Joao Felix wants to start a group chat with you. And me. And anybody else who is up for it, actually. The Chelsea loanee, hopped up on a heady cocktail of naivety and human spirit, has set up an open forum in which he will have direct communication with his fans, answering questions and fielding queries as and when he is able to. You suspect that even the Dalai Lama might view this as a tad idealistic.
Presumably - because the centre of the Venn diagram marked ‘Hardcore Football Fan’ and ‘Avid User of Social Media’ has a tendency to be occupied by a very specific sort of person - this will end in tears, but for now at least, you have to admire his candour and the generosity with which he is offering his time.
Felix’s new venture did get us wondering where exactly he might have stumbled upon the idea in the first place, though. What was it about his January move to Chelsea that suddenly inspired him to embrace the ways of the WhatsApp discussion? Well, we set our newest, cheapest, and second-worst (just above me, some distance behind Matt Gregory) reporter, AI chat bot Chat GPT on the case to find out.
What it discovered was a veritable treasure trove of group chat histories involving Chelsea players that, once seen, make perfect sense as the spark from which Felix’s newfound obsession must have ignited. We’ve sifted through the reams of back and forths to bring you some of the best nuggets below. (The haters will try and tell you that Chat GPT made these up itself...)
An excerpt from a conversation in which Kai Havertz professes his love for donkeys.
Kai Havertz: Hey guys, have you ever ridden a donkey? Reece James: What? No, Kai, I can’t say I have. Mason Mount: Yeah, I haven’t either. Why do you ask? Kai Havertz: Oh man, you guys are missing out. Donkeys are the best. I rode one on a family vacation when I was a kid, and I’ve been in love with them ever since.
Cesar Azpilicueta: Are you serious, Kai? Donkeys? Kai Havertz: Yeah, they’re great. They’re like big, furry dogs with hooves. Plus, they’re really strong. They can carry a ton of weight. Thiago Silva: I don’t understand you sometimes, Kai. Donkeys? Kai Havertz: Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it, Thiago. Trust me, once you ride a donkey, you’ll never want to ride anything else.
N’Golo Kante: I don’t think I’ll be trying that any time soon, Kai. But to each their own, I suppose. Christian Pulisic: I’m with N’Golo on this one. I don’t think I’m ready for a donkey ride.
An excerpt from a conversation in which N’Golo Kante has gone missing for a worryingly long time during a game of hide and seek.
Mason Mount: Hey guys, has anyone seen N’Golo around? We’re supposed to be playing hide and seek and I can’t find him anywhere. Reece James: Yeah, I haven’t seen him in a while. Maybe he found a really good hiding spot. Jorginho: I’ve checked all the usual spots and he’s not there. This isn’t like him.
Ben Chilwell: Maybe he got lost or something. We should go look for him. Kai Havertz: I agree. Let’s split up and search the whole stadium. We can’t just leave him out there.
Some time passes...
Mason Mount: Guys, I’m starting to get really worried. We’ve searched everywhere and he’s nowhere to be found. Reece James: Maybe we should call the authorities. This isn’t just a game anymore...
A brief excerpt from a conversation in which the lads brainstorm new ideas for a redeveloped Stamford Bridge, and Kurt Zouma (inexplicably still in the chat) shows the same level of regard for Chelsea’s young fans as he does for house cats.
N’Golo Kante: Alright lads, we need to come up with some killer ideas for the stadium while it’s being redeveloped. Cesar Azpilicueta: I think we should have a mini-golf course inside the stadium. It would be fun for families and give fans something to do before the game. Kurt Zouma: Mini-golf? Seriously, Azpi? We’re trying to attract real football fans, not children.
An excerpt from a conversation in which Mason Mount pitches a cool new nickname for himself.
Mason Mount: Hey guys, what’s up? I was thinking we should come up with some new nicknames for each other. Something cool and unique. Kai Havertz: Sounds like a great idea. What do you have in mind, Mason?
Mason Mount: Well, I was thinking we could do something related to our playing styles. For example, I could be ‘Mount Everest’ because I’m always climbing up the pitch and making things happen. Reece James: That’s pretty cool, Mason. Or should I say, ‘Mount Everest’?
An excerpt from a conversation in which Tammy Abraham pops up out of nowehere to stir up some trouble over peanut butter.
Tammy Abraham: Hey guys, quick question for you all. Smooth or crunchy peanut butter? Reece James: Smooth, no question about it. Mason Mount: What?! How can you say that? Crunchy is clearly superior. Christian Pulisic: I have to agree with Mason on this one. Crunchy is the way to go.
N’Golo Kante: I don’t really have a preference. I’ll eat whatever is available. Ruben Loftus-Cheek: I have to say, I’m a fan of smooth peanut butter. It just spreads so much easier. Edouard Mendy: For me, it’s all about the texture. Crunchy peanut butter adds a nice crunch to my toast in the morning.
Ben Chilwell: I’m with Reece on this one. Smooth is the way to go. Thiago Silva: I have to say, I’m a bit of a peanut butter purist. I like my peanut butter to be just peanuts and salt. No added sugar or oil.
Kai Havertz: I don’t really eat peanut butter, to be honest. Tammy Abraham: Wow, it seems like we’re pretty divided on this one. I think we should settle it with a taste test.
Reece James: Agreed. Let’s do it after training tomorrow. Mason Mount: This is going to be the most important taste test of the season. Christian Pulisic: I don’t know about that, Mason. Winning the Champions League would be pretty important. N’Golo Kante: Let’s just hope we can win both the Champions League and the peanut butter taste test.
An excerpt from a conversation in which the lads discuss the indie music landscape of the 2010s to mixed success.
Cesar Azpilicueta: Guys, I think we can all agree that Mumford & Sons was the worst band of that era. I mean, they’re just a bunch of posh English guys pretending to be bluegrass musicians. N’Golo Kante: I don’t know, Cesar. I think The 1975 was pretty bad. All their songs sound the same.
Mateo Kovacic: I agree with Kante. And let’s not forget about Imagine Dragons. Their music is so generic. Jorginho: Hey, don’t be dissing Imagine Dragons. They have some good songs.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: I think we can all agree that Nickelback was the worst band of all time. Christian Pulisic: Nickelback wasn’t even indie, Kepa. Kepa Arrizabalaga: Oh, right. Sorry, I got carried away. Mason Mount: I’m surprised none of you have mentioned One Direction. They were everywhere in the early 2010s. Reece James: One Direction wasn’t an indie band, though. Mason Mount: Oh, yeah. I guess you’re right.
An excerpt from a conversation in which the lads look to Hollywood and make some interesting casting shouts.
Mason Mount: Hey guys, have you ever thought about who would play us in a movie about Chelsea? Reece James: Yeah, I have. I think Michael B. Jordan would be perfect to play me. Kai Havertz: Oh, that’s a great choice, Reece. I think I’d want Timothée Chalamet to play me.
N’Golo Kanté: I’m not really sure who would play me. Maybe someone like Denzel Washington? Ben Chilwell: I think Tom Holland would be a good fit for me. We both have that boyish charm. Cesar Azpilicueta: I’m going to have to go with Antonio Banderas for me. We’re both from Spain and I think he could capture my energy. Thiago Silva: I have to go with Idris Elba. He’s got that tough guy look that I think would work well for me.