As I make my way to this year’s Chelsea summer tour in the States I came across a man and his wife who I saw donning the Royal Blue of our beloved club. As I sat at the Starbucks inside the airport I approached them in a friendly manner to compliment their excellent taste in wardrobe. After all, if you’re in my city wearing the Chelsea strip then I must of course say hi to you. It was obvious to me that they were both on their way to quite possibly the same destination as I, and I was correct. They claimed they were going on their first Chelsea summer tour via Brownsville, Texas, and had never seen their Blues in action live. I get giddy when I see new supporters watching the club live for the first time so I invited myself to sit down, and share my story.
The same thing I am about to tell all of you is exactly what I told them. You are about to embark on the experience of a lifetime, but not because you’re about to watch Chelsea play in person. Instead you are about to be surrounded by tens of thousands of people just like yourself. This however is not the truest of Chelsea experiences, but it’s good enough for those who may not have the means to travel to London, and watch the club at Stamford Bridge.
I’ve done my fair share of summer tours, and since I was six years old I’ve done my fair share of matches at The Bridge and away. For the sake of atmosphere on a cold England night nothing beats watching the club play competitively when it counts. On the other hand for the sake of making new friends and adding to your Blue family, nothing beats the experience of pregame camaraderie on summer tours.
You’ll experience singing songs you’ve never heard before from crazy alcohol fueled idiots like myself, but you’ll also share moments of laughter. Matches in England have brought many friends to my life, but matches in the states have brought a whole new family. There aren’t many folks out there who can understand this, because they just don’t partake in what the summer tour truly is about. The day before the match you head to the pub, have a few pints and watch the tradition of Star on a Stool with Spy and the CFC legends. On match day you get to the pub early, you drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and lose your voice by the time you get to the stadium. You take with you however those memories. Those memories of Seattle 2012, LA 2005 or better yet Charlotte 2016.
I buy a ticket to the match, but quite frankly I don’t care about preseason football. The most important ticket I buy is that flight that gets me to wherever the rest of you will be. In a way I have a true hate for unnecessary summer tour trips to the US which seem hurried, exhausting, and are only created for inflated bank accounts. Then I look back and realize, “Hey, if it wasn’t for these tours I would’ve never made the people I consider my best friends in the world.” Danny Campos, Janset Chek, J.R. Lotto and so many more. Where would I be without their banter, their friendship, but better yet the love we have for one another? Where would I be if I didn’t meet any of you in Ann Arbor the weekend we play Real Madrid? I’d be lost! I wouldn’t have the opportunity to make new friends, and hope to make a lifetime of memories with all of you. Yeah, Chelsea are here, and that’s just great! I’ll save seeing them for my trip back to SW6. This trip is about you and me. So let’s share a pint, let’s share a laugh, and . . . LET’S GO F**KING MENTAL.
See you at the pub.
JESUS A. MARTINEZ
PRESIDENT – BAYOU CITY BLUES
PROUD CHELSEA SUPPORTER SINCE 1981