I wrote this after Chelsea got knocked out of the Champions League, just before Roberto Di Matteo lost his job. I found it today and thought it was a good time to share…
A Special Message
This is the story of a little boy. He’s not from anywhere in particular but if you go to any park or playing field you’ll see him. He runs home from school every night to get his football and play out in the park with his friends. He watches his favourite team on the TV and dreams of one day being as good as his idols.
His prize possession is his tired old football which he goes to sleep cuddling every night, dreaming of when he will be old enough to play for his favourite club. He collects football cards and stickers to swap with his mates and knows everything about his favourite players. His whole world is football; it’s all he thinks about.
The little boy becomes a teenager and in between school, football and doing chores to earn enough to buy his next pair of boots, a man offers him a chance to try out for his local club. He goes to train with the team and they treat him like a kid and make him clean the boots. He takes all the laughing, jokes at his expense and extra muddy boots because he knows one day he’ll get picked to be in the team.
He works hard and when the chance comes he takes it and makes a good impression. The others don’t laugh at him anymore; he is part of the team. The crowd start to notice and sing his name, other managers start to notice and when he walks around town everyone wants to know him.
The years move on and the teams change but deep down inside that little boy still lurks. Instead of playing in the park he’s now playing in front of 40,000+ people a week. His name rings out around the stands and is worn proudly on the backs of people he’ll never meet as they walk to the ground, full of anticipation that something special is about to happen.
He walks out onto the pitch to warm up and the kid’s all line up to get his autograph. The stadium slowly fills and just before he heads into the dressing room to change he stops, takes a deep breath and looks around the ground. Tonight is going to be a good night.
How can it not be? That little boy is part of a team that unites thousands of strangers in a common goal for 90 minutes. He sparks arguments that rage on in offices and schools up and down the country on a Monday morning with a simple kick of a ball.
If it’s good they love him if it doesn’t work out he’s the villain but with one kick of the ball it all changes again. Another attack, another chance, you don’t make the same mistake again, a cross instead of a shot, a goal, 3 points!
The post match interviews begin, the man of the match champagne arrives and it’s off out into the cold night again. A few people are waiting outside for a final glimpse of their idol before they head home. One little moment of your time to brighten up their week, a photo for the wall and an autograph to show their friends. Then it’s back to your world for a well-earned rest.
So here’s to that little boy as we sit in the stands wearing our shirts; willing you on week in, week out through the good and the bad. Most of us will never get to meet you but that doesn’t matter because as long as you’re wearing our shirt your one of us and we support you.
We wear out hearts on our sleeves, we cry with joy when we win and sadness when we don’t but we all rely on you. You give us bragging rights at work when we turn over our colleague’s team, and score goals we debate for years with our mates as to which was the best.
You put your body on the line in all weathers while we sit in the stands wrapped up warm and shout at you; sometimes nice shouting, sometimes not but you come back every week anyway.
You walked into the home stadium of our rivals for the final of the Champions League and walked out with the trophy. Allowing us the privilege of lining the streets to welcome home the hero’s you all were as you held the Champions League Trophy high for us all to see.
I’ve been proud to wear the same shirt as you for the last 23 years and will continue to do so for many more, some of my best moments have been in the Stadium we call home. So thank you one and all for everything you do, we appreciate it even though sometimes we get frustrated and forget that. If we didn’t care it wouldn’t affect us so much!
So next time things aren’t going our way remember this…
You have a stadium of people right behind you willing you on, hold your head up high, take a deep breath and shake it off, you’ll get the next one after all “Champions of Europe, We know What We Are!” Remember there isn’t another team in the world that can say that right now.
Chin up and keep smiling and we’ll beat the lot of them together! Come on Chelsea!