Early Doors

Chelsea on the Boyle

Early Doors

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Even after conceding the fastest goal in Cup final history, it
was never likely that, on a weekend of upsets, Chelsea were going to join Susan Boyle and
Rafael Nadal among the ranks of humbled favourites.

Although, judging by Saturday night's
post-match antics, a few of them could do with a few days with SuBo in the
Priory.

Today's tabloids are full of Chelsea's
celebrations, complete with the obligatory photos of the player either; a) drunk, or b)
blinking.

England stars John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard were
at the forefront of the boozy fun, which is great for England fans because they
have only got a World Cup qualifier to play on Saturday, a mere 3,500 miles
away in Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, Michael Essien took to the wheel of Chelsea's team bus (admittedly not while it was moving), a
possible crack at fellow midfielder John Obi Mikel, who is
currently serving a drink-driving ban.

It served as a fond farewell for Guus Hiddink, a man who has shown that you can be a successful manager and a decent bloke at the same time.

Most managers are odd, obsessive types. Alex Ferguson
has won every trophy worth winning and a few that are not (that means
you, Club World Cup), and yet he will only be happy when he has led Manchester
United to 12 league championships - one more would take them to 19 in total,
one more than Liverpool. And if they do that
you can imagine a 110-year-old Fergie refusing to quit until United have
surpassed Real Madrid's nine
European Cups.

Mind you, if United play next season's
Champions League anything like they did last Wednesday, Fergie may find by
Christmas that he has been handed an unwanted crack at landing the inaugural
Europa League.

Rafa Benitez manages with the air of a deeply disgruntled
man. The chips on his shoulders are visible from space and, judging by his
subdued reaction to winning the Champions League, even winning Liverpool's
first league title since 1991 would provoke only a fleeting smile across his
bearded features.

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, has the focus and intensity of a
mad professor as he attempts to turn a lab full of embryos into world class
footballers.

This relentless drive is probably what makes these men good
in the first place, but it is sometimes nice to see a manager who is prepared
to savour the moment and not worry about some massive 'project'.

Hiddink is such a man. The Dutchman resisted all calls
for him to stay on at Chelsea, preferring to end
his tenure at Chelsea
after four highly productive months that he appeared to enjoy immensely.

He signed off with an FA Cup, a fat cigar, a Rolex watch and
a spot of break dancing before returning to Russia to do his actual job.

The rather odd hero status accorded to Hiddink by the Chelsea fans is a lesson
to other bosses; don't worry about
your chief executive's five-year
plan for global supremacy. Just win some football matches and the rest will
take care of itself.

Hiddink's
replacement at Stamford
Bridge will be Carlo
Ancelotti, over whom ED has already cast major aspersions.

Despite his reputation as a top-class coach, Ancelotti has
won only one Serie A title in eight years and achieving finishes in the last
three seasons of fourth, fifth and third. 

This might be OK for Fiorentina or even Roma, but this is AC
Milan. They spent the 90s as European football's
dominant force, winning five domestic titles in the 10 years before Ancelotti
took over.

Even more damningly, Ancelotti has done little to rejuvenate
an ancient squad, relying for the club's
late-season spurt on the supply line from David Beckham to Filippo Inzaghi - an
aged double act with about as much of a future as Cannon and Ball.

And yet former Inter boss Roberto Mancini, a man with a superior record, has been reduced to linking himself with Sunderland. It baffles ED

- - -

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: "Myself, Frank Lampard and Didier
Drogba were all fighting to keep him at two in the morning so it's bizarre where it's
come from ... It's bizarre that Maka
has put this in his book but I tried to call him last night and his phone was
off."

John Terry responds to Claude Makelele's
claim that the Chelsea
skipper handed in a transfer request which led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

FOREIGN VIEW: Florentino Perez is back. The man who brought
Real Madrid Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham is Real
Madrid president again. Will he add Kaka or Cristiano Ronaldo to that list? His
first signing will be a new manager - Villarreal's
Manuel Pellegrini.

And... Former Internazionale striker Adriano scored on his
debut for Flamengo to give his new team a 2-1 win over Atletico Paranaense in
the Brazilian championship on Sunday.

Adriano, rejoining
the club where he began his career, played the full 90 minutes despite
admitting that he is still not fully fit after two months out of action.

"When I'm feeling good and happy, it doesn't matter if I'm
100 per cent fit or not," he said.

"The
important thing is to play for Flamengo again, score a goal and win the match.
There's no money that can buy this happiness."

COMING UP: This used to be the time of year when footballers
would return down the pit (or at least disappear to Marbella for four unobtrusive weeks), while
the rest of us could direct our attention to sports like cricket, golf and
croquet.

Nowadays, the summer is for rumour, intrigue and
maybe one or two transfers. Especially now Perez is back in the hot seat at the
Bernabeu.

Follow our up-to-the-minute transfer news ticker all day,
every day, all summer, and watch us slowly lose the will to live.

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