Tag Archives: chimneys

The Midlander puts on his red suit and hands out Christmas presents to clubs

All I want for Christmas is… The Midlander goes down the chimneys of eight clubs to spread some Christmas cheer

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 13 December 2012

Just because it's the time of year and – quite frankly because I also really enjoy writing this type of piece – I'm handing out a few Christmas presents to our Midlands' teams.

It's meant to be light-hearted. It maybe a bit pointed, but if any offence is caused, I'm going to take the mickey out of myself too somewhere along the line….so what would we give to….

Paul Lambert

Paul Lambert

Gifts: Neil Moxley does his best Father Christmas impression and hands Villa manager Paul Lambert (left) a new creative midfielder and West Brom's Steve Clarke a dose of reality after a great start has become a blip

Carson Yeung (Birmingham City owner) I'm sure what Mr Yeung would value most this Yuletide is his liberty. Difficult to put a price on that, isn't it

What Birmingham City's supporters would value is clarity. It appears that the great sell-off continues to gather pace.

No-one is any the wiser as to how, why and when it will come to an end.

Until that situation is resolved, then Lee Clark is going to continue to have to make-do in the transfer market, I'm afraid, and frustrations will inevitably grow.

Funds: Nigel Clough (pictured) will be hoping that young starlet Will Hughes, who has attracted interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, brings much-needed funds

Funds: Nigel Clough (pictured) will be hoping that young starlet Will Hughes, who has attracted interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, brings much-needed funds

Nigel Clough (Derby County manager) After spending four seasons in charge of the Rams, the current manager's late father was mounting a First Division title tilt.

But then, Clough Snr operated in different times. I remain a fan of Clough Jnr – I think his squad is evolving – and the players he has signed have a desire to be successful.

It is a pity that won't be cut too much slack in the New Year. The word is that some funds will need to be generated.

I've not seen him yet – except on television – but if the rumours are right Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are tracking Will Hughes, then he must be half-decent.

Therefore, I wish for Mr Clough a clean and healthy balance sheet that gives him an evens-chance of pushing Derby upwards.

Paul Lambert (Aston Villa manager) Having witnessed a car-crash of a performance in the first home fixture against Everton, I feared for Villa.

I fear no longer but I'd be happier still if they had a playmaker who could really make a difference in the final third of the field.

The Scot deserves credit for his policy. A few players have certainly done themselves no harm. I've always liked Ciaran Clark. Chris Herd is a battler and should have been given a chance to establish himself as a right-back under Alex McLeish.

More from Neil Moxley…

The Midlander: Darren's situation has Villa Bent out of shape
07/12/12

The Midlander: Cunning Clarke has West Brom punching above their weight
22/11/12

The Midlander: Football is a results business… but it's never that clear cut for Clark and Clough
15/11/12

The Midlander: Was O'Neill a good Villa boss Let's end this debate once and for all…
08/11/12

The Midlander: Coventry can begin to paint rosy future with morale-boosting Wembley run
19/10/12

The Midlander: Pearson deserves so much more as Leicester target the Premier League
12/10/12

The Midlander: Bent mystery at Villa making life under Lambert very interesting
04/10/12

The Midlander: Baggies crashed out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously
27/09/12

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But the former Blues boss went out and bought Alan Hutton instead. Expensive mistake, that. Nathan Baker has been a revelation and, obviously, Christian Benteke has caught the eye.

I have to say I'm a huge Matthew Lowton fan. This boy goes about his business in a quiet, effective and understated fashion. Where Lambert is lacking is someone with a bit of guile to take games such as the one against Stoke City at the weekend and open up defences or fire one in from the edge of the box.

So, it's a number ten for Paul Lambert. And a Wembley appearance Another League Cup triumph Fingers crossed.

Nigel Pearson (Leicester City boss) The easiest present of the lot to source. No boardroom interference…please.

Leicester's boss can be a crotchety so-and-so on occasion but if the Foxes' hierarchy can leave him alone, I have a feeling he will end up delivering this season.

From what I've seen, Danny Drinkwater has come on leaps and bounds and by securing a defender of Wes Morgan's quality, Pearson was always going to reap rewards in the medium-term.

I've a sneaky feeling the Foxes will be adding – hurray – to our Midlands' contingent in the top-flight next season.

Steve Clarke (West Brom head coach) I'd just like a dash of reality to be sprinkled all over Clarke's Christmas pud.

While everyone outside of the club appears to be getting carried away by a storming start to the season, it was always likely that the Baggies would suffer a slight blip somewhere along the way.

It seems that blip is now. The overall quality of Clarke's squad will see them finish well clear of trouble, but all this nonsense about Europe needs to be nipped in the bud early on.

The time to talk about that is April. The only other point is that Youssouf Mulumbu's form so far this season has been sensational. I do hope his presence is not missed during the African Cup of Nations.

Clarke won't get carried away, he's too experienced for that. But it will be interesting to see how he handles this, given that he's now number one in his own right.

Dispute: Coventry City need an end to the dispute over their stadium, the Ricoh Arena

Dispute: Coventry City need an end to the dispute over their stadium, the Ricoh Arena

Coventry City – the whole club – the board of directors, manager Mark Robins and his players and the long-suffering support – need an end to the situation with the stadium which, quite frankly, must be resolved to the benefit of the club.

I understand why the holding company was formed and the reasons for it. But it is a nonsense that the decision-makers at the Sky Blues do not have access to matchday revenues.

I have no axe to grind with ACL whatsoever. But I fear that before the end of the year this could all end horribly. I don't think ACL will offer the kind of rent reduction the club is seeking.

I'm not sure they can. They have a mortgage to pay themselves. So, it could get worse before it gets better. It's just such a sad situation.

But it's one the football club has to address, or else it will continue to chase its' tail, I'm afraid.

I just wish the fans some good cheer on the pitch. I have a feeling Mark Robins is going to get the Sky Blues going again.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – I could be glib, here. I could say, a tin of paint-remover for boss Stale Solbakken following that incident with his beamer the other week.

But I'm not going to. I wish him all the best as, from my admittedly limited dealings with him, he has been absolutely honest and truthful when fronting up Wolves' recent failings.

I loved his comment about fearing the sack. ('I was dead, why should that bother me') I also believe owner Steve Morgan is one of the game's good guys.

Despite the flak he continues to receive chief executive Jez Moxey most certainly is one of the good guys. Under his stewardship Wolves have always tried to act in a proper manner.

They may come up short on occasion – as they did with Mick McCarthy's sacking. But there were phone calls made to the press afterwards to dissect why the club had such a hard time of it.

They wanted to learn from their mistakes. Believe me, if only a few more were like that. I wish top six for Solbakken – and Morgan and Moxey too for that matter.

A signing or two in the New Year to add fresh impetus would be nice, too.

Fresh faces: Wolves manager Stale Solbakken (pictured) could do with some new signings to help their bid for an instant return to the Premier League

Fresh faces: Wolves manager Stale Solbakken (pictured) could do with some new signings to help their bid for an instant return to the Premier League

Nottingham Forest – see Leicester City. Leave Sean O'Driscoll alone. Let him manage the club. It will come right.

The financial bonanza that accompanies promotion to the Premier League distorts the thinking at some clubs.

And the word is that the Kuwaitis are getting frustrated – as the Thai owners at Leicester did last season.

Forest have improved markedly from last season when I thought they were going down.

But O'Driscoll – and Steve Cotterill – moved them away to safety. Let's just see where we are in February and if the manager wants to strengthen then, it might be an idea to let him.

As for yours truly, I need three things.

The first is a treadmill. After asking Mr Solbakken whether he was fit to do the job at Molineux following his heart scare, (and with the hindsight of what happened to Gerard Houllier, I thought it was a relevant topic) he challenged me to a race around the Molineux pitch. Ten times. Clearly I need to get fit.

Secondly, I'd like a pair of sunglasses. That way I could have hidden when, during an exchange involving Steve Clarke and a colleague who asked what Roy Hodgson had said after the Scot confirmed that the England coach had been in touch, I dropped myself in it.

I piped up: 'He just asked how his team was getting on.' I got a few laughs from the floor and none from Mr Clarke. I apologised and he was gracious. But that stare…

Lastly, I need a good book. My Albion-loving pal Chris Lepkowski has chartered West Brom's rise during the past decade in his tome: 'In pastures green.'

No-one has been closer to the events at the Hawthorns during the past ten years than Chris. And he's a good writer. So I'll settle for an afternoon reading that.

Until next week…

Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll looks on

 Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson

Interference: Both Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll (left) and Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson would benefit from a lack of interference by members of their respective boards

Chelsea images of Battersea Power Station stadium

Power surge! Chelsea show they're still fighting for Battersea with detailed images

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UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 22 June 2012

They may not have been selected as the preferred bidder for Battersea Power Station, but that hasn't stopped Chelsea releasing an artists impression of what they hope their stadium on the prospective site would look like.

The European champions are on the lookout for suitable locations across West London having out-grown their Stamford Bridge home, and last month submitted an official bid for one of the capital's most iconic buildings.

Feel the power: Chelsea have released images of how they envisage Battersea Power Station looking should they move to the site

Feel the power: Chelsea have released images of how they envisage Battersea Power Station looking should they move to the site

Feel the power: Chelsea have released images of how they envisage Battersea Power Station looking should they move to the site

The move attracted fierce opposition from sections of the club's fanbase, but senior figures have continued to press ahead with the proposal.

In the latest step forward, Chelsea have produced a selection of images with the help of development partner Almacantar and architects Kohn Pedersen Fox as a way of seemingly applying pressure on the current preferred bidders.

Chelsea plan to develop the site into a 60,000 stadium that would incorporate the power station's iconic four chimneys.

In a statement released on their website, the club said: “It is important that our fans understand that Chelsea Football Club is not currently in discussions with the sellers of the site.

'The sellers have selected a Malaysian consortium as their preferred bidders, and we understand negotiations are continuing. We do not know if those negotiations will be successful or not.

Time for change: Battersea Power Station is one of London's most iconic buildings

Time for change: Battersea Power Station is one of London's most iconic buildings

'As per our previous statement, and as these images show, we believe the prospect of developing a new stadium on the site could be very attractive for the club, and would have the potential to become one of the most iconic stadiums in the world, offering many benefits for Wandsworth, for London, and, of course, for Chelsea fans.

'We firmly believe our proposals could address the unique challenges presented by the site.

'The design would integrate the stadium with the power station in a sensitive, unique and powerful way, with all significant historical aspects of the Power Station to be retained.

Not big enough: Stamford Bridge is the smallest of the stadiums of the big four

Not big enough: Stamford Bridge is the smallest of the stadiums of the big four

'In creating an iconic world-class stadium we would preserve the four chimneys and wash towers along with the historically significant west turbine hall and control room, all to be restored and retained in their original locations.'

Preferred bidders SP Setia and Sime Darby were given a 28-day period of due diligence – running to July 5 – to prove everything is in place to carry out their 400m 'real estate regeneration project'.

They also plan to build a tube station on the premises that will connect to the Northern Line.

Abramovich outbid for Battersea Power Station stadium site as Chelsea search for new home

Power failure: Abramovich outbid for Battersea stadium site as Chelsea search for new home

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UPDATED:

10:02 GMT, 7 June 2012

Chelsea have failed in their bid to build a new stadium at Battersea Power Station.

In May the Blues revealed that they had submitted an application to move to the 39-acre site in Wandsworth, but administrators revealed this morning that a joint bid by two Malaysian companies – SP Setia and Sime Darby – had been chosen instead.

Failed: Chelsea's bid to build a new Battersea stadium has been ended

Failed: Chelsea's bid to build a new Battersea stadium has been ended

A statement from Ernst & Young read: 'Following an extensive global marketing campaign, undertaken by Ernst & Young Real Estate Corporate Finance and Knight Frank LLP, the Joint Administrators are pleased to announce that on Wednesday 6 June 2012 they entered into an exclusivity agreement with SP Setia and Sime Darby and are working towards a timely exchange and completion of the site and associated land.'

The European champions are considering moving away from their Stamford Bridge home as their current capacity of around 42,000 is preventing them from bringing in the kind of matchday revenue enjoyed by the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, who have much bigger stadiums.

Chelsea revealed in plans last month that they intended to transform the Grade II listed building on the south bank of the River Thames in to 'one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world'.

Disappointed: Roman Abramovich will not be impressed

Disappointed: Roman Abramovich will not be impressed

Their plan for Battersea was to develop it into a 60,000-seater ground that included the power station's four chimneys.

When they released their plans, Chelsea insisted that they had definitely not committed themselves to leaving Stamford Bridge, although they also claimed it was not economically viable to redevelop their current west London home.

The Blues have also been linked with other sites in south-west London.
SP Setia and Sime Derby revealed in a release to the Malaysian stock exchange this morning that their 400million 'multi-use real estate regeneration project' bid had been successful.

They also plan to build a tube station on the premises that will connect to the Northern Line.

Home sweet home: Chelsea currently play at Stamford Bridge

Home sweet home: Chelsea currently play at Stamford Bridge

A 28-day period of due diligence will now follow, but the hopes Chelsea had of relocating to the site of one of London's most iconic landmarks are seemingly over.

Last October the fans' group who own the freehold of Stamford Bride, Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), rejected an offer from the club's owner Roman Abramovich, to buy their shares.

CPO shareholders have accused Chelsea of failing to fully explore the prospect of revamping Stamford Bridge, while Hammersmith and Fulham Council have disputed the club's claims that doing so would be far more expensive that moving.

Boris Johnson could reject Chelsea"s Battersea Power Station move

Non-starter: Johnson could put brakes on Chelsea's Battersea Power Station move

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UPDATED:

17:38 GMT, 5 May 2012

Boris Johnson's re-election as London Mayor may have dealt the first blow to Chelsea's hopes of transforming Battersea Power Station into their new home.

The Blues confirmed they had submitted a bid to build a 60,000-seater stadium on the 39-acre site in Wandsworth, hours before Johnson was declared the winner in the battle to run the capital for the next four years.

The mayor is one of the people Chelsea will need to convince to allow them to redevelop the Grade II* listed Battersea Power Station but his chief of staff and Deputy Mayor for planning, Sir Edward Lister, has said: 'I don't think the site is suitable for Chelsea, and nor do a lot of people. It's not a goer.'

Not a fan: London Mayor Boris Johnson is understood to be against the stadium move

Not a fan: London Mayor Boris Johnson is understood to be against the stadium move

Lister claimed the transport infrastructure was not 'geared up' for 60,000 football fans, despite the Blues having offered to make a 'significant contribution' towards the 900million cost of a proposed extension to the Northern Line.

Chelsea also face fierce competition for the power station, with a number of interested parties having submitted what were sealed bids.

That prevented the Blues' billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, from knowing precisely how much he needed to offer to beat off any opposition.

Even if Chelsea succeed, they cannot move anywhere before convincing fan-led group Chelsea Pitch Owners to sell them the freehold to Stamford Bridge.

Keen to move: Chelsea want to move to a bigger stadium

Keen to move: Chelsea want to move to a bigger stadium

Were that to happen, they would then need the permission of English Heritage to revamp Battersea Power Station itself.

The club have already said they would restore the building's four iconic chimneys and west turbine hall.

An English Heritage spokesperson told Press Association Sport today: “We were, of course, aware that Chelsea FC has taken an interest in the Battersea site. Our understanding is that they are one of a number of bids.

'It will be our role to look at and advise on the impact of any proposals that come forward.

'Full planning permission and listed building consent were granted in 2005 for a mixed-use scheme promoted by Parkview.

Prime location: Chelsea are one of the bidders hoping to buy Battersea Power Station

Prime location: Chelsea are one of the bidders hoping to buy Battersea Power Station

'Permission and consent were again granted in 2011 for a different mixed use scheme promoted by Treasury Holdings.

'English Heritage provided consent for both conversion schemes, alongside Wandsworth BC and the Mayor or London.

'The power station is listed at grade two star in recognition of it powerful scale, celebrated silhouette, and that, as a power station it was the first to rationalise large-scale distribution of power – the 'Cathedral of Power' provided a fifth of London's electricity.

'The building is a masterpiece of industrial design. It is one of London's most prominent landmarks and one of a few with a genuine claim to the title 'iconic'.'

FA Cup final: Chelsea v Liverpool can make competition great again

A Final to make Cup shine again: Chelsea fired up for bid to make history

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 4 May 2012

Chelsea will switch their sights from one London landmark to another, trading the towering chimneys of Battersea Power Station for the arch that so magnificently spans Wembley. Clearly they are aiming high.

Liverpool’s supporters might mock them for having ‘no history’ when they occupy their half of the stadium but the record books and some of their record-breaking players would suggest that is rather unfair.

For a start, they would point to the fact that today they have the chance to win the FA Cup for the fourth time in six seasons, and the sixth time since a certain Roberto Di Matteo — their interim manager — scored that stunning first-minute goal in 1997.

Record breakers: If Chelsea win it will be an amazing four FA Cup victories in the last six tournaments

Record breakers: If Chelsea win it will be an amazing four FA Cup victories in the last six tournaments

The predicted teams

‘I have moved on since then,’ said Di Matteo, even if nobody was being fooled by his laissez-faire attitude. He is desperate to win the Cup as a manager as well as a player.

Between the late kick-off time and some critical Barclays Premier League matches, the FA Cup might seem like the poor relation of English football this weekend. But try telling that to the players involved. Try telling that to Kenny Dalglish when the outcome of this final could determine if he keeps his job — and to Di Matteo and the Chelsea players, who believe the next fortnight could amount to the club’s finest hour.

At Chelsea’s Cobham training ground on Friday Frank Lampard could not contain his excitement, admitting that victory today and again in the Champions League final in a fortnight would supersede the three Premier League titles and five domestic cups he has already won. It would, in Lampard’s opinion, be the finest moment in the club’s history as well as the finest in his distinguished career.

Lampard said he has dared to dream, dared to envisage himself succeeding in what has proved a painful pursuit of the European Cup but also celebrating what would be a glorious, unexpected conclusion to a difficult season at Stamford Bridge.

‘I think about it in bed at night,’ he said. ‘We all have those moments when you dream about being a big part of a successful game, both tomorrow and two weeks from now. I visualise certain situations. I’ve always done that. When I was here with Claudio Ranieri I had a problem with scoring and he told me to visualise scoring.

‘But I think about what might be coming for us every night, I really do. I’ve never been more aware about what a situation like this means, tomorrow, in two weeks.

‘The FA Cup Final is a game you are always going to want to win, and it’s a massive game against a big team. And then that Champions League is something we’ve always wanted and I’m desperate to win it, I make no bones about that.

Tricky: Luis Suarez will be tough for Chelsea's defence to handle

Tricky: Luis Suarez will be tough for Chelsea's defence to handle

‘What Liverpool’s fans say about us doesn’t annoy me. They should be proud of their history but Chelsea should be as well and we are trying to create history this season.

‘It could possibly be the best yet. The first league we won was amazing and if anything manages to beat that then it would be truly special because that was fantastic. But we are on the brink of something that could rival it, if not beat it.’

History is not lost on Chelsea’s power house of a striker, either. Like a number of Liverpool players, Didier Drogba has already left his mark on the FA Cup. In the three FA Cup finals he has won, he has scored the decisive goal on two occasions and the opening goal in the other. Some record.

Wembley inspires Drogba, having seduced him long before he arrived in England to play for Chelsea.

He said: ‘Wembley is the most famous stadium in the world. The new one is amazing but I always dreamed of playing at the old stadium. I remember all those great games I watched on television. I remember Eric Cantona, one of my favourite players, scoring that goal against Liverpool in 1996.

‘It became my dream to do the same one day. I think we’ve won all our FA Cup finals there, so it’s a good stadium for us.’

At 34, Drogba is enjoying something of a renaissance, impressing as much with his industry as his killer instinct. He says it owes much to the fact that he came late into the game at this level. ‘I was 25 or 26, so I feel fresh,’ he said.

Preparation: Chelsea ready themselves for the big day

Preparation: Chelsea ready themselves for the big day

But he also said he has finally recovered from some troublesome injuries, among them a badly broken arm that demanded further surgery. ‘The screws needed to be adjusted,’ he said.

Drogba was among a number of players who praised Di Matteo yesterday. ‘I think he’s shown that he’s a good manager,’ he said, while John Mikel Obi urged the club to ‘make the right decision’ and appoint the Italian on a permanent basis. He likened him to Guus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho.

‘He is very similar,’ said Mikel. ‘Very good tactically.’

John Terry knows as well as anyone that the views of the players can count for nothing when it comes to Roman Abramovich and his attitude towards his managers. But he too would like to think that victory in the FA Cup would enhance Di Matteo’s chances of remaining in charge.

‘A win will put him in a very good position,’ said Chelsea’s captain.

Wembley king: Didier Drogba loves to score goals at the stadium

Wembley king: Didier Drogba loves to score goals at the stadium

This is a final that could impact on the future of both managers. Dalglish has won one trophy already this season but Liverpool’s desperate form in the Premier League leaves hims needing a second to appease the club’s American owners.

For Di Matteo the pressure is not so intense. Not being the permanent manager, he has nothing to lose.

His focus, he explained, will be on players like Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, and the full backs through which Liverpool mount so many attacks. He said he would look to ‘identify their weaknesses’ and lay the foundations of what could be a landmark two weeks for Chelsea.