Earlier this year, as some of you know we lost two good friends and past players, Ian Britton and David Stride. Brits and Stridy were great guys, and it was a real loss. Not just because they were past Chelsea players, not just because they were great guys, but because they were so young. Brits was the first to “leave” from his generation, and Stridey was my age. But also because as we all know footballers of their age never made a ton of money while they played, and both of these guys were still working regular jobs up to when they passed, because they didn’t have the millions that today’s footballers have.
During the summer and just prior to the tour, I talked to a lot of members that either remember these two when they played, or knew them like I did, after their playing days, sharing a pint with them in the pub. And I realized the loss many of us felt. A lot of players from our history, and especially those that we have had the great honor of meeting are getting on in years, and it affects us. Chelsea has a formal Trust for the past players and employees of Chelsea that they can access in times of need. But from talking to the past players I know, the ones that have joined us on tour or in Vegas, or just come to know CIA through other methods have a really love for you guys. They are always amazed when one of you meets them and you are so humbled to meet them, so thrilled to meet them, it makes them feel really wonderful. So that got me thinking that CIA needed to go to the next level and be more active and give back when needs arrive. I discussed the idea with the CIA board and it was agreed that we move forward with the establishment of the Chelsea in America Past Players Fund.
This fund is 100% funded by members and fund raising efforts done by CIA. With the aim of making sure that when there is a need that we can help our past players. Now we certainly don’t have the money that Chelsea FC has in their trust, but you know every little bit helps. But what helps more is the effort to say we care, to send good wishes for a speedy recovery from a surgery, or an illness (just ask Bobby Tambling) or to comfort loved ones at a time of loss with remembrances of what that person meant to us on a personal basis, and if we can help with a little money to do that. It stems from our mission statement for CIA, and is also a link to the good charity work that so many of our local chapters do in their community.
To that end this summer we committed to having part of the money we raised on tour be earmarked for the Fund. And we talked about it at each tour stop, we auctioned items and raffled items and said we would do this. And you know the response was OVERWHELMING! And why am I not surprised, because I know what a wonderful, giving and caring group CIA is. To that end we ended the tour with more than $5,000 to start our fund, and we are still getting more donations, and we still have one more auction to finalize.
We will be continuing this work throughout the season and beyond, and from time to time you will see events and other things that will be earmarked to raise money for the Fund. Even now, if you have purchased a ticket, because of your True Blue status, when you are notified of your overage you have the option of donating some of it back to the Fund, and the number of members that have graciously given is wonderful, again not surprising knowing how wonderful our members are. But if you didn’t get a chance to give on tour, and a trip to Stamford Bridge isn’t in your future this season you can still give, and it doesn’t have to be huge, it can be a few dollars or whatever, all you need to do is
1) Send funds to [email protected] via your paypal account
2) Tell your local chapter head you would like to give, or maybe help them plan an event to raise some funds from your chapter, and then can help you get the money to the Fund.
Along with that we will be reporting when I need is there and let you know what the Fund is doing. This is not a one season only thing, it will be part of CIA going forward from now on. And there will be other opportunities to help, so be on the look out for information on that.
So there you go, and from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for proving once again how wonderful CIA really is. It is you guys that make CIA what it is, that is an amazing thing.