Comedian Sean Lock remembers Stamford Bridge's Shed End and worshipping Peter Osgood.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 30/11/10 4:21pm
"I don't know what all the fuss is about. The media have got nothing better to do than make trouble," explained comedian and Chelsea supporter Sean Lock at the beginning of our interview on the afternoon after the narrow 2-1 victory over MSK Zilina in the UEFA Champions League.
Perhaps there are better words for a journalist to hear, but the above offered an insight into the football fanaticism of the standup as he gave his opinion on recent events surrounding Carlo Ancelotti and on-field form at Stamford Bridge.
Lock has been a lifelong Chelsea supporter and has also held a season-ticket for many years to mean that he has seen the good and the bad times, the pre and post-Abramovich years, in West London.
The star of TV panel shows 8 out of 10 Cats and QI is of course better known as a master of intelligent and self-deprecating comedy and he is currently approaching the end of a UK tour of his precision-paced Lockipedia show, but he also knows his football inside out.
Having experienced Lockipedia's material, ranging from pirates to Madonna, which is also available on DVD, skysports.com did not think twice when offered the chance to chew the fat with Lock.
My older brother is a Chelsea fan, my dad is a Chelsea fan and most of my cousins are Chelsea fans, so I am a Chelsea fan. My dad is of that era when it wasn't so partisan. He would go to Chelsea one Saturday and then he would go to Fulham the next Saturday, so I've never been 100 per cent convinced that he is a Chelsea fan, although I'm sure he is. But I have always been a Chelsea fan. We've got a few problems at the moment, but we're top of the Premier League and top of our Champions League group. I don't think there is anything seriously wrong and it will settle down.
What's your take on Roman Abramovich-era 'fans'?
You never actually meet someone who says, 'Yes, I've just come along since the money'. But I was walking down the Fulham Road about four or five years ago and I walked past this pub called the Fulham Tup and there were these people stood outside, they were quite posh, and this guy gave this girl a ticket for the game. She took the ticket out of his hand and said, 'What do I do with this?!' Forget the offside rule or the complexities of qualifying for the Champions League, she didn't know what a ticket was! You will get people like that at football these days, it's an entertainment business, a form of show business. But people won't own up to being new Chelsea supporters, it's like people won't admit to being New Labour supporters.
Chelsea v Derby
I'm pretty sure it was a draw at Stamford Bridge in about 1972. I was about nine years old. I remember seeing the big green pitch. Obviously it was very exciting, I imagine for any kid going to football is very exciting. It was a big, wide stadium and there was a dog track at Stamford Bridge at that time, so there was something for Peter Osgood and the like to spend their wages on after the match! I remember the space, the noise and the singing. I don't remember it being intimidating. I was with my brother and my dad so I felt quite protected. They didn't take me right into The Shed End. We were in The Shed End, but we didn't go to The White Wall. I used to come up to London as much as I could because I lived down in Woking in those days. I've been a season-ticket holder for years, but I haven't been able to go much this season because I've been on tour. The next game I'm going to is against Manchester United, so that should be good.
I acquired most of my Chelsea-loving from my brother and most people liked Peter Osgood. He scored a lot of goals, but I don't remember specifically what it was I liked about him other than the fact that he was a good player. You meet a lot of old Chelsea fans who go, 'Ahh, well, after Emlyn Hughes broke Osgood's leg he was never the same player'. Obviously I never saw him before that and I definitely didn't see him at his best as he left for Southampton in 1974, but he was the one.
I don't really remember hating a player when I was young, it wasn't something that you did. It probably would have been a foreign player in a World Cup or something like that. The media didn't stir things up as much. For example, Robbie Savage was portrayed as a pantomime villain for a few years, but that didn't happen to players much in the past. My brother would get Shoot magazine and that was the only information I would get drip-fed. You would have the table and the results, but it was only if you went to a game that you would properly see players. It was difficult to hate players, there wasn't the same frenzy. Whenever most players spoke they seemed gentlemanly, they didn't seem arrogant and they all seemed to be quite well-behaved working men. I don't remember them being a**eholes!
Chelsea v Leeds, 1970 FA Cup final
I remember my family watching it on the television in the living room with the curtains closed. I was about six and was too young to really concentrate so watched a bit of it and got bored and walked off. I remember thinking, 'Why have they got the curtains closed?' It was to stop the sun shining on the screen, but I went out into the garden and kicked a ball around. The game was a draw and then Chelsea went on and won the replay.
I wasn't very good at football. I wasn't good enough to play for my school, but I played for the Altar Boys for a while [laughing]. I was an Altar Boy at a Catholic Church and we had a team... and I only just scraped into that. I wasn't a naturally-gifted player. I used to play on the left of defence. I was quite fit, but I didn't make it into the hallowed echelons of the school team.
People didn't wear kits. When I was about 16 or 17 years old I started to notice people wearing them, but, I might be really dating myself, I don't think they did when I was younger. A friend of mine who was a West Ham fan got a Burnley kit and I remember my step-brother got a kit so I might have asked for one then. That might be a false memory, I'm sure I did have a kit, but I don't think I did! But I went off football from my mid-teens to about 18, 19, or 20 because there wasn't so much to see. Now it would take the willpower of a recovering junkie to go off football, but in those days if you didn't watch the two games that were shown at the weekend it was quite easy to go off football. I don't really wear kits these days either. I don't go to matches decked out like Braveheart with my face painted and hair done up.
Red Rose Club, Finsbury Park
There were three people on the bill. John Hegley was hosting and then there was Dave Cohen, Felix Dexter and a guy called Roy Hutchins. I remember it because it was a fantastic night, they were all great.
Sean Lock's brand new stand-up DVD, Lockipedia Live, is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 22nd November. Visit www.play.com for more details.
Second landscape photo by Andy Hollingworth