Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and Chelsea Heritage Partnership launch match day heritage events starting with a celebration of the life and career of Gianluca Vialli
And what a day it was! Our first live Heritage event at the Stamford Bridge Tea Bar.
To coincide with the Legends of Europe game on 9th September, and with the input and co-operation of Chelsea FC and the Chelsea Museum, the Chelsea Heritage Partnership and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust held its first match day event, on this inaugural occasion to highlight the life and career of our much loved former player and manager, Gianluca Vialli.
Occupying a two hour slot before the match kicked off, we set up the screens of the Tea Bar to present some great footage showcasing the mastery and popularity of Gianluca and that team of the 1990s. This came courtesy of many fantastic clips from Chelsea Lookback, an informative presentation on that continental team of the 90s written by official Chelsea FC historian Rick Glanvill (just me who hadn’t heard of the Marriot Accord?), and a fine selection of fan photos of the great man, kindly submitted by our supporters.
With the audio turned up and the roar of those 90s crowds filling the air, those images surrounded the central area where visitors could get up close and personal with items put on show by the Chelsea Museum. A selection of Vialli’s playing shirts on display, from his Chelsea days and from his international career, allowing fans the opportunity to pose for selfies amongst them. Plus a pair of signed match worn boots to touch and admire – many tempted to stick their nose inside! We thank those Chelsea Museum staff who took time to pop in to see us and to chat with visitors.
We also presented heartfelt poetry written and submitted by fans Luke Caley and Carol Ann Wood, copies of which were located throughout the venue for visitors to read.
Then there was the raffle. With your generous support we have raised a total of £1,345 in aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity – a fantastic amount in just 2 hours. The draw for those amazing prizes will take place as soon as practicable and all winners will be notified in due course. One of those prizes was a signed print of Thiago Silva by the talented artist Charlie Johnston, who was honoured to be able to present his portrait of Luca to his wife and daughters during the pre match build up, an emotional moment for all concerned. Grateful thanks also to Chelsea FC and the Museum for generously donating the other prizes.
For those who took the time to visit us, thank you for your fantastic support and for your patience waiting in the queue to enter, especially on such a warm day. Although there were one or two things that didn’t quite go to plan on the day, we will learn for future events.
Hopefully the event was the perfect ‘antipasti’ to the main show and the match itself, and that moving tribute to the great man. Long will that rendition of Nessum Dorma and Luca’s memory live with us.
Article written by Debs Coady on behalf of The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
Photos with permission from Gillian Bromfield, Paul Carter and Debs Coady.