As soon as I get off at Victoria station I notice the buzz. The blue and white scarves, the Samsung logo emblazoned across the shirts. The District/Circle Line platform is alive with the sounds of victory chants. ¡Campeones, campeones, olé, olé, olé!. It might feel strange to hear Spanish words amongst the mainly Anglophone crowd but this is the Premier League we are talking about here, the multi-million pound business that makes globalisation feel real and palpable. Chelsea Football Club has a powerful Brazil-born Spanish striker up front, a no-nonsense Serbian midfielder sitting in front of the defence, a promising, up-and-coming Dutch left-back and a world-class Belgian goalkeeper. Only two of Chelsea’s all-conquering regular team were born in this country. Who cares, though? Today it is all about celebrating.
What was a trickle
at Victoria station becomes a flood thronging out at the gates of Fulham
Broadway tube station. The Royal blue flags are out and for a couple of square
miles become the only sight to behold. Correction: the only beautiful sight to
behold. As I take up my position behind one of the barriers to see the three
open-top victory parade buses I scan the crowd. Standing next to the
cockney-rhyming-slang Londoners are turbaned Sikhs, pram-pushing
Eastern-European-looking men and hijab-wearing Muslim women. Families mill out
and about, the atmosphere is more suitable to Alton Towers than Fulham Road.
But this is modern football, served with a tall skinny latte.
cannot seem to make its mind up. My hoodie is pulled down and pulled back up in
quick succession. I regret my decision not to wear anything Chelsea today. I
console myself with the thought that since where I live is not an SW6 postcode I am being
sensible by not standing out. But I feel jealous of my fellow supporters. I, too,
have got the shirts, the jumpers and the hoodies. Back home.
Suddenly there is a
roar. The first of the three buses appears at the top of the road. The blue flags are hoisted higher. The chants grow louder. Parents hug their children closer. Selfie sticks spring
up. Smartphones are held aloft. The players wave from the bus. The crowd waves back. London shrinks.
Photo by the blog author
Next Post: “Saturday
Evenings: Stay In, Sit Up and Switch On”, to be published on Saturday 30th
May at 6pm (GMT)