Delta winner catches Blues in Pasadena

Self-confessed casual sports fan Sheila Mantaring fulfilled a significant item on her ‘to-do’ list after she won the opportunity, courtesy of Chelsea Football Club and our official partner Delta Air Lines, to watch the Blues in action during our recent pre-season tour of the United States.
 
The Filipina had long been content to get her sports viewing fix on television although she was keen to experience what it was like to be in the arena itself to watch a big game. However, she could not quite believe that her chance would come when she entered a recent Delta - Chelsea FC competition and won a trip to Los Angeles for our match against Liverpool at the Rose Bowl.
 
She was one of three grand prize winners from the Asia Pacific region as Chinese contestant Chu Chi Keung won a trip to Detroit to watch our game against Real Madrid while Naoyuki Akiyama of Japan was flown to Minneapolis for our match against AC Milan.

Mantaring admitted she was in a state of disbelief after she discovered that she was a grand prize winner.

‘I think I read the email at least three times to make sure I understood it correctly!’ said the researcher from Metro Manila. ‘I had to talk to a Delta representative first to make sure that it was not a mistake and only after that did I tell my family the happy news. I feel very lucky, I am very grateful.’
 
After being flown to LA by Delta, Mantaring found herself on 27 July in a crowd of over 53,000 at the venue which hosted the 1994 World Cup final to watch our game against Liverpool.
 
While it may have been a pre-season friendly, the rivalry between the two Premier League clubs ensured that it was a competitive game and Mantaring could not help but be caught up in the passion of the fans as she cheered on the Blues in our 1-0 win over the Reds.
 
‘The experience was awesome!’ she said. ‘I am not the "painted face" kind of fan, but being there, made me understand why fans love watching games live in stadiums.
 
‘There's an energy unlike the one you have watching the game at home. The crowd energy is palpable and the good kind of contagious. People cheered and yelled (sometimes in different languages) but even if I didn't understand them they made me smile!
 
‘The bottomline is, they're very, very passionate fans and although some of them kept standing and blocking my view as they got excited, I just took the whole experience in and it left me very satisfied, especially as our team Chelsea won!’
 
The experience has turned Mantaring from a casual sports viewer to a firm Chelsea fan.
 
‘I think a lot of the Chelsea players are amazing,’ she gushed. ‘Gary Cahill was awesome and scored the goal that won the match against Liverpool and Asmir Begovic was great in goal during the game too!
 
‘But watching the game, John Terry stood out for me because he played well and you could see how fun it is for him to be on the field.’