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50 Years of Chelsea: 1971-72

The Chelsea FanCast looks back, season by season, to 50 Years of Chelsea history from 1970 to the present day.


Stamford Chidge is joined by Jonathan Kydd and Clayton Beerman to look back at the 1971-72 season.


Chelsea supporters went in to the 1971-72 season full of optimism. Chelsea had just won their second trophy in consecutive seasons and many both expected and hoped that a title challenge was on the cards.

But thanks to some poor transfers and a worse start to the season it was to be a disappointing season.


Bedeviled by the unrest of stars such as Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson and the season long injury to Ian Hutchinson, the league campaign was up and down all season culminating in a final position of 7th, Chelsea’s worst finish for 5 seasons.


The Cup competitions were not much better. Having beaten Jeunesse 21-0 on aggregate Chelsea, the European Cup Winners Cup holders, were unceremoniously dumped out in the second round by Atvidaberg on away goals. As a result Chelsea were booed off the pitch.


They didn’t fare much better in the FA Cup. With one defeat in 24 games and favourites for both cups, only a few points off 1st place in the league, Chelsea faced Division 2 Leyton Orient. Chelsea were 2-0 up and conspired to lose 3-2 to a screamer, a defensive mix up and a last-minute goal. There were many missed chances too and the fans invaded the pitch in an attempt to get it abandoned!


The one beacon of hope in the season was reaching the final of the League Cup against Stoke City featuring England legend and World Cup winning ‘keeper Gordon Banks. In spite of ‘Blue is the Colour’ recorded in Feb 1972 by Chelsea supporting producer Larry Page reaching no. 5 in the Charts; Chelsea’s complacent performance with defensive errors and a lack of urgency ended in defeat to Stoke. Little did we know then that this would be Chelsea’s last appearance at a Wembley final in a major competition for 22 years.


To help us celebrate 50 Years of Chelsea we've partnered with 3Retro who have a superb collection of Chelsea retro gear and are offering 10% OFF when you use the 3RETRO10 code and if you order over £50 of merch you get FREE UK delivery.

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9/6/2021

50 Years of Chelsea: 1997-98 Pt.2

The Chelsea FanCast looks back, season by season, to 50 Years of Chelsea history from 1970 to the present day.Stamford Chidge is joined by Jonathan Kydd, Mark Meehan and Dayne Whittle to look back at the 1997-98 season.The 1997-98 season was described by Chelsea Historian Rick Glanvill as “turbulently successful” and it is hard to disagree and in Part Two we review from January to the end of the season.In January 1998, Chelsea were 3rd in the league having at one stage reached 2nd and still in the Coca-Cola Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup with everything very much still to play for in the second half of the season.Tradition dictates that the first match in the New Year was the FA Cup 3rd round and Chelsea, the FA Cup holders were pitted against Manchester United, our recent Cup nemesis. None of us, however, could have predicted the insanity that ensued that day. 0:3 down at half time; 0:5 on 74 minutes and then a Graeme Le Saux worldy and two goals by Vialli made it 3:5 with only a few minutes to go and gave us hope. Well actually they didn’t really!In the next match Chelsea made amends by knocking out Ipswich in the Coca-Cola cup, again after extra time and penalties, resulting in a semi-final tie against Arsenal. Due to the peculiarity of the fixture list this meant Chelsea would play Arsenal at Highbury in the Coca-Cola Cup, followed by another visit to Highbury in the league and then the return Coca-Cola Cup at the Bridge.Chelsea’s record against Arsenal at the time was very poor, so many supporters were hoping for the best but expecting the worst. A 2-1 defeat in the 1st leg thanks to a Mark Hughes goal kept us in the tie. But no one expected what would happen after the 2:0 league defeat. Ruud Gullit was sacked after failing to agree a new contract and Gianluca Vialli was announced as his replacement; his first match in charge being the Coca-Cola Cup semi-final at home to Arsenal.Having toasted his appointment with his teammates with a glass of champagne before kick-off, Chelsea put in a superb performance beating Arsenal 3-1 to reach another final at Wembley. They duly dispatched Middlesbrough in the final, again after extra time, to lift their second trophy in two seasons.Before the Coca-Cola Cup final, Chelsea had seen off Real Betis in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final, thanks to Flo’s two goals in the away leg. All eyes were now focussed on European glory and as a result the league form suffered.Against Vicenza in the first leg Chelsea lost 1:0, not a bad away result in Europe, so hopes were high for the second leg back at the Bridge. Hope made way to despair when Vicenza went 2:0 up on aggregate, but Chelsea stormed back, cheered on by one of the noisiest crowds ever experienced at the Bridge. Poyet and Zola put us on level terms with Vicenza and Mark Hughes sealed it with a stunning header to pass to himself to score on the volley.The season would now end with the chance to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup for the second time in the club’s history. Stockholm would be the venue, Stuttgart the opponents and with Chelsea supporters in all four sides of the tiny stadium, Gianfranco Zola came on with 19 minutes to go and scored a sublime goal with his second touch to win Chelsea the trophy. 1997-98 was a remarkable season with great players like Vialli, Hughes and Zola scoring some wonderful goals; two trophies in one season for the first time ever and the shock sacking of Ruud Gullit. No wonder it is one of the most memorable Chelsea seasons of all time.To help us celebrate 50 Years of Chelsea we've partnered with 3Retro who have a superb collection of Chelsea retro gear and are offering 10% OFF when you use the 3RETRO10 code and if you order over £50 of merch you get FREE UK delivery.