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Four games, four cities!

Stephen Rea, our resident Stateside blogger, has filled us in on how he followed the Blues over the recent Christmas period...

I was in four different cities to watch Chelsea’s four recent festive fixtures. Maybe it’s a record.

The Blues supporters who live in America obviously follow our contests on TV, or via digital platforms on laptops and smart phones. I’m sure thousands have jobs that take them all over the country and those fans watch matches in hotel rooms, or find the local sports bar to see our latest games.

But I doubt anyone else over the Yuletide holidays tuned in from four cities in three states. And by “states” I mean the different regions of the USA, not the states often associated with Christmas such as drunken, tired, hungover and stuffed! This season, Chelsea took on a quartet of Premier League rivals in the space of only 11 days.

On December 20, I flew from New Orleans to North Carolina and picked up my daughter. We took a road trip and spent four days in the historic port city of Charleston, South Carolina. Two days later I streamed the Leicester fixture on my computer (we rented an apartment from a professional clarinet player who didn’t have a TV). By Boxing Day we had made the four-hour drive back to her hometown of Gastonia, where I watched the Watford contest, again on my laptop.

My pilot friend had given me a cheap “buddy pass” for his airline, but travelling standby around holiday time means it’s usually difficult to squeeze onto a plane. It often translates to hours waiting in the airport for an available seat.

With travel between Charlotte and New Orleans choc-a-block for two days, I jumped on a late-night flight to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital 90 miles from the Big Easy. I crashed for the night at a friend’s house, and though I got in at 1am, I set the alarm for the 6am kick-off versus Crystal Palace on December 30.

Later that day another friend who was driving from Baton Rouge to New Orleans gave me a ride, and I was back in my local Irish pub for our game against Southampton three days later.

Charleston, Gastonia, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, a mini odyssey covering thousands of miles by plane and car in 11 days. Whichever part of the world you watched them in, I wish you all the best for the New Year.

By Stephen Rea, Blogger from America

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