The Cold End recently spoke to Jake Kim who was one of the co-founders of Chelsea Rovers who spent the 2019/20 season in the Surrey South Eastern Combination Intermediate Division Two.
What's your Football History?
I was with JL Rovers in 2017-2018 and then Chelsea Rovers from 2018. I played local football from age of seven in the United States and then in Korea. I had a summer session with Chelsea Academy back in 2005.
How and why were Chelsea Rovers formed?
At the end of the 17/18 season I suggested to the current chairmen that we could make our own club. As both of them were big Chelsea fans the new club was named 'Chelsea Rovers'. We have the ambition to compete at a higher level, may it not be elite football but at least semi-pro level, in the long-term future. However, we also want to establish ourselves as a long-existing community club in the Chiswick area.
Are the players from the local area?
Most players come from far way relative to where we train. We train in Chiswick and have many come from North and East London. One player used to come from Stevenage which we respected was a long journey. At the moment one of our first players, Michael Savva, who now plays for our Sunday team, travels from Romford
What was your best result of the 19/20 season?
Possibly the 2-1 away win against Forestdale. They hit the post in a one-on-one situation during the last minute and we had a counter-attack which ended up in a corner. Our striker scored a winner from that corner that gave us an essential win. A couple other good results score-wise but that one was the most dramatic. One other game was our 4-0 home win against Oxted. Our player showed some good fluid football and the game was great.
What was the worst result of the 19/20 season?
I'd say the 2-3 defeat against Sporting 50 at home. We let in a last minute goal to give them the win from a corner. But being honest, we did have a few similarly bad games because the opponents came from behind to win the game or draw with us.
(NOTE - SPORTING 50 ARE FRIENDS OF THE COLD END - SEE AN INTERVIEW WITH THEIR CLUB SECRETARY BEN SEYMOUR IN 2018 HERE AND A REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS OF THEIR GAME WITH WANDERERS FC IN DECEMBER 2017 HERE)
What's the best thing about football at grass roots level?
You don't know where the ball will go! The beauty of the game is there is no 'stronger' or 'weaker' team. It's the mentally stronger and socially bonded team that normally grinds out a win or last minute goal for any kind of consolation. We learned the hard way that investment doesn't necessarily mean success, like some clubs in professional football.
What's the worst thing about football at grass roots level?
The quality of referees or their management of situations could be improved. We've met various refs over the last two seasons and respect every single referee for their management of the game. They have their personalities, styles, and so on. However, some decisions were questionable. Alas, that is from our point of view - and this applies even if we won the game. We often have to accept that that is the level we are in, but hope this improves. Becoming a referee may seem easy but it still takes time so we respect everyone one of them. However, it would be nice to see them make fairer decisions - because I sincerely hope that one day they maybe refereeing at the top level.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given in football?
"Don't stop running." This is what I was told since I was young, even if I played keeper - to stay on my feet, keep running and moving. Knowing that I don't have the best technique or skills, I worked on what I could - much like what Guus Hiddink did to the Korean players back in 2002. He strengthened the players stamina and endurance so they could compete at International level. Even nowadays when I play football or futsal, I run around like mad, even if some runs may be ineffective - because I don't stop, and it pays off every once in a while.