Enjoying the summer

The last day of the Premier League is special, the one day in the season that every team plays at the same time. Chelsea’s campaign started on August 12, and 274 days later it wrapped up on 13 May. With an average of 10 matches a week and each side playing 38 games, every year sees 380 fixtures.

It’s only the last day that all 20 clubs compete simultaneously, and here in the USA we can follow all 10 climactic matches live, as long as the pub or sports bar or whatever has enough screens to show them. Usually of course kick-offs are staggered across the weekend, and it’s rare to find a majority of the so-called bigger teams playing on the same day, never mind at the same time.

I’ve watched the Blues in bars all over the States, and usually it’s only in big cities that you find a place that’s exclusively populated by Chelsea fans. For the vast majority of those who follow the sport on this side of the Atlantic, there is one local ‘football pub’ where everyone goes to cheer on their side. My hometown of New Orleans is typical - you probably know the name, but we are only the 49th biggest city in America, sandwiched between Wichita, Kansas and Arlington in Texas, two places even many Americans would struggle to locate on a map.

Despite the lack of cliff-hangers this year - we were an outside bet for fourth while the relegation places were practically sealed - everyone still came out. Unless you are lucky enough to support one of the FA Cup finalists, it was your last chance to see your team play competitively for three months. So the place was packed, and even those who follow clubs who had nothing to play for (such as our lone Crystal Palace fan), turned up to see the end of the season. With supporters of so many different sides crammed together, we had shouts of despair punctuating cheers of joy continually crisscrossing through the air.

The handful of Blues fans were disappointed with our performance, but we were consoled by the thought of Saturday’s FA Cup final. After last week’s defeat, a win at Wembley will set us up perfectly to enjoy the long, hot summer in Louisiana.