From modest beginnings to working with local children, Chelsea Thane - Blues have come a long way in building a community of Chelsea FC fans. This is their story.
Founded in 2019, Chelsea Thane Blues was started by a group of Chelsea fans for a very honest reason.
“We used to travel to Navi Mumbai and Khar for screenings which was a bit far for all of us in Thane,” Aditya Chaubal, co-founder of Chelsea Thane Blues, said. “So one day, a Chelsea fan contacted me saying that another Chelsea fan, Soham Naik, was thinking of opening a Chelsea FC fan club in Thane. That’s how I came in touch with Soham and the other founders, Omi, Divyesh & Nirav, and began the Thane chapter together. We were supposed to have our one year anniversary celebration recently, but couldn’t because of the lockdown.”
Talking about the first Chelsea Thane Blues’ screening, Aditya said, “So in our first screening, we got around 100 Chelsea fans into a place which can only accomodate 50 for the Europa League final game when Chelsea beat Arsenal.
“Unfortunately, I was on my honeymoon at the time, but I still made my wife watch the game with me and kept getting updates of what was happening at the screening from my friends. Every Chelsea win at a screening is a surreal experience and I am just gutted to miss such an important one.”
Reflecting on the best screening he has been a part of, Aditya said “For me, the one where Chelsea played Tottenham Hotspur in February this season was magical! When Alonso scored, we went absolutely crazy. Fifty-five Chelsea fans rose in unison as soon as the ball hit the back of the net, so you can imagine. It was just sheer madness!”
Along with regular fan activities, Chelsea Thane Blues have also been quite active in working with children in their local area to promote the sport.
“At Chelsea Thane Blues, our aim is to work at the grassroots level to instil a love for the game, encourage young kids to not only learn about team sport but also learn leadership qualities and the importance of sportsmanship,” Soham Naik, co-founder of Chelsea Thane Blues, said. “Hopefully this results in us providing another Sunil Chhetri or Frank Lampard for the future!”
“The grassroots initiative was basically started by a fellow member Mahesh Padmanabhan, who helped us sponsor some grassroots football tournaments as well. Along with this, we recently organised a birthday celebration of our legendary captain, John Terry, with the kids, showing them a few glimpses of the amazing qualities of our Chelsea role model.”
It has been a steady journey for Chelsea Thane Blues, something which Aditya is privy to and is satisfied with.
“We started off with around 15 to 20 Chelsea fans, and now we have more than 300 members,” Aditya said. “For every game now, we have a bare minimum of 50 members turn up.”
“It’s been just a year, and a lot of people are already joining in every day. So, I would say the fan club’s progress is good. We have been able to penetrate into the Chelsea market in Thane, but we want to diversify our attention to nearby regions as well. The past year has been a major learning experience for us, and we hope to advertise our fan club a bit better now, to achieve newer heights.”
Adding to this, Soham Naik talked about what everyone at Chelsea Thane Blues dreams about. “Our love for the club is what we would like to share with new fans,” Soham said. “It is quite unique.
“To do that, we would love to visit Stamford Bridge together as a unit, to see our fan club’s banner put up there for everyone to see. That would be quite something, and that’s what we are working towards.”