In his latest blog for the official Chelsea website, resident Stateside blogger Stephen Rea explains why he's prolonging his stay in Ireland. I am on holiday in Ireland visiting my family. It turns out that Chelsea are following me here.
Talk about a bolt from the Blues. I was minding my own business in an outdoor bar in Amsterdam’s Museumplein, sipping a beer with my stepdad, waiting for my mum and daughter to finish up at the Van Gogh Museum, when I got a notification from the official club app, The 5th Stand.
It alerted me that the team had finalised their pre-season schedule. And when I clicked on it, I discovered using my American phone, sitting in Holland, with my Portuguese stepdad, that the English club I support, are heading to Ireland for two games. I had no idea it was even in the works.
As I wrote last week, there is currently a lot going on in the football world. We have the women’s World Cup, the Copa America, and the Gold Cup, and the Londoners were well represented in the semi-finals of all three tournaments. I am sure that like me, many of you consider these competitions are being staged at the end of ‘this’ season, the 2018/19 campaign. It seems awfully early in the summer to think about the next football year.
Also, Chelsea usually release pre-season plans months in advance. Most tend to be a far-flung adventures, with fixtures in places like China and Japan, the USA and Australia. In contrast, Wednesday’s friendly in Dublin against Bohemians was announced on June 27 - less than two weeks before the game kick-offs.
So I won’t be going back to New Orleans this weekend as scheduled. I will instead take a few extra days onto the end of this trip so I can see the match.
I actually had an extra incentive to change my travel plans. I am in Belfast with my daughter, who turns 12 in a few weeks, and she can’t wait to see the Blues live. She was born in Louisiana and lives in North Carolina, so who knew her first game ever would be in Dublin?
I’ve been to Bohemians’ Dalymount Park once before, in August 1983 for a heavy metal festival featuring bands like Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Twisted Sister. Thirty-six years later, I’m looking forward to a different kind of rocking event.