Friday, March 03, 2017

Chelsea vs Liverpool, 3 March 1979

Supporting Chelsea hasn't always been easy.

As Wikipedia tells it:
The late 1970s through to the '80s was a turbulent period for Chelsea. An ambitious redevelopment of Stamford Bridge threatened the financial stability of the club, star players were sold and the team were relegated. Further problems were caused by a notorious hooligan element among the support, which was to plague the club throughout the decade.
In 1982, Chelsea were, at the nadir of their fortunes, acquired by Ken Bates for the nominal sum of £1, although by now the Stamford Bridge freehold had been sold to property developers, meaning the club faced losing their home. 
On the pitch, the team had fared little better, coming close to relegation to the Third Division for the first time, but in 1983 manager John Neal put together an impressive new team for minimal outlay. Chelsea won the Second Division title in 1983–84 and established themselves in the top division, before being relegated again in 1988. 
The club bounced back immediately by winning the Second Division championship in 1988–89. 
After a long-running legal battle, Bates reunited the stadium freehold with the club in 1992 by doing a deal with the banks of the property developers, who had been bankrupted by a market crash.
One of the more curious episodes of these Chelsea Dark Ages was the appointment of Danny Blanchflower as manager.

He had been a star of Spurs' double-winning team of 1960-1, but when he was appointed Chelsea manager in 1978 he was much better known as a journalist than a coach. He did not last long, winning only 3 of his 15 games in charge.

This game, played 38 years ago today, was a goalless draw - an achievement from Chelsea against the best team in the land. It also marked the debut in goal of the gloriously eccentric Peter Borota.

But it is also notable because this is a Chelsea team that will challenge the memory of the staunchest fan.

David Stride. Eamonn Bannon. John Sitton. Michael Nutton. Jim Docherty. Who are these people?

At least the seemingly immortal Chopper Harris was still there.

No comments: