Memories shared and money raised

There were captains and cup winners galore on stage at this year’s gathering of the Chelsea clans.

The Annual Lunch took place at Stamford Bridge on Friday, and that meant former players mixing with fans and club directors for entertainment, food and shared memories, while funds were raised for the Chelsea Foundation and the Past Players’ Trust.

The 30th anniversary of the 1988/89 Second Division championship campaign was especially celebrated, with Ken Monkou and David Lee from that team handed the mic and asked for recollections of a year when Chelsea cruised back into top-flight football.

Football impressionist Darren Farley added to the fun, there was a raffle and auction but the main stars of the show took part in two question and answer sessions hosted by Jason Cundy and Gigi Salmon.

A captains’ collective brought Ron Harris, Katie Chapman and Paul Elliott to the stage, all of whom had led Chelsea sides with distinction and tough tackling, followed later in the afternoon by the reuniting of four very famous faces who shared Blues changing rooms some two decades ago – Marcel Desailly, Roberto Di Matteo, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Gustavo Poyet, and once together again, it was like they had never been parted.

Here are a selection of photos and quotes from the Q&As…
 

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – ‘I am great, happy to be here, unemployed and waiting! I’m looking and hoping for the right opportunity and you have to be patient. When it goes well and things come off that you are working on on the training field, football management is very good. Working upwards, with the board at times can be difficult. I think Gustavo would agree with me on this! But it is football, it is what we know. Playing football is the best thing ever and management is the second best thing.’

Roberto Di Matteo – ‘In 1997 we played Coventry away first game of the season. Dion Dublin played for Coventry and we lost and he scored a header, so next year we turned up with [new signing] Marcel Desailly and in the tunnel I was quite cocky, saying to Dion Dublin look who we have this year, the Rock! And we lost that game as well with him!’

Marcel Desailly – ‘I was depressed for four months when I came to England. It was terrible because I thought I was strong, but you reach the Premier League and suddenly you have to deal with Niall Quinn, Duncan Ferguson, Dion Dublin, Alan Shearer. It was scary but I digested it and after a couple of months I’ve understood that I could not win all the balls in the air.’
 

Ron Harris on John Terry having left Chelsea without surpassing his 795 appearance record for the club – ‘I had a little friendly wager with Frank Lampard and John Terry a few years ago that they would not beat my record and the way footballers move around nowadays, I am quietly confident that no one will beat the record. They might score more goals, but they won’t play more games.’

Katie Chapman on her recent retirement – ‘It has been tough not playing, I had been playing for so long I felt at the start that someone had taken my legs. I am grateful that I have kids so although I am not playing anymore, I am running after them watching them grow up in football and that is helping me. My littlest one played in his first Under-6 game recently and he tackles like Mummy, it is hilarious!’
 

Paul Elliott asked for a fact people wouldn’t know about him – ‘I was born in 1964 and I was born the night Muhammed Ali defeated Sonny Liston to become the World Heavyweight Champion when he was only 18 years of age, so my middle name is actually Marcellus, which is the middle name of Muhammed Ali.’

 

Poyet spoke to the official Chelsea website about attending the Annual Lunch.

‘It is nice to be back, I have not been at Stamford Bridge for a while, so supporting the Foundation of Chelsea is fantastic for many reasons. I am able to see people who are still working here and players, I had not seen Marcel for a while, nor Jimmy Floyd, so it has been a pleasure for me.

‘The Past Players’ Trust is important. We are lucky to have the post-football life that, for example, I have. I am privileged on those terms and it is always important that we have time and we support the raising of money for those who maybe don’t have the same luck, and there are many. I think there is more of them than the ones who are lucky, so it is really a good cause and we are pleased to participate.’

 

Desailly had travelled from Ghana to attend.

‘Chelsea is in my heart. It was my last European club, I was captain when I left, and there is a whole lot of history. And we are talking about charity, the using of sport to allow kids to be reintegrated into the society plus the Past Players’ Trust, so I was busy in Milan, I was busy in Morocco, I was busy in Accra but it is a pleasure to come here to be part of the Chelsea family.

‘On stage my mates were there with me. I felt like it was 20 years ago when all the time we had a laugh about everything.’
 

- Click to read more about the Chelsea Foundation and the Past Players’ Trust
 

More from chelsea