I’m a huge fan of London-based Chelsea Football Club. A while ago, a popular fan blog (“
We Ain’t Got No History“) issued a call for content writers. I wasn’t interested in writing, but I threw out the idea of a regular cartoon and they said “Yes!”
It’s actually hard to be a fan of a team and make cartoons about them. Humor is inherently sharp and critical, so when the team or a player is doing poorly, there’s often great source material … but you get accused by fellow-fans of not being supportive. Inversely, when the team is winning, there’s not as much to poke at. Thankfully there are some good rivalries in the English Premiere League, so a lot of times I can poke fun at the opposition.
Anyway, these are in reverse chron order, newest at the top. Enjoy!
Our home form hasn’t been that great, so I was playing around with this joke of tricking the players into thinking they were playing an away match. I had two ideas and I couldn’t decide which to draw, so I did them both. I like the one on the right personally.
I drew this during the 2019 holiday fixture season. Four or five games in quick succession, and not much time in between to draw cartoons for each. Some of the games were good, some not so… but I definitely ended the year feeling like the best days for this squad are still ahead of them for years to come.
After we beat Spurs, Man U lost as well. So the previous week’s nervousness was unfounded. I tweaked the prior cartoon to show Frank comfortably in control.
And Frank beat the Master of Evil, so I swapped the roles from Star Wars. This is now canon.
The match-up between Master and Apprentice… Tottenham v. Chelsea. Someone complained that they had seen the same metaphor used on another sports website, and I was stooping to new lows by copying. Wow… it’s almost like no one else ever saw this parallel!
Another nervy stretch after the Bournemouth loss where it seems like Spurs and Man U had a chance to catch up.
This was another “Mondays at Cobham” piece, and arguably it was a quick one. The art is the same as two cartoons prior; I just changed what was on the whiteboard. This was after a 0-1 loss to Bournemouth, and everyone (myself included) thought Frank made the wrong substitution, taking off Pulisic (who seemed to be doing ok) instead of Mount (who wasn’t having his best game).
“Mondays at Cobham” continued after losing 1-3 to Everton. It seemed we had a real problem passing to our own players that game. That was the game Kepa had some real gaffes, clearing the ball right to the opposition. So I swapped Mason Mount out for him.
Of course it wouldn’t be Chelsea if we didn’t have some nervy moments. This was after we lost to West Ham 0-1. Crosses and corners seem to challenge us. I remember yelling at Ivanovich because, beast that he was, you could predict with uncanny accuracy that most of his crosses were headed directly for the defender’s shin. And it’s the same with our corners. Gotta get past the first man. (BTW I reused this format a few times and called it “Mondays at Cobham,” depicting some much-needed instruction after the weekend’s performance.)
I think I drew this after we lost to City 2-1. If I recall, N’Golo was a beast in spite of the loss. And it was basically a Kante appreciation cartoon.
Ah, Jose. Turned up at Spurs. Let’s see how long that lasts.
Cahill took a lot of stick as a player, but no one can deny the biceps. This was after we beat Palace 2-0 in November. Better stadium in the background too (than the one way down below).
At the end of October, having a transfer ban seemed to be the best thing to happen to Chelsea. We put some young talent on the pitch and while not perfect, they gave us something to believe in. I thought these guys could use the same kick in the pants. That’s supposed to be Emery on the left.
This was my impression of the Top 6 teams around mid-October of 2019. Liverpool (still) seem unstoppable, but City are a fine-tuned machine. Chelsea seemed like we were very capable but fragile (no, I don’t think we’re a “hunk of junk”). Arsenal were in a really bad place with Emery. Spurs were just being spursy. And Ole’s honeymoon was over at Man U.
After losing 2-1 to Liverpool in late September 2019, we went on a good run of form with 6 or 8 wins in all competitions (up until another loss to Man U in the Football League Cup). This is what happens when you’re supposed to poke fun at things but everything seems to be going well!
VAR. Ugh. If you are unfamiliar with it, this is the packaging for a popular pregnancy test here in the States. The brand is called E-P-T for Early Pregnancy Test. I like the tagline, but I guess I was too much of a coward to spell out “piss.”
I had this cartoon in my mind for a long time. I wasn’t sure when to use it. I finally had a chance after we beat Wolves 5-2. I just loved the idea of these things being more effective in goal than an actual goalkeeper. But someone pointed out that our finishing that day was actually pretty clinical, which was true. Ah well… it was funny in my head where the voices live.
August 24. Chelsea v Norwich at Carrow Road. I don’t remember how the game went. I think we had to really fight for this 3-2 win. And it was the first time Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham showed up on the big screen. Boys to men, and the promise of better days to come. (And yes I know they grew up in the Academy and were anything but unknowns, but we don’t get much youth coverage here in the States, so for me, it was their introduction.)
I drew this to make the point that we needed to give Frank some time. It was his garden now, and he needed space to put his ideas to work. And to show critics that I could poke fun at myself, I drew one of the evil vines with an artist’s pencil (top right). That was my way of saying “OK… I get it… I’ve been critical too.”
This one didn’t come off too well. We’d just tied Leicester City 1-1, and we were missing Eden Hazard. This was the year VAR was introduced in a big way too, and refs would make that square motion with their hands whenever a call was being reviewed. I thought this was funny… but not everyone got it. And again — some thought I was not being supportive.
I think I did this after we lost 4-0 to Man U. I still thought the season was gonna be rough. This is when some people started to say I was being too critical on the team, and not being a true supporter.
At the start of the 2019 – 2020 season, with a new manager in Frank and still under a transfer ban, we thought the year would go something like this. Thankfully it hasn’t been this volatile!
Not a cartoon obviously. The return of Frank, Jody, Petr, etc. Didn’t come out quite like I wanted. But oh well…
Chelsea enduring life during the transfer ban…
This was when the “Frank Lampard as Chelsea Boss” rumors started. I was a huge fan of Frank as a player (#8 is the only jersey I own), but I thought he needed more time before taking the hot seat. Given our tendency to churn managers, I wanted to see him have a long tenure at CFC vs. having his legacy tarnished by potential failure. So this was a play off the movie IT, where the clown tries to lure someone into a dangerous situation. Someone complained that I shouldn’t imply that Chelsea is a circus… clearly they missed the joke. Thankfully Frank’s off to a good start. I really like the little guy in the yellow raincoat…
I always thought Unai Emery looked like Loki. We’d just spanked Arsenal 4-1. Worked in a little Avengers shout-out with Hazard picking up Thor’s hammer.
A lot of people didn’t get this one, or didn’t find it funny. The Champions League final was Liverpool vs. Tottenham… two teams most Chelsea fans can’t stand. I know I was personally struggling with who to root for. I thought the idea of a fan who had gone totally catatonic from thinking about this conundrum — so much so that someone could do something ridiculous to him, like glueing farm animals — would be funny. Some agreed; some didn’t. Can’t win them all.
The pendulum swings… I can’t recall exactly why I did this one. Felt like all of the sudden the squad was getting old. Really not happy with this background either… horrible stadium.
For years Chelsea had this kinda crazy “no one over 30” policy that cost a few Legends like Frank here the chance to retire at Chelsea. Maybe they were trying to force change in the dressing room… who knows. Bit us in the butt though when Frank came on for City and scored against us… cost us a few points if I recall. Anyway, this was when we started to break that policy and renewed Luiz. I tried to imagine what Frank thought when he heard the news. Especially given that Frank was 1000 times more consistent than David Luiz.
I think this was after Tottenham lost to Man City in the Champions League Quarterfinals. Some things are really predictable. I realized I left the N out of “Tottenham.”
Birdbox was a good movie, but Chelsea’s 2019/2020 jerseys took a while to get used to. I guess they’re alright after all.
Ah, Higuain! Actually, I remember wanting to do a cartoon similar to this after Hazard scored that silky goal at West Ham (see Bigfoot, E.T. and Nessie below). The joke would be that the doctor was delivering Hazard as a baby, but he had slipped out of his hands. He would say something like “I know he’s around here someplace…” But I wasn’t sure how the audience would take to the gag, so I parked it. I actually like this version better.
I understand Sarri is a real gentleman but his football philosophy was often inflexible. It seemed like it was more about possession than winning the game at times. And that’s a horrible Zola…!
If I recall correctly, we needed some points to move up the table, and both Arsenal and Man U helped us out by losing. So of course we had to tie Burnley, a team struggling in the bottom half of the table. They were handing us a gift and we said “nah…!”
We went through a spell where it seemed like we’d play great in the first 45, and then forget how to run in the second 45. Also another attempt at making characters look like the real person…
Pretty obvious from my site I love Star Wars… and right as the Rise of Skywalker trailer came out, there were rumors of another Chelsea manager change.
Unfortunately some people on this planet are assholes, and there was a racist incident that made the news. My point here was that a lot of soccer balls are black and white… kind of a cartoon version of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.
Another Hazard tribute. This was just after that crazy goal he put away against West Ham United in April of 2019.
Eden Hazard was a mesmerizing Chelsea player when he was on his A game. Rumors were swirling about his inevitable move to Real Madrid. These were some suggested ways to keep him at CFC.
This was right around the time Avengers Endgame came out (or maybe it was Infinity War). This was actually the first time I’d tried to make the cartoon look like the person. I studied some Sarri cartoons online… came out ok, but I’d like to think I can draw a better Thanos! Alonso was going through a rough patch.
Remember when Kepa wouldn’t come out of the game when Sarri subbed him? Haha… good times.