Mention the word Bob, and Vidal Sassoon is just as likely to talk about Campbell or Tambling as the cut he made so famous.
Despite being an East-Ender, the 80 year old has spent the past 40 years in the sunnier climes of Beverly Hills. But what difference does a few thousand miles make when true love is involved?
“Although I grew up in the East End, I was born in Shepherds Bush,” he says. “My father was a Chelsea man so that’s how they became my team.
“I went to my first game as a 14 year old. The War was on, but there’d still be 80,000 there. We didn’t have the stands we do now, but for people who worked all week, going to football was a big deal psychologically.
“Around the same time, my mother insisted I become a shampoo boy on the Whitechapel Road,” he continues.
“But football was my first love – I was with ladies all day in the salon so I needed Chelsea. It was the psychiatrist’s couch where I let it all out!”
“Later on in the ’60s, a group of us used to meet at an Italian restaurant before games – Dougie Hayward, Terry Stamp, Michael Caine. It was a magical time to be in London. And we got to know a few of the players. I liked Venables – lots of charisma, and he played his best football for us.”
Chelsea’s recent summer sojourns to California have allowed Sassoon to fraternise with the stars of the current side too. “It was a lot of fun to go to the party the club threw in LA,” he says. “I got my picture with Drogba, Terry and Joe Cole – he’s a favourite.
“But keeping in touch has never been a problem. If we’re playing, I’ll wake up at 6.30am and watch live on Fox. There’s also an English pub in Santa Monica called the Cock & Bull. Sometimes I’ll go there for a full English breakfast and watch the game on a large screen.
“For a moment you think you’re back home,” he adds. “But nothing can really beat being there. That’s why London’s so great – it’s the only city in the world where you can see Chelsea in the afternoon and Macbeth in the evening!”
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