My Chelsea match day
Guest fan blog Thu 30 Nov 2017
On Wednesday evening Chelsea welcomed Swansea City to Stamford Bridge and the game marked the start of a very busy period for the Blues – with nine games still left to play this year, six of which are at home.
A midweek game means a journey straight from work on the District line to Fulham Broadway for me. The train steadily fills with more and more splatters of royal blue at each station as we head west and the sudden drop in temperature and chilly conditions outside means my Chelsea woolly hat is making its first appearance of the 2017-2018 season.
As we all pile out of the match day exit at Fulham Broadway station, the Oyster card scanners beeping frantically, I’m met by the smell of burgers and onions, Chelsea chants in the distance, the merchandise stalls filled with scarves and flags, the programme and fanzine sellers, the charity donation collectors, and the hi-vis police on horseback. It’s the same familiar scene I see at every home game, but the novelty never wears off.
Like me, everyone else is deciding which pub or restaurant to warm up in before kick-off. I meet my brother and we stop for some quick dinner in whichever nearby restaurant has the shortest looking queue - on this occasion it’s Wagamamas. Mid katsu curry, my phone buzzes with the team line-up and everyone around me also seems to be checking social media to see Conte’s starting eleven. Starts for Rudiger, Willian and Pedro, with Hazard, Azpilicueta and Bakayoko on the bench.
Fed and watered, we make our way to Stamford Bridge along with the thousands of others walking along the Fulham Road. Stamford Bridge is looking glorious as usual, and is now complete with a blue and white-adorned Christmas tree and bright white lights illuminating the outside of the West stand.
There’s always the sense of excitement as you make your way in through the turnstiles, no matter who Chelsea are playing. Walking past those finishing their beers just before kick-off, we go up the stairs of West Lower’s block eight, turn right, and up to row 22 – saying hello to all the familiar faces around us. The pitch looks brilliant under the lights, and despite being freezing cold, everyone is ready and waiting in anticipation to fight for those much needed points, as the team line-ups are read out over the tannoy.
When the teams come out onto the pitch, we all stand and to the sound of ‘Blue is the colour’ we all shuffle on the spot, trying to get warm. As the teams shake hands, the massive blue flags emblazoned with the Chelsea crest are waved from the side-lines. This game starts with a minute’s applause for former Blues academy and reserve team coach, Dermot Drummy, who sadly passed away earlier this week. The players are also wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.
When the referee blows his whistle to start, shouts and cheers of ‘come on Chelsea!’ scatter around Stamford Bridge and we all take our seats. We dominate from the start, but the first-half is frustratingly full of near misses, great saves from the Swansea keeper and Antonio Conte being sent to stands. Fortunately, a Rudiger header in the 55th minute eventually breaks the deadlock and leads us to a deserved win.
There’s a slight sense of relief amongst the Chelsea fans as we all shuffle out of Stamford Bridge, but also the buzzing atmosphere that you can feel after every win. The three points were necessary for us to keep up the pace in the title race, with nearly all those around us in the League also winning their games. Both platforms at Fulham Broadway fill up and everyone heads home, but we’ll be ready to do it all again on Saturday against Newcastle. See you there!