My Team & I: Chelsea


By Brent Atema

Twitter: @GlobalFoot2Day


Why Chelsea?

I suppose I will take a lot “schtick” for this, from Chelsea fans and non-Chelsea fans alike, but my initial decision to choose the club was based on some very superficial criteria.

I have followed the game — predominantly the EPL — for more than 15 years. During my time in college I used to watch a lot of English football with a Brazilian friend whose father was English. In 2002, after just watching whoever was on for about two years, he told me I needed to pick a team to follow. So I agreed I would. I knew about the clubs in England, but had never been drawn to any specific one, so I devised a series of qualifications to help me decide. Here is how I officially chose Chelsea:

• I am an American and we love success, but we also love the underdog. So I wanted a “big” club, but one that was not as big as some of the other clubs in England.

• If possible, I wanted to choose a team in a city I some connection with. London was the only city in England that I had spent any time.

• Blue has always been my favorite color (OK, Orange too, but that is another story). I also have never liked any teams, in any sport, that wear red. In fact, I really hate red. I don’t even like to wear it.

• I also wanted a team that I could watch play. Coverage in the U.S. was not close to what it is today, so I needed to choose a team that played in the UEFA Champions League to maximize my viewing potential. (This final one was the kicker. I really did not like Arsenal back then, so if Spurs had been a top club playing in Europe I probably would have chose them just so I could hate Arsenal even more).

All these factors led me directly to Stamford Bridge. So to all the haters out there, I can officially say I was a Chelsea fan in the pre-Abramovich era. Now I must admit that I initially did not support the Blues like a real fan. I followed Chelsea, but I did not “support” the club — I was not “Proper Chels.” I did not become a “true” or “real” Chelsea supporter until the 2006-07 season. It wasn’t until we had success, and then struggled to win the title that I finally fell in love. That fact that Chelsea was the most hated team in the country, and one of the most hated in Europe, only made love the club and my fellow supporters even more. That’s right, I finally considered myself a supporter of Chelsea. If you ask anyone who knows me (especially my wife), they will tell you there is no doubt that I am “Proper Chels.”

Favourite Player?

This is not even close. There is no question in my mind. There have been players that I liked, such as Arjen Robben and Claude Makelele. There are players that I loved, such as Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho and Frank Lampard. However, there is no one like the great Michael Essien. He is, and always will be, my favorite player to put on the Chelsea kit (until my 2-year-old son Connor becomes the first American to score a Champions League goal for the Blues).


Favourite Game?

My favorite game is actually two games — the 2009 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Liverpool. Chelsea won the tie 7-5 on aggregate (3-1 winners in the first leg at Anfield, and a 4-4 draw in the second leg at home).

Favourite Strip?

The away and third kits of the mid 1970s are some of the coolest. They look like they were modeled after the Hungarian kits of the 1950s. I especially like the away kit from 1972-75 and the third kit from 1974-75.


Worst Thing About Being a Chelsea Fan?

The worst thing about being a Chelsea fan is the fact that everyone assumes you are a glory hunter who only came to the club after Abramovich and Mourinho brought success to the club. People like to tell Chelsea fans that we have no history, but that could not be further from the truth. People who say that should just keep their mouth shut instead of opening it and showing their ignorance to the footballing world.

Having said that, the fact that Chelsea is widely hated, disliked and misunderstood are some of the reasons that I love the club so much. New fans, old fans, American fans, English fans, and many more, have all been supportive of me and many other Chelsea fans because we are so widely disliked. This only makes us stronger, so please continue the hate, don’t send it all to Manchester City now.

Funniest Moment?

Not sure if this is that funny, but it makes me so upset that I can’t help but laugh. So I am choosing the signing of Andriy Shevchenko as the funniest moment. This signing was as colossal a failure as I can ever remember Chelsea being involved with. It was a disaster, a transfer dumpster fire.

Favourite Moment?

Had we gone on to hold the lead and win the game, Michael Essien’s left-footed volley in the second leg of the 2009 UEFA Champions League Semifinal against Barcelona would easily be the winner.

My actual favorite moment occurred last season — defeating Portsmouth in the F.A. Cup final to secure the first double in Chelsea’s history

5 Responses to “My Team & I: Chelsea”

  1. I have no idea if the 1974-75 3rd kit was supposed to honor the Hungarian team of the 1950s, but I like to think so. Maybe they just thought it looked cool and copied it. I would love if anyone could shed some light on that.

  2. I am glad you are “Proper Chels” – love the write up – EPL coverage on TV now is incredible, compared to the 1990’s! Glad you chose to be a True Blue!

    All the best, and I’ll retweet!


  3. HAHA. you remind me of me.
    My favorite color has always been blue.
    I statrted supporting all EPL blue teams(blue shirt blue shorts) at 6yrs when i couldnt recognize the teams.(96)
    I couldnt support any red team cos my bro was manu, and i hated that err1 was a manu and arsenal fan
    By 97/98 i had to pick a team , my bro said u cant keep supporting so many teams, so i looked around and it had to be chelsea. no one played liked them. so entertaining.

    SO ive supported the team that long, thru zola, ferrer, petrescu, nuno morais, dalla bona, lampard, de geoy, oliveira, flo, jfh.. u name it.

    But the journey to being proper chels has been long as i dont live in london. ive been there a few times but never to a game. Fans around the world, on facebook, twitter, blogs, podcasts have helped me and im now proudly ‘proper chels”!!!!

    I know the chants, history, legends, what makes a legend, stories, almost everything. and it makes me love the club even more. Forget the trophies n all those, being proper chels is what makes me feel proud to follow this wonderful club with its wonderful fans.

    PS: the kit does have something to do with hungary. /via the chelsea handbook

  4. Nice piece – like it.

  5. ‘the fact that Chelsea is widely hated, disliked and misunderstood are some of the reasons that I love the club so much.’ those what happened to me too. I started to watch epl when I was in high school and at that time I realised I had to pick one, blue is my fav color. the first time I picked chelsea just before Roman came. I fell in love with how they played football . <3 them

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