Introducing ‘Behind the @’, a feature dedicated to finding out more about some of social media’s sporting profiles. From popular Twitter accounts to YouTube superstars, we want to know more about the people behind the @ – the ones running the account that so many fans appreciate on a daily basis worldwide.
In this edition, we spoke to Chelsea HQ, an account set up by a lifelong Chelsea fan in February 2010 and has since become one of the biggest fan accounts on Twitter. It’s one of the best places for Blues’ fans to check on the latest news, rumours, stats, live match updates and everything related to London’s finest football club. The account was nominated for a Football Blogging Award in 2015.
RealSport: How did you become one of the most known Chelsea fan accounts?
Chelsea HQ: To be honest, I am not quite sure. Back in 2010, I set up the account with the aim to update fans all around the world on news, rumours, scores and everything related to Chelsea. I never thought it would get this much support. One piece of advice I would give to anyone setting up a new fan account: be original and don’t copy people. Originality is so important.
RS: At what point did you realise you had a large online influence?
CHQ: It may sound crazy, but I don’t pay too much attention to my number of followers. I just want everyone to enjoy the content I post and as long as that is the case, I am happy. Obviously, I cannot ignore that Chelsea HQ has become huge on Twitter. I’m still amazed at some of the enquiries I get, from agents, sponsors, journalists, news agencies and former professionals. There are days when I come home from college and find 10 new emails in my inbox. 2015 has been a really good year and the account is now not too far away from a quarter of a million followers – a crazy number!
RS: Would you consider other Chelsea fan accounts your ‘competitors’, or is there an element of co-operation amongst fan accounts of the same team?
CHQ: We all share the same passion, Chelsea Football Club, so it would be wrong to consider other accounts my ‘competitors’. I have even met some of them in real life and would say they have become good friends. We chat on a daily basis and it is always fun to collaborate. I am confident that will not change in the future.
RS: Tell us a bit more about being a finalist at the 2015 Football Blogging Awards, did anything change for your fan account after that nomination?
CHQ: It felt surreal being nominated for a Football Blogging Award, I still can’t get my head around it. Seeing my name amongst some huge names in the blogging industry was amazing and the feedback from people all around the world was heart-warming. I can’t thank them enough for their support. Without revealing too much, the nomination has opened a door to new exciting opportunities in the future.
RS: Do you collaborate with Chelsea for any relevant projects/promotions etc?
CHQ: Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case so far. In fact, I don’t think football clubs pay too much attention to fan accounts on social media. I would like to think that will change one day, as both sides could benefit from it.
RS: What was your first ever tweet?
CHQ: My first ever tweet was a link to a Frank Lampard interview with the BBC – which doesn’t even exist anymore! Nothing spectacular, but the start of a great journey on Twitter.
RS: Tell us about a time where your tweet did something you didn’t expect (e.g. reached someone famous, evoked a crazy response) etc.
CHQ: I can’t think of a crazy response, but I have had several (ex-)Chelsea players liking my tweets, retweeting them and following the account. I have even had private chats with some of them, which is simply mind-boggling. My tweets also regularly feature on websites and in papers/magazines, and it is always good to know that people value my opinion.
RS: How is your fan account maintained? Is this your full-time job? Or something you do in your spare time?
CHQ: I’m currently a student and running my fan account is something I like to do in my spare time. It can become quite stressful and does feel like a full-time job sometimes, but it’s something I am passionate about and would never want to give up.
RS: Where do you think the future of your account lies? Strictly on Twitter? Or do you want to pursue other avenues, e.g. punditry, journalism, introducing your own product range?
CHQ: I thought about setting up a general football account on Twitter, but those plans have been put on hold for now. The next big project for me is my website, which I am hoping to launch in early 2016. As well as voicing my own opinion, I would like to give talented writers the chance to share their content. I have always been passionate about writing and, away from Twitter, I wouldn’t rule out pursuing a career in journalism or something similar. There are no limits regarding the future of Chelsea HQ, but one thing I can promise is that it will always remain genuine and authentic.
You can follow Chelsea HQ here.
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