Chelsea fans from around the world descended on the clubs Cobham training ground on Sunday to participate in the 3rd annual supporter’s tournament. Teams made up from supporters groups across the UK and beyond competed in the largest tournament yet, featuring 11 sides, all battling it out to win the top prize. With former Chelsea stars Clive Walker, Colin Pates, Gareth Hall and Steve Finneston on hand to get involved with the teams, soak up the atmosphere and even join in with a spot of referring, and with some gloriously sunny weather, the stage was set for a fantastic contest and we were not disappointed.
With the teams being split into two groups and the top 2 sides progressing to the final and plate trophy respectively, competition was fierce and tackles were soon sliding in with enthusiasm. The day kicked off in Group A with the cfcuk team roaring out of the tracks with a 3-0 victory over the travelling men and women of Chelsea Italia, who had flown in specifically for the tournament. Elsewhere CFCnet and the clubs official Chelsea Staff side edged out a narrow 0-0 draw. In Group B the goals came thick and fast with Chelsea Supporters Group defeating the KR Swingers 4-1 and Bucks Chelsea handing out an 8-0 drubbing to Vital Chelsea. All the players from all sides gave a great account of themselves, leaving everything on the pitch whilst keeping up the buoyant atmosphere at the training ground, despite many tired legs and sunburned faces. A special mention to the staff of St Johns Ambulance, who were on hand throughout the day, dealing with players niggles, injuries and strains.
Alongside the football on display, it was an opportunity for many Chelsea fans, young and old to get together, share stories from the terraces and show their excitement and anticipation of the season to come.
After a series of hard fought games, the group stages ended with cfcuk topping Group A on goals scored by a single goal over the unlucky Blue and White Army, whilst Chelsea Supporters Group ran out as comfortable winners of Group B with Bucks Chelsea finishing 2nd.
On a personal level, the mighty and imperious CFCnet team suffered from a lack of playing time together and experience and finished up bottom of Group A, despite some good individual performances, none least from centre back Darren ‘Dazz’ Mantle who shares his thoughts on the day “I thought the tournament was really well run and despite us not faring too well it was good to play against other Chelsea fans, the turnout was fantastic and it was a nice touch having some Chelsea old boys there too.” Playing in the tournament myself I can say that we were all incredibly disappointed and look forward to next season when hopefully we will have some new faces to add to the team and we can improve on our team performance and push on!
With anticipation for the final building fans and supporters enjoyed food and drinks from the Chelsea Wagon and gathered to watch Blue and White Army take on Bucks Chelsea for the Plate Trophy in an enthralling contest that finished up with Bucks Chelsea as winners by a score of 2 goals to nil.
So to the final and in an engaging and thoroughly entertaining end to the tournament cfcuk emerged as deserved Champions after a 4-1 victory over the battle weary Chelsea Supporters Group.
In addition to all of today’s action, a raffle was held to raise funds and awareness for the outstanding work that Help a London Child do, and over £200 was donated to the charity.
Overall the day was a resounding success and the event organiser Cliff Auger had praise for the victors, whilst looking ahead to next year; “Peter Trenter and I were once again entrusted with organising the Chelsea Supporters Tournament and the day went very well and largely without any major mishaps, it obviously takes a lot of hard work but the club have been wonderful with their help and support. Congratulations to the two competition winner’s cfcuk and Bucks Chelsea and we look forward to next year and to an event that is becoming firmly established in the Chelsea calendar.”