Chelsea host Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, live on Sky Sports
By Gary Cotterill
Last Updated: 30/11/18 9:32pm
Claudio Ranieri has been given a ringing endorsement by a noisy neighbour ahead of Fulham’s west London derby clash with Chelsea.
Ranieri famously rang a bell to gee-up his Leicester players during their title winning season, now some bigger bells are being brought in to inspire his current team.
All Saints Church is just down the road from Craven Cottage, but its bells can be heard at Stamford Bridge.
The ringers will be on duty just before the west London Derby kicks off on Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports, and hope to give Fulham a boost.
“It’s good that Claudio thinks bells can help players”, Tower Captain Su Reed told Sky Sports News. “Now when the players pass by the Church they will think we’re going to win today.”
Chelsea vs Fulham
December 2, 2018, 11:00am
It was back in March 2016 that Ranieri first uttered the phrase “Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong”, but All Saints Ringing Master, Mark Younger, says proper Campanology produces far more complex sounds than that.
“It’s a bit like a football team,” Younger said. “It takes a lot of training and practice, Claudio is very welcome to come and join us for some lessons.”
Finding time for that might not be easy. Ranieri has a big job on his hands steering Fulham out of the drop zone as Chelsea on Derby Day are closely followed by Leicester and Manchester United.
It’s an uphill struggle, but the aptly named Michael Uphill is confident of survival. Michael has been a Fulham season ticket holder for 63 years, and has been ringing bells for just as long. He describes the appointment of Ranieri as “wonderful.”
He adds: “I think he’ll bring a spark of life to the place. I am an optimist, we can beat Chelsea, they are just Fulham reserves!”
Ranieri hasn’t yet coaxed his new Fulham players with “Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong”, but he has made a change when the lunch bell rings as the whole squad are made to eat together after training.
“I like everybody to eat together. I don’t like having 5 or 6 on a table who just finish and go. No, stay together. We are a team”, he said.
And the team might benefit from some bonding up in the All Saints Bell Tower, according to Ringer Eddie Hartley.
“It’s good teamwork and good training. There’s a lot of different demands on the body, and bell ringing finds some muscles that you wouldn’t use for anything else.”
He’s not wrong, the biggest bell is the weight of a small family car. It’s very loud indeed.
Claudio Ranieri’s bell is more understated. More a tinkle than a bong. That, I guess, makes him the Tinkleman?
On Sunday morning at 11.30 sharp, the All Saints Bells will be in action ringing out, not dilly ding, not dilly dong, but Derby Day.