WA CHELSEA fans say Optus Stadium will be a sea of blue when the English Premier League (EPL) giants play Perth Glory on July 23.
More than 60,000 fans, many from overseas and interstate, are expected to attend the friendly marking Chelsea’s first visit to our shores in 44 years.
Mt Pleasant resident Joseph Tan, who chatted to Community News from overseas, said he would not miss the once-in-a-lifetime match for anything.
“I cannot believe this is really happening and I will be there,” he said.
“Take my word, the atmosphere in the stadium will be electric with colours of blue all around.”
Chelsea’s Perth Supporters Club vice president Ossie Pereira was hopeful the match would encourage other major teams to venture here in the future.
“The fact that Chelsea chose Perth to play a game is fantastic news and great for Perth as a city,” he said.
“Hopefully it will put us on the map for the world game and (open up opportunities to host) other big teams in the future.”
With the friendly falling just eight days after the FIFA World Cup final, it is unclear whether the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas or Alvaro Morata will be fit to join the five-time EPL winners in Australia.
Former Blues shot stopper Mark Schwarzer recently told Community News that Chelsea’s pool of talent meant they would deliver a competitive team no matter which players take the park.
The deal struck by Tourism WA and stadium operator VenuesLive includes open training sessions where fans will have the chance to see the stars up close.
“Football is hugely popular in our key Asian tourism markets including Singapore, Malaysia and China, as well as across Australia,” Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said.
“This is a great opportunity for fans in those markets to visit Perth and see one of the most successful Premier League teams of the past 15 years.
“It will show them Perth is vibrant, right on their doorstep and the western gateway to Australia.”
Mr Pereira’s supporters club will also host a national meet during Chelsea’s visit, with a five-a-side football competition, a quiz night and a meet-and-greet to be held.
“We hope that football fans from around the world will venture to our fantastic city and take delight in experiencing the good things that Perth has to offer,” Mr Pereira said.
Tickets are on sale now, with prices starting at $49.
Visit http://www.optusstadium.com.au for information.