After seeing the atmosphere at Wembley as large crowds returned to football in England during the latter stages of Euro 2020, Callum Hudson-Odoi explained in a special interview on The 5th Stand app why he can’t wait to walk out in front of the Chelsea fans at a packed Stamford Bridge again.
The Blues welcomed supporters back in smaller numbers at the end of last season, after a long absence while we played in closed stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A total of 10,000 Chelsea fans witnessed our crucial Premier League win over Leicester City at the Bridge and a crowd of around 20,000 watched the FA Cup final against the same opposition.
However, as Euro 2020 approached its climax, there were as many as 60,000 present at Wembley Stadium for the semi-finals and final of that competition as Government ‘test’ events trialling the return of crowds to sporting events.
With Hudson-Odoi watching England’s run to that final as closely as anyone else in the country, especially with three of his Chelsea team-mates in the Three Lions’ squad, the sight of the stands packed with cheering fans has got him excited by the prospect of seeing the same at the Bridge as we approach the start of the 2021/22 season.
‘I think I watched every single game at the Euros and England did really well to get to the final,’ he said. ‘Obviously it was unfortunate that they lost the game but they did really well, it was a good tournament to watch as well.
‘I loved the atmosphere, fans coming back gives you more of a buzz watching it. The crowd make the game sometimes, when the atmosphere is high everybody on the pitch is high as well, and when you’re creating chances and scoring goals on the pitch the whole crowd makes it even better.’
After the Government lifted restrictions on large outdoor events in July, near capacity crowds are expected at Stamford Bridge for a couple of London derbies when we face Tottenham Hotspur in The Mind Series on 4 August and then begin our Premier League campaign at home against Crystal Palace 10 days later.
With the anticipation for the start of a new season and the return of a full crowd to Chelsea games, Hudson-Odoi admits he can barely wait.
‘It’ll be amazing to see everybody, we’ve all missed the crowd. Every time someone scores a goal there’s no crowd to celebrate and you miss the screams and shouts every time something happens.
‘When we see the crowd back, especially after winning the Champions League, we’re going to be delighted to show the trophy to them. Hopefully when we get there it’s a game where we go out all guns blazing and win the game.’
You can watch a video of the full interview with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek over on the 5th Stand now.