Good morning. Here is your Monday briefing. Let’s start with the news.
The crisis at Chelsea continues and the Daily Telegraph has been counting the cost. They say that this wretched form could cost Roman Abramovich approximately £100m. There’s compensation to Jose Mourinho, assuming that he is sacked, there’s buyout clauses for the new manager, and they fancy Diego Simeone on that score. And then there’s the small matter of missing out on the Champions League. It’s a bit of a mess and no mistake.
Speaking of which, is there trouble in paradise? Jurgen Klopp has taken a swipe at a section of Liverpool’s supporters who left Anfield early and made him feel ‘pretty alone.’ Welcome to England, Jurgen. Screw hope and optimism, we’re obsessed with beating the traffic.
It was only a few weeks ago that Swansea boss Garry Monk was being linked with all sorts of top jobs. Now it seems that he’s about to lose his own. The Mirror and The Sun both claim that Monk has fallen out with chairman Huw Jenkins. Since beating Manchester United, the Swans have won just once in eight games and that was against Aston Villa, so it doesn’t really count.
David Moyes is waist-deep in the brown stuff once again. Just a year after taking over at Real Sociedad, the Guardian claims that the former Everton and Manchester United manager is toast following another defeat in La Liga.
ON YOUR TELLY THIS WEEK
Sigh. It’s an international week, so I’m afraid it’s slim pickings for the first half of the week. The FA Cup first round, stretched across four days now, comes to an end tonight when FC United host Chesterfield in a tie they tried and failed to have moved back to the Saturday. You can watch them on BT Sport 2, if you like.
There is no football whatsoever on Tuesday. Nothing at all. If you really need a fix, why not watch full coverage of one of the best games of the 1998 World Cup, England’s controversial second round clash with Argentina? Bob Wilson is joined in the studio by Terry Venables and Bobby Robson. How awesome does that sound?
Just the one televised game on Wednesday, the Women’s Champions League tie between Chelsea and Wolfsburg. You can find that on Eurosport.
The European Championship play-offs get started on Thursday with Norway’s first leg clash against Hungary. The magical Magyars haven’t qualified for a major tournament since 1986 while Norway, once ranked second in the world by FIFA, haven’t made it out of the qualifiers since they reached Euro 2000. Catch that on Sky Sports 3.
It’s Ireland’s turn on Friday and they face Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is not going to be easy for Martin O’Neill. Bosnia beat Wales comfortably in October and they also held Belgium, officially the best team in the world now, to a draw last year. That one is on Sky Sports 1. However, if you’d rather watch barely-competitive football instead, you can see England and Spain’s players trying not to get injured on ITV. Wales vs the Netherlands and Northern Ireland vs Latvia are available on BBC2 Wales and BBC2 Northern Ireland respectively. Want something to warm you up before all that? You can watch Germany’s U21’s against Azerbaijan on Eurosport at 5pm, if you’re that way inclined.
Full TV listings can be found over here on the Live Football on TV page.
GO TO A GAME
There’s a corker of game waiting for you if you’re in the Manchester region; a local derby between two stalwarts of the non-league scene, Macclesfield and Altrincham. Not that Macclesfield would be happy to described as such, of course. Relegation from League Two in 2012 marked the end of their 15 year stint in the Football League and Altrincham’s fans were delighted to welcome them back. Only 16 miles separate these two clubs in distance and just six points separate them in the league. Their website says that there are tickets available for £13, but if you’re under 18, you can get in for just £4.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Erm…look, there’s no point lying to you. We respect you too much for that. The beta version of Football Manager 2016 came out and…well…things slipped a bit. There were two windows of opportunity where a book could have been read and discussed, but…you know…we were just too busy trying to fix Chelsea. Sorry.
FROM OUR VAULT
Speaking of ludicrously addictive computer games, we spoke to Jon Hare back in April. He was one of the masterminds behind Sensible Soccer. He also made Cannon Fodder and it was that game that caused him to find himself at the centre of a poppy-related controversy.
BEST NON-FOOTBALL THING
You know how you’ve got your Top Five novels,* they’re all books that you read years ago and nothing new has broken the status quo for at least a decade? Get hold of a copy of Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and prepare to make some room for a new favourite. It’s a book about the end of the world, but it’s so spectacularly well written that the end of the world isn’t even the most interesting bit. It’s a beautiful, beautiful book and it’s £1.19 on the Kindle, which is preposterously good value.
If you’d like to recommend something for next Monday’s briefing, (particularly a non-football thing, we struggled this week) get in touch by emailing [email protected]