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On behalf of Chelsea in America - thank you Guus and Ray!
TALES FROM THE SPRING TRIP
Story and photos by Texas Blues member Sam Peterson
This year was my fourth in a row making it to the Bridge for a live Chelsea match, and I have to say there has never been any danger of this annual event becoming less of a thrill than it was the ﬁrst time. No matter how many games I watch on telly or via online score trackers while I'm stuck at work, there is just no comparison to the real thing. Standing in the Shed Upper, watching as the seats ﬁll up or joining the cheers as the boys come out for their warmup, I get goosebumps every single time. It's a horrible cliche, but being at the Bridge really is magic. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had these experiences, and even if I never make it to another Chelsea match (Zola forbid!), I'll always have some truly brilliant memories. I owe the Texas Blues/Chelsea in America a massive thank you for introducing me to the Spring Trip ﬁve years ago--you've changed my life! This year my match was the Fulham game on May 2nd. Everyone knows how that turned out, so I'll only highlight the types of things you don't see in match reports -Florent Malouda's new hairstyle, for instance. I love the lad, and apparently his changing 'do is positively correlated with renewed goalscoring, but really, Flo, what's with the topknot? You looked like a pineapple. Or as they say across the Channel, ananas. I had an excellent view of this style faux pas courtesy of my binoculars, so everyone in our area had a good laugh. But seriously, Flo can wear his fro in neon green corkscrews for all I care if he keeps playing the way he has since he's been ﬁt, which, incidentally, has been the subject of much debate. For those who aren't aware, Flo had some teeth surgery issues on top of recurring muscle problems that kept him from being at his best for large parts of his time at the club. Now that he's ﬁnally feeling good we're seeing a return to the promise he showed when he ﬁrst came, and I say, 'Allez, Monsieur Ananas!' Another thing that was very apparent at this game was the fantastic connection among our three French-speakers on the front line. Flo and Didi are long-time mates and it shows, but they seem to have embraced Nico as well and we're reaping the beneﬁts on the pitch. They do shout at each other in French, which must be confusing to opposition defenders. It was really nice to see them all score (though Didi's ﬁrst was incorrectly disallowed for offside--stupid linesman!) and celebrate the birth of Didi's fourth child together. It stinks that television match coverage usually misses that sort of thing, which really highlights the spirit and togetherness of this group of players. Journalists have questioned it at times this season and last but I knew better because I've seen how these boys interact for four years. They are a Chelsea family, and that's probably why they've been able to do well even when the club itself is in turmoil. Apart from some slick football, nice goals, and our blossoming French Connection, this match was special for the occasion of our Captain Fantastic's 400th appearance for the Club. They
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Tales from the Spring Trip Notes from the Chairwoman FA Cup Returns to the Bridge Chelsea Player Chronicles June Dates to Remember 5 Questions For.... Match Report from the Emirates Season Summary News from Sky Sports and the Chelsea Website
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DEEP FROM THE HEART
NOTES FROM THE CHAIRWOMAN
WHEN JOHN WENT UP TO LIFT THE FA CUP, WE WERE THERE, WE WERE THERE! Okay, maybe not really there, but in our hearts I know each of us was sure wishing we were, and if we weren’t I know most of us were with fellow Blues singing and cheering our team on to victory yesterday and wasn't it brilliant! I hope everyone had as wonderful a Cup day as I did! So with John and the team lifting the cup, that marks the end of the season, which always makes me a bit sad. A time to look back at all we have done and maybe didn’t do, the good and the bad, and the memories shared with Blue friends. This one had some real benchmarks for me personally, and though it offered all of us some trials and celebrations, it wasn’t a bad season over all. So what does a hardcore Blues supporter do when the summer season hits? Well, if you want a list tune into the podcast from May 25th as it is one of the many categories of thoughts Danny and I went over, so maybe it will give you some ideas. And what a great way to ﬁll that “missing” two hours in the summer, listening to a podcast or two. There are so many out there, including the legends ones. But for me, and many others, the summer will be ﬁlled with planning for the summer tour . . . and what will you be doing in the days between the 18th and 26th of July? I hope you are joining us! For all information on tickets, when, where, what else we are doing, how to get there, where to stay and loads more, follow the Summer Tour link on www.chelseainamerica.com We have so much up our sleeve it is just going to be the best summer tour ever!!!! I want to remind everyone if you have NOT ordered your tickets in our special area, you need to hurry up! We have to release those unsold tickets back to the promoters soon, so if you haven’t ordered your tickets and don’t do so soon, they will be gone. Also if you are traveling and need accommodations, please check out the great hotel deals we got. We are sharing these deals with non-members as well. We again only have a limited time to run the promotion the Sheraton has offered us on hotels at all four venues, and honestly they are very good value! Do not delay in booking your rooms! If you are worried about them charging your card, they don’t. The reservation only holds the room until you check in and then they will charge your card. So please support this initiative. For every 50 rooms we book we get a free room, which we will use to house a legend, and that cuts our expenses down. Just go to the CIA website, click the Summer Tour banner, ﬁnd the venue you need and click Hotel Information. One of the biggest parts of our summer tour plans is our sponsoring of two Chelsea legends, Tommy Langley and Clive Walker, along with ChelseaTV personality Neil Barnett to join us at all four dates! It should be great fun, and they are looking forward to the tour as well, more than you know. As our guests they will be around and involved in all our activities! But it isn’t free to bring them over. To that end we have our “armies” - one being the PCB and the other being the TXBlues - working hard raising funds to cover this expense. We are selling extra tickets in the Chelsea end (not in our section) to football loving folks in their area. And I want to personally thank everyone for their efforts that has raised their hand and got stuck in selling tickets. They have been getting to bars, arenas, soccer shops and youth soccer organizations throughout their area and getting the word out. I want to especially mention Taylor and Taylor in North Texas who yesterday, after the Cup ﬁnal, started a massive texting campaign to every youth player they knew, whether they played with them or against them, and managed to sell 150 tickets yesterday alone! So many are getting involved here in North Texas. Charles spent the day and into the night texting friends and friends of friends and sold over 50 tickets. Tel and Amy did the hard job of leaving the Storm Cellar and heading back to Decatur, stopping at every pub between here and there to make sure a poster was up. I heard it was thirsty work, and their efforts were arduous and I am sure will pay off! Kelley from OK is
A big thanks to everyone who helps make the CIA Bluesletter possible. Editor: Jamie Edwards Chairwoman: Beth Wild Logo and Graphics: Raciel Diaz Dates to Remember: Tel Stevens CIA Crest done in collaboration with Who Are Ya Designs www.whoareyadesigns.com Want to contribute or make a suggestion? Send Jamie an email at newsletter@ chelseainamerica.com!
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PAGE 3 Spring Trip, continued from Page 1
did a little presentation before the game that I sadly failed to capture on camera for cheering, and then after the match JT clapped all the fans and gave his shirt to some lucky child in the stands. I hope he feels as proud to see the "Captain, Leader, Legend" banner up in Matthew Harding every game as we all are to have him as our skipper. Fantastic defender, fantastic champion for Chelsea, and fantastic bloke. We're so fortunate to have him. Speaking of fortunate, I can't stress enough what a privilege it is to watch a live match in the company of fellow Chelsea lovers. It's such a pleasant change from having to share a pub with poxy plastic ManU, Liverpool, and Arsenal "supporters" who only turn up for big games and possess the footballing knowledge of a wet noodle. Nothing beats shouting at the incompetent official and cheering at the boys when they can actually hear you, and of course the best part is the songs. Obviously we had Liquidator and Blue is the Colour before kickoff, then during the match I remember Super Frank, JT's song, Didier Drogba Lalalalala, We're the West Stand/Middle/East Stand of the Shed, Ten Men Went to Mow, Carefree, Chelsea Chelsea Chelsea, Blue Flag, digs at our neighbors with You're Only Here for the Chelsea and There's Only One Team in Fulham, Que Sera Sera, and even We're Going to Rome (ill-advised, in my superstitious opinion!). The topper, however, was Zigger Zagger. A young bloke several rows down from us was leading it, and he was so drunk that by the end he could barely stand and was slurring out something more akin to Ziiiiihhhhhhhhl Zaaaaaahhhhhjfhkajhkl! It was hilarious, and credit to him for keeping it up all match. I don't know how he managed to sustain that volume when he looked like he should be passed out under his seat! In any case it's very impressive hearing that many people belting out Oi Oi Oi and the rest of the chorus in unison. I'd like to think it helped the boys put on such a good performance. The match was my last bit of Chelsea for this trip, but earlier in the week the group had a nice dinner at the Butcher's Hook, where it all began, and of course I had to visit the Megastore. Budget issues kept me from buying anything, but I caught up on all the magazines and programmes and learned that Salomon Kalou is a wrestling fan (what???), JT's team won the latest paintball excursion (in which Guus participated as well!), and Michael Essien is superhuman. Wait, I already knew that last one...After the Megastore I went to check out the photo wall by the stadium entrance and get my picture taken in the chair as part of the squad. I have to say that up close that photo is terrible! Guus and Ray's heads look like they've been photoshopped over Scolari and co., and the whole thing is really grainy, but it was fun anyway. Plus I had a good laugh at a group of Italian fans taking "action shots" with the single life-size photos of their favourite players. They'd bought a ball and were taking turns posing with it as if they were contesting headers with Riccy or slide tackling Joey. A couple of them had some decent skills, too, even if their designer jeans and croc-skin shoes were rather letting them down! All in all it was another amazing Chelsea trip, and really the only thing that would have made it better was getting justice in the Barca game. I'm leaving that night off to avoid souring the report. Besides, I don't want to risk UEFA ﬁning Chelsea some more. Apparently it's a heinous crime to speak out against corruption and incompetence even when it's the blatant truth, so I won't share my thoughts on the disgusting farce that the Champions League has become. Oh... Ultimately it doesn't matter. We Chelsea supporters know we follow the best team in the world, right? So until next spring, chins up, sing up, be proud, and CAREFREE!!!
The San Antonio Blues flag does some sightseeing....
Sam shows off the flag during her trip to Paris!
JUST A REMINDER....
Saturday, July 18 - Seattle vs. Chelsea at Qwest Field (Seattle, Wa.) Tuesday, July 21 - Chelsea vs. Inter at the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.) Friday, July 24 -AC Milan vs. Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, Md.) Sunday, July 26 - Chelsea vs. Club America at Cowboy Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
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working hard up there as well and his tickets are in the post as he knows folks wanting to come down from OK to go to the match and has found them ready to trade money for tickets. Simon in Houston is doing the same. Andy Wray called yesterday from someplace other than the Olde Ship to tell me he has gotten stuck in selling tickets and that the Olde Ship was willing to help out. And I am sure there are other stories from SoCal to come. Thanks to all of you! If I have forgotten you, my apologies, but I am keeping a log and I owe you all a beer at least (OK, a Coke for Taylor and Taylor!). If any of you can help, let me know if it is about the Dallas match, and let Chris Cruz know about the LA match. Remember there are folks that will be willing to go the couple hundred miles from wherever to either location to see a team as great as Chelsea! Don’t some of us ﬂy halfway around the world to see the team? So if you know a soccer group, a youth soccer group, a football friendly pub, a soccer store or any place that is friendly to those of us that love the beautiful game and you think might be able to sell or buy tickets, let us know! We want to make sure no one goes without. We need the help! The goal is to sell 2000 additional tickets above our allocation for these two games, and we have paid for the legends and Neil to come over! If you have any questions about selling tickets or ticketing in general, please feel free to contact tickets@ ChelseainAmerica.com. Along with that there are so many other things we are working on. It is not too late to be involved, so if you want to volunteer (and we will need volunteers during the tour) get to the forum and speak out or contact your regional head or board member to ﬁnd out how your services can best be used. And stay tuned to the forum and the website as we announce more events during the tour. But that isn’t all that is going on. We are in the middle of wrapping up the end of the season, and your board is working hard to get all of our ﬁnal paperwork into the club. We have also been working hard on some changes for next season that we think folks will really like! More about that in dedicated member emails. We also have a Player of the Year award to ﬁnalize and should have those details soon to members. And of course the ﬁnalization of our club ﬂag, again in an email to members. Thanks to Raciel and Chris from Who are Ya Design, the coolest, best, most wonderful design for our club crest and t-shirts will be announced very soon. We will be revealing the New Chelsea Chick shirt designs as well, so look for that announcement, as we will be allowing members to pre-order merchandise at a discount very soon!!! We still have so much to plan for the summer tour and so much to try and cram in those few precious days. Please, if you can donate an hour of your time during the tour or some additional time before the tour to help out, we need you! Remember all of this happens because of the dedication of our members that volunteer their time and effort for the growth of our club. Without all of them, nothing happens. Okay, that is about it for now. I have a date with my pool for a couple of hours before I get stuck in for the evening working on club stuff. I hope all of you had a fantastic FA Cup weekend, and look forward to seeing you all soon!
BLUE DAY - THE FA CUP RETURNS TO THE BRIDGE!
Story by SE Blues member Jamie Edwards
When we went down 1-0 after 30 seconds, I was stunned, but I told my entourage (a Man United fan, a Palace fan and a West Ham fan) that we certainly weren't out of it. I pointed out we had conceded against Arsenal in the semi-ﬁnal and both times against Liverpool in the Champions League but fought back to reclaim victory. I can't say I wasn't a little bit nervous, but sometimes conceding the ﬁrst goal is what it takes for our team to really wake up. And wake up we did! This was my second trip down to Penny Lane Pub, and I was surrounded by a very sparse amount of Chelsea fans and even a few Everton fans. This was also my ﬁrst time watching the Blues in the FA Cup - I didn't have the cable sports package two years ago when we were in the ﬁnal. Everton were a worthy adversary. They Tim Howard, I jumped to my feet shouting and nearly knocked over my friend. The ﬁnal minutes seemed to last forever - 4 minutes injury time! - but ﬁnally, we were the winners. It was amazing watching the celebrations. This meant a lot to the boys and to Guus. Some people say the FA Cup doesn't matter much anymore. I personally love it and treasure every trophy Chelsea claim, whether it be the Carling Cup or the Premiership. We may not have the trophy haul of certain other clubs, but we are making our own history right now. To think of where we were and where we are now, I am so proud of our team. We have perservered through difficult times, the musical chairs of managers, the injuries, and we have reclaimed the FA Cup. That's just the beginning - we will come out ﬁghting next season, and I am looking forward to the ride!
came to play, which is more than United did in the Champions League ﬁnal! When Drogba scored, at ﬁrst I didn't realize the ball had hit the back of the net. After that, I started willing Frank to score. "Come on Frank - get number 20!" The match seemed to be going by both too quickly and in slow motion, if that seems possible. When Frank stumbled, then shot, and that ball zoomed past
Kenyon Eyes Swift Appointment
Article from Sky Sports
Guus Hiddink ended his brief spell in charge of the Stamford Bridge club on Saturday with victory over Everton in the FA Cup ﬁnal at Wembley. AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has been widely touted as the expected successor to Hiddink, who is returning to his role as Russia national coach, but Kenyon would not be drawn on who will be appointed by the Premier League side. He told Sky Sports News: "Now the cup is over we'll be getting in to that (appointing the new manager) and hopefully we'll make an announcement soon and then we can start planning for next season. "That will be good for everybody and we will be moving on from where we've ﬁnished off with our great end to the season." Kenyon also paid tribute to Hiddink after he stepped into the breach following Luiz Felipe Scolari's departure earlier in the season. The respected Dutchman only suffered one defeat during his time at the helm and came within seconds of taking the club to the UEFA Champions League ﬁnal before lifting the FA Cup. Kenyon said: "He's made a huge impact on the team and the club in general. Everyone wants to win the FA Cup but I think even more so because it was his last game." The Blues have been linked with a summer swoop for Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez, who looks set for a move away from Old Trafford at the end of his two-year loan spell. Kenyon conﬁrmed that Chelsea would be looking to bring in new faces during the summer, but played down the speculation over the Argentina international. He said: "I think we are in that season now where Chelsea will be linked with
5 QUESTIONS FOR...
TEXAS BLUES MEMBER TEL STEVENS
How did you become Chelsea, and when? I suppose I was destined to be a Chelsea fan as my mum was born in Edith Grove, just along from the Bridge and my Dad was a big Chelsea fan. He even went to school with Peter Houseman. My ﬁrst real memory of Chelsea was the 1967 FA Cup Final - even then I knew blue was the color. How do you watch the matches? I used to have a season ticket in the MHU tier but now that I'm living in Texas I tend to watch most games on FSC and Setanta. Every now and then I'll try and get down to The Storm Cellar but that's a 120-mile round trip and, as much as I would love to be around fellow fans, sometimes it's just not doable. Have you ever been to Stamford Bridge, and do you have a favorite memory? My favorite memories from the Bridge? Wow, there's tons - where do I start? Seeing Gullit in a Chelsea shirt for the ﬁrst time meant to me that ﬁnally we were going places; the Liverpool 4-2 cup game; the 5-0 versus the Mancs; Vialli's ﬁrst game in charge; the come-frombehind win in the ECWC semiﬁnal; seeing AC Milan at the Bridge was unbelieveable for me; the ﬁrst Barcelona game; 3 goals in no time; and I can't forget taking my wife Amy to her ﬁrst game in 2002. She totally loved it and has been following the boys in blue since. Who is your favorite past or current player? I guess Charlie Cooke will always be number 1, but he's closely followed by Franco Zola. I'm also a big King Kerry fan; love Carlo and Maka. Butch would have to be there, and Poyet was another I enjoyed watching. Of the current players - of course the English boys Joey, JT and Lamps. I would also have to say Essien, Alex and Riccy. One player who I think should also get a mention is Steve Clarke, one of our most consistent defenders ever. What is your favorite Chelsea memory? It would be easy to say winning Cups, so it has to be the away trip to Feyenoord in Holland. This trip had it all: getting chased by a bunch of Feyenoord fans; being "babysat" by the Dutch police (one was very kind in giving me his police badge, which I still have); going to the ground to ﬁnd they are selling beer inside; watching a 3-1 Chelsea win; singing "American Pie" at halftime which completely amused the Feyenoord fans; having to stay in the ground for an hour after the game, but we did get to see the team warm-down, and Dennis Wise came over for a rendition of "Ten Men Went to Mow". To top it all off, a couple of months later in the Chelsea magazine there was a spread on that trip and all that I have said was in there. There's even a photo of me on the scoreboard with all the ﬂares going off behind me. Great trip. I highly recommend a European away game. I would also like to answer the same as Andy did in the last newsletter (winning the Prem for the ﬁrst time) but if I'm truthful I was so drunk I really can't remember that much after the ﬁnal whistle... best ask the wife what I got up to!
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CHELSEA PLAYER CHRONICLES: JIMMY GREAVES
by Pacific Coast Blues member Dave Tingey
The Chelsea Chronicles are going to outline some of the key players from this great club's history in no particular order. The purpose it to enlighten some of our fan base as to the history and foundation of the club and provide some of our older, nay, wiser folks a little trip down memory lane - I hope you will enjoy reading some poorly hashed out, but from-the-heart, bios of some of our greatest characters and why I'm writing about them. wasn't afraid of showing older and wiser defenders up with his turn of pace. Before his 21st birthday he had netted over 100 times for Chelsea, the fastest player ever to 100 goals in terms of age. By the time Chelsea had sold him to Milan (during a time of strike talk amidst huge reform led by the spectacularly bechinned Jimmy Hill) he had scored 124 times in 157 matches, an astonishing 79% strike rate. Any fan from that era will tell you that few players recall the same emotions of wonder than the young Greavsie who could disappear for large portions of the match only to pop up at the crucial time and punish lax defending. Of course it cannot be overlooked that he was a Spurs great more than anything (two time FA cup winner- the second against his old club - us, one time UEFA cup winner with the Cockerels) and set numerous scoring records there (220 goals in 321 games). The sort of bloke who you could have a beer with (and who had more than he should have in his time). The sort of bloke who would laugh at the smallest joke and break any tension in the room. The sort of bloke who, when confronted with a runaway dog on the pitch would get down on all fours and entice the dog ito his arms for safe escort from the ﬁeld, all the time the dog peeing over Jimmy (a true story that happened in the 1962 World Cup ﬁnals in Chile against Brazil - a dog that the legendary Garrincha took home as a result of the amusement caused). Ladies and gentlemen, please raise your glasses of non-alcoholic beverage to the one, the only, Jimmy Greaves. on the squad for next season and taking it from where it is and I'm sure there will be lots more speculation over the next few weeks." www.skysports.com
JUNE DATES TO REMEMBER
June 13, 1980 - Florent Malouda's birthday June 15, 1984 - Ken Armstrong passed away. He was a member of our Division One Championship winning team in 1955. After his death his ashes were returned to England and scattered over the Stamford Bridge pitch. June 17, 1982 - Alex's birthday June 18, 1966 - Bobby Tambling gets cut from the ﬁnal World Cup squad of 22. He had been a replacement for Barry Bridges. Hollins, Hinton, Venables and Osgood had already been cut from the squad of 40 earlier in the month. June 20, 1976 - Juliano Belletti's birthday June 20, 1978 - Super Frank Lampard's birthday
A player from before my time, the ﬁrst I knew of Jimmy was in his days as the fatter jolly English one of a double act "Saint and Greavsie" with Ian St John (the Scottish Liverpool stalwart of the 70's). I knew Greavsie as a funny guy and a former Tottenham Hotspur player. He was also on the Saturday afternoon show that followed on ITV from BBC's Football Focus (on Grandstand) and, with Final Score, The Big Match and Match of the Day highlights, was one of my 5 football ﬁxes of the weekend. Imagine my surprise then, when I was given a Chelsea book one Christmas and I stumbled upon a Chelsea great, Jimmy Greaves. Surely not the same guy as the funny guy on the telly with the funny tash? The very same, said my Dad. Cool, I thought - during the 80's I was hungry for any Chelsea links on the tv and had to settle for the live match once or twice a year (when we weren't plying our trade in the second division - League One for you young 'uns). So what did I read in that book? Well, young James Peter Greaves was a goal scoring debutant for the Blues in 1957 a trend that was to follow throughout his career with Milan, primarily Spurs, West Ham and England. A slight and tricky player he knew where the goal was and
COMINGS AND GOINGS:
John Hollins left for QPR in June 1975 for 80k GBP and came back in June 1983 as player coach. Our ﬁrst great goalscorer George "Gatling Gun" Hilsdon left us after 164 apps and 107 goals to join West Ham in June 1912. Chelsea bought Celestine Babayaro from Anderlecht for 2.25 million GBP in 1997. Alan Birchenall was signed from Sheffield Utd for 100k GBP in June 1967, and he left for Crystal Palace in June 1970 for the same amount.
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every single player. "We are going to be doing some work
TALES FROM... THE SINGING 3,000
Story and Photos by Away Season Ticket Holder Chris Axon
On Saturday, I went with a few Chelsea regulars – with our wives and girlfriends – down for a ﬁftieth birthday near Southampton. The theme of the evening was ska / two tone and we presumed that a local ska band had been booked. There were about twenty skinhead types milling around…the main man, Alan ( from The Goose ), was wearing a Ben Sherman, jeans, braces and DMs. He looked a picture. Imagine our surprise when a trio of guys in their sixties appeared on stage…the original band couldn’t make it and so replacements were sought. The lead guitarist and singer introduced himself as Beaky from the sixties band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich…and the music they played was just a total mismatch for the evening. Nobody was dancing! We excused ourselves and headed back to pub where “Tony TwoTone” was halfway through a Ska / Northern Soul set. PD, Glenn and myself lit up the dance ﬂoor ( stop sniggering at the back!) as the ladies watched dumbfounded and aghast from the sidelines. I was in a quandary though – I was headed up to London the next morning, so had to watch my beer intake. The last thing I wanted was to be driving up the M4, with alcohol seeping out of every pore. I also needed to protect my unbroken league stretch going for this season…for the ﬁrst time ever, I am honing in on Game 38 and I had to make sure I wouldn’t fail on Game 36. Funny the priorities at this stage of the season…with just a few games left, I am sure we turn up out of habit, punch drunk from all of the travels and games…on any other year, I could so easily have given this one a swerve. Glenn drove back to Frome and I, thankfully, wasn’t hung over at all. After a quick change into game gear, I set off and collected Lord Parky from his place at 11.45am. This was therefore going to be a bit of a strange one with a truncated “pre-match.” I hit a bit of traffic nearing London, but was parked up at West Brompton at 1.45pm. It was a pre-match, but I soon felt at home, with updates from the party in Southampton. We had a pretty heated discussion about the state of the club and the way forward. Suffice to say, we doubted that the club was in good hands. We need a long term plan and a manager to stay for more than six months! Hiddink was our choice, but we were not sure if he would stay, for various reasons. Daryl called our current team “Mourinho’s Third Or Fourth Best Team” and we all nodded. I said that Mourinho still haunts us all. hot and sunny day and we were soon on the tube to Holborn. For every game at Arsenal since about 2002, we have met at “The Shakespeare’s Head,” handily placed a few stops away from Arsenal on the Picadilly Line. We haven’t had a great record at Arsenal over the years. My ﬁrst trip to Highbury was the iconic 1984-85 opener and I suppose I have visited Highbury seven or eight times in total, plus two visits to The Emirates. I had yet to see a Chelsea win. Since 1990, we have only won there three times…the ﬁrst one was the 5-0 League Cup demolition job in 1998, the second one was the Wayne Bridge game in 2004 and the other one was the Robben / Cole 2-0 game in 2005-2006. I was really miffed that I couldn’t get a ticket for that last one. I used to love going to Highbury as I am a big art deco fan and, of course, this was Chelsea’s last ever visit to Arsenal’s grand thirties’ masterpiece. Since that season, I have been an away season ticket holder – I’m therefore guaranteed tickets for all of our games. Anyway, enough history for now. I had decided to stay off the beer, so Parky got me a Coke. I headed out towards the rear of the pub and there they all were…a ﬁne turn out from The Bing after Wednesday’s sadness…Parky and myself joined eight other close friends, plus Burger and Julie, visitors once again to our shores. I got the impression that I had missed a good Lacoste Watch Ed - Chocolate Parky - Lemon Rob - Blue Myself - Lavender At 3.20pm, Parky and myself set off and our timings were impeccable. Gary, Alan and Whitey had left before us, but we still got there before them…we had left Simon, Milo, Daryl, Ed and Rob with Burger and Julie – just ﬁnishing off their drinks / ordering new ones! Out from the rabbit warren of Arsenal tube and into the bright sunlight. As we walked the ﬁve minutes around to the new stadium, I glimpsed the old West Stand on Highbury Hill, now housing apartments. The usual hubbub of match day colours, sights and smells… fanzines, T-shirts, touts and burgers. Into the concrete coolness of the stadium at 3.55pm – perfect timing. All of us away season ticket holders, all 500 of us, were along the side and I was four rows from the rear, thankfully shaded from the sun. The Gooners were about ten seats to my right. Parky was a few rows in front and there was Les from Melksham, too. Rob and Daryl were ﬁfty yards away, right behind the goal and adjacent to The Goons. Pre-match, I had predicted that we would be more “up” for it than Arsenal, but the opening exchanges disproved this. We were second best in all areas
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PAGE 8 Emirates, continued from Page 7
and I lost count of the number of chances which Arsenal squandered…at times it was laughable, but beneath the smiles and cheers, there was deep concern for us. Gary, alongside me, was especially worried. Mind you, he always is – he always seems to have the troubles of the World on his shoulders, bless him. “Come on Chels, wake up.” “Chels” – our own little word of encouragement to our heroes, which we only ever use at actual games…it really winds me up to see this special little word used out of context so often these days. I have known Alan for twenty ﬁve years and not once has he talked about Chelsea as “Chels” outside of the stadium…ditto Daryl, Gary, Glenn, Walnuts, Rob, Blowmonkey and all. It’s usually only used to tease out a better performance from the team…never as a word to be used to express joy… Never –“Oh, well done Chels!” But rather - “Get into them, Chels!” “Come on, Chels!” “We’re better than this Chels!” “Keep going Chels!” Midway though the ﬁrst half, we got a free-kick and I saw Drogba setting himself. A shot? No – a deep cross for Alex to head home! Get in! Virtually our ﬁrst real effort on goal – beautiful. Soon after, Anelka broke from deep and guided a superb shot in at the far post – easily his best goal for us. Lovely that it was against his old team. 2-0 up and in control – totally against the run of play, even better! Up until this point, Alan and Gary were eyeballing two Goons in our row, about ﬁfteen yards away. Gary was winding one of them up constantly and the Gooner was doing the “outside, I’ll cut your throat” move…of course, at two-nil, the two Goons disappeared from view…never to be seen again! There was so much laughter coming from our section – and the funniest selection of songs this season… “Here for the sunshine, you’re only here for the sunshine!” “Ooh to - ooh to be – ooh to be a Loser!” “We’re surprised, we’re surprised, we’re surprised that you’re still here, we’re surprised that you’re still here!” “You’d might as well go home!” “Let them out, let them out, let them out!” And – throughout the game – our song of the moment… “We’re staying at home, we’re staying at home, F UEFA, we’re staying at home.” Only Chelsea fans could get a song going about missing out on the CL Final – I love this club! I took a few snaps of Ed, Simon and Milo giving me the “thumbs up” at half-time. For a period in the second, it got a bit surreal, with the singing from our section taking precedence of the action on the pitch. An Arsenal substitution, gave the Chelsea choir another opportunity to get singing. On came Nicholas Bendtner… “Where’s yer trousers gone, where’s yer trousers gone?” And mine – “Down with yer trousers, you’re going down with yer trousers!” The third goal came and it got even better. “One team in London, there’s only one team in London!”
“Ash is going to Wembley, Ash is going to Wembley, tra, la, la, la, tra, la, la, la.” Only when did Bendtner score did we hear anything from Arsenal – their support was truly pitiful. The last goal from Malouda resulted in even more home supporters leaving for the exits and it was a joyous sight. Alan – who really despises Arsenal – was in heaven. I’ve never seen so many grinning faces. Still Arsenal kept missing their goal-scoring chances. How we laughed. By the time I met up with Parky, we were right at the back of the stampede out…it took forever to get back to west London – not helped by closures on a few tube lines. Never mind. We called in for a pizza at our favourite Italian at West Brompton – and sat back and savoured a great away day. I always remember my ﬁrst visit – with Beth – to The Emirates in May 2007, when a 1-1 draw resulted in us relinquishing our title to United…the day of the “chins up” from Jose. Despite losing the title that day, the support we gave the boys made me so proud to be a Chelsea fan. In defeat, strength. Fast forward to 2009 and our revenge was complete… Arsenal 1 Chelsea 4. My ﬁrst ever win at Arsenal – just fantastic. I put Depeche Mode on the CD player on the drive home – we were singing aloud, loving it. “All I ever wanted, all I ever needed, was here in my arms.”
The Season That Was: FA Cup Glory, Guus, and the Golden Boot
by Midwest Blues member Josh Hampton
So, ladies and gentlemen, there we have it. The 08/09 season has come to an end—and oh what a season it was. There’s another Cup in the trophy case. Anelka netted 25 goals and took home the illustrious gilded footwear. And we’ve bid a fond, fond farewell to Guus Hiddink, a man who’ll go down in the annals of Chelsea history as the savior of a season all but destined for postDecember disaster. (He came, he saw, he kicked our arses into shape.) All in all, the lads did us proud. They came out guns a’blazing in August and ended the season with a run of only one loss in 22 matches that garnered us some silverware and an automatic qualiﬁcation into next year’s Champion’s League. If only we hadn’t had that nasty little spell in between. But so goes the beautiful game. It was the good, the bad, and the ugly, minus Eli Wallach and the whistling. There was the loss of Essien early on, and then Joe Cole at midseason. Drogba’s months-long recovery from knee surgery. Carvalho’s and Deco’s struggles with ﬁtness. And those are just the long-term injuries. At one point, I seem to remember having more of our starting eleven in the physio room than on the pitch. But even with all the adversity, we were a force to be reckoned with, racking up an impressive goal tally and the best defensive record in the league. We mourned the end of our recordshattering 86 game home winning streak. Then we redeemed our early losses with late season wins against Liverpool (need I even mention the 7-5 Champ’s league win?) and against Arsenal—twice if you count the FA Cup semi-ﬁnal. We said goodbye to Big Phil and saw Ray Wilkins end his interim managerial run with a 100% win record (even if it was only one game!). We shouted at the TV as Ovrebo robbed us of penalty after penalty. And we jumped around the room when the ﬁnal whistle of the ﬁnal game sounded and we hoisted the FA Cup high in the air. And let’s not forget the goals—oh, the goals! There was Lampard’s last second rocket against Stoke and his game winner at Wembley. Terry’s Daniel-san crane kick versus Wigan. Essien’s “Goal of the Season” bullet at home to Barca. Alex, Belletti, and Deco (you know the one’s I’m talking about), and a boatload more, every one of which had us on our feet, screaming “Go you, Blues!” It was a year of plenty of ups, tempered unfortunately by a generous helping of downs. But still, it was a season that has left me with an overwhelming sense of True Blue pride, not to mention hope for next season. With just a few tweaks we should be the ones racking up the triple (or more) come next May—and we won’t need that stupid World Club Cup to do it. Josh Hampton is a member of the Midwest Blues and Associate Creative Director at Quantum Communications in Louisville, Kentucky (www.qtheagency.com). He lives in Lanesville, Indiana, with his wife and two little Blues fans. Email or Facebook to firstname.lastname@example.org
FRANK LAMPARD IS THE CHELSEA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Will he be the CIA POTY? The following article from chelseafc.com
Frank Lampard has become the ﬁrst to be named Chelsea Player of the Year for a third time. The 2004 and 2005 winner was again voted the leading performer over the season by the fans. The trophy was handed over by Guus Hiddink to a vicecaptain who declared himself 'delighted'. 'It feels great because of the amount of top quality players who have won this award,' Lampard told Chelseafc.com. 'When I came here I never expected to win it three times at all, I just wanted to establish myself, but getting this award and the recognition from your own fans is a huge thing in football. I am absolutely delighted.' Michael Essien's thunderous left-foot volley at home to Barcelona was voted Chelsea Goal of the Season by the supporters. It's the second time in the three years this award has been part of the Player of the Year evening that the Ghanaian has won the accolade. In 2007 another rocket at the Bridge, this time at home to Arsenal, gained the most votes. Last season Juliano Belletti's strike v Tottenham was the winner. 'It is always good to win something,' Essien told Chelseafc.com. 'We put effort in to win trophies and win personal trophies, so it is great. I meant to do it because when I saw the ball coming that was the only option that came to my mind, I tried to take it and I had a bit of luck. 'It is difficult to score those kinds of goals and you need a bit of luck.' Ashley Cole won the Samsung Players' Player of the Year, an accolade presented by former Player of the Year Charlie Cooke and decided by the staff who work with the ﬁrst team as well as the squad. 'I'm shocked but it's a great honour and I am very privileged to have got this award,' Cole smiled as he cradled the trophy. 'There are a lot of players who deserved it, but I am happy to collect this award. 'It is always nice to get recognition from anyone but from your players it means a lot more and I feel this year I could have done better, I could have scored a few goals, but I do feel the ﬁttest I have ever felt and playing as best as I have for Chelsea.' The Young Player of the Year award was in association with adidas and was selected by coaches Paul Clement and Ray Wilkins. Michael Mancienne who turned 21 this season and returned from loan at Wolves to make his Chelsea ﬁrst team debut was the winner. A Special Commitment award went to JT for his 10 years of ﬁrst team service.
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