Musician and Chelsea supporter Damon Albarn was a recent visitor to Cobham.
The Blur frontman and lead vocalist of the Gorillaz was a guest of the club at our Surrey training ground as preparations continued ahead of our busy festive schedule.
Albarn watched the players put through their paces by Jose Mourinho before speaking to the official Chelsea website and explaining his love of the Blues.
‘I’m originally from Leytonstone, so I should, by rights, be West Ham, but there was no history of football in my family so I didn’t have that as a kid,’ he said.
‘But when I moved back to London, in about 1989, most of my friends were Chelsea fans and I went to a game with them – my first ever game – which made a massive impression on me. I think it was Aston Villa, in 1990, and Stamford Bridge wasn’t a particularly pretty place at that time.
‘That’s where it started and I just fell in love with the whole thing. I’ve had a season ticket now for 22 years.’
His visit afforded Albarn the opportunity to swap musical stories with Blues goalkeeper and keen drummer Petr Cech, with the duo engaging in a lengthy discussion.
A singer by trade, he went on to explain where his vocal chords are put to best use inside Stamford Bridge on a matchday.
‘For that first game I was in the East Stand, then I used to go in the old Shed,’ he says. ‘Eventually I went to the Matthew Harding Stand, and that’s where I have my season ticket.’
The singer had his nephew and daughter – who he now brings along to games – in tow for the visit, and was suitably impressed by the training facilities available to the players.
After posing alongside the youngsters for photographs with the likes of Frank Lampard and John Terry, Albarn chatted to the midfielder and Mourinho before departing.
Before leaving, however, he explained the contrast between watching live football and performing to a live audience.
‘I’ve had the same seat for 20 years and I love that,’ says Albarn. ‘I know everyone around me and we’ve all been going there all these years.
‘Now my daughter has been going for the last four years as well. I wouldn’t dream of ever changing because that is the magic of going to the football – these people I only ever see on matchday.
‘I’ve always really, really enjoyed that feeling of being in the crowd, as opposed to performing to the crowd.’