As it’s an international week, in the next episode of the Podding Shed we will be discussing the experiences of our overseas brethren, including expats, fugitives from justice and so on. Tell us about watching Chelsea matches at ridiculous times. What happens with night games, Champions League and the like? Do you have a match day routine?
Fans home and abroad, tell us about the strangest place you’ve watched Chelsea play (other than Stamford Bridge of course, unless you were hanging off a gantry or something). What is the furthest distance you’ve travelled to see Chelsea? What are the greatest lengths you’ve gone to?
There will be Podding Shed awards for the most entertaining match day routine, the geographically most remote, dedication above and beyond the call of duty and the strangest place anyone has ever watched a game.
Leave your tales in the comments section below.
Stupidly, I was in LA for the second leg of the Barca CL game in 2005. I got up at 8am and took a bus for an hour-and-a-half from Hollywood to Santa Monica, where the English expats hang on. There was a British pub there where I assumed they’d be showing the game, but when I got there, it was closed.
I started to panic, and went into every bar and shop until I found a newsheet for expats that said where the game would be screened, then grabbed a $20 cab ride with my girlfriend to take us to this barn on the freeway by the airport. By this time, the game had kicked off and I got a text from a friend saying ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing here!’
Now I was really panicking.We got to this barn/bar and I paid a $20 cover charge. It was a boiling hot day, but inside it was pitch black, packed and stank of sweat and stale beer. Half the bar was watching Chelsea, the other half was watching Manchester United-Milan. My girlfriend took one look at the scene and skedaddled. I took one look at the score and nearly fainted – Chelsea were winning 3-0. You all know what happened next. When John Terry scored the winning goal, I found myself hugging a large Serbian sporting a mohican. After the game, I sat in the sun by the side of the LA freeway waiting for my girlfriend to return and decided that this was probably the next best experience to watching the game at Stamford Bridge.
I live in sunny California, USA. The time difference between here and the UK is a massive 8 hours. This is a huge difference from Finland (where I used to live) that is two hours ahead of the UK. In other words, matches are quite early so lunchtime kickoffs are an absolute nightmare. I generally find myself waking up anywhere from 4 am to 6 am. I get up 30 minutes before kick off to give myself enough time to set-up the match on the tv (in case I have to scavenger multiple third party sites to find a live stream of the game). In dire situations, I drive to the closest pub which is an hour away (I’ve woken up at 3:00 am multiple times to get to the pub). I like Champion’s League matches a little bit more simply because those matches are on at 11:45 as opposed to 4:45. Since I live in the US, a good majority don’t truly understand and appreciate football so I receive a lot of scrutiny over my commitment to the club and my willingness to wake up before dawn to cheer on the mighty Blues.
The difference in scale between us and the US……If I drove an hour north to a pub, I’d be in London, probably not far from The Sloaney Pony. West and I’m in Poole, Dorset. East and it’s Brighton. South….well depending on the mode of transport it’s either the middle of the Channel (La Manche pour mes amis francais) or somewhere on the north cost of Normandy or Brittany.
What I’m trying to say is….there isn’t a pub an hours drive that’s worth it to watch a game.
Although I live in London, I ended up watching the 2007 Carling Cup final in a tiny hotel in Amristar in Northern India. There had been a bit of a mix up and we ended up staying in this hotel that was actually a health spa. They didn’t have an alcohol licence and so I managed to persuade them to get me some beers, but they were listed as “beauty products” on my bill! I happened to be in the same city but at a different hotel for the 2008 final against Spurs. I was quitely confident as I was in my (only!) lucky Indian football city. Alas this game was not available in the hotel and so I didn’t get to see it. Assuming I would get to see it as had seen it the previous year I ended up consuming a fair few (legitimate, this time) beers in advance. All this did was give me quite a big hangover, to the extent that when I woke up I misread the score and assumed we had retained the trophy!
My only bid for a stupidly long journey to see a game happened in 1978.
Although living and working in London I was booked on a week-long residential course for my job, taking place at the then Trent Poly in Nottingham.
In an unlikely dedication to both learning and football I travelled by train from London to Nottingham early on the Monday morning for that day’s lectures. I then caught a train back to St Pancras in the late afternoon in time to make it to The Bridge for the FA Cup 5th round replay against Orient that evening, which we contrived to lose 1-2 after being ahead.
I then headed back to St Pancras for one of the late trains back to Nottingham, getting back some time beyond midnight, having spent well over 6 hours that day travelling about 360 miles on 3 trains, plus assorted tube journeys across London.
I spent the last 11 years in California – where afternoon games were televised on FSC or ESPN at 4 a.m. That just means going to bed early. Weekday games meant watching illegal streams at work on the late Channelsurfing.net or myp2p.eu. Since my new job in Wisconsin doesn’t allow for internet streams, I listen to the audio feed on my iphone via Chelsea app.
I’ve only been to one Chelsea match in my life – July 2007 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA. Chelsea vs. Club America. Sat in the front row behind the net in the Chelsea supporters section. Malouda scored his first ever Chelsea goal and JT got the winner. And I was just yards from the net.
The furthest I watch any games is when staying with the wife’s sister and husband in St Augustine Florida.
One game stands out for me which was a mugging by Boro in August 2006, when our prolific Sheva opened the scoring, and we were totally in control for the next 75 mins and should have scored more, but failed to capitalise on our dominiation (sounds familiar to our current predicament).
Then very much unlike Chelsea, we switched off and they scored two goals in the last 15 mins, it put me in a bit of a downer for the next couple of days of the holiday, but it’s amazing what some sunshine, and lots of alcohol can remedy.
I’m cfc in California. My grandfather was brought up in fullham and saw his first match in 1956. The only time I’ve seen the Blues in person was in their pre-season tour in 2008 when they played Inter-Milan in California. In the last 3 years, I’ve only missed two matches. It’s not easy being an overseas fan. Many games are at 4:30am, so getting up at 3:30 for all of the team news isn’t exactly the most incredible situation for my heath. However, I love CFC with all my heart. A loss ruins my week and a win gives me the momentum to make it through positive. Champions League games are the best because they’re not until 11:45am so I can sleep and still get my share of Chels. I’ve been saving for a trip to the Bridge for the last 3 years, and will soon have enough money to make out to see a game. I keep the blue flag flying high in California!
Something that’s been incredibly helpful in being an overseas fan for me has been Twitter. Whereas previously I was barely able to stream many of the games, Twitter has created an environment where fans worldwide are able to connect with each other. It’s not easy being a fa so far from the Bridge, but Twitter helps.
The oddest place I’ve watched a Chelsea match was from a pub in Ohio. It was, I believe, the only CFC venue in the entire state and I made the trip from my grandma’s 4 hrs. away to watch with some fellow supporters.
I only started supporting Chelsea (and football) back in 2001 when i moved from Australia to work in a Chelsea pub. These days i find myself in Melbourne so the time difference over here is either 9 or 11 hours ahead- depending on day light saving.
When it’s 9 hours that’s brilliant for weekend games but rubbish for Champions league games.
My match day preparation depends on when the game is:
If it’s a Saturday i’ll try to make it to a pub to watch it but most of the time i’ll head home after a few sherries to settle into the lounge with a few beers and the computer opened up to this page and BBC live updates.
If it’s a sunday game i’ll have no chance of seeing/staying up for it owing to needing to work on monday. On these occasions i roll into work, load up the computer, load up bbc and then pause. i’ll slowly scroll down until you can almost see the scores. I’ll then take a deep breath and make the final scroll down. I’ll then spend the next 30 minutes hoping a game report will come up on here or frantically searching for goals on the net.
Champions league games are my favourite. If its 5am kick off i’ll set my alarm and a back up alarm. I’ll make a cup of tea, put a doona (duvet) on the couch with a pillow. I’ll lie down and try to stay awake. When we score/win i silently scream (this was amazing when we played Barca in ’05). More often than not my girlfriend has to wake me up ( i think she gets pretty nervous just before she comes out of the bedroom- she hates seeing me after a loss)
If the time difference is 11hours i’ll either watch it at home at a reasonable hour or i’ll bullsh!t my manager a few days in advance by telling them i’ll probably have to do some extra hours to catch up on something.. blah blah blah and then i go in really early and watch it at work with a cuppa.
I tell you, the times when i get to watch the games on a saturday night when i actually get to enjoy a few beers in a relatively normal situation are pure magic- although getting paid to watch the games is pretty good too!
1. Was living in Barcelona during the Barca-Chelsea semis. Went to the game at Nou Camp, we; enjoyed a police escort out of the stadium an hour after the home fans, brought the metro to a halt on the way back, loved leaving with a draw but felt we could have won it. Watched the return in the back room of an irish pub filled with spaniards. I was the happiest man in the bar until, suddenly, I was the saddest.
2. Currently living in Beijing. I can only watch the Saturday morning games. The time difference is about 12 hours so the games come on Saturday night. A few good pub-like places near me show them, but they use Chinese feeds so the halftime commercials are silly chinese things and the halftime hosts wear silly chinese host getup.
Midweek Champions League games are always tough propositions. I work in DC so the games starts at 2:45 EST. I always record the game but it is a constant battle to not check the updates while also avoiding the snide email from two of my colleagues who represent that swath of United fans here in the US. However the biggest landmine of them all is that dreaded text message from a friend watching live.
Just happened again on Wednesday with our (USMNT) victory against the Italians. I successfully conned my way out of the office early and stood only two blocks away from my condo when I checked a message and boom, Slacker: big win for USA! Me: asshole. just heading home to watch. thanks prick.
The last time that I left early for a Chelsea game was the second leg against the Mancs last year. Arrived at Irish pub up the street from the office at right around halftime. Game was 0-0 when I left but the barkeep told me we were down 1-0 so I ordered shot of whiskey alongside my Smithwick’s. Most of the bar were watching the Barcelona/Shaktar game. It was rather quite so I can only assume Barcelona was putting on one of their pass 6 times to the power 64 sequences. But then the moment happened.
It was one of those moments that reaffirmed why I make the conscious decision to watch Chelsea/Ravens/UMD basketball within the confines of my home. I released the most primal roar of primal roars accompanied with a stunning combinations of fist pumps. The second act of my celebration had a litany of several more fist pumps while screaming yes, yes, yes, DROGBAAAA! The denouement was the minor inquisition I had with Carlo regarding the team he started with. It’s always better to do those in private. Never good to air your dirty laundry in public but it had to be done.
At his point the entire bar is now fixated on the Chelsea match. Not only the table full of Ukrainian diplomats but also the older guy who sits at the bar from noon to five everyday doing his cross word puzzle, drinking chardonnay, speaking to no one, while being a serious need of fingernail clippers. I order another shot of whiskey as I am starting to feel bullish on our chances. Not even a minute afterwards the bar fell silent again.
I froze completely unable to comprehend what I had just watched. A patron a few stools behind me helped out observation that we had just witnessed schoolboy defending. The bartender came back with my shot and informed me that this one was on the house. Even though United’s goal at that moment was a dagger which shattered me hindsight has proven that the moment of unbridled joy not even two minutes prior by far exceed the hurt. That’s why we do what we do. It did help that I was at the right place to kick on and begin the process of getting past the loss. Got shitfaced that night.
A report is winging its way to Nick as I type.
I was just getting slightly worried that we lost a game and no comments posted. I feared the worst of a mass blog suicide amongst us bi-polar fans.
There’s so little left to say that’s not been said. Or we’re just stunned into incoherence.
So I can expect an hour of white noise from the podding shed broadcast tomorrow? 😉
Exactly how I feel, BB …………. except this is now getting beyond a joke. What fukking ‘transition’ is all I can say?
[…] As it’s an international week, in the next episode of the Podding Shed we will be discussing the experiences of our overseas brethren, including expats, fugitives from justice and so on. Tell us about watching Chelsea… […]