There was once a dream. As with most such dreams, it didn’t look like ever becoming reality. That’s the thing with dreams. If they were more likely, they would be called something else. Plans, maybe. Objectives. This was a dream, a dream of Chelsea, made in Chelsea, for the modern game.
Three months into this dream, it still feels about as stable as the third level of Inception. Even talking about it too much might unsettle it. The dream is over once you realize you’re in a dream. But the reality, with a few early exceptions, has matched the dream. In a way, it has exceeded it, even. After all, it’s real. And it’s spectacular.
“You look at the boys now, there’s so many coming through and doing so well. It’s a bit surreal we are all coming through together and doing it. We are all working hard and, hopefully, we can keep doing well for many years to come.”
The significance of Chelsea building a homegrown core cultivated over a decade in the Academy is not lost on those actually carrying out this project. The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James — and hopefully many more to follow — know exactly what this means, precisely because they’ve observed it from the closest possible vantage point, from an early age. They’ve lived Chelsea practically all their lives, and they’re barely into their 20s, if that.
“We can feel that goodwill from the fans, 100 per cent. It’s something they’ve been calling for for a long time, [young] players coming through and doing well for the club. We can feel it on the pitch and we want to give that extra yard for the fans. We’ve been doing that so far and we need to keep that mentality throughout the whole season.
“People wrote us off at the beginning of the season and said we wouldn’t do well. We need to keep proving them wrong.”
Their desire to do well is thus not only rooted in paychecks, egos, and trophies, but true, real, meaningful connections with each other and the club. It’s all the professionalism, and all the romance of football, and if it works out, we’re sitting on a goldmine.
“We have to be a team throughout the whole season to do well. That is something strong within us, that we’re all so close and working so hard for each other.”
“Having all the players around and the fact we are doing it together, we probably are feeding off each other and it’s giving us that fearlessness going into games. There is pressure playing for a massive club and you’ve got stuff to prove, but I think coming through with a lot of similar faces who you have known growing up, it does help a lot.”
-Mason Mount; source: Telegraph
The was once a dream. Dreams do come true. And as long as we keep winning — and as long as the rest of the squad fit in and contribute as well of course — we can keep the inevitable nightmares hiding in the darkest timelines.
“I was basically seeing my friends playing for Chelsea and I was close so it spurred me on to keep working hard every day and keep training well. We all talk to each other and on the Champions League nights, we are like ‘wow, we are playing in the Champions League’. Stuff like that keeps us motivated and it means when the game comes we want to play well and win. At the moment it’s working for us.”
-Fikayo Tomori; source: Telegraph
Long may it last indeed.