The second pre-season friendly of our summer tour of the USA takes us to Indiana and a meeting with Celtic, almost exactly two decades since one of the most legendary Chelsea careers began against the same opposition…

One of the beauties of pre-season is it provides an opportunity to watch new Chelsea signings or Academy graduates for the first time. And maybe, just maybe, it will be the start of something special.

Our game against the Scottish champions at the fabled university stadium in Notre Dame takes place on Saturday 27 July. And if you rewind 20 years –  to 24 July 2004 to be exact – Chelsea and Celtic were going head-to-head in Seattle.

That was the Blues’ second friendly of the summer under new head coach Jose Mourinho, and on a scorching afternoon in Washington State, Craig Beattie cancelled out Alexei Smertin’s opener to send the teams in level at 1-1.

Mourinho made six changes at half-time. The most significant was in goal as Petr Cech was introduced for his first appearance in our colours.

Thus began a remarkable 11-year career between the posts, the heights of which nobody in Seattle could have imagined. Chelsea won 4-2 and by the first game of the season, Mourinho had chosen Cech as his new number one.

Also showcasing their skills for the first time in blue that day was Arjen Robben. One jinking run and assist for Eidur Gudjohnsen was a sign of what was to come.

By the end of that season Chelsea, helped by Cech’s dominance in goal and the wizardry of Robben going forward, had won the Premier League and the League Cup. A small seed had been sown in Seattle.

This time around the teams meet in Indiana, in the Midwest of America. It is our second game in that US state and the first, a 2-0 win against Inter Milan in 2013, remains the most attended soccer game in Indiana.

Almost 42,000 people watched on as goals from Oscar and Eden Hazard secured Mourinho’s Blues victory at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

You could be there to help beat that record, with tickets now on sale. Who knows, you might just witness the start of greatness…

Chelsea's USA Tour 2024