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December……….a record month?
December 2012 could well go down in history as the busiest Christmas month ever played by the club and most certainly the one with the most travelling. With the inclusion of the two matches in Japan along with five other games away from Stamford Bridge the mileage for the team and travelling supporters ran in to many thousands of miles and many thousands of pounds or those lucky enough to be able to go to the matches.
With the Sunderland game being played a few days before our first game in Yokohama, it appeared that the club were given no help from the FA in getting that game postponed thus assisting our bid to win the World Club Championship. It did later transpire that Chelsea FC were too late in their application for the game to be called off!
The fact that Chelsea won the match at the Stadium of Light and subsequently went on to win all the games in December following the return from Japan probably rendered the decision null and void, but it does raise the question of who made the late decision at the club and why it was left so late and would we have done better in the final against Corinthians?
Reports from Japan tell of over 20000 fans from Brazil who made the journey out there, proving that the South Americans take the tournament far, far more seriously than the Europeans and also proven by the fact the Corinthians team were based in Japan almost a week before their Chelsea counterparts.
By all accounts the majority of the Brazilians were ok, however a sizeable minority were not and spent the entire time they came into contact with Chelsea supporters giving them abuse and in some cases threatening violence. The notion of all Brazilian fans being fun loving, Samba dancing people was well and truly squashed in Tokyo and Yokohama!
Chelsea Football Club mounted quite a large operation in Japan with a stall adjacent to the Yokohama stadium giving out souvenirs to local supporters and a presence in the largest football store in Japan, which was in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, ensuring that many, many items of Chelsea merchandise was sold to our far Eastern followers. Judging by the amount of Japanese fans that turned up at both games and at the players hotel and who were dripping in official merchandise, the club officials must have come home very happy indeed!
On returning from Japan the small matter of a League Cup quarter final against old rivals Leeds was on the agenda. Well done to the club for providing coach and rail travel for £10 for the journey to Yorkshire. With nearly 600 supporters taking advantage of the clubs offer it is hoped that it will be repeated in the future with the semi final second leg game at Swansea an early opportunity to do so.
The police operation at Leeds seemed to go quite well with a huge number of officers in attendance, which obviously raises the question of why, if they could do it for 3000 away fans, why could they not do it for the 5000 that we should have had at the game?
After our only home premier league game in December against Aston Villa came two more away games in quick succession. It is to the credit of Chelsea supporters that we sold out our entire allocation of tickets for both these games, particularly the one at Norwich on Boxing Day with no public transport running on the day.
The last match of 2012 saw us play in an early kick off at Everton and the Chelsea following there witnessed yet another match winning performance from one of the greatest players to ever wear the blue shirt. With all the questionable decisions that the club have made over the years, surely it should not even be an issue to give Frank Lampard a new contract?
January sees only a slight let up in the amount of games we have to play, so again great credit goes to the Chelsea supporters who have dug deep to go to them. Tickets for the Southampton FA Cup flew out of the ticket office and thankfully the club saw sense and quickly took the full 4500 allocation for the game after initially “feeling the way” with a smaller one. With tickets on general sale and looking unlikely to sell out in Southampton, we should have asked for some more!
From all of us at the Chelsea Supporters Group we wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Blue Year.
Posted by Yeading Blue