MAH: First of all mate, how are you? How has it been covering Chelsea with TalkChelsea during such a unique season?
Simon: I’m good thanks man, great to see you doing this new project, hope it goes well for you. Talk Chelsea is great, slightly different than what I’m used to as I’m churning the content out quicker than it comes through so it can be tough to source news. But it’s great, and Chelsea always give us something to discuss!
MAH: Thank you man, it’s enjoyable taking on this responsibility, great project to release any ideas. Is it difficult to switch between writing and reporting on the club with minimum bias to fan with an undying love?
Simon: It can be. But luckily at Talk Chelsea and Chelsea-News we are classed as blogs, so I can technically write what I want in any style! I just prefer to mainly practice journalism in my style because it’s what I am more comfortable with. Sometimes I go in and put my own views across, even attempt some humour!
MAH: So, as a writer would your preference at games be to analyze the match or be involved with the loud MHL atmosphere?
Simon: Be in the atmosphere hands down. Whenever I have been to a match and reported on it, I’ve only ever taken notes. I always type up the report after and go into detail, because for me nothing beats being at a live game, especially away days. Ironically now though, my job actually limits me going to games!
MAH: That’s quite interesting for me personally it depends on the game, if it’s a big game and very tactically orientated I prefer to sit up high in the West Stand and oversee proceedings. What were your most vivid memories at your 1st Chelsea Match?
Simon: Chelsea lost 1-0 to Coventry I in 1992. It was the last year before the Premier League started. It was the best game I had ever been to. We were losing but all I remember is how loud the Chelsea fans were signing all game chanting ‘CHELSEA! CHELSEA! CHELSEA!’ And pointing to the Coventry fans. I instantly fell in love and didn’t even care that we lost, neither did the fans. It was so different then.
MAH: Times have certainly changed that’s for sure. Would you say there was a player or aspect within the club in particular that gave you the Chelsea goosebumps?
Simon: There was loads in the 90s, I loved that era. Hoddle cape in, Gullit, Vialli, Zola etc.. it was like the first real change at Chelsea where you felt we were going to become a great team. Dennis Wise was a personal favourite back then, but always Zola with the goosebumps man!
MAH: Ah I absolutely loved the little I got to see of Zola, I once put him on the same pedestal as Eden Hazard, let’s say Twitter reaction wasn’t too kind haha, which moment this season signified the start of a new era for you?
Simon: It was the Liverpool Super Cup game. Yes we lost on pens, but Liverpool are unbeaten now all season, and Chelsea were so SO close to beating them that game and absolutely deserved to. I saw something I hadn’t seen in a while, a real fighting spirit and a desire to win the game. A belief and a passion playing for the club and for the manager.
MAH: It really was a complete performance, Kante had an absolute masterclass that day, what a player! There’s been quite a few surprises in the side already this season. Which player currently would you say has exceeded your expectations the most?
Simon: Mateo Kovacic has been our best player in my view. I rated him last season, but I never expected him to become our best and most important player of this season so far. He’s been class and we miss him when he doesn’t play. A mention for Tammy as well, he’s come in and scored a lot of important goals, nobody was expecting him to hit the ground running this hard, he was vastly written off by most.
MAH: Tammy would definitely get my vote for sure, I expected nothing more than a squad role type of impact, boy was I wrong. With that being said, do you feel the tides have turned from fans and media alike with Frank Lampard in charge? In terms of being a more ‘likable’ club?
Simon: Yes and no. Inside the stadium yes, largely on social media yes, but there are a section of fans on socials who are already gunning for Frank, which is just weird if you ask me. The media is a definite yes, Chelsea are likable again purely because of Frank!
MAH: If you could pick one player to come into the club and alter the outcome of Chelsea’s season for the better, who would that be?
Simon: Hmm.. if it’s only one (that’s mean man!) then I’d say Kalidou Koulibaly (if we are being semi realistic, if not then Van Djik). Purely because I think we need a leader, an organizer, and a centre-back who dominates the air and the box, but is also class on the ball. We are lacking this and leaking goals as a result. We obviously need forwards, but I’d sort the defence first if I had to chose.
MAH: It’s been great chatting with you, finally.. if you had to choose, would you prefer an FA Cup success this season in our 70s tribute kit or UCL qualification?
Simon: UCL, purely because of the money it brings and the attraction to new players. But I’d love an FA Cup run, such a magical competition and it would be great for Frank to win a trophy. No problem Matisse, thanks for choosing me to talk to! I wish you the best of luck with it all.