Jose Mourinho claims there are no former Chelsea players working as television pundits, yet he may have overlooked a few…
There were two particularly controversial incidents during the Blues 2-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, both of which involved penalty claims. Firstly, Eden Hazard felt he should have been awarded a spot-kick when he took a tumble after clashing with Lucas Leiva, and in the second half, when Luis Suarez appeared to have been unnecessarily checked by Samuel Eto’o, who was perhaps lucky to be on the pitch after an early studded foul on Jordan Henderson.
Referee Howard Webb denied both appeals, and after the match the general consensus was that Hazard stuck his right leg out in an attempt to fool the official into giving him the decision whilst, perhaps for once, Suarez was wronged as he was clearly blocked by the Cameroonian when chasing the ball down.
Of the above, the Sky Sports punditry team of Manchester United legend Gary Neville, recently retired Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, and former England coach Glenn Hoddle all agreed. Yet when asked his opinion after the match, Mourinho claimed his man was clearly fouled and that not only was Eto’o innocent, but Suarez should have been booked for diving. Not only this, but he went on to point out a supposed lack of former Chelsea players on television.
“There are lots of people on TV, but nobody a Chelsea man,” said the Portuguese. “Jamie Carragher? Liverpool. Alan Hansen? Liverpool. Phil Thompson? Liverpool. Jamie Redknapp? Liverpool. Mark Lawrenson? Liverpool. We don’t have one. When I retire, 75 years old, I go as a pundit to defend Chelsea on television.”
So, does Mourinho have a point? Well, there are certainly a lot of ex-Liverpool players who have gone on to forge careers as pundits. As well as those mentioned, he could have added Graeme Souness, John Barnes, Steve McManaman, Kevin Keegan, Jim Beglin and Robbie Fowler, all of whom are often seen on the box.
Yet to say there is a lack of former Chelsea players in the media is a little misleading. In fact, there could give their contemporaries from Anfield a run for their money.
Hoddle, for starters, spent three years at Stamford Bridge as a player and manager. Ray Wilkins was a former captain and spent six years patrolling their midfield, as well as having two stints as caretaker manager and a two-year spell as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant. He is these days joined in the Sky Sports studio by Ruud Gullit who, as player-manager, led the Londoners to their first major trophy in 26 years when they won the FA Cup in 1997. Another former manager, Gianluca Vialli, is also on the roster of regular pundits for Sky television, particularly on European nights, as is Michael Ballack, who was a mainstay of their midfield for four years.
And it doesn’t end with Sky.
A regular feature of ITV’s live coverage is Andy Townsend, who has established himself as their main co-commentator; Pat Nevin was the expert pundit for Channel 5’s European nights; Craig Burley was a regular on ESPN and now works for BT Sport; and Graeme Le Saux is often seen on the BBC sofas.
Maybe Jose doesn’t own a television, or perhaps he only has a very limited subscription. If that is the case, then he could always tune into talkSPORT on the radio, when most days he can listen to Jason Cundy waxing lyrical about one of former, and his most famous, clubs…Chelsea.