When you think of football in the continent of South America you think of Brazilian samba style, Argentinian non-human magicians and Uruguayan goal machines accompanied by their fanatic and passionate supporters. When I say fanatic supporters, I mean fanatic to the point that they have been known to throw various poultry on to the pitch in order to show their frustration or discontent toward their rivals. That is Crazy (or ‘loco’ as they’d say in South America) right?
It will come somewhat as a surprise to most of you when you read that Chelsea, a football club all the way from little England, are actually the main focus of many South American supporters passion and I have been lucky enough to witness this first hand.
Recently whilst travelling the countries of Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, I have come in to contact with many fellow Chelsea supporters whether it was in a bar watching a match, in a Hostel talking with locals or just walking the streets and noticing the amount of Chelsea shirts proudly floating around. I found it incredible, intriguing and wanted to find out more.
Clearly the fact that we are the reigning European Champions makes a difference to the growing number of supporters we have gained worldwide, but the particular group of supporters I found based in Chile were more than that, they are true passionate Chelsea supporters and told me just as much about the club than any other supporter in the world could tell me.
This certain community is none other than The Official Chilean Chelsea Supporters Club all the way from Chile’s capital City of Santiago. The Club gather for regular meetings after being founded in 2011 and recently this month, they have become affiliated with Chelsea FC and are now featured on the website as an Official Supporters Club. This is such a great and a proud achievement for those fans that live and breathe our beloved Club.
It came to my attention that there was a community of Chelsea supporters in this City when I was lucky enough to meet a member of the supporters club in a bar whilst watching a match, he then went on to enthusiastically tell me about the club and put me in touch with one of their admin members, 21-year-old Alan Flores, who helps run the club and deals with the social media side such as Facebook and Twitter.
Unfortunately my visit to Chile was drawing to an end and I did not have time to personally meet with Alan, I did however manage to exchange a number of emails with him and decided to ask him some questions regarding the Supporters Club, Chelsea and his own thoughts on current affairs.
Q: Alan, how long have you been into football?
Alan: Since I was a little boy, in my family football was always present.
Q: Please can you describe Chilean people’s passion for football?
Alan: It is very extreme, for some people like me; our football team is our life and the most important in thing in the world.
Q: How long have you supported Chelsea?
Alan: I first saw them play a match in 1997 when Gianfranco Zola especially impressed me and I became a fan in 2002.
Q: When was the club made officially part of Chelsea FC and how did this feel?
Alan: It was confirmed as an Official Supporters Club in the second week of March 2013 and we are all very proud of this fact.
Q: What events does your Supporters Club hold?
Alan: We go to a local bar in Santiago together as a Club to watch every Chelsea match. We also organise Football matches where we play against other rival Supporters Clubs such as The Official Chilean Manchester United Supporters Club.
Q: Ah yes I did see some pictures from this match, where you where proudly wearing the Chelsea kit and the game ended 5-5. This must be a fun to be involved in, is that a regular thing?
Alan: Yes this is regular, and we play against other communities as well such as Arsenal, and Bayern Munich We like to win and show that in Chile, Chelsea is the best!
Q: How often do you buy Official Chelsea merchandise?
Alan: Very often! I buy Official goods from The Adidas Store on a Monthly basis.
Q: How would you describe your Supporters Clubs relationship with Chelsea FC?
Alan: We had communication when we were told that we were to be an Official Supporters Club but apart from that there is no communication really. We do have a friend who is lucky enough to get us photos and information from English journalists.
Q: Do you know much about Chelsea’s Club history?
Alan: Yes, I always read about the history of Chelsea and I often watch historical matches on TV or the Internet.
Q: Can you name some of your favourite Chelsea players/managers from whilst you’ve been a follower?
Alan: My favourite past players are Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Gustavo Poyet, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Tore Andre Flo, and John Terry. For me, these players are legends and idols and I admire them a lot. My favourite Coaches are Gianluca Vialli, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo. These Coaches have done many good things for the team.
Q: Who is your current favourite player?
Alan: Our Club Captain, John Terry.
Q: How do you think this season is going for Chelsea?
Alan: This has been a bad season in more ways than one. But we have very good players and we must win the Europa League and FA Cup to recover a generally stuttering season.
Q: Are there any changes/new players you would like to see come in this summer?
Alan: Yes, I would love to see Radamel Falcao and Mario Gotze come to Chelsea. Also I would like to see Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku return, I feel they both can be very important players for us. For me also, I think Marko Marin needs more appearances, he is a great talent.
Q: Who is your favourite ever manager of Chelsea?
Alan: Jose Mourinho. His Chelsea team were enjoyable to watch and a real force.
Q: How would you describe your own support for Chelsea?
Alan: Chelsea is my life, I’m forever talking and thinking about Chelsea, I am very proud to call myself a fan and proud of the team I support.
Q: How do you feel about the progression of the clubs current youth academy?
Alan: I think we have very good young players. In particular I have been impressed with the likes of Islam Feruz, Patrick Bamford, Milan Lalkovic and Nathan Ake who all deserve some first team game time in my opinion.
Q: Have you ever watched a live Chelsea match? If not, do you have plans to?
Alan: I have never been to England but my dream is to move to London and support Chelsea there. I have serious plans to travel there; I am currently saving the funds for it.
Q: Off subject a little but how do you feel about the Chilean National team’s recent performances? They seem to be enduring a bit of a slump themselves?
Alan: Yes we are very poor right now and we are at a bad time.
Q: What would be your own preferred Chelsea line-up if you were the manager?
Alan: Cech, Cole, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Lampard, Ramires, Hazard, Mata, Marin, Ba.
Q: Who do you think our best performer has been this season?
Alan: Eden Hazard.
Q: I understand that Eden Hazard is also the name you have printed on the back of your Chelsea shirt?
Alan: Yes, he is a great player and has improved so much during the season.
Q: What are the supporters club’s long term plans and how fast is it growing?
Alan: We aim to publicise the Supporters Club more, play more matches with Chelsea Chile, get even more of us watching the games together and eventually the Club’s admin members aim to travel to London and watch a live match.
Q: How many official members does the club have?
Alan: Currently we have 1,537 members. But it is growing by the week; on average we gain 7 new members a week.
Q: That is clearly a very strong and passionate Chelsea community and I think I speak on behalf of all Chelsea supporters when I say how proud we are to have you on board, supporting the cause and the very best of luck in your journey to make it to London.
Alan: Thank you and thanks for the interview, it’s amazing to get publicised.
It’s not just in Chile where the Blue flag flies high; we met many Chelsea supporters in Brazil and Bolivia too. It is amazing that when you do not speak each other’s language, football and most notably Chelsea, becomes a Universal language that we all understand and can converse about for hours.
If I ever struggled talking to somebody in Brazil, I would simply belt out the words David Luiz or Oscar Dos Santos and they would instantly become my best friend!
It baffles me that no matter where we were in South America, if you put on a television at any point in the day and you will find some football to watch.
Relationships are built through football, passion is shown, and people are given hope and enjoy glory. It is refreshing to see that even with all the money involved within the sport today, football still has so many die hard admirers and so does Chelsea, the proof is within this article.
To finish off, Keep The Blue Flag Flying high, wherever you are in the world!
Written By Simon Phillips – News Editor
Follow my Twitter here – >> @CFCneteditor