It’s Wednesday morning on the 7th September 2022. I’m listening to some John Lennon music tracks, and one of my favourites – Number 9 dream. I wonder what Michail Antonio dreams about? Perhaps it is referees and the decisions that have gone against West Ham in the opening games this season, the disallowed goals at Nottingham Forest and Chelsea?
I’m sure you know who Lennon is, but in case you don’t he was one of the twentieth century’s greatest musical talents. He was a world-famous singer / songwriter who, together with Paul McCartney, fronted the Beatles and penned virtually all their hits. He was shot dead in New York in 1980, a sad and untimely death, aged just 40. And just in case you don’t know the Beatles, they were the world’s most successful group who changed the face of popular music in the 1960s.
As I listened to some of Lennon’s great songs I was reading through the BBC Sport website looking at the football for the previous evening. I had taken no notice of the football results last night with little interest in the early group stages of the Champions League. It’s a different matter thinking about the Europa Conference League, which, as a West Ham fan I will be following closely of course.
I read about Manchester City’s exploits and unsurprising win in Seville, and then about Chelsea’s defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League. I cannot deny it. It brought a smile to my face. I looked with interest to see that Mendy had been dropped from the starting eleven, or was he rested, or injured by that vicious assault by Jarrod Bowen last Saturday? Being unfamiliar with the Chelsea substitutes I spotted his name amongst the substitutes but wasn’t sure whether he was the only keeper there.
Arrizabalaga was in goal for this game. I wonder if Mendy will have recovered in time for Chelsea’s next league game, or even from his injury? Remind me again, was it a broken or dislocated shoulder? Another report said it was a knee injury that ruled him out, even though the Senegal keeper was named on the bench and apparently took a fully active part in the pre-match warm-up. Now I am confused. What part of Mendy’s body did Bowen’s boot brush against? I also read that Chelsea had a goal disallowed in Zagreb. I don’t know if VAR was involved but I do hope so.
As I was reading the match report a message flashed up on my phone to say that Thomas Tuchel had been sacked. Surely not! What football club would hand their manager the world-leading transfer kitty in the summer – how much was it £250 million or close to £300 million – and then sack him so early in the season just after losing his 100th game in charge less than one week after the transfer window had been slammed shut? Only Chelsea could do that! They have lost their Russian benefactor who was famous for sacking managers but the new regime still seems to have unlimited funds to spend. By the way, does Financial Fair Play still exist?
I was fuming on Saturday about the closing stages of our game at Chelsea. Not only by Cornet’s header against the post which might have secured three points, but the events following Chelsea’s goal to give them a 2-1 lead. It seemed incredible to me that the well-taken finish (by Cornet, making up for his glaring miss) could possibly be disallowed but the referee, after consulting the pitchside monitor, decided to do so. It’s a decision which has been condemned by virtually all football fans and pundits and even the referee’s body (PGMOL or whatever they are).
The only people who seemed to suggest it was a foul are Mendy (for his writhing around on the floor), Tuchel (who said so in his post-match interview on Saturday), and Graham Souness (that successful ex-football manager writing in his weekly Sunday newspaper column). Perhaps there are one or two others but the vast majority, including a couple of Chelsea fans I know could not believe the injustice of how West Ham had been robbed of a point. Apparently Tuchel was also reported as saying (after the Zagreb game) “I just didn’t see it coming.” He was referring to the poor Chelsea showing and the defeat, but I guess it could just as easily have referred to the actions of the Chelsea board on Wednesday morning! I don’t feel sorry for him. No doubt he will be well compensated for the early release from his contract.
Anyway back to the music. I was listening to a number of John Lennon tracks whilst preparing my twice-weekly music show that I present on local community radio. Just as I was reading the Chelsea stuff, about their poor result in Zagreb and the sacking of Tuchel, the next John Lennon track came on. It was a song that reached number 5 in the UK charts in 1970, and it became the first single by a solo member of the Beatles to sell a million copies. The lyrics of the song focus on a concept in which the consequences of one’s actions are immediate rather than borne out over a lifetime. They mean that your actions influence your future, perhaps sooner rather than later. I now had an even wider smile on my face. The title of the song – Instant Karma.