Chelsea FC's web site recently posted a nice spotlight on one of CIA"s and American Heartland's newest chapters, the Milwaukee Blues.
The group has grown by 400% in just a year!
The entire Chelsea spotlight is here, or read below.
As part of our Supporter Spotlight series, we are speaking with chapter heads from Supporters Clubs from across the United States.
Our goal is to discover how they were developed, where they congregate, what makes them unique and what traditions they maintain. Above all, we want to show how many groups of people of different race, sex and creed, and in cities across the country, share a common bond - their love for Chelsea.
We most recently spoke with Nick, chapter head of the Milwaukee Blues from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ‘One thing that’s definitely unique about us? We meet in an Arsenal bar!’ Nick joked. ‘No, but really it’s the diversity of our group, our acceptance and tolerance of all cultures that actually makes us unique.’
On the origin of the Milwaukee Blues, Nick described what seems to have been a rather challenging process, ‘We’ve been trying to develop this group for about five years and I was one of the catalysts for that. At times, it’s been difficult to organize and to get people on the same page. You’d be surprised, but getting people out to the pub every week isn’t that easy,’ he explained.
‘We’re just starting to get used to this. Time is limited from my perspective, as I’m still trying to organize the connections needed to really establish something legitimate,’ he continued. Despite being a relatively new group, the Milwaukee Supporters Club established early on a commitment to charity work in the region. Nick was happy to shed some light on their endeavors in that arena.
‘Last year we worked with other clubs to do charity work and we raised a couple thousand dollars! We collaborated with Borussia Dortmund fans in Milwaukee and we bet that whichever team scored the most goals that morning, their supporters club would be able to choose a charity to donate to. We also did a similar bet with the Manchester City supporters group - whoever won would be able to pick the charity to whom the funds we raised would go. We were able to raise over $500,’ he shared proudly. ‘We don’t just want to meet up at the bar. It’s way more than that,’ Nick stressed.
The Milwaukee Blues do not solely watch games at a pub in Wisconsin’s biggest city. When the Blues are stateside, their members organize trips to see matches in as many cities as possible. According to Nick, those are opportunities that you simply don’t pass up. ‘We’ve seen the team play in Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Charlotte and Boston,’ he beamed.
And they aren’t just interested in attending the pre-season matches in the U.S. ‘We’ve had roughly 15 of our members travel to London to see the Blues in person at Stamford Bridge,’ he said.
Nick is confident that the signing of American star Christian Pulisic will see an increase in the number of U.S. fans, and it should help his and other supporters clubs continue to grow. ‘It’s very exciting to see a high-profile American get signed by Chelsea and I think that five, 10, 15 years from now we’ll really see the effect on supporters in this country,’ he asserted.
‘When a 10-year-old kid sees an American player playing for one of the best clubs in the world, it develops a lot of loyalty. Look at Spurs and Everton, who signed [Clint] Dempsey and [Landon] Donovan, respectively. There are fans who support them simply because of their ties to the U.S. and I’m sure we’ll see that happen for Chelsea,’ he explained confidently.
Finally, Nick shared his expectations for the season to come. ‘Well, first off, it’s that we have a manager,’ he laughed. ‘But on a more serious note, I’d be happy with a top-four finish and for us to make it out of the Champions League group stages.’
If you live in the Milwaukee area, be sure to inquire about joining up with them. Information about U.S. Supporters Clubs and where they meet can be found, here.