EPL: My 10 Favorite Famous Fans of Chelsea
Being a fan of Chelsea in the United States, let alone in the Mojave Desert, is not an easy thing.
First off, one must rise at the crack of dawn on a Saturday or Sunday morning to catch most Blues games live on television. Second, there are very few Chelsea fans I have met in Sin City. Just one to be exact. So a big, bad Blues shout-out to my boy Stafford over at The Mirage casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Third, the overwhelming majority of Americans haven’t yet embraced soccer—the world’s most popular sport by a mile—let alone tried to watch it due to idiosyncratic cultural differences from the rest of the planet.
The fact that football in the USA is football while football everywhere else is soccer to Americans, certainly doesn’t help the cause. Most of us Yankees find it very hard to see the beauty of a 0-0 game.
Non-American readers only need to know that McDonald’s is our No. 1 restaurant, Jay Leno is the most-watched late night television host, Rush Limbaugh is the most-listened to dude on the radio waves and we actually have more guns in this nation than we do people. Point made.
Following Chelsea for over eight years now, I have grown to find loving the Blues is just like loving the Chicago Bulls or UNLV’s basketball team or the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re bad, but fans always expect the most from their team.
Anyway, I’ve scoured the Internet for lists and stories of famous Chelsea fans and have compiled a list of my 10 favorite Blues backers. Enjoy.
10 Billy Idol
The spiky-haired English rocker has been a Chelsea fan for years and his first group with Dave Martin (guitar), Gene October (vocals) and Tony James (bass), in which Idol played guitar, was actually named Chelsea.
The now 56-year-old Idol was also a member of the group Generation X before going solo in 1981 where he’s had a number of classic hits like “Eyes Without A Face,” “White Wedding,” “Got To Be Your Lover” and “Rebel Yell.”
In Billy’s case, it might actually be more appropriate to say it’s a nice day for a Blue Wedding...
9 Sir Michael Caine
The six-time Oscar nominee and star of such films like The Italian Job and Alfie, the London-born actor Sir Michael Caine said once after an interview with Australia’s The Australian newspaper that he was off to go watch Manchester United play his beloved Blues on his “big high-def” television.
8 Will Ferrell
An American actor who follows Chelsea? Sweet music to my ears sister.
Star of such films as The Anchorman, Elf and Step Brothers, the comedian and Frank Lampard fan was made an honorary captain during Chelsea’s preseason tour to the US in 2009 for its friendly against Serie A’s Inter Milan. Ferrell proved how blue his blood was by donning a Chelsea jersey on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
7 Lord Richard Attenborough
The English director, producer and actor who has two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and four BAFTA Awards under his belt, the Gandhi and Jurassic Park star is as big a Chelsea supporter as it gets.
Actually the director at Stamford Bridge from 1969-1982 before becoming a club vice president from 1993-2008, the team decided to honor Attenborough as the life president of Chelsea. And that’s some serious Blues juice, baby.
6 Steve McQueen
As cool as the other side of the pillow, the late American actor who starred in such gems as The Great Escape and Cool Hand Luke, reportedly visited the dressing room at Stamford Bridge at the height of his fame.
5 Nigella Lawson
The 52-year-old Oxford-educated food writer, television star (Nigella Bites) and long-time Blues fan actually lives in Chelsea. It was a tough call for me here between Lawson and Raquel Welch, but I went with the girl who could make me the best fish and chips for me after watching a Tottenham-Chelsea derby. As well as the largest scones...
4 Matt Damon
Another American actor on the list? Is good taste coming to our shores...finally?
One of the most under-appreciated cinematic stars of our time, and a guy who really brings home the big bucks at the box office (The Bourne Identity, The Green Zone, Good Will Hunting), Academy Award winner Damon was seen backing his Blues with director Paul Greengrass at a game against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in 2010 in the above photograph.
3 Bill Clinton
A controversial dude–whether leader of the Free World, or on a goofy writer’s list of his favorite Chelsea fans–Bill Clinton reportedly used to watch the Blues play in West London when the future-US President was attending Oxford back in the Sixties.
No doubt that his days in London town and his time watching his favorite soccer team play had some influence in helping name his only child, his lovely and world-wise daughter–Chelsea.
2 Jimmy Page
Some sources say Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and his singer Robert Plant were or are big backers of the Wolverhampton Wolves, but the overwhelming amount of information points to Page being a much bigger backer of Chelsea.
Page quite possibly wrote the classic “Stairway to Heaven” as an homage to the steps leading to his seats at Stamford Bridge. Or probably not. No, I actually just wrote that to try and be cute. I tried. So sorry.
1 Gordon Ramsey
One of my favorite Englishmen even if he wasn’t a Blues backer, the Scottish-born super chef actually pursued a career playing soccer and is probably a bigger backer of his Glasgow Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.
The 45-year-old was actually signed by Rangers at age 15 and although he claims to have played two first-team games for the club, team historians have denied the claim saying Ramsey, who holds the third-most Michelin stars (16) in the world, was just a “trialist.”
Ramsey and Lord Attenborough are no doubt the biggest real soccer fans on this list, and the guy who has had much success as a businessman as well as a television personality (The F Word, Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen) no doubt passed his love for the game, as well as the Blues on to to his son Jack, who can be seen in the above photo attending a game versus Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Oct. 4, 2009.
No “donkey” can deny the talented chef’s support for Chelsea and as many fans will agree, the best barometer of a fan is to actually see them at a home game or wearing a team’s jersey out proudly in public.
Passing the passion of the game to one’s child is one thing, and taking him out to see his favorite team, making an everlasting Ramsey family memory, is quite another. For this, Ramsey edges out Page by a biscuit.
Joe Strummer of The Clash was a Chelsea fan.
In researching who really are the most famous Chelsea fans out there are–and there’s quite a few–you stumble across names and photos of those you must really scrutinize.
Both Kevin Garnett and Charlize Theron have photos of themselves dressed in Chelsea uniforms, but will either be tuning in later today to see if Roberto Di Matteo starts Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres as the club visits Villa Park Stadium to face Aston Villa in an effort to get closer to a UEFA Champions League spot in the English Premier League standings? No way Jose.
Names I came across that impressed me but didn’t rise into my Top 10 list were stylist Vidal Sassoon, Geri Halliwell (Spice Girls), boxer Joe Calzaghe, Genesis drummer Tony Banks, the aforementioned Raquel Welch, Sienna Miller, actor Bruce Dern and the guy that would have been No. 11 on my list if it was a top 11, guitarist and frontman for The Clash, the late Joe Strummer.
As far as fielding a team of these 11 favorite, I would have to put Clinton in goal, Attenborough, McQueen, Ferrell and Caine on defense, Lawson, Page and Idol in the midfield and use Strummer, Damon and Ramsey as strikers in a conventional 4-3-3 formation. That is, if using Nigella Lawson as a midfielder could ever be deemed “conventional.”
Now time to get some sleep. Need to get up early and watch my Blues battle Aston Villa at 7:00 a.m. PT on Fox Soccer Channel like a real American Chelsea fan would do. Good night.
> Follow me on Twitter @KevinStott11
Kevin Stott has written sports for the Suburban Life and Press Publications in Chicago, Las Vegas Review-Journal’s View Newspapers and Gaming Today in Las Vegas and bleeds Chelsea blue when not bleeding UNLV scarlet and gray.
Stott’s cat Saki, a Millie Clode fanatic (Sky Sports News) and rabid Arsenal supporter, demanded a similar story on her team, EPL: The 10 Most Famous Fans of Arsenal, be written first or she threatened to bite his ankles until they bled Manchester United red. Crazy cat.