Chelsea hire All Blacks chief who launched 'no d***heads' policy

By Sports Desk February 07, 2023

Chelsea have hired the All Blacks mind coach who introduced a "no d***heads" policy as Graham Potter looks to turn the Blues into winners.

Heavy investment in players since Todd Boehly came in as owner has not yet been followed by success on the pitch, with Chelsea a disappointing ninth in the Premier League.

Thomas Tuchel was sacked in September and his replacement, Potter, is battling to prove he can be the coach to deliver strong results and trophies to Stamford Bridge.

Now Gilbert Enoka is heading to the London club after making an impressive impact in rugby union with New Zealand over the past 20 years.

Enoka, who stepped up from being mental skills coach to become leadership manager with New Zealand, will join up with Chelsea on what New Zealand said was a "short-term consultancy basis".

The incoming expertise should be a boost to Potter, with the widely acclaimed Enoka having been part of an All Blacks set-up that won Rugby World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015.

Chelsea have spent around £600million on new players in the past two transfer windows, without their sprees having had any obviously positive effect on results, and installing a positive mindset appears to be what they are looking at achieving.

Enoka revealed in early 2017 how his famous policy functioned within the New Zealand ranks, saying: "A d***head makes everything about them.

"We look for early warning signs and wean the big egos out pretty quickly. Our motto is, 'If you can't change the people, change the people'."

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    Robert Hadad, chairman of the Normalisation Committee, expressed satisfaction with the way in which they steered the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), and is now happy that they turned over the reins to newly-elected president Kieron Edwards and his administration.

    Hadad, who was on hand when Edwards and his Team Progressive topped Colin Wharfe 38-19 at the recent TTFA's elections and Extraordinary Congress in Couva, is now delighted to move on with his personal life, having done enough for football in the twin island republic for the past four years.

    Edward's administration is the first self-governed TTFA in more than four years. This as William Wallace's administration was removed months after being elected in November 2019, as FIFA intervened and installed the Hadad-chaired Normalisation Committee in March 2020, citing financial concerns.

    “I have no intention of doing anything more. I am quite happy to move on with my personal life. I love fishing, I love the outdoors, and I’m going to continue in my quest for some personal, private time, without anything hanging over my head, like football," Hadad declared.

    That said, the local businessman, whose four years in charge was to oversee the liquidation of a multi-million TTFA debt that stood for decades, believed he did his best to complete the mandate given to him by FIFA.

    “I was very satisfied with what we were able to achieve. I think that the last four years have brought us (to) a better place and I’m content with that. I don’t think I can please everybody, and I don’t think I will ever please everybody," he said.

    “The Association, I would think, they are in a pretty good place. The Association is debt free, save an except for the financial arrangement with FIFA which will be paid off over the next ten years. The rest of it is up to Mr Edwards now and the membership, to take football forward,” Hadad added.

    While applauding the large turnout of TTFA delegates at Saturday's elections, Hadad, whose four years in charge was to oversee the liquidation of a multi-million TTFA debt that stood for decades, expressed optimism that football will not only move forward, but more importantly, impact lives enough to assist in decreasing the crime rate.

    “I’d like to congratulate the TTFA members. I think they were very professional coming out in their numbers, 100% attendance. The normalisation process is completed," Hadad said, adding that debtors had been paid, with the exception of disputed matters involving Englishmen Terry Fenwick and Peter Miller, which are before the local courts.

    “There are two matters before the court and those matters have to be resolved. The trustee Maria Daniel will continue working to bring those matters to a close,” he noted.

    Meanwhile, Edwards praised Hadad and his Normalisation Committee for the work done.

    “The Normalisation Committee played a crucial role in Trinidad and Tobago football. We need to understand that, and we need to acknowledge the service they would have given to Trinidad and Tobago football," the new TTFA president shared.

  • Werder Bremen suspend Naby Keita until end of season Werder Bremen suspend Naby Keita until end of season

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    The 29-year-old former Liverpool midfielder did not feature in a 5-0 defeat at the Bay Arena, with his club claiming he had chosen “not to travel to the ground with the team and decided to go home instead” after discovering he was not in the starting line-up.

    A statement on the club’s official website said: “Werder Bremen have suspended Naby Keita until the end of the season. The club have also handed the midfielder a substantial fine.”

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    Leverkusen’s win clinched them the title and left Bremen sitting in 12th place, just five points clear of the bottom three with as many games remaining.

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  • Golden Boot: Cole Palmer moves joint-top as England stars dominate standings Golden Boot: Cole Palmer moves joint-top as England stars dominate standings

    Cole Palmer has joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League goal-scorer’s chart after adding four more to his tally in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Everton.

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    Cole Palmer (Chelsea) – 20 goals in 28 appearances

    The 21-year-old’s remarkable first season at Chelsea just keeps getting better. Palmer, who did not score a league goal for Manchester City, has notched 10 in his last five league matches, rocketing into Golden Boot contention.

    Erling Haaland (Man City) – 20 goals in 26 appearances

    Haaland set the Premier League ablaze in 2022-23, claiming a new record of 36 goals in a season. The 23-year-old started like a train again this season before missing five games with a foot injury. Since returning in January he has scored six in 11 appearances, underwhelming by his standards, but the Norway hit man remains a heavy favourite to retain the Golden Boot.

    Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 19 goals in 32 appearances

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    Alexander Isak (Newcastle) – 17 goals in 24 appearances

    Isak has more than justified Newcastle’s outlay of around £60million after a thigh injury limited his impact in his first campaign at St James’ Park. The 24-year-old is the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 20 goals in a season for the club in all competitions.

    Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 17 goals in 26 appearances

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    Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) – 17 goals in 32 appearances

    When Solanke struck the opener in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United he broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a single season by a Bournemouth player. The 26-year-old has produced his best form under Andoni Iraola and could force his way into England’s plans for the Euros.

    Southgate’s sharp-shooters

    Gareth Southgate must be filled with excitement when he looks at the top 10 scorers in the Premier League this season, with six England players on the list.

    Palmer only made his England debut in November but his astonishing form for Chelsea must surely earn him a spot in the squad for this summer’s Euro 2024.

    Watkins could find himself in a straight shoot-out with Ivan Toney for the spot as back-up striker to Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, while Solanke has just one England cap to his name back in 2017.

    Further down the scoring charts, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a stellar campaign with 15 goals while Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has netted 10 goals since Christmas to take his tally to 14 overall.

    Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, a certain starter for England in Germany injury permitting, also has 14 goals to further add to their firepower.

    And when Kane’s 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern and Jude Bellingham’s 22 for Real Madrid are factored in, Southgate’s side are an exciting prospect.

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