Chelsea returning to the USA next year is great news for us Blues fans who live on this side of the Atlantic. The team is coming to Massachusetts to play the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium near Boston as part of the club’s ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign.
Chelsea were here in 2016 on a preseason tour, so it will be a gap of fewer than three years between games Stateside. But American supporters have been so spoiled that it almost feels like the visit is overdue.
Only a few weeks after I emigrated here in 2004, the Blues embarked on our first US tour of the modern era. We returned the next year, and in 2006 and 2007. After skipping 2008 we were back again 12 months later, meaning that in the six years from 2004 - 2009, they visited five times.
Another three-year break followed, then we were back in the States in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Indeed they visited twice in 2013 with both end-of-season friendlies and a pre-season tour, meaning they were here five times in five years. The fans who live in the USA have had it good the last 15 years.
For next year’s trip the venue and the opponents have both been announced, and we know the match will be in the Spring. But this far out the date has not been confirmed. And although tens of thousands of followers are excited about the impending visit, I’ll be happy if the final details are not revealed for months.
That’s because the club have committed to playing at the end of this campaign, as opposed to a pre-season fixture before the 2018-19 Premier League get underway. Our last contest is away to Leicester City on May 12, so presumably it can’t be before that.
The FA Cup final is on May 18, and wouldn’t it be fantastic if we are in that, defending the trophy we won against Manchester United last time out. While 11 days later is the climax of the Europa League, set for Baku on May 29. Maybe we will be in that as well.
The longer our season lasts the better as far as I’m concerned. Waiting a few extra weeks to see the team is the price that all of us American fans will gladly pay for success.
By Stephen Rea, Blogger from America