Bison delights Lion City fans

Michael Essien received a rapturous welcome and a special present from Chelsea supporters in Singapore when he made a brief visit to the Lion City on Tuesday.

En route to Stamford Bridge, where the Ghanaian will be lacing up his boots for Chelsea Legends when they face Inter Forever on Friday, Essien took the opportunity to meet up with local Blues fans in a special meet-and-greet session at Café Football Singapore.

After fielding questions on his Chelsea career and his experience of playing in FA Cup finals for the Blues, our former Player of the Year took his time to interact with the fans, signing memorabilia and posing for photographs or selfies with everyone present.

One of the highlights of the evening came during the autograph session when the Chelsea FC Supporters Club Singapore presented Essien with a framed digital drawing of one of his most memorable moments as a Chelsea player.

‘The drawing that I made of him is based on a photo of his reaction after he scored his fantastic goal against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in 2009,’ said Jon Chan, a committee member of the supporters’ club and a lecturer in design at the Singapore Institute of Technology

‘I’ve done a few digital drawings of Chelsea players before but it was a special thrill to be able to meet one of my biggest Chelsea heroes and to share my work with him.

‘He had a great partnership in midfield with Frank Lampard and I was impressed with how hard he worked and how devastating his impact could be. He may no longer play for Chelsea but he is still held in high esteem for what he did for us as a player.’

Another guest who was smiling broadly was Zach Whitehouse after his name was drawn by Essien in a lucky draw. The teenager, who plays for the Chelsea FC International Development Centre Singapore Under-12 team, was presented with a brand new 2018/19 home kit, which was duly autographed by the former Chelsea star.

Essien was surprised but nonetheless delighted by the large turnout of Chelsea fans at the event.

‘I was not expecting that many people to come but I really enjoyed it and I felt very welcome by the fans and everyone. I was happy, very happy to be there,’ said the Ghanaian.

‘Some of them said they are Chelsea fans today because of me, and if that is true, then I am very happy because it means that I did something good for the club. It’s great that we have such a good fanbase in Asia and I’m very happy to have contributed to that.’

As for the digital painting, Essien knows exactly what he intends to do with it.

‘It very nice. I was expecting that I would just be signing it but then this guy said that it was for me! It’s a good drawing and I will be taking it back with me to London!’ he said.