Written by Stephen Rea and originally featured on ChelseaFC.com
Where were you when Chelsea won the league?
I bet that’s a question many of us in the USA have asked our fellow Blues fans this week. After all, it was a Friday afternoon.
Four different time zones stretch from sea to shining sea. Those on the eastern seaboard were probably the best placed for the decider, five hours behind England (four weeks each year it drops to four hours), so I’m guessing a fair few made it to the pub for the West Brom match: it kicked off at 3pm for them, and I dare say many sneaked out of work a wee bit early and started the weekend with a celebration.
I live in Louisiana, in the central time zone that runs from Alabama to North Dakota, so we were officially crowned champions just before 4pm. Next across is Mountain Time where it was a 1pm start, finally in the states hugging the Pacific the fixture was broadcast at noon – perfect timing for a long, leisurely lunch. That was the story in what we in the States call the contiguous (a word I have neither heard nor read in any other context) 48 states, I admit I don’t know how many supporters were following in Alaska or Hawaii.
I was in the playground of my daughter’s school when we were crowned champions for the fifth time in 12 years. I was able to stream the whole of the first half before work, but the second period was a guerrilla affair, me checking in on the contest while mediating disputes over hula-hoops, putting plasters/band aids on boo-boos, and enforcing the strict age limit for the monkey bars. The distractions however made it less of a twitchy, nervy experience.
Though I’ve followed Chelsea long enough not to take anything for granted, I did feel we would win the title once we were 10 points clear with 10 matches to go. Credit to Spurs for their impressive form, but a point a game is a huge gap to close in that period. Even if we had not won in the West Midlands – my money was on a draw – I was confident we would finish the job this week at the Bridge.
As I paced the playground, and to keep me from fixating on what was happening at the Hawthorns, I ran through every league game this season in which we were either beaten or held to a draw. Only eight in a campaign that started in August – nine months to the day between entertaining West Ham at home and Monday night’s victory against Watford. Staggering consistency due to both the manager and the team.
My work got in the way of me seeing Chelsea anointed Kings of England live. You win the league over 38 fixtures, not at the final whistle that makes your coronation mathematically safe. But if you were lucky enough to watch it live, no matter which American time zone you are in, I’m sure you enjoyed your Friday afternoon.