Simon was appointed the club’s director of communications in 2004, the first person to undertake that new full-time position at Chelsea. It was the early stages of Roman Abramovich’s ownership and Chelsea was rapidly modernising and expanding into a globally renowned football power, and Simon played an important part in that, advising the club’s owner and Board on policy and strategy.
Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said: ‘We were deeply saddened to hear of Simon’s illness, and then devastated to learn of his passing. Simon’s time at the club covered a period of incredible growth and new success, and he thrived under the pressure the media attention provided. Simon played a vitally important role and helped carry the club through those hectic times with enthusiasm and wit, just two of his many impressive characteristics that made him such a pleasure to work with and be around.
‘We hope the shared memories his family and friends have of Simon help them through this difficult period and the time ahead. We will always remember Simon very fondly here at Chelsea Football Club.’
On moving from Fleet Street, where he had held top jobs in sports journalism, Simon’s work at Stamford Bridge was under a media spotlight that was shining more intensely than on any club before.
Jose Mourinho was appointed Chelsea manager the same summer and colourful and highly successful times followed, with Simon busy overseeing a professional approach to dealing with the intense news interest as well as the club’s own media output, which was growing in the digital field especially. It was during his time as head of communications that Chelsea FC launched on Facebook and Twitter.