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The Real Hardcore Fan Club: Cheers to Basil, Chelsea women's one-man blue band and biggest supporter

In 2024 Heineken are on a mission to redefine what it means to be a real hardcore football fan, shining a light on the many different faces that make up modern fandom and celebrating the different ways they express their devotion to the sport and team they live.

Hardcore fan number three in our unique series is Basil - Chelsea Women's one-man-blue-band. A larger-than-life character for whom match-day is an all day event, starting with his own routine and rituals and ending only when his beloved Blues have got all the support they deserve.

Cheers to Basil.

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It’s a bitterly cold Wednesday night in the blue corner of SW London. The floodlights of Stamford Bridge illuminate the night sky, the midweek-european-football energy is palpable all around us, and for good reason… as Chelsea prepare to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. It’s a big-big game for both teams.

Just past the second set of stewards, around by the walkway towards the East Stand, a crowd had built up in front of the club megastore. There was no new kit launch dropping tonight, no player special appearances, so why all the hype? Through the crowd an older gentleman dressed head to toe in Chelsea blue and adorned in scarves can be heard shouting “up the Chels”. His name is Basil Goode, and he’s the reason everyone is here so early… to meet the one-man-blue-band… Chelsea Women’s BIGGEST fan.

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Chelsea Football Club has always been a part of Basil’s life. He started going to Stamford Bridge at the age of 13, in the mid 70’s, during the (good-old) days of Peter Osgood, Ian Hutchinson and David Webb. Over the years and despite the club’s unprecedented success, Basil started to feel disconnected to the club he’d supported all those years and he became slightly disillusioned with the men’s game in general.

“The players became more distant, further removed from the community, the tickets got pricier, the atmosphere got quieter, and all the new rules and expectations took some of the fun out of the game”.

Fast forward to 2022 and Chelsea Women are set to play Manchester City in the Women’s League Cup Final at Plough Lane. Basil and Jeanie, his wife of 35 years, live just a few blocks away from that ground - the home of Wimbledon AFC - and had decided it would be a shame to not go down and show their support. It was the first time Basil had set foot inside a stadium to support his beloved Chelsea in a long time and little did he know it would change the way he would support them moving forward in a big way.

The Blues went on to lose that game 1-3 on the night, but it wasn’t the result that bothered Basil the most, it was the atmosphere and how muted the support was coming from the stands. Despite losing the game, he recalls how the players would still come out after and interact with the fans… and they were in no hurry to rush back to the changing room.

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“I still watch the men’s team on TV, but the women have their own concept. They play amazing football, they don’t dive and after the game they have so much time for the fans. They’re role models. And they deserve my FULL support.”

Today it takes Basil about three hours to get ready for a game… and he goes to every game. His routine starts with 100 sit ups, followed by a cold bath. It would become apparent later why this energy and blood flow boost was so important to Basil’s match day routine. Next, he starts preparing and cleaning his many chains, rings and pin badges. Home shirt comes out… blue trousers, hat and gloves aren’t far behind. Some scarves are tied around his arms, many others are carefully counted and prepared for later.

“It's got to be done, wearing my flags, wearing my heart on my sleeve and supporting those players, it means so much to me.”

His chains on this particular night held sentimental value. The gold chain was a gift from the grounds keeper, while the Basil 01 medallion was a gift from Elsi - a young fan and goalkeeper who’d presented it to him the previous month in a little box. He exclaimed, “It's very touching because when I support the women I don't expect anything, I come here to just give them my heart and soul. You meet beautiful people here, share lovely stories together, you know it's wonderful.” It is clear that Basil hasn’t just embraced the club, but the community surrounding it have embraced him too.

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As Basil adds the last detail to his eccentric and energising appearance, the next chapter in his match ritual begins. He arrives at Stamford Bridge about two hours before kick-off, not to take his seat and take in the sights, but rather to meet fans, build an atmosphere and to of course have his photo taken - he’s become a bit of a local celebrity. Once inside the ground, Basil lives up to his reputation as the one-man-blue-band… singing, dancing, waving those flags… he doesn’t stop, until the game does.

Basil’s story is one that mirrors many clubs and the ever-growing community surrounding women’s football. Over the last two years he and his wife have found themselves at the heart of a rapidly growing movement, spearheading support for the team they love and finding joy in their new-found self-expression.

“I want to do it! Chelsea is in my heart and in my blood and I want to support them in the best possible way I can. If I had it my way I would bring my horn and my drum, and I urge other people to come along and make noise for these girls like me. Because they deserve it.”

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That support (and noise) would spur Chelsea on to a 2-1 win against Real Madrid in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, and post match Basil would have just as much time (if not more), for the fans who wanted to meet him outside of the stadium, and on his way home.

This season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League is one of high hopes for Chelsea. With Emma Hayes in the dugout and Basil (plus thousands more) hardcore fans in the stands, 2024 could be the year that Chelsea Women finally get their hands on the one trophy that’s eluded them… and Basil’s already decorated and colourful hat gets another (extra special), commemorative badge.

Check out more stories of hardcore football fandom with Heineken via the Hardcore Fan Club Hub.