Natters With TheChels – David Chidgey

It’s a cruel time of the year if you support a Premier League football team. With the Football League starting last weekend, and no first team matchgoing opportunities for UK based fans, it’s still more than a week before we can slake our football thirst. However, help is at hand for Chelsea addicts with the welcome return of the award winning Chelsea Football Fancast on Mixlr at 19.00 hours on Monday 12th August. We caught up with Fancastmeister David ‘Stamford Chidge’ Chidgey to talk about all things podcast and what he thinks the season ahead will bring.

The Chels (TC): Thanks for having a natter with The Chels, Chidge. Let’s start with the Chelsea Football Fancast. What gave you the idea for it?

DC: Funnily enough it was not a Chidge original thought (is there such a thing?). I was using a website called Football FanCast to source a number of football supporters to phone in for a TV show on football I was producing at the time. I noticed that they did lots of podcasts by real fans for many clubs, but the guy who had been doing the Chelsea one no longer was – a guy called BlueBlagger!! [Ed – aka He Who Must Not Be Named]. Anyway, I said that I’d pick up the challenge and we started our first show in April 2008 with Dr Mart and Stu Norman. Over 5 years later, and our first show of the new season will be our 250th show!

TC: How did you end up making the Putney Bridge bar the show’s home?

DC: I was living in Putney at the time and would often have a drink in there. As it’s a big bar, I noticed that there was a space where could do the podcast without bothering their customers too much and they would leave us alone. I asked the owner nicely and as she was a football fan (Liverpool!) she said no problem. For some strange reason they love us doing it there – must be the amount of booze we consume doing the show! It’s also pretty convenient for the podcasters as we all live fairly near, and it was easy to get to being 5 minutes’ walk from East Putney Tube.

TC: The presentation team has evolved over the last couple of years with the departure of Dr Martin and ChelTel. How do you feel that’s changed the show?

DC: It’s always sad to lose podcasters from the show, not least as they are such great mates. But if you get a show right it works because of the format, and then the personalities fit in around that, and of course the trick is to let those personalities come to the fore. Obviously Dr Mart and ChelTel are irreplaceable so the answer is you don’t try and replace them, you get different people on. But none of this would work unless the people on the show are genuinely good mates who go to the games and drink together. There is no way you can replicate the unique dynamic that a group of genuine mates have with each other, and I think that’s the secret of the show’s success. It’s genuine and authentic. I love what Darren brings to the show (madness!) and Lauren has been a great success and the listeners love the interaction they get with her, and of course Pablo and Ross have been stalwarts of the show for years and don’t get enough credit for keeping it together – their knowledge of Chelsea and football is far greater than mine. And of course my job is to be the ringmaster although it’s more akin to herding cats! But all in all I think everyone on the show is allowed to be natural and let their love of Chelsea and personality shine through.

TC: Do you miss Tel and Martin?

DC: Massively – they are like brothers! But they were also bloody good podcasters, especially Tel who took to the rhythm and dynamic of how a show is broadcast like a duck to water, and should probably have tried a career as a stand-up comedian! I think the greatest miss is their massive knowledge of what it is like supporting Chelsea going back to the 1960’s and 1970’s – their stories, experiences and perspective having supported Chelsea for such a length of time was invaluable.

TC: Are you excited about the Bleeding Blue ‘raves’ that the Chelsea Football Fancast will be hosting in conjunction with FamousCFC this season?

DC: Yep, very excited. We’ve had a chat room on the website for years, and it is most used on a match day when we get loads of our overseas listeners chatting away during a game when they are often watching on the internet. Bleeding Blue takes that to the next level as we’ll be commentating on the match and if you sign up to the indiegogo campaign and then download the 1Sport app you’ll be able to listen in and join in the conversation. If you can’t get to the match then at least you’ll be able to join us so it will be the next best thing as you will be with some Chelsea mates and let’s face it would you rather listen to us or Craig Burley!

TC: Do you have any other future plans for the Fancast?

DC: This year is going to be a very big year for the Chelsea FanCast. For a start my mood has been considerably brightened by the departure of Rafa Benitez and arrival of Jose Mourinho so I predict a much happier show! But more than that I am really pleased with the current line up on the show, and we aim to get a lot more high profile guests on the show this year as well as the return of a few favourites like Neil Barnet, Jason Cundy and Paul Canoville. We are also taking the live show on mixlr to the next level by enabling live Skype calls to the show and playing in interviews. A lot of work to do but we are all really up for it this season, and as long as people keep listening to us we’ll keep doing it!

TC: You’re a frequent guest on TalkSport and you’ve also appeared on BBC Five Live Sport. Do you enjoy your media appearances? As someone who’s worked in the media are you more relaxed about them than someone without experience might be? For instance, are you quite guarded during interviews? And what’s the biggest gaffe you’ve made during an interview?

DC: I actually genuinely enjoy doing them. I like the challenge which comes from the fact that they usually have an agenda and will try and catch you out or get you to agree with their daft point. As I’m naturally argumentative and opinionated I think it suits me well! But as Chelsea and their supporters tend to get a hard time generally from the media I do see it as a mission to get our view across in the most articulate way that we can, and whilst I always try to be honest, fair and direct I don’t back down if they are talking nonsense. I do think that having an understanding of the media really helps. I’ve worked with many of the people I get interviewed by, so they or the medium doesn’t intimidate me – in fact I actually get on well with most of them so that also helps. But knowing how it works definitely gives you more confidence. You do have to think ahead a little bit about what you are saying or are going to say so you make sure you get your point across and you have to have your wits about you so that you don’t sound too guarded. It’s better to sound more affable than surly and you establish a better relationship with the interviewer and will get the audience on your side too! I honestly can’t remember a serious gaffe although I’m sure I’ve made loads – I make about 20 on every Chelsea FanCast after all! But I think that’s the secret, if you make a gaffe don’t worry about it and move on – after all its not life or death is it! One thing I hate though is my tendency to say “You Know” far too much – I can’t seem to stop myself from doing it no matter how hard I try. Probably the only thing that Ron Gourlay and I have in common!

TC: What do you hope for from Chelsea in the coming season?

DC: So many things yet so few! I’d like us to having a good stab at winning the Premier League again, and I think we will, and of course it’s always nice to win a Cup as they are such great days out. But in all honesty I’m just happy that we have Jose back and there is now a chance of a sensible transition in the club whereby the ‘Old Guard’ can be gently phased out whilst drawing on their experience for a good few years yet and can help to develop probably the most talented young squad of players in my life time. I’d love to see the baton being passed on under the masterful guidance of Jose, and hope that he is allowed to build a real dynasty at the club which I think most of us have been desperate to see for years now.

TC: And, finally, the one question we’ll be asking all our interviewees this season is where were you when you heard Jose was coming back?

DC: You know what I honestly can’t remember! It was such a badly kept secret after all wasn’t it! If I was to guess I suspect I was probably in a pub and/or on twitter going mental about it immediately afterwards!

Thanks to Chidge for talking to TheChels.Net. Next weekend the Chelsea Supporters Trust will be holding its first AGM in The Attenborough Suite at the Copthorne Hotel, Stamford Bridge. You still have time to join the Trust in order to be eligible to vote at the AGM and elect the first Trust Board. As an added bonus for any Trust members attending the AGM, club historian Rick Glanvill will be leading a guided tour of Brompton Cemetery beforehand. Visit the CST website to find out more and join up to get your voice heard. We will be previewing the AGM in full later in the week. In the meantime, you can follow me as always on Twitter @BlueBaby67.