When people think of Chelsea’s rivals they usually think of Spurs, West Ham, Leeds, Millwall or Arsenal, United and Liverpool (usually depending on when you started watching Chelsea). One rival you don’t think of is Seattle, but there is still a lot of resentment from Sounders fans when it comes to Chelsea.
I am one of the very few people I know who supports both the Sounders and Chelsea. In fact, Seattle has one of the smallest Chelsea supporters groups in the entire country and their previous supporters group, “Shed End Seattle,” nearly dissolved. The question is, why?
If you’ll remember, Chelsea played the Sounders in 2009 in what many considered to be a boring game. Chelsea won 2-0 and Sounders fans were upset. They weren’t upset that Chelsea won, they were upset that Chelsea showed a severe lack of respect to them. The second half consisted of a C+ lineup with many of the stars noticeably missing from the team.
As a Chelsea fan, I completely understand. We can’t risk anything happening to those players and the game is a friendly. As a Sounders fan, I’m insulted. Barcelona and United have both played Seattle in pre-season friendlies and absolutely destroyed them. Sounders fans would rather lose 4-0 or 7-0 against a team played full strength than 2-0 against a team that doesn’t play hard.
It’s three years later but a lot of Sounders fans haven’t let go yet. Seattle does have a very rich football heritage that’s only rivaled by the states to its south when it comes to footy in America. There aren’t a lot of bandwagon Sounders supporters and they often see Chelsea as Chelsea see United. We hopped on board for the glory.
Now clearly we all know that’s not true. Most of us were on board long before Abramovich took over and it is an unfair assumption. Throw in the fact that Seattle is Barca and Arsenal country and it’s not all that surprising how much we’re resented. The few Sounders fans I do know have given me grief and acted superior because they know about my love for Chelsea.
Going into Seattle will be nothing like the stories I’ve heard from East London, but it might feel that way when they pull out their version of “No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care.” Does Chelsea have anything to apologize for? Of course not. We were and are one of the best teams in the world and I understand, as a Sounders fan, that it is an honor for Chelsea to even come to Seattle. Chelsea are European Champions! The day Seattle proves that they can beat Napoli, Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern, that is the day they deserve a full XI for 90′. Until then, sit down and show some respect.