A fiercely cold winter evening in London didn’t deter the Stamford Bridge faithful from getting behind their beloved Chelsea and packing out the stadium as they hosted Manchester United. I on the other hand didn’t have to brave the cold as I got to watch the game from the luxury of the Dolce&Gabbana Lounge pitch-side at the Bridge.
Living it up in the Dolce & Gabbana Lounge at the home of Chelsea FC
With snow lying up and down the UK I was afraid the game might have been cancelled but the under-pitch heaters did their job just fine and I got the call early on Sunday that the game would go ahead. This was the second time I’d been invited to the Dolce&Gabbana lounge so I knew what was in store, the last thing I wanted was for the weather to mess with my plans for an evening of luxury and a taste of the good life.
I did however, have to battle with the Tube. The work going on all over the city in preparation for the Olympics here in July and August mean there are many Tube stations closed so after a few enforced detours I made my way to Fulham Broadway station I followed the lines of Blues supporters all of us wrapped in overcoats, scarves and hats. I had to stop off on the way for a drink of something short and strong just get the blood flowing to my legs again. Still though, even in those freezing temperatures you can’t beat the build up to a Premiership game.
Stamford Bridge is located in Fulham on the banks of the River Thames, London
Inside the stadium I made my way to the Dolce&Gabbana Lounge, flashing my Dolce&Gabbana wristband past what seemed like an army of security guards. Security is very tight indeed inside the Lounge, they’re very big on privacy in there so when I was taking pictures with my smart phone I was politely yet firmly requested to desist by some gigantic Russian men in suits with earpieces.
Never mind, I just concentrated instead, on trying to soak up the atmosphere in the Lounge and got stuck into some canapés and champagne. Last time I was there the Lounge was full to bursting. Funnily enough it was for a Chelsea/Man Utd. game and the Glazer family (the American owners of Manchester United) were in the Dolce&Gabbana Lounge. That gives you an idea of the level of hospitality on here. Nothing but the very best will do. And if it’s good enough for the Glazers, then it’s good enough for me.
No Glazers this time though, (I expect they might have been more interested in the Super Bowl, as they own the Tampa Bay Bucaneers too) and it was an altogether more dignified affair. Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, was there and so was Alistair Campbell, former spin doctor and right-hand man to Tony Blair, so the atmosphere was gentile and very English upper-class.
The Chelsea team for the 2011-12 season decked out in Dolce&Gabbana
A very dignified air was present during the evening as Isaac and Ottis Ferry (sons of Dolce&Gabbana icon Bryan Ferry) were there, charming as always and looking sharp in Dolce&Gabbana. Talking to them really did bring home that I was mixing it with the upper-crust as they were telling me about how last night they were out celebrating with Prince Harry (who they went to school with). When I asked them about inviting the Prince down to the Dolce&Gabbana Lounge they seemed up for it, only problem is, unfortunately for him, he’s a West Ham supporter.
So all very gentlemanly and aristocratic, we were handed cashmere blankets as we took seats for the game to fend off the cold. The Lounge was full of overcoats, leather gloves… you get the picture… Things were different in the stands and on the pitch though. Chelsea have declared that they consider themselves out of the running for the title, but that didn’t stop them wanting to take points off arch-rivals Manchester United.
Sketch of the classic suit and overcoat deigned for the Chelsea players by Dolce&Gabbana
This really was a game of two halves and probably the most topsy-turvy football game I’ve seen for some time. While Chelsea were 3 up on 50 minutes, a couple of dubious penalty decisions saw United right back in it and chasing an equaliser. It came in the 84th minute when Javier Hernandez headed in from short range. No doubt Ferguson will be the happier of the two managers, but for the neutral observer this game had just about everything.
After the game I was invited by the Dolce&Gabbana guys for a drink in London’s Corinthia Hotel, just off Trafalgar Square. There was a fitting going on for World Tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic, fresh from his epic Australian Open victory as he’s dressed by Dolce&Gabbana. The Corinthia is where all the football players, athletes and sports stars (and their agents) stay when they’re in London. When I was there, who did I see at the bar? A very pleased looking Sir Alex Ferguson.
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