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Fan Friday – Member Profile – #36 Rob Fernandes

Name: Rob Fernandes

Membership number: 36

Location: South London / South Bristol

Occupation: Currently between jobs, helping a few Fintech start-ups with their strategy

Chiefs fan since: Late eighties

Favourite current Chiefs player: Justin Houston. Normally when I get excited about a player they get traded, but I’ve been on the #50 bandwagon since he was drafted. I love defense, and Tamba was easily my favourite player, but I figured he would get traded after Houston’s emergence, so I went all in on #50 early, got his jersey. The 2014 season was awesome. It’s not often you get to see your player with a legitimate shot to be #1 and a record breaker. He’s become a real leader now too.

Favourite ever Chiefs player:  I’ve never had one player, there’s always been a few that either drew me into the Chiefs or have kept me excited for the team. Back in the day it was Derrick Thomas, Kevin Ross and Christian Okoye… then Tamarick Vanover (don’t ask but I got an #87 jersey). I’m a little ashamed to say that when C4 dropped the NFL and before I could afford Sky or Gamepass existed, I went through a few years where I didn’t see enough to feel an affinity for players, but Tony G was the next jersey I got and to my knowledge (very tenuously) the only NFL player of Portuguese heritage so I was doubly excited about him. Tamba was another.

Favourite Chiefs memory: It’s a bit self-indulgent but as we’re short on success I’ll go with my first trips to Arrowhead. It is every bit as amazing as you dream it. I went to my first two games on consecutive Sundays and it was actually the second game (a 13-10 OT win over the Bills) that sticks in the memory. The first game a week earlier was all a blur I just couldn’t take it all in – although I got talking to two Cowboys fans who had picked it as a random game to visit and they bizarrely turned out to work in the exact same industry as me and we’ve remained friends ever since, they’ve been out to London a few times and joined me and a UK mate for the Chiefs win in Philly a few years back (that was also an experience!).

But the Bills game a week later of my first trip out is the one I always remember, I’d had a chance to fall in love with KC as a town, and it felt much more normal going to the game, I’d been hanging out with a few locals and didn’t feel like a tourist any longer. The whole day was beautiful, simply for the normality of it all, including a typically laboured result. I got to really feel what being a Chiefs fan was like, highs and lows. With that said, Eric Berry was coming off his first career INTs the week earlier and had a monster performance, that was the day you could tell he was going to be truly special.

Worst Chiefs memory: I could say the first Arrowheads Abroad meetup for the Colts play off game, but at least the horrific outcome was offset by such good company! So I’ll say the 2011 season opener against the Bills.

I was in KC for the week leading up to that game and a couple of days earlier randomly went to a small local rap show in a shady area a few blocks from the hood. I got jumped leaving the venue and had my head stomped out, my phone, wallet and money stolen, and wound up looking like the elephant man. I still had the game ticket at the hotel, but (and I appreciate some people will think I’m crazy) I decided to call it quits and re-arrange my flight to head back to the UK the day before the game – it’s a pretty helpless feeling when you have no plastic, no phone, and need to get cash wired just to eat.

The local folks at my hotel were incredibly nice however – KC hospitality is legendary. They could not stop apologising and finding ways to help out. One guy at the hotel insisted on buying my ticket, even though he wasn’t sure he could make it, just because he felt bad for me. On my flight back awaiting my connection in NY, Virgin threw me off the flight and left me stranded (never used them since). In the end another airline took me, and I made it back (without luggage) on gameday. And we then got hammered and lost Berry for the year.

Interesting fact about yourself: A few years ago I setup a clothing label as a hobby (southbristol.com) mainly inspired by my trips to the US.

Other sports teams: Bristol City FC home and away, and Portugal (I guess being at the Euro 2016 final in Paris was as close as I’ll get to a Super Bowl!)

Your perfect non NFL Sunday: Asleep.

You can take three people on to a desert island with you, who and why: Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. To do you all a favour.

What does Arrowheads Abroad mean to you: I honestly thought I was the only Chiefs fan in the UK – I used to wear Chiefs caps all the time and never once saw anyone else with one, but I’m seeing it a lot now and I feel like the team behind AA have been part of that. It was insane to see the group has another Bristol City fan. I love the fact there is a group to chat to during games, I would always feel a fraud doing so with US fans.

I spent years lurking on the Chiefs Coalition forums reading points of view but I feel like AA is my peer group and one I can really connect with – and where UK humour works! The meet ups brought a new dimension and energy to watching games too.

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