CSG on the pitch with ‘Regenerate UK’ and ‘Chelsea Foundation’
Having arrived at the East Stand press entrance at my allotted time of 2:30 I met up with Cliff Auger, Chris Steers, Tony Broadbent, Walter Otton from Regenerate, Simon Taylor from Chelsea Foundation and Dan Rudgely, who managed the tournament winners, Chelski Dynamo.
The press office on match days is, as you would imagine, lots of hustle and bustle, lots of free food and drink, and lots of faces you would recognise off the telly but would find them hard to name.
One face, however who we did recognise, was Clive ‘Flasher’ Walker who stopped for a chat, Clive was one of the old boys who helps us out at the Annual Football Tournament and wished us luck as he headed off to his commentary position high in the East Stand, we tried to ‘press gang’ (no pun intended) him into handing over the Trophy on the pitch, to be fair, he would have assisted if he didn’t have other duties to perform and said he was looking forward to the next tournament ion 2014.
At 2:45 Jade Finch from the club ushered us through the far doorway and into the tunnel, at this point I must admit I did reach up and touch the Chelsea badge as many of our idols have done throughout the years! We moved out through the tunnel exit and onto the hallowed turf, what it must be like to enter the pitch as a player I cannot imagine, but I felt quite honoured to have walked the same path.
Much to my surprise, the players had just finished warming up and had made their way back to the changing room, last time we were in this position the players were still out training so it was a little disappointing that we had missed them.
We were ushered to the side of the pitch as Neil Barnett introduced the presentation for the ‘Kyle Broadbent Memorial Trophy’ and Kyle’s dad Tony went on first to hand the cup over to Dan from Chelski Dynamo who successfully defended their trophy this year and will be going for three successive wins next year. This was followed with Darren Walsh, the clubs official photographer, taking a series of pictures with all those present.
Two cheque’s for £500 each, were given to a local children’s charity ‘Regenerate UK’ and, to the ‘Chelsea Foundation’, this money was raised from fund raising throughout the year and in particular, the Annual Fans Football Tournament at the fantastic Chelsea Cobham training facilities.
As much as I tried to spot those I knew in various stands, I was surprised how little you can make out from that position, I did however, pick up a musical note or two from the MHL that sounded familiar to the song that Peter Crouch receives at Stoke, bit harsh I thought! Neil Barnet was saying something into the microphone but I couldn’t make much out so I guess he was just explaining what the cheque’s were for and the reason for the pitch presentation.
And then it was all done, we headed back into the press room which by now was empty as they had all headed to their seats behind the dugouts. We collected our belongings and were then taking back in the tunnel to make our way out along the side of the East Lower, the team were heading out ready for the meet up with the mascots but as much as I tried to slow our exit! I couldn’t quite hang it out long enough to walk out with the players!
We said our goodbye’s and I headed off to the Shed Upper entrance. Normally I’m there an hour’ish before kick off, so to get there WITH A QUEUE was most unusual. I eventually got to my seat just before kick off, and was greeted with “Oh look out, here comes superstar! and “can I have your autograph please mister!”
So, summing up, it was nice to give some money to Regenerate and Chelsea Foundation, and I would like to pass on theirs, and the CSG thanks for all of you that gave so generously on the day and throughout the past year.
A big thank you also goes to Graham Smith and Dave Newby and all involved in Chelsea FC for their continued support in putting on this annual event and of course, the vast help from Cliff Auger and the CSG Committee.
The ‘Fans Football Tournament’ is now scheduled to be held on the second Sunday of July, and each year the popularity increases, with team applications being oversubscribed, and the interest in joining us on the day is immense (even from abroad). A lot of work is put in by many people but it is all very worthwhile and we are already planning for the 2014 event.
We look forward to doing it all again next year.
“Win or Lose – Up the Blues”
** Thanks to those who supplied the photo’s : Steve Lawrence, Dave Sorrell, Liz Nurse and Gill Reeves.