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The lengths we go to for Chelsea

In his latest blog for the Chelsea website, our American blogger reveals what he was up to while the Blues were taking on Man City in the Carabao Cup final recently...

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the pub to watch the Carabao Cup final with my fellow Chelsea fans. Because I had to walk in a Mardi Gras dog parade. When you live in New Orleans these things happen.

As I’m sure is the case with the vast majority of Blues supporters in the States, if at all possible I will make it to my local football bar and join up with my Chelsea mates.

Experiencing the contest alongside your friends adds to the enjoyment of victory or helps ease the pain of defeat, and the longer and more regularly you go, the more loyalty you feel: You don’t want your pals in the Blue Army to think you abandoned them for a big game, just because you couldn’t be bothered to drive three miles.

Last Sunday I desperately wanted to join them to watch the action from Wembley, but it is Carnival time in the Big Easy, so at 1pm we had the celebration of the Mystic Krewe of Barkus. A parade featuring dog owners who dress up their pets and meander in procession through the French Quarter along with marching bands, dancers and floats. Seriously.

I got roped in because my girlfriend was helping her parents who were taking part with their two dogs. You may think that three people could handle a pair of pets, but you would be wrong. A dog each for her parents, me to pull a cart containing beads and American footballs to toss to the spectators, and her to drag an ice chest full of beers. If you are walking past thousands of pet lovers in a dog parade you need to drink, trust me.

I had agreed to help out months before we reached the showdown (schoolboy error, my own fault), so I watched the match at an apartment within walking distance of the start. By the time we were through with extra-time and penalties it was almost 1pm here, and I had to sprint like Eden Hazard to the staging area in Louis Armstrong Park.

Halfway around the route, the 13-year-old West Highland Terrier decided he was too exhausted to walk any further and had to be carried the rest of the way. I knew how he felt - after our heart-breaking narrow loss, he wasn’t the only one feeling dog tired.

Thankfully normal serviced was resumed on Wednesday with victory over Tottenham – and I wasn’t missing that one!

By Stephen Rea, Blogger from America

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