sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Don't blame Todd Boehly for giving Chelsea board the boot in ... trends now

sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Don't blame Todd Boehly for giving Chelsea board the boot in ... trends now
sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Don't blame Todd Boehly for giving Chelsea board the boot in ... trends now

sport news MARTIN SAMUEL: Don't blame Todd Boehly for giving Chelsea board the boot in ... trends now

It used to be said that the easiest job in football was being a director at Arsenal. 'Just do what the French lad wants. Meeting adjourned.'

Later, when Arsene Wenger's judgments became less reliable, we were able to see how smart Arsenal's board members were.

And then that mantle passed to Chelsea. Imagine being front of house for Roman Abramovich. Whatever you did, right or wrong, he picked up the bill. Fall out with a manager, and Abramovich paid him off and financed the next one. A costly transfer misstep? Abramovich authorised plan B.

Todd Boehly has assumed the interim role of sporting director in a transformed Chelsea board

Todd Boehly has assumed the interim role of sporting director in a transformed Chelsea board

Chairman Bruce Buck is one of several previously powerful individuals exiting Stamford Bridge

Chairman Bruce Buck is one of several previously powerful individuals exiting Stamford Bridge

So, as he prepares to enter the bidding for Raheem Sterling in his interim role as sporting director, Todd Boehly must wonder what all the fuss is about.

This is where the really hard work begins, with Chelsea now owned by a man who wishes to run a business. He may be a little mystified at the horror greeting news of the departures of Bruce Buck and Marina Granovskaia last week.

Petr Cech is the latest to go, standing down from his role as technical and performance adviser yesterday.

Yet, Boehly might ask, what has happened at Chelsea recently that suggests loss? Buck, the chairman, was a shrewd political player during Richard Scudamore's time at the Premier League, but was left critically damaged by the Super League breakaway and the reputational cost of Abramovich's links to Vladimir Putin's regime.

The request to play the Middlesbrough FA Cup tie behind closed doors was disastrous, and a recent attempt to break the ice at a Premier League meeting with a joke about Chelsea's predicament fell painfully flat. 

Marina Granovskai (left) and Petr Cech are also on their way out ahead of the 2022/23 season

Marina Granovskai (left) and Petr Cech are also on their way out ahead of the 2022/23 season

One of those present described it as a mortifying experience for the personable Buck to be met with stone-faced silence from his contemporaries, his influence now departed.

As for Granovskaia — Abramovich's most trusted executive and regularly depicted as the master negotiator — explain that one to Boehly given that he just signed off a paltry £8m loan fee from Inter Milan, for a player the Italians sold to Chelsea for £97.5m last summer.

Boehly has also waved goodbye to his best defender, Antonio Rudiger, on a free to Real Madrid, and may soon be taking significant hits on Kepa Arrizabalaga, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, also expensively recruited.

And Chelsea have not won the league since significantly alienating Antonio Conte over the sale of Diego Costa in 2017. For such a smart operator, Granovskaia does seem to have presided over some significant errors.

And while Cech gets the credit for finding Edouard Mendy, what else has he advised on? If Chelsea have remained consistently successful, it is because Abramovich has bankrolled all ventures, astute or not.

Securing Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards (left) would be significant for Chelsea

Securing Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards (left) would be significant for Chelsea

If a coach falls short, it does help to be able to get Conte or Maurizio Sarri or Thomas Tuchel to make it right. Boehly might not wish to finance a revolving door policy.

Also, why the surprise that he wishes to run his own show? Why would he pay £4.25billion for Chelsea and leave the previous incumbents in place? Not least as what was required was a clean break from the Abramovich regime and Buck and Granovskaia — even Cech — represented anything but.

Chelsea are now among the clubs interested in Michael Edwards, the man responsible for the assembly of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. Now, that's an operator. That would be a signing.

Transgender inclusion must not undermine elite sport

Entering the debate around transgender participation in women's sport, United States footballer Megan Rapinoe favoured inclusion over all.

'Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone's scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title,' she said.

Hugely influential footballer Megan Rapinoe backs inclusion over all — but that involves perils

Hugely influential footballer Megan Rapinoe backs inclusion over all — but that involves perils

'I'm sorry, it's just not happening. So we need to start from inclusion, period. I think people also need to understand that sport is not the most important thing in life, right?'

Indeed it isn't. All the more reason, then, not to risk undermining the integrity of women's competition for such a small number of trans competitors.

So you can be trans, you can be accepted, you can participate at grassroots level where inclusion rightly remains the dominant priority, you just can't take elite positions at major national and international events. Because sport's not the most important thing in life, right?

It's high time we became Team UK

As anyone who has ever worked on the sports desk of a national newspaper knows, if you want to spend the morning answering phones leave the 'Irish' part out of the British and Irish Lions. The Irish, a proud rugby nation, feel very passionately about their part in that story and are understandably furious if omitted.

It should be the same with Team GB, indeed with any team representative of these Isles. We are the United Kingdom not just the three countries that comprise the mainland.

Seeing hurdler Megan Marrs, twice gold medallist at the British Indoor Championships and born in Belfast, in a shirt marked Great Britain is not right. Northern Ireland should never be marginalised in this way. Team UK rolls off the tongue as easily as Team GB, too.

Don't get shirty over Eddie

Why the outcry about Thierry Henry's magical No 14 shirt going to Eddie Nketiah at Arsenal?

Henry was a wonderful player but all things must pass. And the big difference between Nketiah and Henry, is that the young man at least wants to be Arsenal's No 14. By the end of his golden years there, Henry did not.

Eddie Nketiah was handed a new deal and the No14 at Arsenal after a strong end to the season

Eddie Nketiah was handed a new deal and the No14 at Arsenal after a strong end to the season

FA don't deserve stadium blame

Sometimes it must be hard representing the Football Association. Last week, Baroness Campbell — their head of women's football — admitted that, yes, England's women could have been playing at bigger venues in the European Championship. 

After opening at Old Trafford, England's next two matches take them to Brighton's Amex Stadium

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