On Friday afternoon, under the blistering Illinois sun, responsible for a heatwave that has killed 24 Chicagoans this summer, 3,000 people paid $25 apiece (plus $5 parking) to watch Chelsea train and listen to the announcer’s words of love. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was less ecstatic: “This is a training session where not much will happen.”
And so, to the ear-splitting backdrop of Coldplay being blasted through the stadium’s clearly perfectly functioning PA, the lovestruck 3,000 watched Chelsea’s squad minus Claude Makelele (with his agreement, Chelsea decided he was in need of a rest), William Gallas (to Chelsea’s chagrin, he decided he was in need of a rest) and Hernan Crespo (both parties agree he needs a transfer more than a rest) limbered up, played a gentle, non-contact game of handball and a football game without goalkeepers or goalposts, and warmed down, before signing a few autographs.
It was less than riveting, and after a desultory hour, few accepted the announcer’s offer to “cheer Chelsea Football Club off the pitch”. Love does not always run smoothly.
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