Derek Davis' Championship Chatter

IT is becoming more and more apparent that Chelsea are becoming the new Manchester United in the way neutral supporters perceive them.Under Claudio Ranieri there was a great deal of sympathy and affection for the man and the club.

IT is becoming more and more apparent that Chelsea are becoming the new Manchester United in the way neutral supporters perceive them.

Under Claudio Ranieri there was a great deal of sympathy and affection for the man and the club.

In Jose Mourinho's first season he courted the press and public alike and outside of the red parts of north London and Manchester, winning the Championship was broadly welcomed.

But this year, the astronomical prices, the unsophisticated football and Mourinho's outbursts have caused resentment and the novelty has worn off.


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What is worse, are the antics of a couple of his players.

I for one was metaphorically drooling at watching first hand the skill and aptitude of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Essien - even Didier Drogba, impressed with how he went about his work up front - and boy did he work.

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Arjen Robben didn't play that day against Colchester but when I have seen him on the telly, there is no doubting his ability. But his two-footed tackle, which quite rightly earned him a red card, has no place in football. To appeal it is ludicrous and it can only be hoped that instead of having it rescinded, Robben is given an extra game ban.

Ironically it was not Robben who dived as theatrically as anything you would see in the cultural city of Barcelona. That 'honour' went to Drogba and my estimation of him plummeted after seeing it.

If Mourinho truly is the 'Special One' he needs to find the dignity and humour that captivated so many before.

There is nothing wrong with his arrogance, when you have won as much as he has as a manager you can afford to be somewhat aloof - just ask Sir Alex Ferguson - but a little humility would do him no harm and a little more professionalism would mean getting his team out on the pitch on time.

I personally would still love to see Chelsea win in Spain tonight but the sad thing is there are many neutrals in England who would be happy to see them flop. And that is a crying shame.

THE board at the Stadium of Light may be very enlightened or indeed very dim-witted after sacking Mick McCarthy (right) as their manager.

Three years ago this very month they were in a similar situation and got rid of Howard Wilkinson and Steve Cotterill and brought in McCarthy in a bid to save them from relegation.

History shows us that he failed to halt the slide but took them back up last season as champions.

Now the former Millwall and Republic of Ireland boss has paid the price for failing to buy the right sort of firepower with his £4.25m and winning just two Premiership games this season in 28 attempts.

The 10 points Sunderland have so far is nine short of the record low they recorded in 2003 and if they lose seven of their remaining 10 games in a 38 match season, they will equal Ipswich Town's 29 defeats in a 42-game season in 1995.

Incidentally, the Black Cats hold the Championship record of 105 points, set in 1999, a target Reading are in a good position to get past.

Perhaps after looking at how good a job Glenn Roeder has done at neighbours Newcastle, the board have now decided to give Kevin Ball the job until the end of the season and perhaps he will be the man in charge to take them up next season.

We have seen before that bouncing straight back up is never as easy as it should be but there will be a list as long as your arm to take the job at a club that likes to think of themselves as massive.

McCarthy leaves Sunderland with his head held high after doing his very best and if Wigan and West Ham had flopped too, then perhaps he would have been allowed to steer the Black Cats up the Championship next season.

Funnily enough, the man who has been in charge during the Mackems' recent ups and downs remains at the helm and it is extremely unlikely that chairman Bob Murray will do much more than offer platitudes.

THE term 'police intelligence' raised some eyebrows in Doncaster over the weekend when it was used as an excuse to ban Rovers' mascot Donny The Dog from their game at Huddersfield.

Despite being granted permission to do his thing before the game at the Galpharm Stadium, Donny was handed an exclusion order banning him from within 50 metres of the ground 45 minutes before kick-off.

The mascot, manned by a director of the Doncaster club, was not even allowed to take off the head and just stand with the away supporters and as he had no other clothes with him had to go and sit in a supporters' coach and miss the match. To top it all his family didn't know where he was as he didn't have a mobile with him and became frantic.

A Huddersfield copper cited 'police intelligence' for the late ban but it appears more like the lack of it and hardly goes with the spirit of the Football League's attempt to give the game back to the fans.

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