Afternoon Chidge, Jonathan et al.
I’ve only been listening to the podcast for the last couple of months although have been buying the CFCUK fanzine for years (heresy I know!) Firstly, great efforts to keep going during the lockdown. As football comes back to some sort of normality with the return of the PL, the show proves that fans are at the heart of any football club. It’s a cliché that gets used over and over again, however, listening to stories from years gone by and views on the current team show that without fans, football really is nothing. Cannot wait to get back to my season ticket in the Shed Upper, gate 8 when we are allowed to go back.
I had no choice but to follow Chelsea, with my family coming from the World’s End. my granddad first went in the 1920s, bunking under the turnstiles and getting into the ground between people’s legs. My dad first went in the 1954/55 season, seeing Chelsea claiming their first league title and at the time, thinking it was always going to be like this. Alas my first season was around 82 / 83 – the worst season we ever had.
I was too young to really appreciate how bad things were, given I had no real reference point for Chelsea being good – other than hearing Dad’s countless tales about the 60s and 70s team and of course, winning the FA Cup in 1970. Over time, growing up and being one of the few Chelsea fans at school, you began to realise that compared to Liverpool, Utd, Arsenal and (cough, cough), Spurs, were better than us – and had been for some time. While we’ve been spoilt for years now starting with the 1997 FA Cup win, its important we don’t take it for granted. seeing us become one of the biggest clubs in the World has been an absolute privilege, but its also important to remember where we’ve come from – that’s what the ’50 years of Chelsea’ and ‘My Chelsea’ series is doing for me.
Hearing Rick Glanvill’s memories the other night reminded me of those moments when you first go. As he said, the smell of fried onions, sausages and burgers, mixed in with that of horse manure and the smell of cigarettes (remember those) are smells I automatically associate with walking along the Fulham Rd to a match.
Oddly one of my favourite seasons remains the 93 /94 season – despite flirting with relegation and ultimately getting tonked by Utd in the Cup Final (I’m not going to sully this email with my views on a certain former Harrow schoolmaster referee), that season and the various matches (beating Utd and Liverpool, the last minute winner to relegate Sheff Utd in the rain, losing to Oldham) stand out for me above all others. That said, winning 20 odd trophies in the subsequent 27 years probably helps what are rose tinted memories!
Worst game – Moscow and losing the 1994 final aside, being a 9 year old on the Shed to see us lose in the play-off to Middlesborough was sobering (especially with the decent side we had!), best games, being there for the 97 final and out in Munich and beating Bolton in 2005 – even though I was at a wedding reception in Wales where the groom was a Spurs fan. Magic.
Stay safe and Up the Chelsea.