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A tribute to my dad ....


Star

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When I was as young as I can remember, Christmas was always with my Uncle's, Auntie's and cousins, Boxing Day always seemed to pitch Arsenal with Chelsea and all my Uncle's were Arsenal fans and all but one of my cousins were Arsenal as well.

I cannot remember England winning the World Cup in 1966, but I remember the first Chelsea I went to, a 1-1 draw against Coventry City in 1967, with Johnny Boyle our goalscorer, I have a picture of the ball going past of Glazier their keeper with me and my dad in the old East Stand, clearly spotted by the photographer together.

I wanted to be an Arsenal fan, just like my cousins. I lived in North London, the majority of my classmates were in fact Spurs fans, mum and dad were both Chelsea, my grandad was Spurs. We were not very well off, typical working class londoners, but as soon as I said I wanted to be an Arsenal fan, that was it, every penny he had spare went on taking me to the Bridge.

Suffice to say, like everyone, one trip to Chelsea in those days and you were hooked for life, dad knew it, my kids know it today.

We stood together, me on a box in the old east for a few years, then got a season ticket in the old West Stand, later we stood in the shed and then the benches in the West Stand. This long before I followed Chelsea up and down the country and pre-season - But that's only half the story ....

Dad saw Chelsea win the league in 1955 as a 12 year old, and was there for 1967 Cup final against Spurs at Wembley. I missed that game not yet a Chelsea fan that wasn't until the September of that year. He also went to the 1970 final against Leeds and the replay at Old Trafford. I never went to either game, money dictated as did my schooling and safety and stayed round my nan's midweek as mum worked that evening every week to make ends meet. My clearest childhood memory is David Webb's header winning the Cup.

In 1972, as dad worked for the Post Office, I was off to the Post Office childrens outing, something on ice at the Wembley Arena. Yep. you can guess what happened, it ended up the day Chelsea played Stoke in the League Cup Final, I knew where I wanted to be and it wasn't where I ended up, my story is beginning to develop.

So the barren years kicked in, we had a season ticket until we left London in 1977, that's when we traveled as much as we could to games and the shed then benches became our home. I gave up training as an accountant in 1980 after leaving school in 1979 and picking up a plum job. All I wanted was more money and to watch Chelsea, The Railway provided me with free train tickets, 1980 - 1982 were magical for me, Chelsea days I will never forget, our support was incredible away from home, never will it be beaten.

Dad and I still went to odd games together home and away, then I started a family of my own. I knew my son had to be blooded early, up to Villa Park we went, last game of 1990 season, they charged me full price, he was 3 years old. He kept slipping down his seat, yep I paid for it so he was sitting in it ! Our fans were great with him, it was a 2-2 Draw, we were 2-0 up , think Cascarino and Cundy scored.

Finally we reached another FA Cup final, United in 1994, that's when my tribute to my dad really kicks in ... All three of us were at Wembley, I was at a major game with Dad for the first time, it was an emotional day for me, the sun was shining we were a couple of rows from the front. 0-0 at half time then the heaven's opened. My son now 6 was in a Chelsea tee-shirt. Full Members Cup apart i'd never seen Chelsea live in a Cup Final myself let alone with dad, he never hesitated, my son was crying his eyes out and soaked through, my dad took him to my nan's who lived a short drive from Wembley, this before the second half began.

Alas, I stayed in my seat, we went on to lose 4-0.

Dad and I went to the 1996 Cup Semi Final against United at Villa Park, we lost but it was walking out of the ground that was the sign his life was to

change forever. He fell for a moment blaming a dodgy pavement but he didn't seem himself, well not like when he fell over once at Coventry and discolated his finger and we had to walk all round the ground to let the St John's ambulance sort it, our away end gave us a chant of 'Chelsea Aggro!'

It was not long after dad had a stroke, mum was brilliant with him. He watched Chelsea on TV, but was never to see a Chelsea game 'live' again and I was destined never to be with him to celebrate a major victory.

My son and I went to the 1997 Cup Final against Middlesbrough, it was one of the best days of my life not just because we won a major trophy for the first time in 26 years but I could share something with my son about Chelsea in the same way I dreamed about sharing it with my dad - to thank him for turning me in to a Chelsea fan.

I went to Stockholm with a mate for the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1998, dad hadn't made the trip to Athens in 1971 either, the moment I saw him in his chair when I got home and gave him a Flag and Rosette is something I will never forget.

Dad passed away on Boxing Day 2000, like my mum, my son and eldest daughter are both Chelsea fans, his legacy lives on and although I never dreamed it, I always felt deep down Chelsea would have their day.

Dad's ashes are in the goal at the Shed End and in front of the West Stand, he has a plague in his memory in the concourse of the Shed End Lower. I get very emotional when we win things, Dad deserved to see us win the league under Mourinho, he deserved to see us in the Champions League and Winning FA Cups. I have been dealt some great cards in my life, all my three children make me proud, as does my grandchild, i've got the best mum in the world, my fiance 'is gorgeous and makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world, but my dad missed all the glory and it hurts.

Ironically, the last team to do the double and win the Youth Cup in the same year were Arsenal in 1971 ....

That's why I know we will do it and I will shed a few tears for my dad.

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:P

Nice post Star. Very moving and heart-felt. Both happy and sad at the same time.

Let's hope this season turns out to be the best in our clubs history (honours wise).

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Fukin' hell Star, for anyone that didn't know before - that is what it's all about.

Enjoy what's happening mate, with your family around you knowing that you're dad's sharing a pint or two with Ossie among others and looking down on what's happening - he'll be proud of you!

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Nice one Star. Reminds me of a ditty I put together for my old man when we won the league in 2004/05

My old man

Was an old Chelsea fan

Right up to his dying day

He cheered the boys

Back in '55

Oh how I wish he were still alive

To share this moment

This lovely cherished moment

Cos Chelsea are the champions again

But I know he's up there

Smiling down on me

Celebrating victory.

He'll be doing it again this weekend hopefully

Edited by geezer
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As everyone else has said, great post, Star!

You've got some wonderful memories of your dad to treasure, and I'm sure he'll be looking down as we play Wigan and Pompey, cheering us on so loudly he'll get right on God's tits ::ChELSeAFaN::

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A wonderful story, Star, thank you. I regularly hang my head in shame for not telling my parents how much I appreciated them while they were still alive. You youngsters who still have your parents with you, take the time to let your parents know.

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I'd like to thank everyone for their responses to my post.

I must confess, I shed a tear posting it.

Here's :telephone: to the double and a future that is going to be blue.

Whatever your family situation, cherish the moment, these days do not happen to everyone, Football sure is a funny game and for some a matter of life and death, only a game don't make me laugh ! :unsure:

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