THURSDAY THOUGHTS: MONTH OF EXTREMBER
Chelsea TV's Chris Cohen continues to play super sub for Giles Smith who returns next week. In this week's fan's-eye column on matters Chelsea, he considers a sparse fortnight ahead…
Now we've all been a little naughty haven't we? Like children who get far too over-excited on Christmas morning, we've gone and done the football equivalent of opening all our presents too quickly and played our first three matches all in one week.
Don't get me wrong, it was a very nice haul of gifts, each present containing three points and a nice scattering of goals. It's also a jolly great thing to be three points clear already. But, every year growing up, I would be that child - the one who tore open all his presents in about 10 seconds then sat and watched, full of envy, as my brother savoured his gift load 'til the late afternoon.
We've now got to sit back and do the same as fans this weekend, as all the other Premier League children get to open one more gift before that long, slightly tedious international break. Of course, we can still all relish in the fact that they might not be opening up three points. It would be fabulous if United and City were to both open their gifts and find a pair of socks or a kitchen utensil (zero points and a draw respectively).
We do of course have that bonus gift from a great aunt we'd forgotten about with the Super Cup match on Friday night, but again that will be over long before the first ball is kicked on Saturday and we'll have played with that for hours and it'll be all grubby and boring like my Micro Machine mini city in a van I got in December '92.
Anyway, I'm going to stop talking about Christmas now as it's August and it feels weird. The point is, we're going to have to find a way to keep ourselves occupied over the next two weeks until our next league fixture on the 15th September against QPR.
Sure, we've got the transfer window excitement, although quite how Chelsea can excite us any more than they have done already with Oscar, Marin, Hazard, Moses and that very good right-back from Spain who's name has never been written down the same twice (but is Cesar Azpilicueta), I don't know.
We also have the aforementioned international break to keep us occupied where, as well as cheering on England against Moldova and Ukraine (both of whom I'm pretty sure England are playing for the 17th time in the last two years) we can watch, behind the sofa, through squinted eyes and parted hands, the news come in from all the other matches around the world, hoping our boys have scored five goals each in the first 25 minutes then been taken off and put in a box full of duvets, feathers and bubble wrap to keep them unscathed in transit, and potpourri, just to keep them smelling fresh. To be honest, if Cech manages five goals in the opening 25 minutes then something is very wrong with the set-up of the opposing team.
I am never a fan of international breaks, especially when they come so early in the season. It's like going to see Coldplay performing live and the band coming on to the stage, playing three songs then individually swanning off to Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Faroe Islands for a couple of hours before popping back to play 'Clocks'. It's worse of course when it's just for a friendly match and I suppose I should be more understanding for these World Cup qualifiers, but I'd still rather these things happen well away from the domestic season.
I have been trying to get a petition started for the last four years to create a new month between July and August for precisely this purpose. It's called Extrember and it gives everyone that extra four weeks we'd need to ensure that qualifying rounds for international tournaments and the tournaments themselves have taken place without disturbing our domestic season. It's also means you can avoid the school holiday demand in August if you want to go away with the kids, and it has four bank holidays already built in. It's a pretty awesome month.
I'm still dotting the i's and crossing the t's at present and I'm also involved in a really long-winded battle with calendar manufacturers, trying to persuade them to get onboard, so for the time being we'll have to make do with the current system. I reckon the players would be well up for it though.
Anyway, whatever you choose to do to entertain yourselves over the next couple of weeks, keep your fingers crossed that our lads return from international duty fit and ready to pick up where they left off. Oh, and tell your friends about it to get Extrember trending on Twitter, that's exactly the kind of exposure we need.