As part of our Supporter Spotlight series, we are speaking with chapter heads from supporters clubs all across the country.
Our goal is to discover how they were developed, where they congregate, what makes them unique and what traditions they maintain. Above all, we want to show how many groups of people of different race, sex and creed, in cities all over the country, share a common bond - their love for Chelsea.
We most recently spoke with BJ of Shed End Dallas, a part of the conglomerate American Southwest Blues from Dallas, Texas.
Besides your location, what about your supporters club makes you unique from others around the country?
We’re much like other supporters clubs in the metroplex around the country. But I think what makes us great is that we’re a family. We do a lot together and support each other. We celebrate weddings, graduations, new jobs, things of the sort. We lift each other up. You can come and support Chelsea FC in any way you want to. If you want to chant and sing songs, you can. If you want to sit back and just watch the game, that’s cool too.
What are your thoughts on the Christian Pulisic signing and how big of a milestone do you think it is for America as a soccer nation?
We’ve seen a couple of Americans join the Premier League and they’ve come and gone. When I saw him in a Blue shirt, he’s definitely somebody to watch. His pace on the wing, especially the way he links up with Emerson on the left side, those two together can really threaten defenses when given the chance. I hope to see him successful at the club and that he has a long and prosperous career at Chelsea.
What is your founding story?
It got started in October of 2015 and it’s a chapter of the American Southwest Blues. We were a group of friends that wanted to watch matches at our home pub which is the Londoner and Addison. We started with about 46 members and averaged about 35 or 40 people at each match in our first year. We chose the name Shed End Dallas based on where most of the members sit when they go to a Chelsea match. For some of us it’s all we know. When you enter the Shed at Stamford Bridge, you feel this wave overcome you and at the pub it’s the same thing. We love to sing and chant loud just as you would at a match.
What sort of involvement do you have in your local community, if any?
We’ve done quite a few different community events over the years. We’ve had events to support our friends at the Ronald McDonald house, providing toiletries and other things for people in need. We’ve also partnered with the Paul Canoville Foundation to help raise money for that. A couple years ago after a particularly bad hurricane, we collected clothes and toiletries and drove them down to the Bayou City Blues. We all support Chelsea FC and we all support each other.
Can you tell us about a memorable event that you've either hosted or sponsored?
The one that sticks out is when we actually hosted Paul Canoville. We had a huge turnout and Paul shared some really memorable stories from his career.
Have your members ever attended a Chelsea preseason US Tour? If so, where and when?
We send a group that goes to most, if not all, of the preseason tours. The last match that I actually went to was Ann Arbor a couple of years ago.
Have any of your members ever been to Stamford Bridge?
We’ve had anywhere between 20 and 30 of our members go over to the Bridge in the last few years. I’ve been doing an annual trip over since 2010. I’m amazed at how many new members we get who have actually gone over to the Bridge. It’s great to share pre-match stories at the pub or reminisce about the times we’ve been over together.
What are your expectations for the season?
Zero expectations. We’ve wanted for years to have youth players be involved in the team and that time is now. I think things have started pretty well considering what we’ve got going on with the transfer ban. I’ve enjoyed seeing Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and, more recently, Fikayo Tomori just showing up on the pitch. I think they’ve got a huge weight on them but they’ve adjusted well.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you’re ever in Dallas, come on down and see us! Let’s have a pint and talk Chelsea. We’re a real extended family, we love seeing each other whether it’s during the week or on a matchday. If you’re in town, come look us up!
If you live in the Dallas area, be sure to inquire about joining up with them. Information about the group, where it meets and who to reach out to can be found, here.