BANGKOK GEARS UP FOR THE BLUES

Excitement was already high in Thailand ahead of the team's visit to play in Bangkok this summer, and it will only be more so now the match there is due to be Jose Mourinho's first one back as Chelsea manager.

The time the squad will spend in the Thai capital forms a major leg in the 2013 'Here to Play, Here to Stay' tour of Asia, with the city hosting our pre-season training camp for a week before the match against the Singha All-Stars on Wednesday 17 July.

The enthusiasm for Chelsea in Bangkok was clearly evident when we visited two years ago, with large and noisy crowds greeting the players every step of the way, and the official Chelsea website spoke to the Thailand Official Supporters Club to gauge the mood ahead of next month's return.

'The supporters here cannot wait until Chelsea come,' reports Danilo Torresani, founder and president of the branch which is one of the biggest in Asia. In recognition of that it is the first there to achieve platinum status as laid out in Chelsea FC's supporters club scheme.

'They keep asking what we can do when the players come, and not only fans from Thailand. We have received on Facebook messages from Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Burma and Laos - people who want to join in.

'We are from Thailand and we take care of our Thai fans but we have to take care of all Chelsea fans. We are ready to give instruction and support for everyone who needs it, on where to stay, where to buy the tickets.'

Torresani is an Italian by birth but is aided in communicating with Chelsea's Thai supporters by Beer, who is the treasurer.

'Thai people love Chelsea and we are growing and promoting Chelsea in Thailand,' Beer says. 'Now we have the same amount of fans here as Liverpool and Man United.'

'Next year, more!' adds Torresani.

The Thailand Supporters Club started in 2010 and was boosted by the team's visit a year later. For the Champions League final in 2012 they covered a pub in Bangkok with a blue flag and 200 people watched the game there in the early hours of the morning. After the win they hung around until 6am singing, as a video on YouTube proves.

Last month's Europa League final was a little more restrained due to it taking place in the middle of the working week rather than the weekend, but there was still plenty of reason for smiles.

Bangkok

Beer reports that Frank Lampard and John Terry are the most popular Chelsea players in Thailand since Didier Drogba's departure. Fernando Torres has many fans too, as does David Luiz from the younger players.

This weekend the Thailand Supporters Club enjoyed a visit from a Chelsea legend - former captain Dennis Wise spending an evening with them in Bangkok.

Wise in Bangkok



- Click for ticket information and to book online for the Singha 80th Anniversary Cup match:Singha All-Star v Chelsea in Bangkok, Wednesday 17 July, 8pm local time.