Jonathan, aka @KaiserJonny
Jonathan started writing for Chelsea FC Blog in September 2005 and came up with the idea of producing a podcast in 2012. He still throws the occasional article together when the combination of work and parenting the world’s bossiest six-year-old allows (not that often, it must be said). He used to attempt to keep his fellow toilers in order during the fortnightly(ish) recording of the Podding Shed but is currently on sabbatical.
Being a fairly indecisive chap by nature, his favourite Chelsea moments change on an almost hourly basis but the first Premier League win in 2005 and Munich are the ones that make him smile more than most. The great Gianfranco Zola is his all-time Chelsea hero, with Didier Drogba running him a close second and the one-man mountain named John Terry is his current favourite player. He is a season ticket holder in the Matthew Harding Upper and will talk football and Chelsea with anyone possessing more than three brain cells and the means to buy beer.
Otherwise, he can be found spouting nonsense on Twitter as @KaiserJonny. He likes the occasional wander through the WWI battlefields of Flanders and northern France, plays guitar (not terribly well, but improving slowly) and his slow-roasted lamb shoulder is the stuff of legend. As of now (which is stardate May 2014), he’s listening to Led Zeppelin, Buddy Guy and Foals. There’s a long list of books he really needs to catch up on. Oh, and if a rich benefactor who really enjoys the Podding Shed wants to reward him for his endeavours, a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Junior double cut in TV Yellow would be just lovely, thanks.
He still has a fervent dislike of Barbara Windsor.
Tony, aka @GrocerJackUK
Tony has been contributing to the Podding Shed and Chelsea FC Blog since March 2005. He is a season ticket holder in the Matthew Harding Upper and has been passionately supporting Chelsea for 40 years – his first game was a 2-1 win over Derby County back in 1973.
His all-time favourite Chelsea players are Gianfranco Zola, Peter Osgood and Peter Bonetti; current favourite is Eden Hazard who he believes will be the next Lionel Messi. Memorable moments include Frank Lampard’s Premiership-winning goals against Bolton at the end of the 2004/05 season, Roberto Di Matteo’s strike in the 1997 FA Cup final, Peter Osgood’s equaliser against Leeds in the 1970 FA Cup final replay, and hearing the news that Ken Bates had sold the club to Roman Abramovich. More recently of course it will be Didier Drogba’s final penalty on that night in Munich. Worst moments are the 4-0 loss to Manchester United in the 1994 FA Cup final, the deaths of Matthew Harding and Peter Osgood, and being relegated in the play-offs against Middlesbrough in the bad old days.
Favourite books are Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm by George Orwell, The First Casualty and Two Brothers by Ben Elton, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by the late and great Douglas Adams. Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti will always top his all-time greatest albums chart, while Green Day, Kings of Leon and Daft Punk are among his current likes. Cinematic favourites include Pulp Fiction (basically any Tarantino), Love, Honour and Obey, Brassed Off, The Truman Show, Full Metal Jacket, The Wolf of Wall Street, Watchmen and (in his view) the supreme V For Vendetta.
Tony’s loves and interests outside of supporting Chelsea are his wife and two supposedly grown up daughters, golf, cycling, France, anything French (culture/language/food/wine etc) and buggering about with technology. He drinks real ale, maybe more than is good for him and is very fussy about the condition it’s served in.
Donal, aka @Dr_BlueBayou
Born into the opulent splendour of Gracie Fields’ Hampstead mansion, Donal found himself only days later in the far more modest working-class surroundings of South Tottenham. Life, it seemed, would always tempt you into coming forward throwing jabs of joyous expectation unaware that within the glove that will shortly deal you the right hook of everyday disappointment is secreted the bone shattering horseshoe of numbing setback.
Thence forward, forged in the smithy of a London Irish Catholic upbringing, he became possessed of the kind of singular sensibility that in 1967 enabled him to understand that even as the masses around him tipped over into madness as the FA Cup was paraded through the streets, outside his enclave lay a larger world, a world where the discerning football man was supporting Chelsea, even in the darkness of defeat.
And so the die was cast. As their fortunes ebbed and flowed, with perhaps more ebbing than was strictly decent for a considerable time, Chelsea’s story is woven through the fabric of Donal’s life, as both boy and man. In 1971 his father took him all the way over to Stamford Bridge for the very first time where he the saw the FA Cup holders win 2-0 against Blackpool. The two-tone trouser, the Crombie, youth, skinhead haircuts, the sound of ska, of Labi Siffri on the PA. Indelible memories.
An abiding interest in the interconnectedness of things, of how circumstance and coincidence inform events runs through his occasional contributions to Chelsea FC Blog, as does a blatantly obvious inability to understand football.
Away from the game, like many another he watches films, listens to music and reads books. Incapable of sufficient self awareness to properly compose a meaningful guide to his cultural touchstones beyond confessing a long time love of Cajun and zydeco music, a determination to read all the novels of Samuel Beckett (though not necessarily understand them) and cherishing the memory of seeing Greta Garbo in Camille for the very first time (long after it was made, obviously) these few examples must suffice.
Film: The Last Picture Show by Peter Bogdanovitch
Book: That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern
Song: The Girl From the Red River Shore by Bob Dylan
Donal’s other sporting interests aside from professional cycling include teams (Kerry and the Montreal Canadiens) who have dominated their sports and consistently won throughout their history. And yet there is also and always will be Chelsea.
Mark, aka @so_contrary
Mark retired from the Podding Shed in the summer of 2016. He was in the upper age group of contributors, and saw his first game in 1963.
His favourite player of all time is Peter Osgood, who mastered the art of deceiving defenders and the crowd because he’d often pass the ball in a direction that was opposite to the obvious, constantly sending defenders and keepers in the wrong direction and causing the crowd to gasp with amazement.
In his mind he is a world-class football talent and still clings on to the belief that, by stepping up the dog walking to bring him to a higher level of fitness, he will become a legend as the oldest player to make his Chelsea debut.
He has a wide range of interests and when he’s not watching Chelsea he’s usually watching football or thinking up football-related innuendos to post to a blog or mention on a podcast to try and get a reaction.
Musical tastes reflect his age and Mark is constantly re-indexing his Elton John vinyls. Mark likes all food but particularly Italian and has the ambition to eat his way around all the food regions of Italy culminating in visiting every restaurant in Bologna.
Nick, aka @mrnicholasmark – coder, producer
The Podding Shed is coded, maintained and produced by Nick. He has supported Chelsea since his teenage years back in the mid 1980s. Nowadays he doesn’t get to as many games as he would like but his fervent passion for Chelsea Football Club continues to dominate his life.
Nick’s all-time favourite player is Gianfranco Zola; current favourite is Eden Hazard. His favourite moments in Chelsea’s long history include Roberto Di Matteo’s stunning goal after just 42 seconds of the 1997 FA Cup final, the 4-2 victory over Liverpool (Chelsea were 2-0 down at half time) in the FA Cup fourth round in 1997, and the 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United in a Premiership game at Stamford Bridge in 1999. Frank Lampard’s brace against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium which sealed Chelsea’s first top-flight title in 50 years and the 4-2 demolition of Barcelona at the Bridge during the 2004/05 season will also live long in the memory.
His prized Chelsea possessions are a shoulder bag commemorating the win over Real Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1971 and a pencil case that became somewhat notorious during his time at the University of Worcester: Student Union bar, copious amounts of alcohol… you get the picture.
He lists The Dharma Bums and Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, The Great Shark Hunt and Fear and Loathing in America by Hunter S. Thompson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson and Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer as some of his favourite books; and The Big Lebowski, Withnail and I, Wonder Boys, Almost Famous and All the President’s Men as among his favourite films. Pixies, Eels, Blur, The Who, Sleater-Kinney, The Rolling Stones, New Pornographers, The Fall, LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk, Destroyer and My Bloody Valentine rock his world.