After staring in disbelief at my laptop screen on April 8th 2009 I decided something had to be done. On too many occasions I had been let down by crazy prices, engineering works, silly journey times or staff strikes and this was the last thread of patience I had left. I had just been quoted an outrageous £180 for two return train tickets from Norwich to Wembley Stadium, where I and my now fiancée were to attend the upcoming FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal. Having balked at the price, our eventual car journey would take just six hours in total. By train, it was going to last over seventeen, with no less than ten changes.
A tense win over Arsenal later, courtesy of a goal apiece from Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba, we were back in the car beginning our journey home, tired, bored and not as happy as we should have been knowing the daunting journey ahead. As I looked to my left, a brand spanking new coach pulled up alongside our car, Zola running riot on the TV screens, Chelsea flags in the windows and a number of very happy, very relaxed looking people inside. The way of travelling to and from Chelsea matches had been presented to me.
On April 26th 2009 the Eastern Blues Chelsea Supporters Club was founded for fans living in the Norfolk and North Suffolk area with the main intention of providing low cost luxury coach transport to games. Almost six months on from that date, having stopped every passer-by wearing the lion rampant, we already have 34 members of all ages and backgrounds that regularly meet to watch games at the Wig and Pen in Norwich, all brought together by a common love for Chelsea. On this coming Wednesday evening (for Chelsea’s game vs. Atletico Madrid), 6 of those 34 will have row 7 seats in the Shed Lower for our fourth appearance at the Bridge this season.
Our main aim is to reach 60 members by the start of the 2010-11 season, at which point we can become officially affiliated with Chelsea as a supporters’ club on the Silver scheme. This affiliation will provide benefits such as priority in booking home match tickets, executive travel arrangements, merchandise discounts and the option of voting for the Supporters’ Club Player of the Year award. 100 members would grant us Gold affiliation, giving us access to away tickets and the additional opportunity of taking part in pitch-side presentations! We want to create new friendships between supporters, young and old, and also make a contribution to the local community.
It’s still very much the beginning for the Eastern Blues, and you can be a part of it. In five years, will we be following the Chelsea in Europe, over land and sea and Leicester? Who knows? It’s safe to say that wherever we may be, we’ll keep the blue flag flying high!
Joe Tyler – Eastern Blues Chairman – http://www.easternblues.co.uk/