BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We managed to knock Leeds out of the FA cup when they were top of the Premiership and we got to the FA cup final in 2008 (after beating Barnsley in the semi-final, who had knocked out Chelsea en route). The chances of repeating this sort of success are pretty slim, but they are always in the back of the mind when travelling away to a big club. So, full of vim and vigour, we set off for the big smoke with our hearts full of hope. Although, with a team littered with injuries and a reputation for inconsistency, it was mainly hope that we did not get an embarrassing thrashing.

The 12 noon kick off meant an outrageously early start for a trip to London. On the bus stop by 06:30 and ever so slightly tipsy by ten of the clock, at which time we were in Heston Services just out side London.

After a short ride through London's west end, the busses were all parked up in the car park for Earls Court

Then it was just a short walk around the corner for the first refreshments, an off licence next to the car park. Just as well, cos it turns out most of the pubs in the area were closed.

We then had to walk through Brompton Cemetery. It is an impressive Victorian park full of lovingly crafted mausoleums, it would be interesting to visit it properly some time, but I am not sure it is appropriate to use it as a route for football fans heading to and from the football ground.

Then it was into the legendary Stamford Bridge. This was my first visit to the ground since the days when Chelsea were in the old second division, back in 1983. Things have changed a bit since then, both on and off the pitch.

Chelsea is one of the most expensive grounds to visit in the country, which has led to it becoming very much a ‘prawn sandwich’ venue, many of the old ‘working class’ fans that would sing their heart out being replaced by a more sedate crowd. Today the place was very much livened up by 5,800 boisterous and vocal Cardiff city fans. The usual we love Cardiff type songs would today be supplemented by cheeky songs about John Terry’s philandering and ultimately, “Four One - and you still won’t sing”.

We lost, but it was no walk over. Despite them scoring within two minutes (shocking refereeing to allow a goal so obviously off side) we kept them on their toes for much of the first half and eventually Chopra banged in an equaliser. At half time we were full of hope but it was no real shock when Chelskei went up a gear to eventually knock us out of the cup. The score line was slightly flattering to them though and Cardiff can be proud of their performance. BBC REPORT HERE

Then it was out of the ground for the walk back to the bus. Despite the biggest police presence at Stamford Bridge for 15 years (allegedly) the crowds pretty much mingled and there was quite a lot of ‘robust interaction’, many of Chelsea’s old Head Hunters coming out of retirement to say hello to their old friends the Soul Crew. Having seen it all before many times it was not too difficult to get back to the bus unscathed ready for the journey home.

One day a real rain is gonna come and wash all the scum off the streets.

For some pictures taken nearer the pitch with a better camera and by a more sober photographer, go to Urban 75



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