The Remembrance Poppy features on the front cover of today’s Matchday Programme for the Chelsea versus Crystal Palace match at Stamford Bridge and within the pages, there is focus on the young player pathway which is proving so fruitful at the moment with an interview with Neil Bath, the club’s head of youth development.
In his interview, Bath discusses all the homegrown players and coaches now working in the men’s first team and says: ‘It’s been a 15-year journey since we restructured the Academy back in 2004, and several of the players that are now in the first team have been on that journey for almost as long.’
On the captain’s regular page in the programme, Cesar Azpilicueta welcomes back his predecessor as Chelsea skipper, Gary Cahill, who returns today as a Palace player.
‘It will be great to see you,’ Azpi writes, ‘but as soon as the ball is kicked I know we will both be looking only to win the game for our teams.’
Meanwhile, manager Frank Lampard focus on the fans in the stands. ‘The noise for the last couple of goals was incredible and if we can recreate that kind of feeling around the stadium from the beginning of matches here, we could have some special times ahead of us at the Bridge,’ he points out.
‘The players know they have the responsibility to set the tone for the atmosphere and they stepped up to that in the second half on Tuesday, so let’s keep pushing forward together, as it’s been great to feel that connection so far this season.’
Elsewhere in the pages, Kurt Zouma tells his story in his own words, Pat Nevin focuses on his flawed hero Diego Maradona in Stargazing and the Journey Home feature is a look back at former Sampdoria and Juventus team-mates Gianluca Vialli (very much in our hearts at the moment) and Attilio Lombardo, who came up against each other in this same fixture as today’s 21 years ago.
- This season’s matchday programme remains at £3.50 and is available in and around Stamford Bridge, the Megastore and online. Cashless payment is now available from certain sellers.