On receiving 64-year-old Chelsea supporter Trevor May’s email, the first thing to strike me is the quote that he uses to sign off an email, he says ‘I remember the days when Blackberry and Apple were a filling in a pie’. To me, that just puts it into perspective just how far we have come in technology during Trevor’s life time.
It’s incredible to think what Trevor has witnessed, the changes he has seen, not just in football, but in the world. This man comes from an era when you didn’t have to worry about locking your door on leaving your house, an era where you had to work every hour of every day, just to eat. Trevor has seen it all, especially in football, the amount of money and greed involved in the game now, he used to watch players who purely played it for the love of sport. How things have changed, and he’s witnessed it.
We decided to ask Trevor a set of questions telling us his thoughts on Chelsea Football club, the old days, the past, and the present. I’m sure you’ll agree, he has come back with a very interesting set of answers. Chelsea supporters old and new, read on and educate yourselves on how it used to be.
Trevor is now deservedly retired and he mainly enjoys watching Chelsea matches with his wife, being a member for most of his life and a season ticket holder since 1996. Apparently, his father was almost a Chelsea player!
First off, why and how did you become a Chelsea fan in the first place?
Difficult to remember precisely back that far into the 1950s so I don’t really know. I came from a family of football fans. My Dad played at a local level , I was living in Kent then, and he tells me he was once offered a trial at Chelsea but his Dad, a non- football fan, refused to let him go. Perhaps it was him talking about them or that they won the league in 1955 and I was one of the first band wagon fans before the term was even invented. All I know is that my Brother, a West Ham fan and still is bless him, tells me is that I pestered him to take me to The Bridge from an early age.
Really testing your memory here, but can you tell me the First Chelsea game you watched and who was your first idol?
I remember it quite well except I cannot find it in the record books and that includes getting Chelsea to research it for me. All I can remember is that it was the late 1950s, the opposition wore green and that they seemed to be passing wooden pasties over their heads while the game was going. My Brother, who finally took me, remembers it as Plymouth Argyle but it aint in the record books. We stood on the open large terracing that is now the West Stand. I remember that I enjoyed the whole day and that it was tempered by the fact that my early childhood idol, Peter Brabrook, was not playing. I have always liked wingers hence Peter Brabrook and that has been followed by others over the seasons, Walker, Nevin and the brilliant Charlie Cooke.
Where was the furthest you can remember traveling to see a Chelsea match?
For many decades all I saw of my idols was on the pitch at The Bridge as money, age, and later, work, meant that away trips were a thing of fantasy. As I got older and settled and had a bit more money I have travelled most of Europe watching the Blues. The furthest, and the one I would dearly love to forget, was Moscow in the Champions League Final.
Who is the best Chelsea manager you have ever witnessed?
Easy one. The Special One Jose Mourinho. Loved what he did for the Club in the way of trophies, loved the way he took no rubbish from the press and the authorities, he even enjoyed giving it back to them. The success he achieved in the short time he was at the Club may not ever be re-created. I’d have him back in an instant.
You’ve witnessed many era’s in your time as a Chelsea supporter, what would you say was your most memorable period?
Easy to say the last 10 years but that would be detrimental to the rest of our history. All Chelsea fans of my age will remember the bad old days of poor performances and relegations but they were still just as memorable as the latter days of trophies. Would I want to go back to those bad old days of relegations and Save The Bridge? Of course not I love being a fan of a successful club. Our whole history, and despite the whinging scouse songs, we have a lot of it, has all been memorable.
You’ve watched so many, but do you have a favourite match, one that particularly sticks out in your mind?
Blimey so many for different reasons. Going back in the past it would have to be the 1970 FA Cup Final replay when I had to rush home from work to watch us beat Dirty Leeds. The 1997 FA Cup Final holds a lot of memory as it was the first success where I had been present during my long years of support and it washed away the losses of 1967 and 1994. The best? Bolton away 2005 our first Premiership trophy. I couldn’t get a ticket so I watched it the local Chelsea pub in Hastings along with the all the local Chelsea fans from the supporters club that a mate and I set up in 1997. Fan.. bloody ..tastic atmosphere. The landlord put on ‘We are the Champions’ after the first goal and the pessimist in me said no, not yet, this is Chelsea and we can still screw it up. After the second goal, I was then leading the pub in One Man Went to Mow. Got very drunk.
Haha thats brilliant! And coincidently brings me on to my next question, what is your favourite Chelsea boozer, a true fans pub?
Not really got one to be honest. If I have my wife with me I tend to go to a quieter pub than I would if she wasn’t. Enjoy a lot of the away pubs where you can get a song going.
What different changes have you particularly noticed in the game since you first started supporting?
When I was younger I didn’t care where I was as long as I was there and Chelsea were on the pitch. As I got older and I found a wife who wasinto football and, more importantly, into Chelsea, I am glad of a seat at The Bridge where my small in stature wife can see the game. As an away ST holder I still enjoy standing at away games although my back kills me for days afterwards. It is far more expensive to go nowadays although for Chelsea fans, since Ken Bates, we have always tended to pay a lot more in comparison. The facilities are great now and the football is similar. The one thing I detest if I was honest is the ludicrous amounts of money that players are paid compared to fans who follow them. Seriously stupid money and it will all burst one day.
Who is your favourite player in today’s current crop?
Now that Zola has gone that has been a more difficult choice as nobody has stood out as a good player and a decent bloke.
You touched on this earlier, a little, but can you describe the emotional roller coaster of being a Chelsea supporter?
The lows were really awful. Not just the relegations but the worry about whether the club would still exist when the Property Speculators were at the height and we were in danger of going out of business. I was there when the likes of Ossie and Cooke were winning things for us, then the awful period when we were s**t with only brief uplifting bits followed by Division 2, and now the success spawned from Roman saving us, appointing Jose, and carried on by other recent managers, not all, and players since. Rollercoaster is a good description. You get off it and then straight back round to queue up to do it all again
Can you talk me through match days, walking down the Fulham Road, singing as you go, how did that feel for you?
Home games can be a pain to get to now that we live 3 hours and 150 miles away and are at the whim of the motorways. I always aim to get there 2 hours before kick off, unless it is a stupid o’clock kick off courtesy of the TV companies. We meet up with friends from Hastings at a The Mitre in Dawes Road normally before moving on to the ground. I still enjoy the walk down the Fulham Road taking in the smells and sounds. Would not be match day without “Only a pound” ringing out. Away games are much different as I go with a load of mates from up here who are all away ST holders as well. Then we talk, argue and sing about all things Chelsea. Love it. The feeling hasn’t changed much for me inside from the days when I was allowed to go to games on my own. We used to pile into the tube then spill out onto the Fulham Road and be crammed through the turnstiles to stand on the Shed, or move across to the benches.
How do you feel about the amount of money at our disposal today and the amount we have been spending over the years?
It has become a rich mans game now and the working class are being priced out of it. If I was 15 – 25 years old now there is no way I could afford to pay the silly prices that football costs. The agents and the players take far too much out of the game. The money is there because of Sky and other TV companies and they dictate the game nowadays. The kick off times are especially annoying. The price of being successful I guess is being moved around the schedules. But the money has also seen us parade some great players in the past 10 or so years. I remember the feeling when we signed Ruud Gullit. Absolutely brilliant to see him turn out in a Chelsea shirt. The money allowed him to start the ball running with the likes of Zola, Vialli and onwards to the great players we have signed this pre season. Money has changed football and not always for the good. But am I glad we are a rich club? You bet.
Agreed. There is far too much greed in football now. Anyway, we have signed some quality players this season like you say, but is there anyone else you would bring in before the season starts?
After watching the pre season games we need a decent back up striker to Torres. Lukaku looks like he needs a season on loan in the Premiership before he makes it at Chelsea. Midfield looks OK with the younger players we have brought in. I hope RDM has the guts to give first team chances to the up and coming youngsters.
So come on then, the big debate, what would YOUR Starting XI be on opening day?
4-3-2-1 – Cech, Hucthinson, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Essien, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Torres.
Interesting that you’ve gone for Essien, you must believe he still has it in him. Ok, another tough question that will probably take you days to think about, but what would be your all time greatest Chelsea line-up?
This really is the hardest question you asked. In a 4.3.3 system Cech; Ferrer; Terry; Desailly; Cole; Gullit; Lampard, Hudson; Zola; Osgood; Nevin. Probably forgotten loads.
That is one hell of a team! Just imagine that lined up for opening day. Almost done. Football has changed so much in your time, would you say you are still as much in love with the game as you were from day one?
In-love with the game? Not so much. Too much TV, too expensive to watch live, diving, cheats, overpaid players – out of touch with the fans who pay to go to games. In love with Chelsea? Of course. Always will be. Once a blue you never go back. Having no kids of my own has not stopped me passing down the passion. My nephew, whose Dad is the West Ham fan, follows Chelsea. My great niece and nephew on my wife’s side are now devout Chelsea fans. Not easy for them to be Chelsea fans at a school in Sheffield. We have already taken them down to their first games so the legacy goes on.
That is fantastic (no pun intended), and what a top answer! Lets wrap it up, in your opinion, what can we expect to get from this season?
I hope we develop a stronger, younger squad this season and that RDM will deal with the egos amongst the senior players and get us into the top 3. The title may just be out of reach this season while the new players bed in but we wont be as bad as last season under Villas-Boas. The FA Cup is ours but holding on to the Champions League will not be easy but could be achievable. Hazard looks a class act as does Oscar and the Premiership defenders will be run ragged..Hopefully Lampard will keep his ego in check and be happy with being a squad player and RDM keeps his nerve with the older players.
Trevor, thank you so much for your time and your insights. Its been an interesting interview to gain a perspective from someone who is a true blue, and has been one since the mid 1950s. Its incredible.
One thing for sure is that Chelsea have become such a diverse club since the days Trevor started supporting, we are a world-wide business now that is thriving. We have supporters from all over the world that keep the club going and allowing them to sign the big named players they have. Whether you agree with how football as become, or even like it, the fact is, it will not change now and I’m sure we’d rather be supporting a club with so much financial muscle to flex and compete with the big boys, as emotional as it might be for some supporters.
We must always remember the ‘good ol days’ of Chelsea and our history, where we came from as a club. Keep the blue flag flying high, whatever the score and whatever division we’re in.
Simon Phillips – News Editor
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