The matchday programme for our last game of the season features an exclusive interview with Thiago Silva, who reflects on the 2022/23 campaign and his special relationship with Blues fans.
The Brazilian centre-back was visibly touched by the two tifo-style banners that were unfurled behind both goals at Stamford Bridge ahead of our most recent home match, against Nottingham Forest, as he was serenaded by the supporters who have taken him to their hearts from the moment he arrived in west London almost three years ago.
‘My relationship with the Chelsea supporters is hard to put into words,’ he tells the programme. ‘It was love at first sight. I feel really happy here. It’s not easy to come to a new club with not much time on your contract and be applauded from the beginning, shown so much love. I’m really proud to be at Chelsea and I just want them to continue to be successful.
‘Obviously, this year didn’t go well at all, but all we can do is hope for better next season. When you wear the Chelsea shirt you know that you’ve got a lot of pressure on you, so let’s just hope we improve next season.’
Frank Lampard is also in reflective mood in his final column as caretaker manager, as he looks to sign off with a win this weekend.
‘I didn’t get the chance to do a proper goodbye at the end of my previous time here because it happened during the period behind closed doors due to Covid. I know the supporters will have long memories, particularly the Stamford Bridge crowd, the match-going fan.
‘The link we had over my 13 years as a player here was special, and although I left without getting the chance to say goodbye that time around, I think I probably addressed that by coming back as manager. My feeling for this club and the supporters has never and will never change.’
Among the historical content in the programme is an interview with Jesper Gronkjaer, who scored in one of the most important final-day fixtures in our history, while the Premier League Years feature ends on a high with a look back at our memorable 2004/05 campaign, including an in-depth feature on the game at Bolton Wanderers when we clinched the title for the first time in 50 years.
There’s also the latest columns from captain Cesar Azpilicueta and our Academy coaching staff, while Emma Hayes gives her thoughts on Chelsea Women’s third straight FA Cup triumph, which is celebrated with a picture special.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy from one of the programme sellers around the stadium, or order online from our publishing partner Reach Sport to have it delivered to your door.