Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Thursday January 14 2010
1) Are you happy with the transfer embargo being lifted for January and where do you need to strengthen?
I`d be a lot happier if I knew the appeal was going to be successful and I knew we were not going to be barred from registering players for two whole windows. Lifting it for January, whilst the appeal goes through, is a strange scenario. Transfers carried out in January often reek of panic buying as clubs seek to claw their way out of trouble or gamble on a charge for a European place.
It`s been intimated that Carlo Ancelotti has decided that he`ll not be buying this January as he believes the squad is strong enough, as a supporter I`m a little worried that if the ban is enforced we could be left with a scenario whereby the age gap between our established stars and the youngsters coming through leaves us with nobody in between,
2) How important will the loss of your African Nation players be for your title challenge?
Out of the four, we`re going to miss Didier Drogba and Michael Essien the most as they both bring something unique to the side, Drogba with his goals and power play and Essien with his incredible midfield play. Kalou and Mikel are decent enough players but we have more than adequate replacements available to cover for them.
3) How are things going with your new boss Ancelotti?
He`s settled in remarkably well for a first timer in English football. He`s learned the language and the players are right behind him. We may have had a blip recently but doesn`t every side at some stage of the season? Whether Carlo will get the time he`d like to establish some kind of dynasty at Stamford Bridge remains to be seen. I guess the crux will be if we finish the season without a trophy, will he be given another season or will he be moved out?
4) Are you happy that many fans have now moved their hatred from Chelsea to Man City due to their billionaire take over last season?
In a strange way it was kind of fun to be hated, not that we were everyone`s cup of tea in the first place. Looking in, as an outsider, at the way Manchester City are conducting their business I can see remarkable parallels with how we started. The major difference though is that we already had Champions League football when Roman Abramovich arrived, it can make a hell of a difference when you try to attract star names. Besides it could have been worse, it could have been Liverpool who were seriously rich - heaven forbid!
5) What are your impressions of how Sunderland have played this season?
There`s a marked improvement from last year, Steve Bruce appears to have bought well and the 'Stadium of Light` is once again a tricky place to go, although we`ve come cropper there a few times in the past, I remember when you first came up - we thumped you at Stamford Bridge on the first day of the season and you did the same to us up at your place. Bruce has raided his former club and seems to know where he`s going, he`s also not been afraid to spend big and take a risk or two.
6) Would you take Darren Bent to the World Cup in the Summer after his 13 goals so far this season?
Yes I would! For all the championing of our cause and the beating of the drum about possibly winning the damn thing, we are lacking in genuine goal scorers. Take away Rooney and who is left - Defoe? Owen? Crouch? Bent never really got started at Spurs but Steve Bruce obviously saw something, took a gamble and you`ve never looked back!
7) Score Prediction?
I have a hunch it`ll be a tough game but expect Chelsea to come through with all three points, 2-0 for me!
Thanks to Merlin for this interview and once the interview is on their site from myself I will update it on this page.
My interview on Vital Chelsea
Date:Thursday January 14 2010
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