It is proving to be a fairy tale finish for last year’s almost-relegated Leicester City in the English Premier League (EPL).
Even a 1-1 draw against Manchester United last evening couldn’t dim the jubilation in their joyous fans.
And it’s not just their die-hard fans who are celebrating.
The mid-level club has made fans all over the world with their glorious run to the title this season in an unlikely topsy-turvy EPL season.
Defending champions Chelsea are nowhere in the top four and will not qualify for next year’s Champions League.
They still lurk as potential spoilers for both title aspirants. Tottenham Hotspurs play them this evening and Chelsea encounter Leicester in their final game next week.
Should the Spurs drop any points to Chelsea, Leicester will be home and dry with two games in hand.
Should Chelsea lose, a win against Everton at home should suffice for the Foxes.
Either way, it’s looking very rosy for Claudio Ranieri’s men and the Italian manager will be looking forward to a two million pound bonus in his burgeoning kitty.
A couple of years ago, it was Atletico Madrid who made believers of sceptics knocking out Barcelona and Real Madrid on its way to its first La Liga title since 1996.
Atletico are in the running this year as well— a three-way race including Barcelona and Real Madrid.
It is always gratifying to see the small guy win and as this writer put it in his mid-season piece, “It’s not about whether you play as well as you can, it’s about simply doing better than the rest.”
That happens to be the story of this year’s EPL. None of the former champion sides could lift their standards high enough to take the fight to giant-slayers Leicester.
Leicester are deserving victors unless there’s an unlikely, nasty twist in the tale.
Former doubters disbelieve no more.
To be downgraded—an euphemism for ‘fired’—for simply doing your job on the field is egregious enough.
To be completely ignored during a so-called ‘investigation’ into the incident that led to your demotion is simply adding insult to injury.
Eva Carneiro must be wondering what hit her when the wrath of Jose Mourinho in all its ‘special’ splendor erupted on her when she treated Eden Hazard during a Chelsea game a couple of months ago.
She was labelled ‘naive’ then by the club boss; she must certainly feel that way now that she’s no longer part of the club.
Carneiro refused to accept a shunting to the backstage preferring to tender her resignation instead.
The medic is also considering legal action against her erstwhile employers.
Mourinho is alleged to have called the doctor a ‘filha da puta (daughter of a whore)’.
The allegations were denied by the ‘Special One’. He said he had actually yelled ‘filho da puta’ (son of a bitch)’.
The Chelsea honcho has since been let off by the testimony of a Portuguese lip-reader.
Carrneiro was scathing in her response:
“I was surprised to learn that the FA was allegedly investigating the incident of 8th of August via the press. I was at no stage requested by the FA to make a statement.
I wonder whether this might be the only formal investigation in this country where the evidence of the individuals involved in the incident was not considered relevant. Choosing to ignore some of the evidence will surely influence the outcome of the findings.
Last season I had a similar experience at a game at West Ham FC, where I was subject to verbal abuse. Following complaints by the public, the FA produced a communication to the press saying there had been no sexist chanting during this game. At no time was I approached for a statement despite the fact that vile, unacceptable, sexually explicit abuse was clearly heard.
It is incidents such as these and the lack of support from the football authorities that make it so difficult for women in the game.”
Football Association board member Heather Rabbatt was sympathetic to Carneiro’s cause despite Mourinho being cleared of the charge of discriminatory comments by the FA’s investigating committee.
The FA, in a released statement, claimed that they were “satisfied that the words used do not constitute discriminatory language under FA Rules.”
“Furthermore, both the words used… and the video evidence, do not support the conclusion that the words were directed at any person in particular. Consequently…the FA will take no further action in relation to this matter.”
Women In Football were not so conciliatory.
“We believe it is appalling that her professionalism and understanding of football were subsequently called into question by manager Jose Mourinho and it threatened to undermine her professional reputation.
We also believe that Dr Carneiro’s treatment and ultimate departure from Chelsea FC sends out a worrying and alienating message to the already small numbers of female medical staff working in the national game.”
Rabbatts, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said:
“I have spoken to her in the last few days. She felt she had support and it’s very important; as you can imagine this is a terrible time for her.
Up until 8 August she was one of the most highly respected medics in her profession and at the moment she is out of the game she’s loved. I hope, with all of us learning lessons around these issues, that she will come back to the game in future.
I can’t go into what her ambitions and aspirations are but I know how much she loved her job and cares for the players. Becoming a highly-qualified doctor takes years of training, she was years at Chelsea, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to be lost to the game.
And we don’t want to lose her from the game. There are so few women in these professions that when people like her leave the game, it’s a real loss to so many other women and girls who aspire to play a role.
As I said in my statement, I was disappointed by how it was handled and I hope there are lessons for the future in how these very significant issues that affect the whole game are tackled.
There is something broader here. There must be really enforceable guidance so that no medic feels there can be any interference when they are called onto the field of play.
Remember, Dr Eva Carneiro did nothing wrong – in fact, if she had not gone onto the field of play, she would have been in breach of her own [General Medical Council] guidance.
We love the game for the strong passions but when that tips over into abusing somebody, ridiculing them, referencing them as a ‘secretary’, I do not believe that’s acceptable.”
Rabbatts’ publicly aired opinion triggered a response from FA chairman Greg Dyke.
Writing to the FA Council members, Dyke said:
“There have been some well-documented issues of late around equality and inclusion in the game, an issue where it is vital we continue to show clear leadership.
I felt the handling of the case of the Chelsea doctor, Eva Carneiro, was a good example of this. We supported Heather Rabbatts’ strong statement on the matter earlier in the month.
Personally I don’t think Mr Mourinho comes well out of the whole saga – he clearly made a mistake in the heat of a game, and should have said so and apologised.
Instead he has said very little and Miss Carneiro has lost her job.
Our regulatory team have investigated this and whilst Mr Mourinho has breached no rules it was clearly a failure of his personal judgement and public behaviour. This should be seen as such by the game.”
The FA, on their part, claim that they contacted Carneiro’s lawyers for a statement. Carneiro was still with Chelsea at the time.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said:
“We have never received any information or complaint from Dr Carneiro.
Including in written correspondence with her lawyers, it has been made explicitly clear that if Dr Carneiro had evidence to provide or wished to make a complaint she was more than welcome to do so. That route remains open.”
Mourinho was uncharacteristically reticent at his weekly press conference.
“For the past two months I didn’t open my mouth and I’m going to keep it like this. One day I will speak and I will choose a day.
I’m quiet about it for a long time. I read and I listen and I watch and I’m quiet. My time to speak will arrive when I decide.”
“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow. I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not,’ nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery. I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God. I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick. I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
The above text is the Hippocratic oath—the modern version—as transcribed by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University in 1964.
Will someone bother to inform Jose Mourinho, arguably the most powerful soccer manager in the world, in his own words, ‘The Special One’ that his players’ well-being comes first and then his side’s winning chances?
Eva Carneiro, the Chelsea team doctor and Gibraltarian sports medicine specialist of British and Spanish parentage, together with head physiotherapist Jon Fearn, rushed to treat Eden Hazard in Chelsea’s game against Swansea last Saturday reducing the number of players on the field to nine. This did not go down well with Mourinho who publicly rebuked them.
The temperamental coach criticised his medical staff as being “impulsive and naive” and displaying a lack of knowledge of the game.
Some might say the same of the Portuguese national’s remarks and actions being indicative of his lack of awareness of medical ethics.
While his castigation of Carneiro may not be sexist, it certainly is cause for concern as it shows a disturbing trend wherein players’ welfare is put after the club’s.
Peter Brukner, formerly Liverpool’s head of sports medicine and sports science and Australia cricket team doctor, said:
“I thought it was appalling behaviour by the manager. He has a player who has gone down, who has remained down and the referee obviously considered it serious enough to summon on the doctor and the physio. They went on as they must do when they are summoned on and the player is down, and as a result the player had to come off the ground. What do you expect the doctor to do? Just ignore the referee beckoning them on? Maybe he should be criticising his player for staying down, rather than the medical staff. The medical staff were only responding to the referee’s instruction to come and treat the player, who was on the ground. So then to criticise the medical staff publicly in the way that he did was absolutely appalling behaviour. The medical staff deserve a public apology and I’m very disappointed that the club hasn’t come out and done something to support them – they were just doing their job. Our first priority as doctors and physios is the health and safety of the individual player, and that’s what they were attending to. They were doing their job and they’ve been criticised very publicly for doing the job. I think that’s a very disappointing result.”
Carneiro has been with Chelsea since February 2009. She was previously with the British Olympic Medical Institute and with England Women’s Football and UK Athletics.
The Chelsea boss insists that the medical duo will not attend at this Sunday’s derby game against Manchester City.
Carneiro alienated Mourinho further by posting a ‘Thank you’ note on her Facebook account.
Ralph Rogers, a former team doctor for Chelsea under Carlo Ancelotti, criticised his contemporary.
“You are support staff. You’re not one of the stars. There’s almost a slap in the face to the manager.
Why would she go to social media? It’s something we, as a profession, ethically should not be doing.”
The Premier League Doctors’ Group though supported Carneiro.
Their prepared statement read:
“Dr Carneiro has universal and total support from her medical colleagues at the Premier League Doctors’ Group. It is also of great concern that at a time when the both the Premier League and the Premier League Doctors’ Group are intensifying efforts to safeguard player welfare, the precedent set by this incident demonstrates that the medical care of players appears to be secondary to the result of the game.
The Premier League Doctors’ Group considers that removing Dr Carneiro from the Chelsea team bench for their next match is unjust in the extreme. In the publicised incident in last Saturday’s game against Swansea, the Chelsea medical staff were clearly summoned on to the field of play by the match referee to attend to a player. A refusal to run on to the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.
It is a huge concern that Dr Carneiro has been subjected to unprecedented media scrutiny and a change in her professional role, merely because she adhered to her code of professional conduct and did her job properly.”
So what will it be?
Will the Chelsea supremo back down and accept his fault? The man demands total loyalty from his staff and considers himself a benevolent dictator.
Or will Eva Carneiro be reduced to backend support and, perhaps, an eventual exit?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Alex Ferguson waxes effusive on Jose Mourinho.
What he said:
“He’s good looking, he’s got that sort of George Clooney bit in his hair now. But I think he is a great example, he can speak five languages or whatever he can.”
Former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson showers praise on current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in an interview to Clare Balding for a BT Sport documentary to be broadcast on Boxing Day.
“He goes and becomes an interpreter for Bobby Robson, follows him to Barcelona, works under Louis Van Gaal; he is learning all the time.He [Mourinho] has got a determination, he wants to be a coach.He never played the game, by the way – you tell me how many presidents would give a manager a job who has never played the game? None. But he has done it.
Then he goes and manages a small team in Portugal, then goes to Porto and wins the league, wins the Uefa Cup, wins the European Cup, goes to Chelsea and wins the league. Goes to Inter Milan. That is an example to anyone who wants to do well, you shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to.”
Blues coach Mourinho reciprocated the Scot’s approval with similar acclaim (on the same show).
The Portuguese said that he always ordered the same bottle of wine whenever United played them at Stamford Bridge.
“It was Chelsea Football Club catering that bought the wine, and obviously the wine was not the top quality that the boss deserves. It was quite funny but disappointing.
So the next time we play against each other, I called a friend and I told him, the best I want the best.
And from that moment always the same bottle when I play against the boss.”
“Everything, his talent, the time he put his talent at the service of Manchester United and football in general. The passion that he has put in to everything, and after that in private moments, obviously, a good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much. Now and again I’ve had questions to put to him and the way he has answered to me was always magnificent and a great support.”
What Ferguson really meant:
“He’s better looking than me plus he can travel all over Europe with his facility for picking up new languages. Imagine he can coach in five different tongues and claim he’s the ‘Chosen One’ in each of them too.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“He (Mourinho) would make a great travelling salesman, wouldn’t he?”
What he said:
“Get a masters and become a doctor before you talk about my players’ fitness.”
Spanish midfielder and Chelsea stalwart Cesc Fabregas is displeased with the criticism from his countryman Sergio Ramos for not turning up for national duty. Fabregas missed two games for Spain—out with a hamstring injury.
Ramos, however, is no a paragon of virtue and holds the record for the most number of red cards by a Real Madrid player. He once left a match early to catch a bullfight.
“Yes I felt that I was the one being alluded to and I already told Sergio what I thought.It p—– you off when your commitment is questioned, of course it p—– you off. There have been a lot of matches and training camps I have turned up for without playing.I have made 94 appearances for Spain and for nine years I have always come, always. And with a smile from ear to ear.I said to Ramos he can call me on the telephone and say it to my face. I told him we have been playing together since the under-21s and there is no need to send messages in the media. But everything is fine.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho characteristically minced few words in responding to Ramos.
Since I’ve known Sergio Ramos he has been a fantastic football player, but he is not a doctor. He is not a doctor and I am the same. I do my job the best I can but I am not a doctor.My doctor and the doctor of the Spanish national team, they had the scans and they decided that the player was not in the condition to play.
I am nobody to go against it and I don’t think Sergio did a medicine Masters in the last couple of years to understand about it. Kompany didn’t play for Belgium against Wales and he played today. Has he a compromise with his national team? I think he has. He is the captain of Belgium.
Did he, how do you say, ‘cheat’ by not playing against Wales to play today? I don’t think he did. So we all accept that he was injured.
I trust my doctor 100 per cent. If Del Bosque doesn’t trust his doctor that is his problem not my problem. I speak with my doctor and I believe in what my doctor tells me. Nothing else. No problem.
Fabregas was in a doubtful situation, Diego no. Diego recovered totally from his problem with these two weeks that he had to rest and to improve his injury.
Fabregas is different. Fabregas survived. Diego no, Diego now is in great condition.”
What he really meant:
“I’m not a doctor. You’re not a doctor. Should we even be discussing this? Fabregas was the patient and he needed your patience, not your allegations.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I don’t trust our team doctor, so call me when you finish your degree. I have a vacancy to fill.”
What he said:
“He did a stupid reaction after the goal.You can be excited but you don’t have to pull your shirt off because then you have a yellow card. It is not so smart.”
Manchester United boss, Louis Van Gaal rebukes fellow Dutchman Robin Van Persie for taking off his jersey while celebrating his 94th minute equaliser against Chelsea. It was the first time since 9 December 2012 that United scored in injury time to either draw or snatch a victory.
Van Persie was booked by referee Phil Dowd for the infringement.
What he really meant:
“Couldn’t he have waited till the game was over to celebrate? He held back till the 94th minute, didn’t he?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“How about tiny-necked shirts for the players? That way, they’ll think twice about tearing them off especially when they’ll look like headless chickens with the tees draped around their heads…”
What he said:
“The same thing as ‘a project’. The project has to be flexible. The project is never the same from when we start to when we end. It’s like at my house. You change, I don’t like this door, you change. The windows.”
Jose Mourinho compares his footballing strategy to a project. He believes that players and tactics have to be flexible and adaptable.
“I prefer my team to press in a low block, but if the opponent prefers to build from the back, and they are fantastic, it gives them huge stability in their game – I’m going to press there. Liverpool wanted to play with Suarez behind the defenders, Sterling the same thing, and Steven Gerrard in front of the defenders. So I go there, I play Lampard on Stevie G, I play my block completely low. I win. And I’m criticised because I [am not allowed to] play that way. So I am the stupid one. I’m not fundamentalist. And I think some people in football are becoming a bit fundamentalist.”
What he really meant:
“Just like the scope of a project changes with every iteration, the way my team plays depends on the opponent’s style of play. I adapt to the situation accordingly. I am not rigid.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Of course, I have to keep my stakeholders and especially my sponsor happy. And did I mention that I can always jettison players when the transfer window comes around? That’s how flexible I really am.”