Chelsea fans up for Swansea City clash at Liberty
WHEN Premier League giants Chelsea visit the Liberty Stadium tomorrow evening star spotters should be in for a treat — when they look to the stands.
Never mind the likes of multi-millionaire players Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres and John Terry, the Blues have one of the largest celebrity followings in the business.
Among those who wear the blue of the current European Champions are actors Joseph Fiennes and Michael Caine, actresses Sienna Miller and Minnie Driver with director Guy Ritchie adding to the array of movie talent interested in the beautiful game.
Other famous names include comedian turned writer David Baddiel, everyone's favourite Phantom Michael Crawford, and Top Gear motor-mouth Jeremy Clarkson.
A spokesman for the London club said: "For years Chelsea has been associated with a whole range of famous people who have supported the Blues. The height of celebrity fandom came during the late sixties and early seventies when the style and glamour of the team was matched by those wandering the Kings Road.
"Stories of Raquel Welch or Steve McQueen in the dressing room and the VIP areas overflowing were common place, however given the length of the current list of Chelsea celebs it seems those days have returned!"
It is not known how many of the Stamford Bridge side's 200 or so signed up A-listers will make it down to South West Wales for the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final tomorrow night.
The Swans did have one major high-profile celebrity fan in the from of former Coronation Street wild child Rosie Webster, aka Helen Flanagan, but she has left in the wake of want-away striker Scott Sinclair.
Of those Jack Army celebs that still remain, Swansea Sound DJ and panto dame Kev Johns joked: "We have myself and Mal Pope, along with Dr Who designer Ed Thomas and I think that's it!"
Giving the matter further thought Kev, who is a pitch-side announcer for the Swans at the Liberty Stadium, added: "Ruth Madoc may be there on Wednesday because her husband is a huge Swans fan, Bonnie Tyler was at the opening of the Liberty Stadium and I am sure that Catherine Zeta Jones would be a fan too if she were home.
"And although still a rugby fan Max Boyce likes the Swans because we sing Hymns and Arias."
Whatever celebrities turn up Kev believes that fame and money matter little to the Jack Army.
He said: "The difference with Swans fans is whatever their job, whoever they are, they are fans because of the Swans. Without being cynical, with Chelsea it may be a case of it's the place to be seen."
There is one celebrity supporter, however, who will have a foot in both camps.
Not usually known for sitting on the fence, Neath MP Peter Hain explained: "I have been supporting Chelsea since 1965 but I'm a big Swansea fan as well so it's going to be a hard match for me. I'm going to be neutral on this one."
He added: "I'm so excited by the achievements of the Swans. The fact that Swansea are having to extend their stadium, where there is a waiting list for season tickets, just goes to show how mega the success of the team has been."
Swans Football in the Community sponsor, Salvo Gianini, who recently hosted Ryder Cup hero Sergio Garcia in his Liberty Stadium hospitality box, added: "Chelsea may have all these celebrity fans but to me the Swans have one massive celebrity fan in the shape of 20,000 members of the Jack Army. I think everything the players and the board and everyone associated with the club has done has put us on the map."