What Does Chelsea Mean to You?

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I almost subconsciously started this article with the title ‘What does Mrs Thatcher mean to you?’ such is the reaction to her death – then again, that would have brought up images of some questionable football kits, questionable football, a tatty ground, fences and hooliganism. Such was life at Stamford Bridge in the 1980s that I’m sure Mrs T would’ve looked on approvingly at the consumer-led drive of the Chelsea Collection, before distancing herself from a seemingly competent team’s fall from grace – from sixth spot to relegation in three seasons – ouch.

Back to the original point of this article – what does Chelsea mean to you (other than shelling out £1000 plus per season, whinging about the board/manager/beer/new kit etc, etc).

  • Hearing my dad moan about a Colin Lee shot hitting the post.
  • Smelling burgers and cigarette smoke on the way to and from the ground.
  • Seeing a massive Chelsea plate sitting on top of my grandparents’ telly (in retrospect – it was a cheap plastic thing!).
  • Going to the old club shop outside the ground with my gran to buy the ’85 home kit  (the bloke behind the counter tried to convince me to get a Spurs shirt – proof that Chelsea’s marketing department had some catching up to do!).
  • Pretending I was Kerry Dixon at every opportunity in my back garden.
  • Dancing/falling down about five steps when the third goal went in on the Shed’s final game as we relegated Sheffield United – and being convinced we’d win the Cup Final the following week.
  • Pretending I was alright after losing the Cup Final in ’94 – and then trying to hold the lump in my throat for what seemed like an age.
  • Being at the Liverpool Cup game in ’97 and being convinced we’d win the Cup after being 0-2 down – and then being convinced we never would win it if we didn’t win it that year.
  • Finally seeing them win the Cup in ’97 on the most perfect footballing day imaginable.
  • Hearing my granddad moan about ‘that ruddy team’ – it didn’t matter what the score was – Chelsea could never do any good in his eyes, despite him being a life-long fan.
  • Being nudged in the ribs at six in the morning on the flight back from Stockholm after the Cup Winners’ Cup win by a bloke who wanted to know who I thought was better – Frank Sinclair or Andy Myers.
  • Sitting in the middle of the Fulham Road singing Ten Men Went to Mow after winning the title in 2005 while my now wife stood 10 yards away looking at me with a mixture of pity and disbelief.
  • Even now being convinced that wearing my Chelsea shirt when having a kickabout in the park with the office will somehow have an impact on how I play.
  • Squatting on the floor of the Allianz Arena with a scarf wrapped round my head during the penalty shoot-out.
  • Trying to convince my daughter she really does want her photo taken with the European Cup and FA Cup (to be fair – she was two at the time).

Deeply personal, and sentimental but all real. In retrospect the bad bits you look on with a sort of fondness, the good bits get better with time – but that’s what Chelsea means to me. What’s it mean to you?




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  1. mark_25

    Excellent job, Liquidator.

    Your article was prompted by “What does Mrs Thatcher mean to you?” and I had similar thoughts by thinking which Chelsea manager was like Maggie; followed by the question of matching each of our managers to a Prime Minister.

    Obviously I equated Maggie to Jose, divided opinion but managed to get results, bugger the means.

    Rafa -> Neville Chamberlain, who believes he can make peace with the fans before the end of the season.

    AVB -> Tony Blair, a two faced git full of media bullshit and spin

    Booby Campbell -> Edward Heath, who else could take the team down to the Gay Meadow to play Shrewsbury?

  2. GrocerJack

    Went to type up a reply on this fine piece on the ipad which then flatly refused to allow it to be submitted, so i lost my temper, as well as the reply! If my mood recovers I’ll try again. Suffice it to say that alone is probably analogous to Chelsea pre-Roman in some way…….lots of craft, lots of effort, failing at the last.

    • Nick

      Periodically Select All and Copy. Something I always do when scribing a lengthy comment, regardless of the comment system.

      Yesterday I had a brief email correspondence with Mark about the dearth of comments on here. It’s odd considering traffic’s normal if a little higher than normal, and the matches and posts are coming thick and fast. There’s the Rafa factor and apathy to consider, and the impact of Twitter, but only now does it occur to me that it might have something to do with the new Disqus system. I’m happy to try something new/different if regular commenters don’t mind…

      • bluebayou

        Comparing Jose to Margaret Thatcher, which broadly equates to comparing a fine bred stallion to an old barstool on the basis they both have 4 legs, probably left the commetariat so stunned they couldn’t respond. I had formulated a response the other day but couldn’t connect to the site, which I assumed had broken down completely in outrage.

        Very much enjoyed the piece, which prompted the thought that very many of us support a team for a hundred reasons that have little to do with the quality of the team or player profiles and everything to do with emotions some of which we can barely recollect.

        Did I see a comment from MR Cunningplan the other day? Good to see he’s still around.

        • Nick

          Would like to say that it was in outrage but no, it was because I’m a doofus. Downtime was my fault. I migrated the server hosting the blog and a number of other sites I’m responsible for to a more powerful one, but after migrating it refused to boot. Of course I blamed the hosting company, but after five hours realised it was something I had done that was causing the problem. Five hours of panic-stricken emails to support and thinking I was going to have to spend several days reinstalling everything from backups. Oh the joys of operating your own server (I wouldn’t have it any other way).

  3. ankur

    This year and even in last year its been Chelsea habit not to play in first half and let opposition play there game, most of the time we concede, then we retaliate if good day we win otherwise we loose or draw..,,then we cry for bad referee and missed penalties and our players red cards…..we should accept this team is one of the worse in last decade and they also do not a manager to help them….pathetic team showing and giving pathetic display and results….shame on Chelsea….wasting us and getting rave review of BRAVE COMEBACK…my foot…u have to play on the first and go…and not on comebacks!!!!!


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