Ray Wilkins picks his best XI
Just a few days ago, there was a very interesting interview by Matt Lawton for the Daily Mail - the subject was Ray "Butch" Wilkins.
It is my opinion that whenever I see Wilkins on TV that he has nearly always come across as being level headed and probably a calming influence in any dressing room. I must admit to being surprised about his driving offences a few months ago as this seemed to be out of character and for an ex-player with so much knowledge of the game, it does seem somewhat surprising that he has found managerial roles really tough to come by.
Although I was not old enough to actually remember the FA Cup FInal of 1970, I do remember the nucleus of that team that stayed together at Chelsea for at least the first five years of the seventies. You will often hear people say that football is not the way it used to be and back then it was a "man's game". There is some truth to that because let us not forget that this was an era that also produced some very skill-full players in Britain alone such as George Best, Eddie Gray, Tony Currie, Stan Bowles and Frank Worthington to name just a few of many.
Tackles would go flying in but for the best part these players if they were caught by one would just get up and get on with it unlike modern players. The skill-full players of real talent would also have enough intelligence (or have to learn it quickly) to see many of these challenges coming and from that there is no doubt that it must have made them even better players than today's equivalent that are so well protected by the rules that at times because they know it they can antagonise their opponents knowing that they cannot touch them without the real threat of an easy red card decision going against them.
Signed by Arsenal in 1997 from Monaco for £2.5 million, Manu Petit joined his old manager Arsene Wenger in North London forming a formidable central midfield partnership with fellow Frenchman Patrick Vierra. During his three year spell with The Gunners it was his first year that was the most memorable as Arsenal completed the Premier League and FA Cup double and was then it capped off with winning the World Cup.
Petit was sold along with Marc Overmars to Barcelona in 2000 for £7 million but failed to settle and returned to England with Chelsea just a year later. A knee injury caused his retirement in 2005 just when he was on the verge of a move back to Arsenal but was unable to regain full fitness and an operation on the knee would mean that he would never be able to achieve this.
In this interview he reveals the troubles that he personally endured at Barcelona, why he should of joined Manchester United on returning to England and why he never felt fully accepted by Chelsea fans.
Last Sunday on "Goals on Sunday" saw two Chelsea legends as the guests on the show.
Dennis Wise joined Chelsea from Wimbledon and it was at these two clubs he had most of his success with FA Cup and Cup Winners Cup winners medals. On being forced out at Chelsea by manager Claudio Rannieri things went downhill rapidly and he ended getting sacked as a player at Leicester and then trying to sue the club for wrongful dismissal. He then had short spells at Southampton and Coventry before hanging up his boots for good.
Between these clubs though he did lead Millwall to an FA Cup final as player-manager and in full management was in charge at Swindon Town and Leeds United before becoming an executive director at Newcastle United - a move that unsettled manager Kevin Keegan and also upset Bobby Robson in the standard of his signings for the club.
Gianfranco Zola arrived at Chelsea having played all of his career in Italy previously predominantly with Napoli and then Parma. He quickly became a fan favourite and by the end of his spell at the club had become a legend. Zola scored the winning goal against Stuttgart in the Cup Winners Cup final just seconds after coming onto the pitch as a substitute. Sardinian born Zola finished his playing career back on the island where he was born with his beloved Cagliari and helped to earn the club promotion to Serie A.
After retirement he was on the staff of the Italian Under 21 team and then made a move back to England to take over at West Ham United in 2008. He was sacked in 2010 and replaced by Avram Grant.
A little known fact about the Italian star is that back in 1983 when he was still in his late teens, he appeared in the Bonnie Tyler video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart". When I first heard of this I did not believe it so had to see it for myself. Watching the video I thought the evidence was inconclusive until nearly the end when I had one of those OMG moments! Don't believe me? Here is a link to the video on you tube so go and see it for yourself.
There were loads of articles on the old site and I have began to transfer some of the most popular ones over to this site.