Mason Mount & Tammy Abraham Discuss Debuts & Delivering on their Destiny at the Official Chelsea Third Kit Launch

For all the talk of new signings across the Premier League, and the lack of at Stamford Bridge, it seems fitting that two players who have made the brightest starts to the new season are Chelsea through and through; Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Which serves to prove the old adage of ‘they know what it means to wear the shirt.’ 

There’s a lot packed into that simple saying. Even though no one has explained what it explicitly means, it all just makes sense. On the launch of Chelsea’s new Nike third kit, one that dives into 1990s jersey culture to produce a 2019-20 third kit reminiscent of a celebrated era for the club, we wanted to paint a more vivid picture of what it means to wear the shirt. 

We called on two of the new faces leading the resurgence of The Pride’s more youthful and optimistic outlook this season alongside a host of devoted fans across the creative sphere. Fans who speak up on how football has influenced their life and, more importantly, what it really means to wear the ‘new’ shirt. Their stories don’t need explaining to Tammy or Mason who have both come through the club’s academy and enjoyed the same highs and lows of the fans; namely, JB Scofield, Anthony Oye and Emma Louise Rixhon.

Mason Mount

“I always try to get double assists and double goals. It’s going to be a tough season but with the young players we’ve got coming through and the older players in the club, I think it’s going to be a good mix.”

After years of dreaming of this moment to arrive, Mason Mount has made sure he wasn’t going to let the opportunity of playing for Chelsea pass him by. It took just seven minutes of the midfielder’s Stamford Bridge debut for him to make his impact, finding the net against Leicester City. He then followed it up with another goal away at Norwich and his first full call-up to the senior England squad. The 20-year-old’s emergence as a Chelsea starter has been swift following a successful season working with current boss Frank Lampard at Derby Country last season. The familiarity of scoring at The Bridge and seeing his name on the new 3rd kit is not something Mason needs to get used to as he’s been preparing for it his whole life. 

Can you remember the first time Chelsea made you feel a certain type of way?

In the Champions League final in 2012. I was watching it at home with my family and I remember just wanting them to win. Then, to win the game the way we did, with the last minute penalty with Drogba, it was just an unbelievable moment.

I heard you had other influences and pressures to perhaps leave Chelsea when you were around 14. What gave you the strength and desire to want to stay at Chelsea?

From 6 years old I always had the goal and the belief that I’d make it to the first team. You go out on loan for two years but my goal and my focus never changed. I always gave it my all to try and get back into the first team. 

What’s the biggest life lesson that football has taught you?

To always be motivated and to be ready for anything. With football anything can happen and anything can change, so you’ve always got to be ready for stepping up at a big moment or helping someone out on the pitch who perhaps isn’t ready to play; you’re always helping someone out. With football, you can learn everything.

Who was your Chelsea hero growing up and why?

It’s got to be Frank Lampard. I’ve always looked up to him since I was a little boy, playing for Chelsea as a central midfielder. So, I’ve always been learning from him and taking things from his game.

He’s been a massive influence, especially last season working with him for the year. Taking little bits off of him, him speaking to me about making runs into the box. Obviously there’s no better person to learn off. So, I’m very much looking forward to working with him again this season.

How much of an influence has he been on your career and you setting your targets for the new campaign?

I always set new goals, I always sit down with my Dad. I always try to get double assists and double goals. It’s going to be a tough season but with the young players we’ve got coming through and the older players in the club, I think it’s going to be a good mix.

How excited do you get when you first see the kit?

I like it, I like it a lot. I like the CFC details you can see in the kit. You can see the ‘90s influence in fashion at the moment and I think the kit will appeal to pretty much everyone. Younger fans will like that it has a streetwear vibe and older fans will appreciate the sentimentality, remembering club legends who donned the famous jersey and their memories of going to games.

Tammy Abraham

“It’s never going to be easy. You’re going to have up and downs. But through your down times, stay focussed, stay relaxed and hopefully you’ll come through.”

The first thing Tammy Abraham says when he pulls on the brand new Chelsea jersey which will be worn for the first time in the club’s Champions League tie against Lille on October 2nd, is ‘Chelsea means the world to me.’ He looks down at the badge, acknowledges the Chelsea detail across the collar and a smile rises. ‘I’ve been here since the age of 6. So, to win a trophy this year would mean everything to me.’ Like Mason, Tammy has already started the season on an upward trajectory, bagging 5 goals and one assist before the international break. He’s since become an aspirational figure who young academy graduates – or players who find themselves out on loan – can look up to. He’s living proof that if you take the opportunities handed to you, then you can also wear the Club’s iconic number 9 jersey on the dawn of a new Champions League season.  

What is your big dream for the season ahead?

Hopefully to get my hands on the title. My big dream for this season is to win a trophy with Chelsea. I’ve been at the club since a very young age, so it’s always been my dream to win a trophy. 

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to wearing a kit for the first time?

I’m the kind of weirdo that likes to wear the match day shirt before anything else. I like to have wristbands on my arm, I can’t play without them. 

If you could pick any Chelsea 90s legend to be your strike partner who would it be and why?

I’d like to say Gianfranco Zola. He was so good with his feet, so good on the ball and he found the pass as well. He could score a lot of goals too. 

What does Chelsea mean to you? What are your earliest memories of the club? 

I remember singing at the age of 6. It was the happiest day of my life. I just got into football and to be scouted at from a young age meant the world to me and my family. I’ve been here ever since and I’d like to keep pushing forward. To win a trophy here would mean everything to me. 

How gassed do players get when it comes to unveiling new kits or seeing a new kit for the first time, do you get that same buzz and excitement as you did when you were a kid or any fan does today?

We all get excited. There’s a lot of excitement. When I saw this kit I fell in love instantly, it’s a beautiful kit. I’m sure the boys are going to love it too.  

How much does Frank Lampard’s leadership and his belief in you give you the confidence and strength to succeed? 

It’s bought a lot of positivity to the team, everyone is believing again. He’s showing us all what he wants to do, how he wants to play. We saw him for Derby last season and he’s bringing that to Chelsea. We’ve got a young, positive squad. So, things are looking positive. 

What’s the biggest life lesson that football has taught you?

That it’s never going to be easy. You’re going to have up and downs. But through your down times, stay focussed, stay relaxed and hopefully you’ll come through. 

Anthony Oye 

“What makes football so powerful is how it brings so many cultures together and everyone just has a love for the game. So, it doesn’t matter where you are from, what gender you are, everyone can come together and play football.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Modus Vivendii – which translates to “our way of living” in Latin –  it started out as a blog run by three London-based guys and it soon grew too big to simply exist in the same way it always did. It has since become a fashion brand which has worked with the likes of Big Sean and Franca Sozzani – Editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. One of the brand’s leading creative minds, Anthony Oye, aka Tony Vivdendii, has been witnessing the rise in terrace fashion as a Chelsea fan. Which is we why we sat down with Anthony to discuss the cross-cultural influence of the West London club and how he uses the power of nostalgia to drive his own work. 

What does Chelsea mean to you? How much does the club take up in your life?

Chelsea is a big love of mine. I’ve been supporting them since ’99 – I’ve supported Chelsea through the ups and downs, before our owner came in and witnessed so many good memories.

What’s the biggest life lesson that football has taught you? 

To be consistent and to just keep going, it doesn’t matter if you get knocked down. You’ve always got to get up and get better and keep improving. Like we did with the Champions League, eventually won it in 2012. It’s all about being adamant about what you’re going to achieve. 

What makes football such a powerful and cross-cultural influence?

How it brings so many cultures together and how everyone just has a love for the game. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what gender you are, everyone can come together and play football. Literally, anywhere. You don’t need to have anything to play football and to have a good time. 

How do you use the power of nostalgia to inspire your own work? 

The way we’ve been shooting recently, we’ve been using a lot of film. So, we’ve been bringing the whole 90s film vibe to what we do now. It has a different feel to it. So, we’ve been bringing that old school film photoshoot vibe into what we’re doing now to make the pictures more vivid. 

What memories do you have of the 90s?

Always playing football before school, after school. Always getting the new Chelsea jersey and watching the games. We had a manager who was also a player, so just watching him subbing himself on and just running on the pitch. Those are my memories that will always stay with me.

JB Scofield

“Chelsea first entered my life in 2007. That was when we signed Didier Drogba. One of my favourite players. The day he signed for the club, I followed them more closely and from there I just fell in love with the club.”

Although 24-year-old JB Scofield grew up in Amsterdam for the majority of his childhood – before moving to Leicester at the age he was 15 – he is a proud anglophile. Despite finding himself in the middle of England, a place more famous for producing the likes of Kasabian than hip-hop, JB immersed himself in the sound of the UK and found his own unique voice. A voice which reflects the wider changes sweeping through the UK music scene right now.

When did Chelsea first enter your life? How did you begin to support The Blues?

Chelsea first entered my life in 2007. That was when we signed Didier Drogba. One of my favourite players. The day he signed for the club, I followed them more closely and from there I just fell in love with the club and all the other players. Terry, Lampard and the old guard.

What’s your favourite Chelsea memory?

Fernando Torres scoring against Barcelona in the Semi-Final of the Champions League, taking us to the final. Going past the keeper, finishing it nice and coolly as he does. Especially after the season he had, it was a beautiful moment. 

What’s your pre-game Chelsea ritual? Who and where do you watch most games with? 

Most games I’m the only Chelsea fans amongst my fans so I watch it by myself. I need my food with me, I need to be comfortable and relaxing because anything can happen. I need to be ready for anything. 

Do you think the people who you grew up with – even just associates at school – would acknowledge that you were always destined for the career you’re enjoying now?

To be honest, my friends always believed in me and what I wanted to do in music. So, that’s built a crazy support system too. Helping me, giving me advice and supporting me in different ways. They’ve played a big part in me getting where I am right now. 

If you could have one player past or present from Chelsea history to appear in your next video, who would it be and why?

From the past, it would be Didier Drogba. Right now it would have to be Kante, he’s too funny. 

Emma Louise Rixhon

“The 90s made mainstream the idea of remix culture in the way that the 80s started it but the 90s made logos bigger, made music bigger, made hip hop bigger, made celebrity culture kind of turn around on itself.”

A few months after the Brexit referendum, Theresa May declared that, “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.” Her statement instantly alienated millions of England’s ‘foreign-born’ citizens, including almost half of London. Those words inspired backlash and collective outrage, and they’re what drove Emma Louise Rixhon to create Citizens Of Nowhere, a multi-media project that aims to foster a diverse creative community through reclaiming May’s infamous words. As of now, the primary focus is a clothing line, the profits from which go toward Refugee Action, a London-based charity providing legal assistance and language classes to refugees in Britain.

How do you use the power of nostalgia to inspire your own work?

Aa lot of my work revolves around bootleg and remixing things from the past, icons from the past, and making them relevant to now. 

Can you give us an example of how taking a closer look at the past has influenced your moves forward?

I think it’s a good way at working out what to do, what not to do, what works and what people keep falling in love with. I think a lot of it is cyclical, to be able to keep falling in love with the same thing is always a great thing. 

What is the best thing that the 90s gave us?

The 90s made mainstream the idea of remix culture in the way that the 80s started it but the 90s made logos bigger, made music bigger, made hip hop bigger, made celebrity culture kind of turn around on itself. A lot of what we see now around 00’s nostalgia started in the 90s. All that kind of tongue-and-cheek fashion. 

Tell us about your project, ‘Citizens of Nowhere’ – where did the inspiration from that project come from?

I started ‘Citizens of Nowhere’ around two years ago when Theresa May said in her speech ‘that if you consider yourself a global citizen then you consider yourself to be a citizen of nowhere.’ Me and my friends are literally all immigrants. It was at the same time that there was a lot of media exposure around the refugee crisis so there was this doubly alienating experience where not only is 50% of people who live in London not from the UK but we’re constantly being told that there’s more and more people needing homes in England. So, I took that speech and the ‘citizens of nowhere’ phrase and turned it into a positive statement and not the way she intended it which was alienating and dehumanising. 

Pick up the new Chelsea third jersey today at Nike Football.

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Issue 02: Heart & Soul
Ada Hegerberg, Andre Gray, Maya Jama, Andreas Perreira, Christian Pulisic
GAFFER Issue 02: ‘Heart & Soul.’ Honouring the way football cultivates community spirit, empowers the next generation and gives fans, teams and players something bigger and more beautiful to believe in. Be prepared to meet the people who are driving the culture to new heights and those who are set to change the face of the game forever.
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