Cans of beer, bags of potato chips, and a gang of friends gather at Wing’s place for the same reason – Chelsea football.
Watching football is the only highlight in Wing’s daily life. Working as an accountant, his daily is all about numbers and money. But Chelsea Football Club means something different to him. To him, the club is like a part of his life.
“I watched the 2021 Champions League together with my friends, it was a sleepless night. Mount’s assist, Harvetz’s goal, Aguero’s disappointed face, and the final whistle – I remember everything vividly. Blue is the colour, and football is the game! We are the kings of Europe!”
Wing has been a diehard Chelsea fan for over a decade and the man could easily rattle off the titles captured by the football club. He even travelled all the way to Stamford Bridge – Chelsea’s football stadium – despite being in a hurry to catch a flight, just to get a picture of the stadium in February.
And Wing is not the only passionate football fan in the city. As the most-watched sports league in the world, the Premier League attracts billions of viewers each year. At the weekend, bars are often filled with fervent fans, watching matches together.
Wing described the previous decade as Chelsea’s “prime”. He called the club’s owner Roman Abramovich “Chelsea’s hero”, and said he made Chelsea the club it is today. However, good times don’t always last long.
Hoping to encourage Russian troops’ retreat from Ukraine, Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government. Chelsea, as part of the Russian oligarch’s asset, was frozen as well. The billionaire was forced to sell his club to American merchant Todd Boehly to make sure the club’s operation can go on smoothly.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich looks on after their 3-1 win in the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on December 19, 2015 in London, England. (Photo credits: Mason/Getty Images)
“After Abra left, Marina and Cech (the club’s directors) also left. Tuchel (Chelsea’s manager) and the players were the only ‘leftovers’ of the Abra era. Then Super Tommy Tuchel was suddenly sacked after a few bad games. He is the guy who brought us to the top of the world, who would never abandon us for other clubs when we got sanctioned. He’s Chelsea’s Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea’s Pep Guardiola. He is the guy. Seeing his forced exit broke my heart, I couldn’t pull myself together and get to work that day.”
The new owner appointed Graham Potter as Tuchel’s successor and offered him support despite the club’s extremely poor run of form in the Premier League under the English manager.
Chelsea manager Graham Potter looking dejected after the club was defeated by Fulham FC at Craven Cottage on January 12, 2023 in London. (Photo credits: Clive Rose/Getty Images)
“I think Chelsea is obviously a big club, a bit too big for this small English man, even my grandma can coach better than him. We spent millions on buying new players just to stay in the 10th place, this is the least Chelsea thing to ever happen. Chelsea is all about winning, and Roman would have sacked him thrice with this performance.”
Devastated by his team’s poor performance, Wing started checking out other teams’ football matches, saying that he might “get depression” if he continued watching Chelsea’s poor performance.
Fans’ continuous call for the sacking of Potter finally pressured the board, and the decision to part ways with Potter was eventually made.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 2, 2023
“At first, seeing the club statement brought me a great sense of relief, but I soon realised this is not the Chelsea I fell in love with. The club is strange to me – you never have to worry about an underperforming coach to stonewall before. I miss the old Chelsea, I love the club that’s hungry for games, and loves winning.”
When asked if he would stop supporting Chelsea, Wing quickly responded with a “no”. But his words were followed by a pregnant pause, “I don’t think I could ever stop loving this club, however, I think it’s time to learn to detach from it.”
Wing would wish for his club’s victory every year, but this year, he had something else in mind. “My wish for this year is not for my club to bring home number 3 (the third Champions League title). It’s not only about football, or Abramovich. Everyone loses in war. I hope the war ends as soon as possible, as the world suffered a great deal since the outbreak of the war. It’s not only about football. I hope good will prevail over evil, just like how Tuchel will always be the best manager in our history, although Todd Boehly just wouldn’t admit it!”
(Featured Image: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)