggling for a club of Chelsea’s stature. They are in a 6-pointer for the 12th place trophy against Bournemouth this weekend. Lampard has truly hit the lowest of the lows.
Rohit, Abu Dhabi

Read more: Laughable Lampard hammered, Chelsea slammed and Xhaka praised in 16 Conclusions on Arsenal win


Who’s laughing now?
A few weeks ago Mediawatch took great pleasure in taking the piss out of Lampard’s potential return to Chelsea.

Several weeks later, he really showed you.


Arteta out
Having sat through the entire Arsenal v Chelsea match, I have to say that is one of the worst displays of football I’ve seen from any side this season.

To concede a goal to THIS Chelsea team??! No wonder they’ve thrown away the league.
David (Give it Frank til the end of the season) Ireland


Secure Sam
I hope Leeds finalise the Allardyce deal as soon as possible, before Chelsea swoop in for the big man to help them in their own relegation fight.


Worst Prem?
After first suffering through the 0-7 shellacking by Liverpool, then the capitulation from Sevilla, I found myself questioning how United are in the top 4. Then I saw the first few minutes of the Newcastle v Spurs game and it became clear! It led me yo coclude that his is possibly the poorest level of the Premier League in my memory.

Liverpool thrash United 7-0 and then lose the following week to Bournmouth. Spurs have been the Spursiest Spursy in all Spursdom, and Chelsea are even worse! Yes, Brighton, Newcastle et al have been a breath of fresh air but how much of that us down to those “big” clubs soiling their beds this year? Remember just a couple of Spanish clubs have seen off almost all the English clubs European campaigns.

Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely loving the unpredictability of games this season but, come the summer, the “big N” will spunk millions, if not billions, and in the meantime City will most likely have done the treble.

Enjoy it (Arsenal fans) while it lasts!
Adidasmufc (I read somewhere that Haaland has outscored every new Premier League signing this season, COMBINED! )


Messi business
As most may have heard Messi has been very unprofessional by traveling to Saudi Arabia without permission and has been suspended by PSG. Following this there are reports the club will not offer the Argentine a new contract.

Are the media going to:

A) Ignore it.
B) Report on it in a neutral manner.
C) Savage the sh*t out of him like they would to Ronaldo if he did the same thing.

We can be sure it’s definitely not C. The football media are a joke.
William, Leicester


Arsenal targets
The thing is Arsenal supporters, is that was a very good win by a very good side in a fixture that you’ve come to expect to win in recent years even at Chelsea’s best. So what does that mean?

We’ve all had to witness the contradiction of the “bottle-job” brigade on one hand saying that your “targets at the start of the season should be reassessed based on the form throughout the first half of the season” but then on the other refusing to reassess those targets when it’s been obvious how far behind City this team are in those form drops in February and April but ultimately you can’t undo 78 points with 4 games to go.

Nope, there are no trophies for 2nd place and yes, this has been far from a perfect season but even if you look at the last 4 games before last night, Liverpool (A) (0ppg), West Ham (A) (0.8), Southampton (H) (2.2) and City (A) (0), those 4 games have averaged 3 points combined since Wenger left in 2018 and this year they reaped, yep, 3 points. Even looking at Wenger’s last season you only gained 4 points from those 4 fixtures. So that run of form represents a revision to recent norm rather than a drop below it, meaning your form through the league Season could probably be assessed as about 85% positive and 15% average with the latter coming in February and April, very similar months to last seasons clear drop below usual expected form that led to you losing out on 4th place. Hardly “hang your head in shame” territory.

Two big games to come for sure away at Newcastle and welcoming Brighton but I say if you get minimum 8 points from your last 4 games then you go again next year with next season’s targets and if GCSE science taught me anything, “targets should be reassessed” with fair parameters or in a “fair test”. So taking your target at the start of this season, at the start of the next season with the information at hand (with tongue firmly in cheek) surely means your next target is to replicate the jump of over 17 points between 2021/22 and 2022/23. This would mean an expected 103 points in 2023/24. I’m here for it but can’t say I’d be surprised if City still get 104>.
The Erstwhile Harold Hooler (Safe to say I’m aware that I am starting to sound like an Emirates season ticket holder these days but no matter the club, I will always be the guy that looks to the positives… except when it comes to Slough Town)


Game’s gone
Another mailbag, another tale of two sides. Some deploring state / unpleasant rich person ownership, others defending it depending on which side their bread is buttered.

I don’t love football any more, more importantly neither do my kids. Between ages 7 to 17 football was everything to me. Posters on the wall, programme collections, Saturdays with my Dad at the game and every spare minute with a ball at my feet. I read about it too, Shoot (not Match) then WSC as I got a bit older, the clothes I wore were based on terrace-fashion or the shirts of the day.

My kids? They’ll watch a game if I am but they won’t go out of their way to do so, they certainly aren’t bothered about attending a game. They’ll follow the odd player on Instagram and will look out for results but it’s nothing – NOTHING like it used to be, and if you still want to be a fan of a premier league team then I’m afraid it never will be again, so you’re going to have to come to terms with that.

The real start of all of the money-based impact on the game was the advent of the Premier League – that’s what brought the worldwide audience and that’s what brought the uneven share of money into the game (and subsequently made PL clubs attractive to investors – most deplorable).

Look at the winners list of the old Div 1 in the 30 years before the Premier League – shared between 11 different clubs including Spurs, Ipswich, Everton, Leeds, Derby, Forest, Villa (and Man City by the way – who knew?!) plus the “old guard” of Liverpool, Utd and Arsenal. Watford, Burnley and Southampton all snuck into the top 3 too.

Since the Premier League was founded? Basically 5 winners plus two aberrations – Blackburn and Leicester, and we know how Blackburn did it – they spent more than anyone else. Only Spurs and Newcastle ever sneak into the top 3 outside of the usual suspects.

Since the PL came about the only way (but for one brilliant fluke) to have success is to buy it and unless you’re Utd, Liverpool or (just about) Arsenal, the only way to do that is to get a Sugar Daddy in one guise or another and it’s too late to change that now – it really is.

Approaching 50, I’m still a City “fan” always have been and always will be but I don’t have the same relationship with the club I used to have when you could knock on the front door and Bernard Halford would show you around Maine Road. It’s just gone. I can be grateful that I’ve seen the David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Aguero years and the current Pep-reared brilliance but the affiliations and deep, deep love of the club might have gone as a result.

I’m ok with it though because I’m not alone. Football (at least at the highest level) isn’t football anymore – it’s “content” now. It’s starting to creep into the lower levels too. Ask the fans of Chesterfield, Woking and Barnet what they think of the Wrexham “fairytale” and whether that’s been fair – the answer won’t surprise you.

Football’s changed immeasurably and irreversibly. You don’t mind when you’re winning but it feels monumentally unfair when you’re not. City’s time will pass and I might fall back in “love” with the club when it does, I hope so, but doubt it.

In the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy the content and spending time with my Dad while I still can.

Still hate Utd though and that’s the other thing…being a fan of a team feels as much defined by which teams I have an intense dislike of (Utd, Liverpool) than the one I support (and if your mailbox is anything to go by most football fans seem to find more passion in hating teams than loving their own). This despite the fact that I’ve got loads of Utd and Liverpool supporting mates who I won’t hear a word against.

Football’s gone – I’m just about ok with that because we’re winning.
Dave the Blue.

Jurgen Klopp argues with referee Paul Tierney after Liverpool's win over Tottenham.

Put them all in the stands
The most recent Klopp explosion and the nonsense surrounding it got me thinking:

A) Yes Klopp should face a lengthy touchline ban and perhaps some community service, working with young football referees. I say this as a Liverpool fan.

B) Do we need managers patrolling around the technical areas anyway? Or even sat on the bench? All their work is done in the preparation up the match and come the whistle, it’s up to the players. Ok, things may need tweaking tactically but that’s partly why the half term interval was conceived. I know comparing sports is trite but Rugby (union and league), coaches sit high up in the stand where they get a better perspective of the game and are better placed to pass instructions down to assistants near the touchline. Seems to work quite well. Do we, as fans, just like the managers being pitch side because of the blood and thunder histrionics or do they provide service to the betterment of team performance? Also who would fancy the gig of fourth official who’s main role as far as I can see is being facially blasted every five minutes? Do people think that high stakes football would lose something without the touchline antics?


Toon difference
Just a Newcastle fan mentioning that Newcastle (+34) have the same goal difference as Man Utd(+10), Liverpool(+23), Tottenham(+6) and Chelsea(-5) combined after 33 games this season. You would have got long odds on that in August.
Adam, NUFC, Tokushima, Japan


Selling your soul
Not to belabour the discussion on City’s financial doping, but when I started reading Levenshulme Blue’s response, I first thought he at least is being open and upfront about City, for example, claiming that being clever isn’t a sin, even if it does mean cleverly circumventing financial regulations.

Off course, that thought fell apart after another defence of City in that we would all defend our club should they follow the same path. I am sure Levenshulme Blue was happy to see Newcastle fans wearing pretend Arab headdresses upon their takeover as a way to support that view.

But the simple answer is no, no, we wouldn’t. But it presumably makes you sleep better after drinking from the poison chalice to think everyone else would do the same.

I won’t get into all the other human rights abuses because it makes no difference if it brings in titles and gets old ladies to exclaim how great a man from the desert can do this. However, I am sure that same lady was aware of the people in the UAE who have had their time in jail extended beyond their sentence for additional ‘counselling’ – read ‘torture,’ their media censored, LBTQ banned, etc.

It all boils down to what is a fair trade to City fans. Your soul for a trophy.
Paul McDevitt


…”When you’re doing research to see exactly how many people your football club has stoned to death then we’ve crossed the Rubicon.”

Arguably the greatest sentence I’ve ever read on this website. Said everything I wanted to say to Levenshulme Blue way more succinctly and poignantly than I ever could. Pure poetry.
Neill [1 – SC Belfast], Ireland


Mailbox concern
As a long-term reader who really enjoys reading the contributions with his cup of tea and bacon sandwich around 9.30 (don’t start lecturing me about healthy living at my age) and short-term contributor (probably only twice to date), I’d have to question what direction the mailbox is going in.

Politically oriented diatribes about club owners, inner city redevelopments on the one hand and long-winded match reports from fans who attended a match on the other hand, not forgetting the tribal banter which frequently crops up inbetween.
Do you really want to be using this platform for such personal expressionism or there’s something else more important to discuss.
Love to be educated on this.
Spud (QPR exile in Germany expecting his other blue and white Schalke team to get relegated) Murphy