It was just another regular tail-wagging, mane-rustling, purr-inducing morning in the Stamford household. Papa Stamford reading the morning papers over his morning coffee and black-n-white zebra biscuits. Mama Stamford frying up some more antelope bacon. Birds chirping, sun sort of shining; top of the league and having a laugh.
Young Stamford loved to wake up to the sounds and smells of frying bacon. And the ones this morning smelled like the thick-cut ones, not the cheapies. Too often lately Mama Stamford opted for the cheaper bacon -- too many lion mouths to feed, she'd say, especially with Bridget around all the time as well. "First world lion problems I suppose," Stamford counted his lucky stars that looked like a Drogba penalty kick when he remembered just how good he had it.
Bridget didn't spend the night for once; she had flown to Portugal ahead of the Chelsea first team to help make sure all accommodations and arrangements were in place before the squad arrived on Monday. She loved to go above an beyond her duties as team mascot and Stamford loved her all the more for it. They had it so good. So good! Being the mascot of Chelsea Football Club was really the best possible job for a lion.
The driver dropped him off just outside the Cobham gates and Stamford tipped generously with leftover bacon. Usually he tipped with money, but he knew that Raul loved bacon. They shook... err... hands (?)... and Stamford bounded off toward the training ground and the airport coaches idling in the parking lot. He was so excited to get on the plane and fly off to Portugal as well he didn't even notice the single tear in the driver's eye.
Stamford's gate slowed to a walk as he neared the coaches. Everything was a little too quiet and a sudden fog rolled in. "Where is everyone?" he thought to himself, dismissing the chill running down his spine. The grounds should be a bustle of activity. Everybody should be getting ready. Mourinho and that crazy Scottish masseur guy should be barking orders. He did love that Scottish guy. He was very funny.
Finally, Stamford came to stop with when he saw Branislav Ivanovic materialize out of the haze in the distance. A big goofy grin spread across his muzzle. Stamford loved Bane; he was like a big bear. "Bears and lions would get on well in the wild," Stamford always thought to himself naively.
Things happened very quickly at this point. "Why is Bane shouting and waving his arms?" That's weird. "And where did all this fog and tall grass come from?" Wait a minute... "And what's that rustling behind me?" Uh-oh. Oh no. Something's wrong. Was that movement in the corner of the eye? Wait wait wait...stop stop, hang on. Don't blink.
He felt the breath on the back of his neck and Willian's voice spoke softly into his ear. "It's lion season, b****!"
The goofy grin was frozen forever on his face.
NB. No lions or people dressing up as lions were harmed in the making of this story. Willian was of course speaking figuratively. He's used this Brazilian expression at least once before during his Chelsea career, soon after he signed in September of last year.